Actions

Work Header

I'll Be Right Behind You

Chapter Text

Ali looked at the clock above the row of lockers, and stood.

“Shit.” She exclaimed under her breath as she slipped her cleats on her feet, and quickly shoved her shin guards back into her Nike bag.

Ali was running late and would have to finish getting ready on the field. She grabbed the bag with one hand and ran to the door of the locker room. Suddenly, the door swung away from her empty hand, pulling her off balance and throwing her forward. Ali crashed into the chest of the taller woman who was entering the locker room at the same moment Ali was trying to leave. Her bag dropped onto the floor and its contents spilled out. Before Ali could fall any further, strong hands grabbed her waist and settled her.

“Whoa there! You ok?” a startled voice asked.

Ali looked up and her mouth went dry. Her eyes raked in the stranger’s chiseled jawline and beautiful face framed by long gently curling blond hair. When she realized her face was nuzzling the woman’s right breast, a blush crept into her cheeks. Ali straightened up, nodding that she was indeed alright since she found it impossible to get words past her lips at the moment.

Ali dropped to her knees and hastily started shoving her things back into her bag. She looked up and noticed the woman grinning at her warmly, one dimple on full display. Her breathing hitched. Ali cringed as the blond seemed to have heard and her smile widened. At that moment, all Ali wanted was to be far away from those gorgeous hazel eyes that seemed to be staring straight through her carefully erected walls. Ali swallowed hard, feeling exposed under the gaze.

Ignoring the hand that was extended to help her stand, Ali regained her feet.

“I…uh…practice.” Ali mumbled as she pushed her way past the woman and the door closed, offering her a bit of separation.

Ali double checked the contents of her bag. Her shoulders slumped. She turned around and opened the door. The gorgeous woman was standing there, an amused smirk plastered on her face, holding up Ali’s missing shin guard. Ali reached for it, but the woman pulled it back at the last second.

“Hi Practice, I’m Ashlyn. Nice to meet you.” Ashlyn teased.

Ali reached for her shin guard again, and this time Ashlyn allowed her to take it. She looked up at the clock and knew she was going to be treated to an ass chewing and sprints after practice. Ali hated to be late.

“Its Ali, and I’m late.” Ali supplied, finally finding her voice.

Ali turned, and the door shut again as she started rummaging around her bag. She grimaced, turned around, and opened the door once again. As the door swung open, Ashlyn was still standing there, this time holding her pre-wrap. Ashlyn’s chuckles were the last thing Ali wanted to hear. Her eyes narrowed at the woman.

“Is this all of my things or do I need to strip search you?” Ali quipped, her frustration evident in her biting tone.

“If you’d like to run your hands all over my naked body…who am I to say no?” Ashlyn cockily replied and started unbuttoning her light blue button down shirt.

Ali’s face turned red, and she opened her mouth to speak, then snapped it shut. She looked at the door and then back at Ashlyn.

“You go right ahead, I’ll be right behind you.” An amused Ashlyn remarked.

Ali turned around and fled to the field as fast as her legs could carry her, the sound of Ashlyn’s laughter ringing in her ears. Who the hell was this Ashlyn woman, and why did her heart flutter at the thought of her hands on this woman’s body? Ali groaned. First day of camp was not turning out how she had pictured it.

Chapter Text

As Ali ran, a light sheen of sweat covered her body, and her frazzled nerves settled. This was her life. This was what set her soul free, feeling her powerful stride as she chased the only object of her desire…World Cup gold. Ali focused in on the ball at her feet and sent in a fabulous cross that connected with Abby Wamback’s head. The ball shot past a diving Hope Solo and into the back of the net. Ali pranced back down the sideline with a proud smirk on her face…one she did not want a fuming Solo to see.

A whistle blast brought Ali’s prancing to a halt. She ran across the pitch to join her teammates, and coaching staff. Cones had been placed along the pitch, and Ali knew agility drills were coming. They lined up in a row of threes, and at the whistles took off, zig zagging around the cones before sprinting back across the out of bounds line. As Ali finished her fourth round and reached the back of her line, she bent over at the waist, hands on her well-muscled thighs, taking in deep breaths. She felt a hand on her back and looked up to see HAO grinning at her.

“So why were you so late today, Princess?” HAO inquired.

Ali grimaced, “Don’t even get me started. My flight was delayed, and it went…downhill from there.”

“That sucks. Guess I’m going to have to drink that nasty recovery shake by myself today. You are going to be too busy running after practice. I saw Jill fuming when you finally joined us.” HAO complained.

Ali rolled her eyes.

“Oh yeah, poor you. I won’t be around to cheer on your chugging.” Ali deadpanned.

“I know, right?! I mean, who is going to hold my nose so I don’t have to taste that gawd awful concoction they torture us with?” HOA jokingly whined.

“You’ve got two hands, use them!” Ali replied smartly as she shoved HAO ahead of her to the start line.

“Hands? I can’t use hands…I’m a football player!” HAO quickly yelled over her shoulder to just beat the next whistle blast.

Ali barely had any time to recover from the agility drills when they were sent to the goal for some 4 on 3 defensive line practice. She nodded at Hope as she took her position at right back. Ali didn't see Hope vacate the posts and a tall blonde take her place.

“Mighty fine defensive line.” A vaguely familiar voice called out.

Ali froze. It couldn’t be her. The sound of the whistle blowing the start of the play brought Ali out of her shock. She looked up just in time to see Pinoe bearing down on her with the ball at her feet. Ali got in front of Pinoe, and she managed to win the ball from her. Ali kicked the ball downfield. The whistle stopped play, and they reset.

“Nice assets you bring to my back line, Ali. Just how I like them, good and tight.” Ashlyn remarked when Ali crouched into position.

Ali quickly shot her an icy glare. Ashlyn shrugged her shoulders innocently.

“What? I’m talking football, get your mind out of the gutter.” Ashlyn teased.

Ali’s face reddened. Her features softened. Had she taken the remarks wrong? Before the whistle blew again, she looked back to goal and was met with a smirk. Not a chance in hell she had taken it wrong. Ali blew out an irritated breath and focused on the ball being played in.

“I’ll show you assets…” Ali grumbled under her breath and barely allowed the shot off Carli’s foot through.

Ashlyn pounced on the ball before it could cross the goal line. She stood up and held the ball like a pet before rolling it out to Ali.

“Its ok, like I said before, I’ll be right behind you.” Ashlyn smugly remarked.

Chapter Text

Ali was exhausted after her post practice punishment. Her t-shirt was drenched in sweat, and her lungs burned from trying to provide enough oxygen to her demanding leg muscles. She had noticed that Ashlyn had also been punished, but being a goalkeeper, she didn’t have to run. No, Ashlyn’s “punishment” came in the form of taking penalty kicks. Ali was nearly off the field, nearly free, when Jill spotted her. It wasn’t meant to be.

“Krieger, get your ass over here!” Jill demanded.

Ali’s head fell forward in defeat, she blew out a deep breath, and gave the tunnel to the locker room one more longing glance before turning back. So close. Damn Delta Airlines and their delay, damn Ashlyn and her games. Perhaps if she didn’t have to run like a bazillion wind sprints and stairs she wouldn’t mind being late to play around in the locker room either. Then again, Ali was always the responsible one. It would go against her nature to intentionally be late just to have a bit of fun.

“I want you to take some pk’s. Really put it on her, Ali. I need to see how good her reactions are when she is dog tired.” Jill instructed.

Ali nodded in response. Somehow she figured that Ashlyn should have been running sprints and stairs too if Coach had wanted her ‘dog tired.’ Ali grabbed the bag of balls and poured them out, corralling them with her feet into a pile at the top of the box. Ashlyn smirked at her. She stretched her arms out in front and pulled on alternating elbows. Ashlyn squared her shoulders, centered herself in the goal, and started her stutter steps to get light on her feet. Her eyes narrowed at Ali in a mixture of concentration and intimidation. Ali looked down at the ball and tried not to give away her plan of attack. The ball came screaming off Ali’s right foot, shooting for the upper right corner. Ashlyn’s dive was to the left. Ali scored easily.

“Don’t get too used to that happening.” Ashlyn remarked as she took her place on the goal line again.

Ali scored on several more shots. Ashlyn growled in frustration. She glared at Ali, and Ali thought how much that look reminded her of Hope. The next shot was low left. Ashlyn deflected it, off her fingertips. The ball hit the goal post and rebounded back onto the field. Ashlyn got up with a smug grin on her face.

“Screw you, you got lucky.” Ali muttered under her breath.

“You’d be in paradise if I did.” Ashlyn responded, wagging her eyebrows, barely hearing Ali’s words.

“Never going to happen, Ashlyn. EVER.” Ali scolded harshly.

“Your loss.” Ashlyn shrugged.

Ali set down the next ball and struck it with all the pent up anger she was feeling. The ball was like a cannon shot that Ashlyn had to deflect off her forearms to keep it from taking off her head, her feet still rooted in the center of the goal. Ali smirked at the surprised expression on the goalkeeper’s face.

“Oh really.” Ashlyn deadpanned.

Ali shrugged nonchalantly.

“Oopsie.” Her exclamation spilled out, extremely sugary sweet.

Ashlyn didn’t buy Ali’s fake innocence at all. She had seen the look on the defender’s face when they had first ran into one another, and heard the gorgeous brunette’s breathing hitch. Ashlyn knew Ali might protest verbally, but her body couldn’t lie. Just as Ali was about to take another shot, Ashlyn used the bottom of her shirt to wipe the sweat off her brow, exposing her glistening toned body to Ali. Ali’s foot faltered for a split second, sending the ball sailing harmlessly over the net. Ashlyn leveled her gaze at Ali, her eyes conveying her doubt in Ali’s resolve, a wide dimple-bearing smirk plastered on her face. Ali kicked another ball out of bounds in frustration.

“That’s enough for today. Hit the showers you two! Oh, and from now on I expect you to both be ON TIME.” Jill finally put an end to Ali’s torture.

Ashlyn headed for the locker room and a shower while Ali helped collect the balls, not wanting to be anywhere near the blonde.

“What do you make of that?” Graeme inquired.

“I have no idea, but we can’t afford to allow any animosity to bring this squad down. If it comes down to it, I would cut Harris for the good of the team.” Jill responded, thoughtfully.

“Harris is leagues ahead of Naeher between the posts. Wouldn’t want to shoot ourselves in the foot if we don’t have to.” Graeme reasoned.

Jill watched as Ali continued to pick up balls, muttering to herself, and decompressing from the intense exchange the penalty kick session had evoked.

“Cutting Harris would be a last resort. I have an idea I’d like to try first. Tell Harris to come to my office when she is done with her shower.” Jill directed.
***
Ali opened the door to her hotel room and heard the shower going in the bathroom. She had been excited to see that Tobin was her assigned roommate. She enjoyed the laid back vibe, and Tobin was really fun to hang out with. Ali began unpacking, putting away her things into an empty dresser. By the time she had finished unpacking, the shower had stopped. Ali grinned. She reached the doorknob and called out as she opened the door.

“Honey, I’m home!” Ali joked.

Ali froze at the sight of a half nude lanky blonde with just a towel wrapped around her waist looking up at her from in front of the sink. Ali’s mouth dropped open at the sight of the intricate tattoos covering the woman. Her face flushed. Ashlyn grinned.

“Well what took you so long, Sweetheart?” Ash teased back as she opened her arms for a welcoming hug.

Ali’s eyes narrowed and she shook her head.

“Oh no. HELL NO. NOT HAPPENING!” Ali screamed and shut the door.

Ashlyn shook her head as she heard the door to the room slam shut.

“Was it something I said?” Ash called out to the pissed off defender.
**
Ashlyn looked up at the doorway when a dejected Ali opened the door. It had been a couple of hours since the woman had stormed off, and she was hoping that Ali wasn’t going to try to sleep in the hallway. Perhaps she had been a little much for the first day, but her nerves always got the best of her, and humor was her go-to armor.

“Sorry you are stuck with me, Ali. Jill said she wanted all her trouble makers in one place so she could keep an eye on us. I suppose that’s my fault.” Ashlyn genuinely apologized.

Ali stared holes through her to determine if she was being sincere. She took a step inside the room and just waited for Ashlyn to say something else. When nothing else came, Ali decided to get her to understand.

“I’m not a trouble maker, Ashlyn. I’ve never been a trouble maker, and it bothers me that I was put in this room with you when I was supposed to be rooming with Tobin. Tobin relaxes me, and I feel anything but relaxed right now. I mean, all I want is to curl up on my bed with some good tunes, and read a bit before I get some sleep.” Ali explained.

“Which bed would you like? You can have either one…or we could share this one.” Ashlyn joked as she felt her nerves kick back up under Ali’s scrutiny.

“You just can’t help yourself, can you?!” Ali muttered, as she turned to leave again.

“Please don’t go. If you really can’t stand the sight of me, it’s me who should sleep in the hallway.” Ash offered.

Ali stopped and turned to face Ashlyn. She hopped off the bed and grabbed a pillow and started taking the blanket off as well. Ali sighed loudly.

“Don’t. I’ll take the bed by the window.” Ali informed her quietly.

Ashlyn’s face broke into a wide smile and Ali just shook her head. It reminded her of a puppy who had been forgiven, instantly happy again.

“Welcome to Trouble Makers Paradise, population 2.” Ash tried to lighten the mood.

Ali groaned. It was going to be a long camp. A long, long camp.

Chapter Text

Sunlight streamed in the window and woke Ali. She grunted and rolled away from the offending light, draping an arm over her face to help shield herself. The alarm next to Ashlyn’s bed went off, and Ali wrapped her pillow around her head to dull its insistent wail. When the wailing continued, Ali opened an eye and saw Ashlyn’s bed empty. She groaned and got up, slowly padding over to the alarm. After nearly breaking the alarm in two, she placed a hand on the bed. It was cold. Ashlyn had been gone awhile.

“What the hell?” Ali mumbled to herself.

The brunette went to the window to close the drapes. They didn’t have to be anywhere for another hour, and Ali was a little pissed that her sleep had been needlessly disturbed. As she neared the window, Ali noticed movement in the parking lot below. She rubbed the sleep out of her tired eyes to help them focus. It was Ashlyn, dressed in baggy cargo shorts, a crisp UNC Soccer t-shirt, and a matching UNC blue snapback riding a multi colored penny board, her arms tucked behind her. She looked so relaxed and peaceful. Ali couldn’t help but watch as Ashlyn’s calf muscle rippled as she pushed off of her left foot a couple times to keep up her momentum. Just as she was about to turn away, Ali saw Tobin, HER Tobin, the woman SHE was supposed to be rooming with fly past Ashlyn on a penny board of her own. They laughed and as Tobin circled around to pass by Ashlyn again, they fist bumped each other.

“Traitor!” Ali remarked, and firmly pulled the drapes shut.
**
After a grueling morning session on the field, Ali was shocked to see Ashlyn in the weight room. She never pegged the woman as someone who would willingly put any extra effort towards anything…except maybe sleeping with as many women as possible. Ashlyn had a huge chain wrapped around her shoulder and was doing pull ups, her biceps bulging. Ali’s mouth went dry. She unconsciously licked her lips. Ali finally tore her eyes away from those sexy muscles, and saw Ashlyn watching her reflection in the mirror. Busted. A deep blush invaded her cheeks, and she quickly turned away. Ali started her warm up on the stationary bike. She looked up just in time to see Ashlyn sauntering over.

“Hey Trouble Maker Two, I didn’t see you at breakfast this morning. You ok?” Ashlyn asked.

“I told you, I’m not a trouble maker.” Ali replied curtly.

“So sorry for giving a shit about you, Your Imperial Highness.” Ashlyn stated while bowing, arms out in supplication.

Ashlyn stalked off across the weight room, snatched her sweat towel off the reclined bench, and left a stunned Ali to her workout.

“Ugh! I HATE that woman!” Ali groused to the empty room.
**
Ali looked up from her lunch to see Pinoe sitting down across the table from her.

“Hey Princess, how’s it going?” Pinoe cautiously asked.

Ali’s eyes narrowed with suspicion.

“Did the big Jerky Jerk McJerk Face send you over here?” Ali spewed.

“Whoa! I was just making small talk. No reason to bite my head off. Geez, Ali. What the hell has gotten into you?” Pinoe replied, throwing her hands up in front of her to ward off the poisonous venom her friend was spitting out.

Ali glared across the room to the table occupied by one Ashlyn Harris. She jabbed an accusatory finger in Ashlyn’s direction.

“That...that...that…” Ali kept trying to get the words out.

“Woman?” Pinoe supplied.

“Ashlyn is more like a thirteen year old boy! She is rude, crude, and…and…lewd!” Ali spat out as she stabbed her salmon filet with her fork so hard the plate underneath nearly chipped.

“Which makes her much like a dude…and you like them, so what’s the problem?” Pinoe reasoned.

“Not helping, Pinoe.” Ali replied, burying her face in her hands.

Nobody understood. Everyone thought Ashlyn was funny. Yeah, funny like the plague. Ali shook her head and got up, disgusted. She deposited her mostly uneaten meal in the trash, her dishes into the tub, and fled. Why couldn’t she get the woman out of her head? Why did she keep hearing the disappointment in Ashlyn’s voice as she gave up on her in the weight room? Why did she even care that she had hurt Ashlyn’s feelings?

Ali went for a walk outside to clear her head. She found a beautiful shade tree in the park next to their hotel and sat with her back against its trunk for support. What the hell was happening to her? Ali dropped her face into her hands, and cried.

Chapter Text

Ali steeled her nerves and plunged her card key into the lock. She had spent most evenings for the past week in HAO’s room avoiding Ashlyn, and this evening hadn’t been any different, but it was almost curfew. Ali found the room empty when she walked in, so she grabbed her sleep shirt and went to the bathroom. When she opened the door, a startled Ashlyn looked up from the sink. Ali scowled, not in the mood for another encounter this evening. Ashlyn spit out her mouthwash and held up her hands.

“Whatever you’re missing, I didn’t touch it!” Ashlyn stated emphatically, dropping her towel, turning around and assuming the frisking position against the wall.

Ali’s eyes raked in Ashlyn’s fully naked backside. Her eyes lingered on the blonde's muscular ass and the colorful butterflies that graced the goalkeeper's rib cage before she caught herself, and turned around.

“Sorry, I should have knocked.” Ali mumbled, embarrassed.

“That’s ok, I figured you just were making good on your promise to strip search me.” Ash teased, hoping that Ali wouldn’t be offended again.

“In your dreams.” Ali shot back.

“Maybe. You just never know.” Ash replied huskily, making Ali’s face flush.

Ali fled to her bed and waited for Ashlyn to finish up in the bathroom. She closed her eyes, but all she could think about was how Ashlyn’s deep husky voice had sent fire shooting through her body. This was not happening! She hated the woman, plain and simple. Hated, loathed, couldn’t stand the very sight of her muscular body, gorgeous silky blonde mane, and that damned dimple! No. Whatever this was, it wasn’t lust. It couldn’t be. Ashlyn was a woman for christ’s sake.

Ali waited until she heard Ashlyn’s breathing slow and deepen before she got out of bed to take her turn in the bathroom. She wasn’t taking any chances of a repeat performance. She looked at her reflection in the mirror. She had dark lines forming under her eyes, and her hair was looking a bit listless. This stress was taking its toll on her. Ali needed to figure out how to deal with this…whatever it was…between them, and soon. She couldn’t take much more sleep loss and still be able to give Jill and the team her best out on the field.

**

Ali woke up to the feeling of lips caressing her neck, sharp teeth lightly nipping at her pulse point while two strong hands found purchase on her breasts. Ali moaned and pushed back into the warm body behind her, feeling two soft breasts against her shoulder blades. She reached around and buried her fingers in long silky blonde hair. Ali pulled Ashlyn’s head further down as she squirmed in the blonde’s arms until she was facing her. Ashlyn wasted no time in crashing their lips together, swallowing the deep moan that escaped past Ali’s lips. Ali allowed Ashlyn to deepen the kiss when her tongue demanded entry. Ashlyn’s fingertips ghosted fire on her body as she slowly teased each nipple to an aching hard point. Ali’s hips were betraying her, bucking on their own to find some kind of pressure to ease the painful ache in her core. Ashlyn pulled back and smirked at Ali.

“Is this what you want, Princess?” Ashlyn asked as she slid one finger through Ali’s wet needy folds, “Mmm, so wet for me, aren’t you?”

Ali nodded, unable to form words. Ashlyn teased her entrance, slowly circling the edge with her fingertips.

“You need to say it.” Ashlyn demanded.

“I…I want you inside me, Ash.” Ali whispered, Ashlyn plunging two fingers deep into her core.

Ali bolted up in bed, her chest heaving. She looked over at Ashlyn who was curled up, small snoring noises coming from her slightly parted lips. Ali’s heart raced. She reached down and felt a flood between her legs. No, it couldn’t be.

“But I’m straight.” Ali mumbled to herself in confusion.

Ali slipped out of bed and into the bathroom, locking the door behind her. She started the shower and let the water wash away her shame. By the time Ashlyn woke up, she would be dressed and long gone. Tomorrow was their day off, and Ali had no intentions of seeing the blonde until curfew.

**

Ali had spent the day by herself, walking around town and window shopping. She had eaten a nice meal, found a local coffee shop that had some of the best coffee ever, and she had taken the bus to a movie theater where she had watched some young illegal Russian immigrant woman who cleaned toilets become the owner of Earth, only to go back to cleaning toilets. Of course, she had fallen asleep through most of it. She yawned and looked at the time. Damn. She was going to have to go back to the room. Tears leaked from her eyes at the thought of seeing Ashlyn after that dream. What the hell was wrong with her?!

**

Ali stopped in front of her hotel room door. She could hear music and laughter coming from the other side. Apparently Ashlyn had company, and they weren’t a bit worried that Ali had disappeared. Ali slid in her card key and opened the door. It looked like Marti Gras in her room. Syd, HAO, and Pinoe were all dancing next to the beds with various colored beads and feather boas wrapped around their necks. Ashlyn stood on her bed rapping Watch Me and doing the stanky leg. Of course Ashlyn would be hosting a dance party in their room while she was slowly falling apart.

Ashlyn looked up and saw Ali standing uncertainly in the doorway, her eyes puffy and red from crying. She jumped off the bed and turned off the music to protests from their dancing teammates.

“Hey guys, can you clear out? I think Ali needs some privacy.” Ashlyn asks in a tone that brokers no discussion.

Ali flashes her a small grateful smile and walks past everyone to the bathroom. Once everyone else had left the room, Ashlyn quietly knocks on the bathroom door.

“I don’t know why you are upset, but I know that look anywhere. I don’t know, call me crazy but I think I’m not exactly your most favorite person in the world either, so if there is someone else you’d rather talk to, I could go get them for you…or I could just leave you alone. Just let me know if you want me to be your errand girl.” Ash quietly offered to through the door.

Ash could hear soft sobs, and she leaned her forehead against the door, wishing she could do something to take away the gorgeous brunette’s pain. She hated to see people suffering.

“Alright, I’ll just leave you alone. I’ll grab my stuff and you can have the room for the rest of the night.” Ashlyn stated.

“Ashlyn?” A tired voice called out.

“Yes?” Ash quickly answered.

“Thank you for understanding.” Ali remarked, her forehead leaning against her side of the door, wishing she had the courage to talk to Ashlyn.

“Anytime. Get some rest, Ali.” Ash replied sincerely, before stuffing a few things in her back pack and heading out the door.

Chapter Text

Ashlyn nodded off sitting in her chair at breakfast again, and Pinoe dipped her fingers in her water glass, then flicked them at Ash’s face. Ashlyn’s eyes flew open and she fell out of her chair from the force her body’s startled reaction. Pinoe nearly busted a gut, laughing.

“Dude, what the fuck?!” Ashlyn grumbled, picking herself off the floor and slipping back into her seat.

“You tell me, Stud. You finally eating at the all night Ali buffet?” Pinoe inquired, wagging her eyebrows suggestively.

“What? No. C’mon, I’ll admit she is sexy as hell, but that woman is straight and between you and me, a little emotional.” Ashlyn stated, looking around before continuing, “Probably has Aunt Flo visiting.” she reasoned in a voice barely louder than a whisper.

“Nah, I doubt it. I haven’t had a visit from Aunt Flo in two years, and Ali has less body fat than me. Maybe she is having issues with some Jerky McJerky Faced Jerk Off.” Pinoe tried to recall what Ali had called Ashlyn a couple weeks ago.

“Some guy giving her shit? Tell me who it is, and I’ll send him a message he won’t forget! No asshole messes with my defender!” Ashlyn growled, unaware that she had slipped and only mentioned Ali instead of all the women on the defensive line.

One look at the protective anger that crossed Ashlyn’s face, and Pinoe realized Ashlyn had it bad. She didn’t have the heart to tell her who the ‘asshole’ really was.

“Um, I didn’t get a name. So hey, we are going out dancing this weekend. You game?” Pinoe tried to change the subject.

“Maybe. I’ll see how I feel.” Ashlyn answered, an underlying weary tone present.

Ashlyn noticed Ali enter the room for breakfast. She smiled at Pinoe, and stood.

“Think I’ll go grab a shower and change for practice.” Ash announced.

Pinoe stopped her when she started cleaning up her dirty dishes.

“Leave them, I got you.” Pinoe remarked.

“Thanks gurl.” Ash replied, gratitude evident in her tired eyes.
**
Ashlyn sucked in deep breaths. Nothing worse for a goalkeeper than cardio day. She looked over and found Ali. She and HAO were laughing, and Ashlyn couldn’t take her eyes off the gorgeous brunette’s megawatt smile. It was honestly the most perfect smile she had ever seen. A slap on the back of her head brought her focus back. She looked up to find Abby staring back at her.

“You do know she is straight, right?” Abby asked, a bit concerned.

“What, you going to tell me you never looked at a meal on a menu that was out of your price range?” Ash shot back, a little defensively.

“Just don’t want you to get stuck paying a bill you can’t afford, no matter how good the meal may taste.” Abby replied, sticking with the young goalkeeper’s analogy.

Ashlyn nodded and spared one more glance at Ali. Their eyes met across the field. Ashlyn sent a warm dimple-bearing grin Ali’s way, and Ali ducked her head shyly.

“Bet that filet mignon tastes exquisite when it melts in your mouth.” Ashlyn whispered to herself, a slightly lecherous glint in her eyes.

After practice was over, Ashlyn went to the trainer’s room for a good soak in an ice bath. Her body definitely ached, horribly. After the water had enough ice to sink the titanic, Ashlyn swung her legs over the side and sucked in her breath as the cold hit her legs. Painful at first, the cold quickly numbed her aching legs. Ali entered the training room from the locker room and came around the brick wall separator just in time to see Ashlyn slowly lowering herself into the ice bath. Her back and arm muscles rippled, and Ali stood rooted to the spot, mesmerized. She pictured Ashlyn’s muscles rippling like that as the blonde held her down and pumped deep inside her. Ali’s eyes widened and her right hand covered her mouth as she realized she had just fantasized about Ashlyn touching her in the daylight. Ali ducked back into the locker room, not wanting Ashlyn to see her.

**

Ali listened to the sound of her breathing cut through the silence in the room. She stared at Ashlyn’s empty bed. She could still see the sexy blonde curled up, her face so relaxed as sleep claimed her. Ali blew out a frustrated sigh. She got up and padded over to the empty bed. Ali’s heart raced as she leaned down and smelled Ashlyn’s pillow. It smelled like sunshine, salt water, and a faint hint of woodsy musk. Ali’s mouth watered. She looked at the door expecting it to open. That would be her luck, Ashlyn would come waltzing in and catch her smelling the woman’s pillow.

“What the fuck, Ali?” Ali said in her best Ashlyn voice.

“Uh, nothing to see here, move along, just pillow sniffing. Damn you smell good, Ash.” Ali replied to her pretend Ashlyn.

“I think you want me to rock your world, little girl.” Ali’s pretend Ashlyn mocked her.

Ali giggled at the absurdity of it all. She laid down on Ashlyn’s bed, and let the woman’s essence surround her…permeate her senses. The pillow smelled so good, Ali nuzzled deeply into it. She curled herself up in the space that was occupied by Ashlyn every night until recently, and closed her eyes. Ali knew she shouldn’t fall asleep there. It would be extremely embarrassing if Ashlyn did walk in on her, much less pretty hard to explain…especially since she didn’t even understand why she was behaving this way. She was straight after all.

Ali’s eyes flew open as she got an idea. She rolled out of Ashlyn’s bed and went over to the closet. She rummaged around and found the UNC soccer t-shirt Ashlyn had worn skateboarding the other morning. Ali smelled it cautiously. It was perfect. Ali went to her bed and stuffed the shirt into her pillowcase. She laid down and closed her eyes, a silly grin spread across her face as she melted into her pillow.

**

Ashlyn opened the door to her room as quietly as she could. She heard Ali’s soft even breathing and knew she was asleep. She used the flashlight app on her iphone and gathered the things she would need for the night. Ashlyn had been giving her this privacy since Ali had returned to the room face puffy from crying, and the brunette wasn’t even aware of her sacrifice. Ashlyn stood between the beds and watched Ali sleep for a few seconds before she turned, grabbed a pillow off her bed, and slipped out of the room once more.

Tobin’s stomach growled. She couldn’t wait until morning. She got up, tossed a sweat shirt on over her tank top, slipped a pair of shoes on her bare feet and left her room. Tobin was trying to decide what to eat out of the vending machine when she heard footsteps coming down the hallway. Shit! Her ass was grass if it was Jill doing a random room check. It was way past curfew. Tobin tried to hide in the space between the vending machine and coke machine as the footsteps got louder. Once they passed her, Tobin let out the breath she had been holding and peeked her head out of the vending machine room. Tobin’s face scrunched in confusion as she saw Ashlyn carrying a pillow and back pack toward the staircase. Who was the Stud creeping off to visit? Ooh, this was good.

Tobin waited until Ashlyn had disappeared into the stairwell and she quickly followed. She heard Ashlyn’s footsteps climbing the stairs, so she went up as well. Tobin became more confused as they continued to climb past floor after floor. Finally, she heard a door open. When she didn’t hear it shut all the way, Tobin cautiously rounded the landing. The door to the roof was propped open. What the hell was Ashlyn up to now? Booty call on the roof? With who?!
Tobin carefully opened the door and cringed as it scraped loudly swinging back to rest against the large rock Ashlyn was using as a door stop.

“Might as well come on out, I hear you trying to open the door.” Ashlyn called out.

Tobin walked out, embarrassed.

“Sorry to interrupt…”Tobin stopped as she noticed that Ashlyn was alone.

“What’s up, Tobes?” Ashlyn asked, her voice heavy.

Tobin looked around and saw the pillow, the blanket, and bottles of water stashed next to them.

“What the hell, Ash? You decide you wanted to camp out? Four star service isn’t good enough for you anymore?” Tobin inquired, pointedly.

“It’s Ali. She has been really upset lately, and I just thought she needed her privacy. I want her to have a good camp.” Ashlyn responded as if it was an obvious situation.

“Dude, how long you been roughing it up here?” Tobin asked.

“A little over a week.” Came Ashlyn’s reply.

“No wonder you seem a bit off. No offense.” Tobin remarked, shaking her head.

“Hey, I’m still a lean, mean, ball stopping machine.” Ashlyn growled.

Tobin held up her hands.

“Yeah, whatever you say, Ash. I think you’re crazy, but then, I know it’s not your fault…your brother did drop you on your head as a small child.” Tobin teased the overly tired woman.

“Look, as much as I’d love to sit here and discuss my brain damage with you all night, I’m exhausted and need to get some sleep. Maybe we can take a ride together this weekend?” Ashlyn suggested.

“Sure thing, Dude. Say, if you want, you can sleep on our floor. I’m sure Alex wouldn’t mind.” Tobin offered.

“Thanks, but I can’t put you guys at risk of getting in trouble with Jill if she decides to do a room check. I’m all good in the hood here.” Ashlyn replied.

“Stay safe, and get some sleep.”

**

Ali woke to pounding on her door. She looked over to Ashlyn’s bed and noticed she still hadn’t gotten back. Shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit! If that was Jill they were so busted! Ali rolled out of her bed and quickly closed the distance to her door, opening it as quickly as she could. Ali’s eyebrows knitted together in confusion as she saw a pissed off Tobin standing in front of her. Tobin pushed past Ali and stomped into her room. Ali looked out into the hallway before closing the door.

“What the hell, Tobes, do you know what time it is?” Ali stated, a biting edge to her voice.

“Yeah, I do. Do you know where Ashlyn is?” Tobin shot back, forcefully.

“I’m sorry, it’s not my week to babysit her.” Ali replied.

Tobin wanted to scream at the oblivious woman. Instead she blew out a disgusted breath and tried to calm herself.

“She has been camping out on the roof every night for over a week to give you some sort of emotional privacy. Does any of that make sense to you?” Tobin accused a shocked Ali.

Ali’s arms dropped to her sides and she looked down at the floor in shame.

“I can’t believe she would do that for me, after the way I treated her.” Ali mumbled.

“Yeah, well, Ashlyn is a really nice person who deserves a real shot at making the roster. She would have a much better chance getting a good night’s sleep instead of sleeping on the hard gravelly roof top of this hotel so that you don’t have to be uncomfortable.” Tobin stated pointedly.

Ali felt horrible. Why did she automatically assume the sexy goalkeeper would have been sleeping in someone else’s room…in someone else’s bed?

“So are you going to go make this right, or am I gonna have to go wake up Abby?” Tobin threatened.

Ali’s eyes widened.

“NO! I mean, yes, I’m going to go get her, and no you do NOT have to wake up Abby!” Ali responded, shuddering at the thought of a pissed off Abby Wambach at her door.

“Good! I am going back to my room, but I swear to Jill Almighty that if Ashlyn isn’t sleeping in here in the morning, I am going to drag your ass to see Coach myself.” Tobin promised.

Tobin followed Ali out of the room, and took her to the stairwell.

“Follow this all the way up.” Tobin instructed.

Ali nodded. She trudged up the stairs, shivering. She had left in such a hurry that she was only in her pajama bottoms and sleeping shirt. When she reached the top, she opened the door just wide enough for her body to get through, and shuffled her feet, dreading to see the sacrifice that Ashlyn had been making for her. Once she got outside, she took a couple of steps and felt the hard gravel crunch under her tender feet.

The sound of the door slamming startled Ashlyn awake and she sat up quickly.

“Fucking hell!” Ashlyn exclaimed.

Ali looked at her confused.

“It’s me, Ash.” Ali tried to calm her.

“Did you keep the door propped open with the big rock I had there, or did it just close?” Ashlyn asked, afraid to look.

“Um, it’s pretty much closed.” Ali responded.

“Then we are pretty much fucked.” Ashlyn informed her.

Ali looked from Ashlyn to the door and back.

“It locks automatically. We are going to have to wait for someone to open it from the inside.” Ashlyn explained.

Ali’s eyes widened in horror.

“We could die up here! The sun will come up and fry us alive! They won’t find our bodies for months! The crows will pick our bones clean…” Ali freaked out.

Ashlyn swallowed her laughter, looking up at the distraught brunette.

“What kind of books are you reading at night, woman?” Ashlyn wondered aloud, “I’m fairly certain Tobes told you I was here. If we don’t show up for breakfast, I’m sure she will come looking for us.”

Ali started pacing, but stopped abruptly because the gravel hurt her bare feet. She noticed there weren’t any chairs either.

“God Ash, what are we going to sit on until we’re rescued?” Ali asked miserably.

Ashlyn noticed Ali’s state of unpreparedness and shook her head. The woman had no shoes, a light set of pajamas on, and her hair down. Ashlyn wouldn’t let her suffer because of her dumb idea, so she patted her lap.

“It’s the softest thing I can offer you, I’m afraid.” Ash explained.

Ali made a bee line for Ashlyn and curled up in her lap, laying her head on Ashlyn’s shoulder. Ashlyn felt Ali shiver. The temperature while quite hot during the day dipped down into the 50’s at night, definitely cold enough to cause hypothermia if one wasn’t prepared. Ashlyn leaned Ali forward so she had room to pull off her Nike hoodie.

“Put your arms up for me, Princess.” Ashlyn used the nickname she had heard nearly everyone else call Ali.

To her surprise, Ali complied without complaint. Ash slipped her hoodie over Ali, and Ali closed her eyes, relishing in the heat Ashlyn’s body had left behind in the thick garment. Ash pulled up the hood, and gently tucked Ali’s hair underneath to help insulate her from the chilled night air. Without saying a word, Ashlyn pulled her knees up as far as possible without totally scrunching Ali. She was just able to get her socks off. Ashlyn slipped them onto Ali’s cold bare feet one at a time. She rubbed them briskly to help get the circulation going again, and warm them. When she was finished, she used her toes to pick up her shoes and move them close enough to slip onto her now bare feet, giving them a measure of protection. Finally, Ashlyn wrapped the blanket around them both and held Ali in her arms.

“Better?” Ash asked.

Ali nodded. She couldn’t form words. She had dreamed of being in this position many times, but not quite trapped on a roof in the middle of the night.

“I have a couple bottles of water if you get thirsty. We probably ought to just take small sips…just in case.” Ashlyn hated to add the last bit, but it was important to be prepared for the worst.

Ali was trying hard not to freak out. She had been trapped in an elevator once. This didn’t seem much better.

“Hey, why don’t we use this time to ask each other questions? You know, actually get to know each other. I’m sure you have at least one thing you want to know about me.” Ashlyn suggested to try and keep Ali’s mind off doom and gloom.

“Do you have a girlfriend back home?” Ali blurted out.

Ashlyn chuckled, “Of all the questions in the world, I didn’t think that one would have been your first priority. And no, I’m very single. I found out right after I closed on a condo that my girlfriend was cheating on me while I had been away playing in Germany to pay for said condo. I haven’t really been looking…much.”

Ali grimaced, “Ouch.”

“Yeah, you could say that again.” Ash agreed.

“Ouch.” Ali giggled.

“Smart ass.” Ash stated as she squeezed Ali tighter.

Ali laid her head on Ash’s shoulder. She breathed deeply, taking in the familiar scent of sunshine, salt water, and woodsy musk that was uniquely Ashlyn.

“What’s your family like? Where did you grow up?” Ali asked.

“I grew up poor in a small town along the coast in Florida called, Satellite Beach. Sometimes we didn’t have enough to eat, but we never used food stamps. My parents were too proud for that. They would just make me and my brother a fishing pole out of a tree branch, some line that they found abandoned on the beach, cut up an old plastic straw they found in the street, and fashion a lure out of it. Then they’d tell us if we wanted to eat, we better damned well catch something. Those old plastic straw lures worked like a charm. My dad tried to make it through college, and so did my brother, but neither one of them were able to overcome their self-imposed obstacles. I knew if I was going to get out of there, I needed to play sports. I always played against the guys, so I was just that much better when I had to play other girls. I suppose in a way, soccer saved me.” Ashlyn gave Ali the cliff notes version of her childhood.

“What kind of obstacles?” Ali asks, drawn in by Ashlyn’s story.

“Drugs, alcohol, addiction issues mostly.” Ashlyn replies softly.

Ali snuggles further into Ashlyn’s shoulder, “My brother was an addict too, but he's been sober a long time now. He missed seeing me in the hospital when I almost died.”

Ashlyn’s eyes widen. She leans her cheek against the top of Ali’s head.

“What happened?” Ashlyn asks when Ali doesn’t automatically continue her story.

“I broke my leg in a game my junior year at Penn State…” Ali starts.

“Eww, Penn State.” Ashlyn interrupts, teasingly.

Ali playfully smacks Ash’s shoulder, “Hush, do you want to hear the story or not?”

Ash pretends to button her lips and raises an eyebrow at Ali
.
“Good, now where was I? Oh yes, so I broke my leg and had to have surgery. They cleared me to fly home with the team, but I developed blood clots in my legs that became pulmonary embolisms and gave me mini heart attacks. My boyfriend at the time, Brent, was pre-med. He didn’t let me go to sleep without going to the hospital first. You know, he saved my life.”

“Remind me to buy that man a beer.” Ashlyn stated to ease the somber mood.

Ali smiled. Ashlyn was nothing like she expected.

“You know, you’re not half bad to hang out with when you aren’t acting like a thirteen year old horny boy.” Ali quipped playfully.

“Well, I get really nervous sometimes, and humor has always been my suit of armor. Sorry if I was a bit much for you.” Ash admitted.

Ashlyn felt Ali shivering again as they sat in companionable silence.

“Still cold?” Ash asked.

“No, sorry, I kinda have a problem with being trapped. I was stuck in an elevator once, and now I get really nervous when I can’t get out of a place. I’m just really, really nervous, Ash.” Ali confessed.

“Don’t worry, Princess, one way or another, someone will open that door by tomorrow.” Ashlyn reassures the woman in her arms.

“What do people call you? I’m sure you have a nickname, but I haven’t heard it.” Ali wonders aloud.

Ashlyn blushes.

“Uh, most people call me Ash, or Stud.” Ashlyn supplies, embarrassed.

“Stud, huh. I’m sure there is a story behind that one.” Ali giggles.

“I’m sure there is, and I know you are too young to hear it!” Ash teases.

Ali hears Ashlyn yawn.

“Hey, why don’t we try to get some sleep. It’s going to be hard enough to get through practice as it is.” Ali suggests.

“Sounds fabulous, darling.” Ashlyn replies in an over the top snooty rich person accent.

They both giggle. Ashlyn finally lets her eye lids close and sleep claim her, her mouth curled up in a contented smile.

**

“ASH! ASH! ASHLYN PLEASE HELP ME!!!” Ali’s screams wake an exhausted Ashlyn.

Ashlyn’s eyes fly open and she immediately notices her lap is empty.

“ASHLYN I’M SLIPPING! OH GOD, I’M GOING TO DIE!!!” Ali cries out.

Ashlyn frantically looks around until she spots the top of an old ladder built into the side of the building. She leaps to her feet and sprints to it. Ashlyn’s heart nearly stops when she looks down and sees Ali half way down the 14 story building, holding onto the ladder with a death grip, swaying as if she is experiencing vertigo.

“Look at me Ali! I’m right here. I’m not going to let anything happen to you! Just hold on to the ladder, I’m on my way!” Ashlyn says as she quickly throws her leg over the side of the building and her foot finds a rung.
Ashlyn starts climbing down the ladder as quickly as she can safely go.

“I’m so scared, Ash. Please hurry! I don’t want to die!” Ali cries.

Ash looks down at her and can see her swaying is worse.

“Ali, I need you to hold yourself as close to the rungs as possible. I’m going to slide down to you.” Ashlyn explains quickly.

She swallows down her own fear and grips the railing of the ladder, taking one foot off a rung at a time. Once her feet are on the railing, she slides down, ignoring the horrible friction burns and ripping flesh on each of her palms. Just as she reaches Ali, Ashlyn tightens her grip on the rails, increasing the agony of her palms as the friction increases, bringing her to a painful stop. Ashlyn places her feet on the outside of Ali’s feet and she leans into Ali’s back so she can feel her.

“Shhh, I’m right here. I’ve got you. I’m not going to let anything happen to you.” Ashlyn coos in Ali’s ear.

“I’m so stupid. I just couldn’t take being trapped anymore.” Ali berates herself.

“Hey, I do stupid stuff all the time. It usually starts with a red solo cup full of whiskey and a ‘watch this y’all…’ Let’s just get you down.” Ashlyn tries to calm Ali.

Ali’s hands are white from lack of circulation due to her death grip. Ashlyn places her bleeding hands on top of Ali’s, and starts massaging them.

“You can do this. We are going to do it together. I’ll be right behind you.” Ashlyn encourages Ali, “Do you trust me?”

Ali nods.

“Good. Close your eyes and listen to my voice. All you have to do is follow my instructions and we will be on the ground in no time.” Ash promises.

Ali closes her eyes. She feels the comforting weight of Ashlyn’s body pressing against her.

“Ok, now move your right foot down to the next rung. That’s it. Move your left foot to join it...that’s awesome. You are doing so well, babe.” Ash compliments her.

“Now the hard part. Let go with your right hand, and move it down a rung. You can feel me behind you, so you know I’m not going to let you fall.” Ashlyn reminds her.

Ali sucks in a deep breath, tears stream down her face, but she lets go and moves her hand down, followed by her other hand. They continue to slowly descend as Ashlyn instructs Ali. It takes them ten minutes to get down to the end of the ladder. Unfortunately, Ashlyn notices they are still three stories up.

“Ok, now we have to do one more little thing.”

“What’s that?” Ali asks in a tiny terror filled voice.

“We have to jump.” Ashlyn cringes as she hears the words tumble from her lips.

“Are you fucking insane?!” Ali cries, gripping the ladder tighter.

“Listen to me Ali, I am going to drop first, and then I’m going to catch you. I brought you this far, please, please, just trust me one last time. I wish there were an easier way, but this is it. I promise once you are on the ground, I’ll let you cry and scream, and hit things all you want. I won’t say a word about it, but now, I’m going to get you down. Deal?” Ashlyn hates that she has to leave Ali alone on the ladder for this to work.

Ali’s sobs hitch. She is exhausted.

“OK, just do it quick before I change my mind.” Ali finally agrees.

Ashlyn kisses her cheek, “You are amazing, Ali.”

With that, Ashlyn steps off the ladder and allows herself to slip to the very last of the railing before dropping. When she lands, Ashlyn rolls with the force and regains her feet quickly, ignoring the pain in her right ankle. She positions herself underneath Ali.

“OK, Princess, your turn. I’m right here, let go and I’ll catch you.” Ashlyn promises.

Ali keeps her eyes shut tight. She imagines herself slipping into a nice warm bath, and releases the ladder. She hears a high pitched scream somewhere in the distance.

Ashlyn takes the full weight of Ali’s falling body and collapses, making certain to keep her body between Ali and the pavement. They land in a heap and lay there for a few seconds.

“Uh, Ali. Ali…Ali! I think your elbow dislocated my breadbox when you sunk my battleship. I’m also fairly certain that my spleen is where my kidneys should be and that damned butterfly got loose in my tummy again, but what do I know, I’m not a doctor.” Ashlyn tries to get Ali to remove her pointy elbow from her midsection.

Ali rolls over and throws her arms around Ashlyn’s neck in a death grip, her face buried into Ash’s chest.

“Oh my god, you saved my life, Ash! Are you alright? Please be alright! You have to be alright. I couldn't live with myself if you aren't alright.” Ali babbles into Ashlyn’s chest, “Do you need an ambulance?!”

“Oh hell no! I for one do NOT want to explain that to Coach…do you? Let’s just get back to our room.” Ashlyn suggests.

Ali’s eyes widen, “Um, do you have a key to the room?”

“Yes, it’s up there next to my water bottles.” Ashlyn remarks, “Where’s yours?”

“It’s still in the room on the nightstand next to my bed.” Ali replies.

Ali and Ashlyn look at each other, and can’t stop the laughter from bubbling out.

“Ok, help me to the front desk. I’m sure they won’t mind giving us another one.” Ashlyn says as Ali helps her to her feet.

"Whatever you say, Stud. Your plans seem to work out pretty well." Ali eagerly compliments her.

"Oh, so all I had to do was jump off a building and catch you to get you to listen to me? Why didn't you say that before? We could have done this last week." Ashlyn teased as Ali helped her hobble on a sore ankle to the front desk.

Chapter Text

Ali opens the door to their room with the new card key the front desk gave them, and ushers a gimpy Ashlyn inside. She immediately goes into the bathroom and wets a wash cloth, lathering it up with soap.

“Sit down on your bed, and I’ll be right there.” Ali directs the walking wounded goalkeeper in the other room.

“I forget, is my bed the one nearest the door? I haven’t seen it in so long I’ve forgotten.” Ash teases.

Ali’s eyes drop and glass over in unshed tears of shame and gratitude.

“I’m so, so sorry about that, Ash.” Ali apologizes, walking back into the room.

Ashlyn looks up and catches the regret housed in Ali’s face. She reaches for the brunette, and pulls her over next to her bed.

“Hey, I didn’t mean it like that. It was just a stupid joke, okay.” Ashlyn remarks, trying to comfort the gorgeous woman.

Ali nods, and takes one of Ashlyn’s hands. She turns it over and gasps at the condition of Ashlyn’s palm. The skin has been rubbed off in a large swath across the entire palm. Ali can see Ashlyn’s fingers twitching as her nerves misfire excitedly from all the pain signals. Guilt mixed with admiration fills her, and Ali brings the palm to her lips and gently kisses the wound. She looks up at Ashlyn.

“How did you even know how to slide on that railing like that?” Ali inquires as she gently presses the cloth to Ashlyn’s palm.

Ashlyn hisses at the pain the pressure causes, but she doesn’t flinch or try to pull away from Ali’s grip.

“I uh, saw it on tv once when I was little.” Ashlyn confesses as she brings her other hand up to rub the back of her neck.

Ali’s eyes go wide. She playfully smacks Ashlyn’s shoulder.

“You actually thought it would be a good idea to use a move you saw on a tv show to rescue me while we were seven or eight stories up?!” Ali exclaims in disbelief.

“Hey, I never claimed to be smart. According to Tobes I have brain damage.” Ashlyn responds with an embarrassed smirk.

“I can’t believe we’re not dead.” Ali mumbles as she goes back to work on Ashlyn’s hands.

“Yeah, apparently that move is much easier to pull off if you are actually wearing thick gloves and that whole firefighter outfit.” Ashlyn adds nonchalantly.

“So what are you going to tell coach if she asks how you got hurt?” Ali asks.

“Rough sex with an over eager right back.” Ashlyn replies, a devilish glint in her eyes.

“Ashlyn Harris, you will not!” Ali squeals as she pushes Ashlyn down on the bed.

Ashlyn laughs at the indignant look on Ali's face.

“Good thing you don’t know my middle name is Michelle then, because hearing my full name might be too intimidating for me to ignore.” Ashlyn responds in mock reflection, holding her chin and a finger tapping her cheek for good measure, purposefully supplying Ali with the ammunition she needs.

Ali grins down at Ashlyn. She tucks an uncooperative strand of hair behind her ear.

“Ashlyn Michelle Harris, YOU are trouble with a capitol T.” Ali teases as she tries out Ashlyn’s full name.

“Well duh, that’s why I’m in the trouble maker’s room. Besides, I’m not the one who hangs off the side of tall buildings in the middle of the night.” Ash teases back, “Now go get me some ice for my ankle, woman.”

Ali leans down and places a soft kiss on Ashlyn’s lips, “Anything for you, Stud.”

The brunette leaves a stunned Ashlyn to retrieve a bucket of ice in the vending room.

**

Pinoe looks up as Ashlyn and Ali walk into the locker room together. Ali places a hand on Ashlyn’s arm and laughs at something the goalkeeper says to her. When Pinoe gets the blonde’s attention she makes a motion with her arms and hip thrusts and points at Ali while mouthing, “I knew it.” Ashlyn scowls and shakes her head, mouthing the word, “No.” Pinoe smirks and mouths back, “Liar.” Ashlyn waves off the blonde midfielder.

Ashlyn’s hand bandages are covered in pre-wrap, and she sits down to start taping them up for practice. Ali grabs the tape from her and tears off a strip.

“Uh Ali, what do you think you’re doing?” Ashlyn asks, very aware that Pinoe is not the only one staring at them.

“I’m helping, obviously.” Ali replied, taking Ashlyn’s left hand and placing the strip around her wrist.

Ashlyn gently pries the tape out of Ali’s grasp and clears her throat.

“You do realize we have an audience, right?” Ashlyn very quietly points out.

Ali freezes. Oh shit. They are in the locker room, with practically the whole team. She quickly retreats to her own locker and reaches inside to grab her shin guards. Ali ignores the looks she is getting from her teammates as she shoves the guards in place, and slips on her cleats. She finishes up and flees to the field without making eye contact with anyone.

“Well that was weird.” HAO blurted out.

All eyes turned to Ashlyn.

“What?! She was being helpful.” Ashlyn shrugged it off, and decided that she too should finish getting ready on the field.

**

Half way through practice, Jill divides the team into two and they scrimmage each other. Ashlyn settles between the goal posts, still a little gimpy on her right ankle. She grins as she notices Ali setting up on her defensive line. Before she can say anything, Ali turns to face her, wagging her forefinger with a sassy smirk on her face. Ashlyn laughs, and shrugs at the defender innocently. Ali turns back to get ready for the start of play.

“Shitballs I’m in trouble, she’s reading my mind now.” Ashlyn mutters to herself.

Several minutes into play, Carli Loyd takes a pass from Pinoe and blasts a shot on goal. Ashlyn dives and catches the ball, her face grimacing in pain. She gets to her feet and brings the ball up to her forehead to hide the glaze of tears in her eyes. Ashlyn looks down field as Ali jogs over and quickly rubs Ashlyn’s right arm before heading down field.

Jill smiles as she sees the exchange from the sidelines, “Well, congratulations Harris, guess I won’t have to cut you after all.”

By the end of practice, Ashlyn can barely keep up her ruse. Her hands are screaming bloody murder, and her ankle is threatening a revolt if she doesn’t give it a rest soon. Somehow, blocking ten shots on goal and attempting to block another three while your hands are raw and standing on a gimpy ankle isn’t conducive to actually feeling good. Ali runs up to check on her.

“Need some help, Stud?” Ali offers, concern evident in her voice.

“Not yet, can’t let coach see me showing weakness.” Ash replies, with a stony expression plastered to her face.

“Gotcha. I’ll go get an ice bath started in the training room then.” Ali suggests.

Ashlyn smiles gratefully, “Now that sounds like a frozen slice of heaven. Thanks!”

Abby makes her way over to Ashlyn and holds her hand up for a high five. Ashlyn groans under her breath, and grimaces at the enthusiastic contact from the power forward. Abby notices.

“Something wrong with your hand, Ash?” Abby inquires with a knowing grin.

“Nothing, Captain. I think you just don’t know your own strength.” Ashlyn tries to laugh it off.

“Don’t be such a big baby, that was a little love tap.” Abby scoffs.

“Hercules, Hercules, Hercules.” Ashlyn chants.

Abby shakes her head and saunters off to the locker room.

**

After Ashlyn strips down to her sports bra and under armor compression shorts, she limps into the training room. Ali looks up and sees Ashlyn struggling a bit on her ankle.

“Everybody left already.” Ali answers Ash’s silent question.

“Whew, good. If I have to tell one more person that I fell off my skateboard in the parking lot last night trying to show off for you, my reputation as a kickass skater will be in ruins.” Ashlyn exclaims, relaxing.

“Aww, my hero. Protecting my assets.” Ali teases.

“Protecting both our assets, Princess. If anyone ever found out what really happened, they’d lock us up with Nurse Ratched ‘cause they’d know how cuckoo for coco puffs we are!” Ashlyn teased back.

Ali meets Ashlyn half way to the tub and wraps an arm around her waist to help the goalkeeper take some weight off her injured right ankle. She steps into the ice bath first, and then reaches out to help steady Ashlyn as the blonde lifts her legs over the side. Ashlyn slowly sinks down into the icy water and blows out her breath. Ali sits down with her back on the opposite side of the tub, facing Ashlyn. She reaches under the water and grabs Ashlyn’s right foot.

“Hey! Whatcha doin?!” A startled Ashlyn blurts out.

“Oh relax, Stud, I’m just going to massage your boo boo, not take a ride on your foot canoe.” Ali jokes, sending Ashlyn a devious grin as she begins to press her nimble fingers into the sole of Ashlyn’s foot.

“All aboard!” Ash chuckles.

Ali splashes a wall of ice water across the small tub and into Ashlyn’s face.

“What?! You’re the one who brought it up!” Ashlyn pointed out, cold water dripping off her chin.

Ali’s body started shivering. She looked over to Ashlyn.

“How about I take you back to the room and give you a proper massage?” Ali suggested.

Ashlyn grinned, “You a psychic, woman, you just keep reading my mind!”

**

Pinoe stops in front of the door to Ashlyn and Ali’s room, her hand an inch from knocking when she hears moaning coming from the other side.

“Oooh yeah, right there. Don’t stop. Damn that’s good, Ali. Where did you learn how to do that?” Ashlyn’s deep voice moaned.

Pinoe plastered her ear to the door, a goofy grin on her face.

“My mom taught me.” Ali replied.

Pinoe recoiled in disbelief. Seriously? Her mom?! Eww! Then she put her ear back to the door.

“Mmm, fuck that feels amazing, Ali. Don’t worry, I’ll repay the favor when you’re finished.” Ashlyn promised.

Pinoe swallowed a snicker.

“What are up to, Pin Head?” Tobin asked.

Pinoe frantically waved her friend over.

“C’mere. Shh…they are totally fucking. I knew it! Ash flips ‘em like pancakes!” Pinoe whispered.

Tobin looked at her like she had three heads.

“Really, Ali is doing Ash right now.” Pinoe giggled.

Tobin shoved Pinoe out of the doorway and put her ear up to the door.

“Damn you have magic fingers!” Ashlyn moaned.

Tobin stood up and backed away from the door. A blush crept into her cheeks. She had heard enough. She grabbed Pinoe by the arm and started dragging her away from the room.

“Hey, I wanna listen.” Pinoe complained.

“Stop being a creeper, dude!” Tobin replied.

When they got to Tobin’s room she shoved a protesting Pinoe through the door to her room that she had left propped open on her way out to the vending machines. She shut the door behind them, figuring that the two deserved their privacy.

Chapter Text

“Oh c’mon, tell meeeeeeee!” Ash begs Ali for the hundredth time that evening.

Ali was having way too much fun at Ash’s expense to let her off the hook just yet.

“No. I don’t think we are at that level yet.” Ali replied, a mischievous grin on her face.

Ali looked up from applying her make-up to catch Ashlyn sitting on the edge of the tub pouting with her arms crossed in front of her chest and bottom lip jutting out.

“I jumped off a fourteen story building for you, what do you mean you ‘don’t think we are at that level yet’? What’s a girl gotta do to get your middle name Miss Krieger, win a Nobel Peace Prize?!” Ashlyn whined.

“Nope, just win a World Cup.” Ali corrected as she finished up her mascara.

“Win the World Cup for your middle name? Damn, you are hard assed, can’t imagine what it would take a person to get an actual date from you then.” Ashlyn groused.

“Win a Nobel Peace Prize, of course.” Ali replied, winking at Ashlyn.

Ashlyn groaned and her face fell into her hands. Ali turned and patted the top of Ashlyn’s head as she passed the blonde on her way out of the bathroom, dropping her bathrobe at the door. Ashlyn spread her fingers wide enough to watch Ali’s hips sway as she walked away wearing nothing but a pair of black sheer pantyhose and a matching black lacy bra.

“Stop looking at my ass.” Ali remarked, never turning around.

“I think I earned ass staring privileges!” Ashlyn argued back.

Ali smiled. Flirting with Ashlyn came so naturally. She still couldn’t believe she had kissed the blonde, but that had happened so fast she didn’t have time to talk herself out of it, plus the shocked look it put on Ashlyn’s face was priceless. What bothered Ali was how much she wanted to keep kissing those soft lips, how badly she wanted to kiss Ashlyn deeply, to taste the other woman’s mouth, and let their tongues slowly dance together. Ali shook the vision from her head. Flirting was safe, kissing was dangerous. Very. Very. Dangerous. She slipped into a red dress that she had set out on her bed earlier. It hung onto her curves in the best way possible, with slits and cut-outs that revealed just enough flesh to let imaginations wander.

“Well if you are going to stare at my ass, then at least make yourself useful and zip me up.” Ali relented.

Ashlyn quickly got to her feet, grimacing slightly at the pain from her not quite healed sprained ankle, and walked into the other room. Her mouth went dry as she raked in Ali from the gorgeous brunette’s shapely calves up to the way a beautiful red dress hugged her ass, her muscular back peeking out from where the material split, waiting for her to zip it together. Ali’s glistening hair was down and she had it pulled over her right shoulder.

Ali looked over her shoulder and smirked, “Well, are you going to zip me or is this a job more suited for Pinoe?!”

That was all the prompt Ashlyn needed to put a little urgency into her frozen limbs, and she closed the distance between them. Ashlyn’s hands trembled slightly as she slowly brought the zipper up from the small of Ali’s back to her neck. Ali’s body responded to Ashlyn’s finger ghosting up her spine, her eyes closing, muscles shivering, and her flesh breaking out in goosebumps. Ashlyn smiled.

“You are absolutely stunning.” Ashlyn complimented Ali, her deep voice husky with raw desire.

Crimson invaded Ali’s cheeks at the adoration. The phone in the room rang, and Ali answered it. While she talked, Ashlyn slipped into a pair of grey skinny slacks, a white button down shirt with a baby blue skinny tie, a grey vest with a matching folded baby blue handkerchief peeking out, and a pair of Doc Martins. She rolled up her sleeves to mid forearm, and completed the look with a gold Michele watch.

“Wow. You look…wow.” Ali’s words failed her as her eyes devoured Ashlyn.

Ashlyn grinned, “Thank you, Princess.”

Ashlyn tucked her card key into her wallet, and then shoved her wallet into her pants. She opened the door to the room and smiled back at Ali who was just closing her little black clutch purse.
“Ready?” Ashlyn asked, offering Ali her arm.

Ali gently slipped her hand just above the crook in Ashlyn’s elbow and allowed the blonde to escort her to the lobby. As they were approaching, Pinoe caught sight of them arm in arm, and poked Whitney.

“Told you!” Pinoe exclaimed in a sing-song tone.

“That doesn’t mean they are ‘doing it’ Pin Head.” Whitney replied, poking Pinoe back.

“Oh, they are totally ‘doing it.’ You should have heard the moans coming from that room!” Pinoe supplied.

“What?! How do you know that?” Whitney asked in disbelief.

Pinoe grinned and leaned into Whitney.

“I was about to knock on their door when I heard the Stud moaning about ‘Ali don’t stop…oooh yeah, right there.’ So I…ya know.” Pinoe whispered, conspiratorily.

“Well stop telling people about it! Obviously, they will share when they are ready, and YOU need to quit listening at their door, Chester the Molester…weirdo.” Whitney admonished just as Ashlyn and Ali arrived at the group.

The steady rain that had been falling all day long finally stopped just as three taxi vans pulled up to pick up the teammates. As they were getting into taxi vans, Syd, Ashlyn, Ali, Pinoe, and Tobin all piled in together. Once they pulled away from the curb, Ashlyn started up on Ali again.

“So seriously, what is your middle name, Princess?” Ashlyn asked.

Before anybody could reply, Ali quickly answered, “I already told you, we aren’t at that level yet.”

Pinoe looked at Ali confused.

“Aaaaaalllliiiiiiiiii….c’mon! I told you mine.” Ashlyn reminded the brunette.

“I can’t help it if you’re easy.” Ali replied, smartly.

Pinoe snickered. Tobin elbowed her.

“Hey Ash, what was that movie called where everyone ran around in the woods holding cameras, thinking some witch was after them?” Pinoe tried to supply Ashlyn with a big hint.

Ali glared hard at Pinoe.

“I’m a little busy at the moment, Pinoe. We can play movie trivia later.” Ashlyn groused, “Ali pleeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaase?!”

“Oh yes, begging becomes you. Maybe you should get down on your knees.” Ali suggested.

“Would it help my chances?” Ashlyn perked up.

“Probably not.” Ali teased as Ashlyn's face fell.

“C’mon dude, what’s the name of that movie?” Pinoe tried again.

“Why you keep asking me about a movie that’s older than dirt? Google it if you can’t remember the name.” Ashlyn pouted.

“Oh my god, Brain Damage. It’s Blaire, you know, Blaire as in the Blair Witch Project. Pinoe practically handed you the answer. There, now can you stop whining?!” Tobin blurted out.

“Tobes!” Ali squealed as she jokingly punched Tobin’s shoulder, “Take away all my fun.”

“What can I say, I hate to see child abuse.” Tobin replied.

Everyone erupted into laughter as the taxi pulled up in front of the club. Pinoe jumped out of the van, splashing water.

“Dude, it’s like Noah’s Ark out here!” she commented on the parking lot under two inches of water.
Tobin and Syd followed, Syd squealing when the water soaked her pantyhose through her strappy heels. Ashlyn got out and turned back toward the door where Ali was set to exit. She flashed her a dimpled grin.

“May I be of assistance, Princess?” Ashlyn asked as she reached in and swooped Ali out of the taxi, holding her close to her chest.

Ali wrapped her arms around Ashlyn’s neck as Ashlyn carried her like a bride across the flooded parking lot to the staircase leading up to the club. Syd smacked Tobin and Pinoe on the back of their heads.

“Neither one of you coulda helped a girl out? You should take lessons from the Stud.” Syd playfully admonished as they trekked through the water.

Ali missed the exchange between her three friends, her eyes never leaving Ashlyn. She studied the blonde’s strong jaw line and nuzzled into the goalkeeper’s neck, fighting the urge to bite and run her tongue along it up to those soft lips. Ashlyn gently set Ali down on the landing in front of the door.

“Your strength is impressive, Stud.” Ali gushed.

Ashlyn’s cheeks flushed at the compliment, “Thank you.”

Ashlyn held the door open for Ali and then followed her in, directing her to a table with a gentle hand in the small of her back. The other women were joining them when a waitress came over to take their drink orders.

“I’ll have your best cabernet, please.” Ali requested.

“A double old fashioned.” Ashlyn added.

Ali scooted in closer to Ashlyn as the others joined them. It wasn’t long until everyone had a drink in their hands, and laughter echoed around the table. Ashlyn kept feeling Ali’s hand touch her thigh as she leaned forward during a nose crinkling laugh. Ali’s hand would squeeze gently. Ashlyn licked her lips, Ali was adorable…gorgeous…sexy…and straight. Ashlyn looked up to see a half drunk Abby send her a look. She shrugged her shoulders in reply.

**

Most of the team had already headed back to the hotel. Ashlyn had stayed behind with Ali when she protested that she wasn’t ready for the night to end. Ashlyn watched intently as Ali started dancing in front of her at the table. Ali’s hips were hypnotic, and the way she moved made Ashlyn deeply aware of her undoubted sexual prowess. Ali turned around and started grinding down on Ashlyn’s lap, Ashlyn letting her hands fall to Ali’s waist, using every bit of discipline she had not to run her hands up Ali’s body and over her breasts.

“How about you give me a lap dance, honey. I’ve got much more to offer a woman like you.” A drunk man slurred at Ali as he grabbed her hand and rubbed it on his crotch.

Ashlyn placed Ali on her feet as she jumped up. She stepped between Ali and the drunkard, freeing Ali’s hand from his grip.

“You need to learn some manners!” Ashlyn yelled at the man.

“You think you’re big enough to teach them to me, dyke?!” the man challenged.

Ashlyn’s fist was connecting with his face before she thought about it, a reaction from her college days when she would have to deal with drunk homophobic assholes in North Carolina. Ashlyn heard Ali scream just before pain exploded around her eye, the bottle of beer he had in his hand smashing across her face. Ashlyn pushed the man in the chest, sending him into a group of guys, spilling their drinks. Before she could attack again, a melee had ensued. Ali grabbed Ashlyn’s hand and started to pull her away. Ashlyn ducked as a chair came sailing in her direction.

“Shit is getting real up in here!” Ashlyn yelled.

Ashlyn tried to get Ali to safety, but her path to the front door was blocked by the fist fight that had spilled out around the dance floor. She glanced around, and quickly made a decision where the safest place would be, leading Ali to back of the room. Ashlyn directed Ali behind the bar and the two ducked down behind it. Ashlyn noticed the bartender had already fled. Ashlyn wrapped Ali up protectively putting herself between Ali and the space behind the bar with Ali's back up against the wall as beer bottles and other missiles started flying.

“Never a dull moment around you, is it, Princess?” Ashlyn quipped at the scared woman.

Ali jumped at the sound of glass breaking. She buried her head in Ashlyn’s chest, and just prayed the cops would show up soon. Oh god, the cops!

“We have to go before the cops show up and start arresting people, Ash!” Ali reminded her.

Ashlyn reached up above their heads and pulled down a bottle. Eww, gin. Ashlyn casually tossed the bottle away, and reached up again. This time she brought down a bottle of Kraken spiced dark rum. Better, but not what she wanted. Again the bottle was tossed.

“What are you doing?!” Ali questioned, her eyes wide at the absurdity of their situation.

Ashlyn’s hand felt around until it landed on a square bottle.

“I’m still thirsty.” Ashlyn replied like it was the most natural thing to do in the middle of an all-out bar brawl.

Ashlyn pulled down a bottle of scotch. She made a bitter face complete with tongue sticking out before she tossed it aside.

“Where is the good stuff?!” Ashlyn remarked.

Ali shook her head at Ashlyn. “It’s called ‘top shelf’ for a reason. Can we please just figure out a way to get outside now?”

Ashlyn reached up as far as she could for one last time and pulled down a bottle of Woodford Reserve Bourbon Whiskey. Her face lit up like she had won the lottery. Ashlyn reached into her pocket and placed a wad of $20s on the spot where the missing bottle had been. She tucked the bottle into her shirt and crawled on all fours to the edge of the bar. She peeked out. When there was a clear path to the back hall, she grabbed Ali’s hand and made a dash for the back door. They crashed through the door and didn’t stop running until they were a couple blocks away, sirens blaring in the distance, giggling like school girls.

Ashlyn noticed the police cars racing down the street. She also saw the water pooled next to the curb. Just as the lead car was nearly on them, Ashlyn jumped in front of Ali, taking the full blast of puddle spray. Ali ducked behind Ashlyn as police car after police car drenched her human umbrella as they raced past. When they left, Ali stepped from behind Ashlyn, who held her dripping arms out to her side. Ali laughed at Ashlyn, who looked like a muddy drowned rat, her hair plastered to her head, water and grit dripping from her face, her suit wet and grimy.

“Assuming I live through this week, do you think we can consider this winning the Nobel Peace Prize?” Ashlyn deadpanned.

Ali leaned up and kissed Ashlyn’s cheek, “Maybe. Why don’t we get you back to our room where I can get you cleaned up and tend to that shiner you got going on there, Stud.”

"Go ahead, Princess, I'll be right behind you," Ashlyn remarked softly.

Chapter Text

Ali sat Ashlyn down on the edge of the tub as she started the water, fiddling with the control until she got the temperature just right for the blonde. She handed the blonde a baggie full of ice wrapped in a washcloth for her eye. The brunette plugged the tub so it would fill, and poured a bit of her own Epsom salts into the water.

 

“That smells good, what’s in it?” Ashlyn asked.

 

Ali smiled, “It’s a blend of essential oils I use to help with pain and inflammation, and it also relaxes me. It’s got French lavender, rosemary, and yarrow mixed in with Epsom salt.”

 

“Nice. Didn’t know you were such a tree hugger, Princess.” Ashlyn teased.

 

Ashlyn started unbuttoning her vest, when Ali’s hands stilled hers.

 

“Let me take care of you. It’s the least I can do for all you’ve done for me.” Ali petitioned quietly as she kneeled in front of the blonde.

 

Ashlyn dropped her hands and allowed Ali to pick up where she had left off. Ashlyn watched Ali’s nimble fingers work on her buttons. She leaned into Ali as the brunette slipped the vest off her shoulders and gently tossed the garment onto the counter next to the sink. Ali slowly untied the baby blue skinny tie and slipped it from around Ashlyn’s neck before tossing it across her own shoulder. Ali’s hands started shaking just a bit as she purposefully unbuttoned Ashlyn’s soaked shirt, and peeled it off the blonde. She tossed the tie and shirt to join Ashlyn’s vest on the counter. Ali held her breath as she worked the clasps of Ashlyn’s bra, and watched as Ashlyn’s flesh erupted in goosebumps as her hands guided the straps off the blonde’s muscular arms. Ashlyn was well aware of how erect her aching nipples were, and blushed as Ali’s eyes paused, hungrily taking in the sight.

 

Ali’s hands slowed even further as she worked Ashlyn’s belt free from its buckle. She purposefully unbuttoned the blonde’s slacks, and lowered the zipper. Ashlyn stood to allow Ali the leverage she would need to complete the task. Their eyes met as Ali’s hands slipped inside the waistband of Ashlyn’s ethika boxers, and reverently slipped both garments down as if she were unwrapping a treasure. Ashlyn stepped out them, never breaking eye contact. She finally stepped into the tub, and eased herself down into the healing waters, a contented sigh escaping her lips.

 

Ali picked up Ashlyn’s remaining clothes and put them on the growing pile. She unwrapped a cup and went back to the tub. Ali placed a folded towel down for her knees, and sank onto it. She gently pulled Ashlyn’s head back and used the cup to pour water over the blonde’s long locks. Ashlyn’s eyes closed as Ali worked shampoo into her dirty hair, and massaged her scalp. Once Ali had worked the shampoo completely through Ashlyn’s hair, she used the cup to rinse it out, taking care not to get any shampoo in Ashlyn’s eyes.

 

Ashlyn’s eyes fluttered open and a moan escaped her lips as she felt Ali’s soapy hands start kneading the tension from her neck and shoulders.

 

“Oh my god, Princess, I’ll give you a week to stop that.” Ashlyn purred.

 

“It might take a week to get all these knots out.” Ali replied as she worked her hands lower, sliding them down over Ashlyn’s shoulder blades, and raking her fingers back up, eliciting more moans from the blonde.

 

Ali took fifteen minutes to thoroughly massage Ashlyn’s neck, arms, and upper back before she moved on to her next task. She wetted a washcloth and poured some of Ashlyn’s body wash on it. She worked up a lather before rubbing the cloth over Ashlyn’s neck, shoulders, and down to her hands. Ali picked up Ashlyn’s right hand and saw the bruises that were forming on the blonde’s knuckles.

 

“Nobody has ever fought for me like that, Ashlyn. Not even Brent. I don’t think I have words to describe how it makes me feel to see the care you show me.” Ali admitted as she brought Ashlyn’s hand up to her lips and poured her feelings into the light kiss she placed on each knuckle.

 

“You are a gift that should be cherished, Alex.” Ashlyn responded simply.

 

Ali leaned down and whispered in Ashlyn’s ear, “You just won the Nobel Peace Prize, Ash, now what do you intend to do with it?”

 

Ashlyn gently placed her hands on either side of Ali’s face and slowly leaned up until their lips were almost joined. She heard Ali’s breathing hitch in anticipation. Ali’s heart fluttered at the first gentle contact with Ashlyn’s soft lips. She felt a flood of emotion as the blonde deepened the kiss, and wrapped her arms around Ashlyn’s neck. Ali felt electricity shoot through her veins as she allowed Ashlyn’s tongue to slip inside her mouth. Their tongues danced slowly with each other, swirling, tasting each other in a breath stealing kiss.

 

A loud banging on the door caused them to jump, Ali’s hand accidentally hitting Ashlyn’s bruised cheek.

 

“Oh babe I’m so sorry!” Ali apologized to a cursing Ashlyn.

 

The banging continued and then stopped abruptly.

 

“Room check!” Jill’s irritated voice bellowed.

Chapter Text

Ashlyn’s eyes widened, "Shit Alex, you still have your dress on!"

Ali got up and sprinted to the closet. She grabbed the first sweatshirt she found and quickly pulled it over her head.

" Last chance! Anybody in the room? Room check!" Jill yelled through the door.

Jill was just about to walk away when the door opened a smidge, and Ali's face peeked from behind the door.

" Sorry coach, I was asleep. " Ali mumbled, rubbing her eyes for dramatic effect.

Jill's eyes narrowed. Something was off, but she just couldn't place it.

" Where’s my other problem child? " Jill asked, a slight icy undertone in her voice.

" Oh, um..." Ali started.

Ashlyn took a deep breath and prayed her plan would work. She stepped out of the tub and stood next to the sink.

" Just a sec, coach! " Ashlyn yelled.

Ashlyn raised both hands above her head. She brought them down hard against the counter, making a very loud bang.

" Shit! " She yelped.

" Are you ok?!" Ali called out hearing the commotion.

A nude Ashlyn came out of the bathroom, her hands cradling her injured eye.

Jill looked at Ashlyn’s body and felt her cheeks flush, " What happened, Harris? "

" I couldn't sleep so I decided to see if a hot bath would relax me. You startled me, and I guess I was just trying to get out here too fast. I slipped on the wet floor, and hit my face on the sink. Sorry coach. " Ashlyn lied.

Jill shook her head, " I'm sorry Harris, didn't mean for you to injure yourself trying to prove that you weren't out past curfew. Have the trainers check it out tomorrow. Good night, ladies. "

" Good night, coach! " Ali and Ashlyn cheerfully sing-songed in unison.

Ali blew out a sigh of relief as she shut the door.

" Now that is quite the sexy outfit, Princess. " Ashlyn teased.

Ali twirled, " Do you like it? "

" Oh yeah, it's like the new mullet. Soccer star on top, party on the bottom. " Ashlyn chuckled at how ridiculous Ali looked in her dress poking out from the bottom of the blonde’s UNC Soccer hoodie, " At least you have good taste in schools. "

Ali shot Ashlyn a confused expression. Ashlyn pointed at the hoodie. Ali blushed as she looked down and realized she had been wearing Ashlyn’s clothes in front of their coach.

Ashlyn closed the distance between them and wrapped her arms around Ali’s waist , drawing her closer.

" Now where were we before coach so rudely interrupted? " Ashlyn husked.

Ali put a hand on Ashlyn’s chest, and gently pushed the blonde back.

"You were about to walk me over to my bed..." Ali started.

" Oh yeah, I like the direction this is headed." Ashlyn interrupts.

"...then you were going to kiss me..." Ali continued.

"Really like where this is headed." Ashlyn said.

“...goodnight. " Ali finished.

"Ugh, I've been shot down in flames." Ashlyn chuckled, grabbing her chest.

Ali giggled at the blonde’s antics. She took Ashlyn’s arm, and allowed the goalkeeper to escort her the ten feet to her bedside.

" Well, this is me ." Ali started, and sweetly kissed Ashlyn’s lips before turning her to face the other bed, "And that's you."

Ashlyn fell into her bed and groaned.

"Are you sure you don't want to sleep over here with me? You might miss me too much. You might need these big strong arms to protect you all night long." Ashlyn teased.

"How do you ever fit your head through the door?" Ali inquired , grinning at Ashlyn.

"If you start over here you won't have to sneak over in the..." Ashlyn started.

A pillow hit the blonde’s stomach, and cut off the rest of her sentence. Ali froze. Oh shit, she had accidentally grabbed the pillow with Ashlyn’s t-shirt stuffed inside the pillowcase.

Ashlyn immediately noticed the tension and she saw her shirt sticking out of the bottom of the pillowcase. She quickly tucked it back inside before Ali could notice that she had seen it. Ashlyn casually tossed it back over to Ali, who immediately hugged the pillow to her chest, possesively.

“What? You didn't think I was gonna keep it, did you? It's full of your cooties!" Ashlyn teased to keep Ali from feeling awkward.

"Good night, Stud." Ali mumbled, turning out the light.

Ali quickly undressed and put on her sleep shirt and pajama bottoms.

"You aren't going to change before you go to bed?" Ashlyn inquired, disappointed.

" Why do you think I turned off the light? " Ali giggled.

"Hey, I have ass staring privileges, remember?!" Ashlyn jokingly grumbled.

"Too late." Ali replied as she slipped under the covers, "Good night, Stud. ”

"Good night, Princess. Sweet dreams...of me." Ashlyn chuckled.

Ali giggled as Ashlyn curled up, facing her.

**

"Ow!" Ashlyn exclaimed as the trainer pressed on the tender swollen flesh of her black eye.

"So, how did you really get hurt?" Rick asked, raising an eyebrow at Ashlyn.

Ashlyn cringed, "You gonna tell coach I lied?"

Rick shot the goalkeeper a hard glare, "That depends how it really happened."

Ashlyn nods. She can't really expect the man to cover for her impulsive act.

"A bunch of us went out dancing to blow off some steam. Everybody except me and Ali had left. Some drunk douchecanoe grabbed Ali’s hand and rubbed it on his dick. I thought he needed to learn some damned manners. He thought my eye needed a swig from his bottle of beer." Ashlyn explained, grimacing at how stupid her actions sounded out loud.

Rick's jaw clenched. He patted Ashlyn’s shoulder.

"Nope. You fell into a sink getting out of the tub." Rick stated with finality.

Ashlyn shot him a dimpled grin full of gratitude, and blew out the breath she didn't realize she had been holding.

"It's not all good news, I'm afraid. I'm sorry but with the swelling impeding your vision in your right eye, I have no choice but to limit you to cardio, weights, and drills. Nothing between the posts until that swelling goes down." Rick explained.

Ashlyn's eyes widened, "But camp will be over by then."

"I know. I wish I had better news for you. You deserve a good shot at the roster for how you protected your teammate. All I can do is remind Jill a black eye heals quickly without any lasting damage, and i will go to bat for you. You gotta let her see your desire to make the team in all the other ways you can." Rick gave her his best advice.

Ashlyn’s heart squeezed for the first time since camp started. What if she didn't make the team?!

Chapter Text

Ali's eyes fluttered open as she slowly exited Morpheus' relm. Once her eyes could focus, she found herself breathing in the intoxicating fragrance of a single fire and ice rose that was sharing her pillow. Ali reached out to pick up the gorgeous bloom. A note she hadn't seen before slipped off the pillow. Ali eagerly unfolded the slip of paper.

Good morning Princess,
I want you to know how you look
when you are sleeping, so I woke
up early to draw you. The moonlight
shone across your face and made
your skin glow like an angel, a halo
of the silkiest dark chocolate hair
framing it. You took my breath away.
See drawing below. Stud

Ali's nose crinkled as she laughed at the stick figure complete with wings, halo, and little snore "z's" in a balloon above the stick figure. Ali brought the rose to her nose and inhaled deeply. Ashlyn was indeed surprising.

Ali rolled out of bed and softly padded to the bathroom. When she turned on the light, she noticed another single fire and ice rose with a note on the counter next to the sink. She shook her head and eagerly grabbed the paper laying underneath.

The reflection I hope you see.
Is the same one that drew me.
A gorgeous smile that outshines the sun.
A beautiful soul that longs for fun.
Witty. Intelligent. Talented. Brave.
Your voice has quickly become my fave.
Eyes with competitive fire burning bright.
Will you let me gaze in them under the moonlight?
Dinner. You. Me. Tonight. No Jill Allowed.

Ali looked up at her reflection in the mirror. Her hair lay over her shoulders in messy waves. Her eyes had regained some of their sparkle as she had been sleeping better, especially since she had "borrowed" Ashlyn's t-shirt. Ali closed her eyes and breathed in the scent of the second rose Ashlyn had left her, her thoughts turning to the charming blonde. Thoughts of Ashlyn risking her life to rescue her, carrying her so she didnt have to suffer all night dancing with wet feet, fighting for her, shielding her with her own body. Thoughts of those strong hands touching her, of those impossibly soft lips pressed against her, of Ashlyn being deep inside her made the brunette's heart rate spike. Thoughts that made Ali's skin flush with desire, a secret she couldn't deny when she slipped out of her pajama bottoms. Thoughts that made a moan escape her lips as she felt Ashlyn fill her when she entered herself. Ali bit down on her bottom lip to keep silent as she pleasured herself. A stream of obscenities finally burst past her lips followed by a name...Ashlyn...as Ali spilled out over her fingers.

Ali's chest heaved as she panted, slowly coming down from her orgasm. She had never been so turned on by anyone before. It scared her, actually. Ali knew she needed to figure this out before her date tonight, and she knew who to ask for help. Ali quickly showered, changed, and left the room.

**

Abby opened the door to find Ali standing there with a lost expression on her face. She sighed and opened the door wider so the defender could pass.

"What the fuck has that bonehead done now?!" Abby inquired shaking her head, she had warned the brash goalkeeper.

"Oh no, it's not like that, Captain. I want to talk with Sarah. Is there any way possible you could make that happen?" Ali asked, shyly meeting Abby's eyes.

Abby's eyebrows scrunched together in confusion, "You want to talk to my wife?"

"Well, yes. It's a girl thing." Ali tried to explain meekly.

"Uh, last time I checked, I still qualify." Abby remarked, confused by Ali’s weird request.

Ali shifted her weight from one foot to the other, her nerves getting the best of her.

"It's a more girls who wear dresses and makeup thing, than girls who wear pants and ties thing." Ali clarified.

"Ok. Well, this isn't awkward at all, so I'm going to call her and arrange a Skype for you. Good enough?" Abby replied, not wanting to know anything else.

"As long as it happens before practice, yes." Ali stipulated.

"Oh, so within the next hour, no pressure." Abby shook her head, "Guess you better just wait here."

Ali sat down in front of the small desk next to the tv to wait. Abby grabbed her cell phone off its charger, and went into the bathroom with it. Once Abby had gotten a hold of Sarah by phone, they connected over Skype. Ali sat in front of Abby's laptop, and Abby went to the lobby to give them some privacy.

Sarah looked at Ali over the computer. She had known the relentless defender for many years.

"Hey Ali, what's up?" Sarah greeted her.

"I don't know what's going on with me, Sarah, and I need to know before I accept a date...a date I can't believe I want to go on so badly." Ali rambled.

"Oh kaaaay. So is this guy black? I mean, I don't get why you would question your attraction? The heart knows what it wants, ya know." Sarah tried to connect the dots.

"It isn't that, Sarah. I've found men of other races attractive before. It's...it's..." Ali stammered, admitting it out loud to someone was proving rather difficult.

"Good grief, Ali what is it?! He isn't a felon is he?!" Sarah tried to supply the answer again.

"No! It's that 'he' is a 'she'!" Ali replied harsher than she had intended, and her hand flew up to cover her mouth, her cheeks burning.

Sarah nearly laughed until she saw the tortured look on Ali’s face, the way her cheeks flushed with embarrassment. Her heart nearly broke for her friend. She remembered what it had been like for her, she could only imagine how hard it was for someone who was discovering this a little later in her life.

"Oh Ali, it's going to be ok. I promise you it won't always feel like this. Why don't you tell me what happened, and we can go from there." Sarah suggested sincerely.

"I absolutely hated her when I first met her. I mean, I had to stay after practice to take pk's against her, and I launched one at her head on purpose just to wipe that smug grin off her face!" Ali started.

"Oh god, please don't tell me you've fallen for Solo. She is a train wreck girl! Don't get me wrong..."Sarah started.

"Noooo! Not Hope. It's one of the new keepers they brought up, Ashlyn Harris. She is..."Ali interrupted.

"Fine as hell, and extremely sweet! Good choice." Sarah injects, excited, "Don't tell Abby I said she was fine as hell, though."

Ali giggled, and crossed her heart with her finger, "Your secret is safe with me, Mrs. Wambach."

"So what seems to be the problem, Ali?" Sarah gently prompted.

Ali took a calming breath before she launched into it. She tried to start, but found she couldn't get the words out if she was looking at Sarah, so she looked down at her hands...but that just reminded her that she had actually masturbated to thoughts of the blonde. Ali looked around the room until her eyes fell on a landscape picture of a local beach that the hotel had used for decorating its room.

"Like I said, I hated her when we first met. Couldn't stand the sight of her. But she was like a puppy. You could kick her and she would come back wagging her tail like nothing happened. Coach made us room together. That's when things started to change, I think. I noticed how my body would respond when I was around her. It honestly scared the shit out of me. I tried to keep hating her, to keep my distance, but then she went and did something so monumental, I couldn't ignore her anymore." Ali started her story.

"What did that goofball do?" Sarah asked, knowing exactly how much Ashlyn lived life freely.

"Um, she literally saved my life, Sarah. We were trapped on the roof of the hotel...don't ask...and I freaked out. You know, from that time I got stuck in the elevator. Anyways, I decided I was going to climb down this ladder and get myself down. I couldn't wait for somebody to find out we were missing and come open that door. I was doing fine until about midway down, I got startled, and looked down at the ground." Ali closed her eyes as she remembered that night.

"Holy shit, Als, that hotel is what, ten stories tall?" Sarah gasped.

"Fourteen. Don't remind me...when I saw how high I was, I started getting dizzy. I felt like I was about to fall, so I started screaming for her. Sarah, Ashlyn didn't even hesitate. She just swung her leg over the side and started down the ladder after me. When it got worse, that crazy loon slid down the railing to me. She tore up her hands something awful to do it too. I can't believe how safe I felt when I felt her body behind me. She stayed like that, and talked me down. She barely had anything to hold onto because I was pretty freaked out, but she didn't even complain. She stayed behind me the whole way...well until we ran out of ladder that is." Ali explained.

Sarah's mouth hung open.

"What the actual fuck, Ali...are you punking me?!" Sarah asked in disbelief.

"I wish I were. I can't really think too much about that night because it still scares the shit out of me...how close I came to dying. Sarah, she was amazing! We ran out of ladder around the third floor. She dropped down, and then stood there and caught me. She broke my fall, just like she promised she would." Ali explained.

"I can see why you have feelings for her. I wasn't there, and I'm swooning over her right now...don't tell Abby." Sarah confessed.

Ali smiled, and crossed her heart with her fingers again. Sarah dramatically blew out her breath and wiped her forehead. She winked at Ali.

"Sarah, Ashlyn has been nothing but amazing to me. Once I gave her a chance to be friends, I found out that I started having dreams about her...you know...with me. I mean, I don't get it, I'm straight. I enjoy dating men...mostly. What's worse is that I am totally turned on by these dreams. Is that even normal?!" Ali inquired, shyly.

"Oh its normal alright. Especially if you are into women. I don't know too many people who are into women who *aren't* attracted to Ashlyn Harris. She has always had her pick of women who would throw themselves at her." Sarah explained.

"But when did you know? I mean, I'm a long ways past puberty...wouldn't I have already gone through this?!" Ali wondered.

"It happens at different times for different people, Ali. What you are feeling is natural...for *you*. Don't overthink it." Sarah posited.

Ali paused to consider Sarah's advice.

"I just don't want to go out on a date with her, if I'm not really...you know. It wouldn't be fair to her." Ali reasoned.

"So other than this night where she saved your life, was there anything else that makes you feel attracted to her? I mean, that one incident could just be hero worship." Sarah analyzed.

"Oh yes, plenty. I mean, she has been so generous to me. She carried me out of the taxi when the parking lot to the club was under water so I didn't have to get my feet wet. When some weird drunk guy grabbed my hand and rubbed his junk on it, she decked him...which started the biggest all out bar brawl I've ever seen...and she protected me with her body the whole time until she figured out a way to get us out of there. She jumped in front of me when the cop cars zoomed past us, saving me from getting drenched as they sprayed puddle water at us. She has lied to coach twice to protect me, and to the team to protect my reputation. She has the most amazing smile, it lights up the room, and that dimple. Ugh. It slays me. Her muscles rippling make me want to melt. She is much stronger than she looks, and don't get me started on her phenomenal sense of humor..." Ali starts listing things off her fingers.

"Whoa there! That's enough. I think I can honestly say, you got it bad, Kriegy. It sounds like to me, you aren't all that straight." Sarah concluded.

"Really?! It can happen like that? At my age?" Ali replied, not knowing if she should feel better or more nervous.

Sarah laughed, "Yeah it can, and girl, you talk like you are eighty or something! Just don't overthink it, go out with her, and see if sparks really fly for you. One date won't kill either of you, no matter what happens." Sarah responded.

Ali raised her eyebrows at Sarah, "Have we been having the same conversation?"

"Whoops, you're right. One date may kill you guys, but what a way to go!" Sarah enthused.

Ali laughed and felt a big weight off her shoulders, "Thanks, Sarah. I mean it. Thank you so much. I guess I just needed to hear somebody else say it."

"No problem. Now will you go find my big hunk and tell her to get her ass back in here. I think we have twenty minutes left before she has to leave for practice, and I've been a little lonely myself." Sarah winked.

Ali gave Sarah a thumbs up and left the room in search of Abby, a peace settled into her heart she had been missing for the past two weeks. She couldn't wait to find Ashlyn and accept that 'no Jill allowed' date.

Chapter Text

Ali entered the locker room in a hurry. She was the last one to get to practice, and she didn’t want to be late again. She threw open her locker, and found her entire practice attire organized and easily accessible. Her shorts, compression shorts, and shirt hung from a peg on the back wall of the locker, her shin guards were taped to the side wall so one good tug would free them. Ali’s socks were taped to the other side wall. Her cleats were together on the bottom, already untied and waiting, her pre-wrap sitting on top of them. Also, a single fire and ice rose along with a note was taped to the inside of her locker door.

Princess,
Don’t know what’s keeping you, but I
figured you might need all the help you
can get to make it to practice on time.
Don’t worry, I’ll be right behind you.
Stud

Ali smiled as she hurried to change. Having everything so well organized definitely helped. She sprinted onto the pitch and over to everyone else just before Jill and Steve came out of the tunnels. With Ashlyn’s help, Ali had made it to practice on time, and with everything she would need. She looked around the group of players trying to find Ashlyn, with no luck. Thinking back to the note, Ali turned around. Ashlyn stood a few feet away, and spared her a dimpled grin. Ali flashed her a megawatt smile in return, mouthing “thank you” to the blonde. Ashlyn winked and then grimaced, a hand going up to her black eye. Ali suppressed a giggle, and the blonde simply shrugged, a goofy grin on her face.

After the goals of the practice had been laid out by Jill, Ali walked over to Ashlyn before the goalkeeper had to leave for her specialized training.

“Aww, is that shiner hindering your flirt game, Stud?” Ali playfully cooed, as she patronizingly patted Ashlyn’s shoulder.

“Yes it is, and I think you should make it all better.” Ashlyn pouted, sticking her bottom lip out for emphasis.

“Maybe later, I have a date with a real hottie tonight. I was promised it would be Jill-free.” Ali replied.

“Harris, get your ass over here!” Graeme yelled.

“Go. I’ll see you after practice.” Ali giggled, pushing Ashlyn in the direction of the goal where the other two keepers were waiting on her.

Ali watched as Ashlyn fist pumped the air while running to join the other keepers.

“You just gonna stand there all day, Krieger, or were you planning on practicing with the rest of us?!” an annoyed Abby called out to her.
Ali sprinted over to join her teammates at midfield.

**

Ali checked herself in the mirror again. Tomorrow was their final day off before the end of camp, and tonight she wanted to look perfect for her date with Ashlyn before she left the bathroom. She had left Ashlyn on the other side of the door waiting patiently for her. If she were being completely honest, she was also trying to work up her nerve. Ali bit her bottom lip as she thought about what Sarah had said. All she had to do was open the door and let the date happen. She was eighty percent certain that they wouldn’t die from the date, so really, there was no reason to keep hesitating.

Ashlyn checked her watch again. She understood Ali was a complete princess, but she didn’t remember it taking her *this* long to get ready when they had gone out dancing. Ashlyn closed her eyes. She really hoped that Ali wasn’t changing her mind. What if Ali really wasn’t interested after all? God, women! They could drive a girl to…oooh…yeah…Ashlyn’s eyes opened and she walked over to her dresser. She opened her underwear drawer and pulled her pilfered bottle of bourbon out. Ashlyn used her teeth to pull out the stopper so she could pour a shot into her empty plastic cup on the nightstand by her bed.

“Do I get one of those?” Ali purred from the doorway.

Ashlyn turned and the stopper dropped from her lips as her jaw widened at the vision she saw in front of her. Ali had on a black shimmering dress with a neckline that plunged to the space between her breasts, hugged her curves, and stopped just below the knee. She stood on a pair of black strappy heels that added a couple of inches to her height, and showed off her strong calf muscles. Ali’s hair cascaded over her right shoulder in soft curls, nearly hiding the sophisticated earrings that dangled from each lobe. Ali’s makeup was definitely as sophisticated, and the red lipstick really accentuated her megawatt smile. Ashlyn felt her mouth go completely dry as Ali took a step toward her, reaching for the cup that the blonde held.

Ali smiled at Ashlyn’s reaction as she took the cup from the awestruck woman and brought it to her reddened lips. She was so happy she had decided to go with this dress instead of a blue one she had considered since she knew how partial the blonde was to the color. Ali watched as Ashlyn’s tongue snaked out from her mouth and hungrily ran over her lips while the brunette slowly allowed the liquid to disappear into her mouth. Ali relished the way the expensive bourbon burned her throat and heated her belly. She ran her fingers up Ashlyn’s arm achingly slow, over her shoulder, and grabbed a hold of the blonde’s maroon tie. Ali pulled Ashlyn down to her, and possessively ran her lips across the startled keeper’s. As soon as Ashlyn parted her lips, Ali slid her tongue inside, allowing the taller woman to taste the bourbon her tongue had been bathed in moments before. Ashlyn swallowed Ali’s moan, and her hands found Ali’s waist, pulling the brunette’s body against her own. Ali could feel her heart thumping wildly in her chest, and she was beginning to get drunk with desire. Before she lost all control of her senses, Ali pulled back, and gazed into Ashlyn’s lust-darkened hazel eyes with smoldering intensity.

“I wanted to make sure you got a taste before dinner. We better go, you look hungry.” Ali stated, the sensual tone in her voice making Ashlyn weak in the knees.

“Uh, yeah, we better go…now!” Ashlyn agreed as she took in a deep breath to slow her racing heart.

Ali smiled as she took Ashlyn’s arm, she would definitely have to thank her mom later for all those ‘fake it til you make it’ speeches during her angst riddled teen years. She knew she wouldn’t have had the nerve to kiss Ashlyn without that advice playing on a loop in her head. Seeing how badly her kiss affected the blonde gave Ali a big confidence boost.

Once outside, Ali took Ashlyn’s arm, and smiled as the sexy blonde escorted her down the sidewalk. They changed directions a few blocks from the hotel to enter a beautiful park, and strolled along the pathway. Ashlyn directed them over to a covered wooden footbridge that arched above the small stream which fed the park’s lake. At the mid-way point, Ashlyn stopped and Ali leaned her head against the blonde’s shoulder as they looked out over the clear water. They watched several small fish swimming among the patches of long grass that grew in the stream’s meandering path.

“It’s beautiful, Ash.” Ali commented.

“I found this place when I was trying to stay out of your way. I thought you might like it.” Ashlyn quietly replied.

Ali looked up at Ashlyn. She hadn’t realized at the time how very considerate the blonde had been to her. She was going to make it up to the woman, no matter what.

“I’m really sorry about all of that. It’s just you…you hit me like a freight train. I’ve never been so utterly confused. I’m kind of a control freak if you hadn’t noticed, and not being in control of all these feelings, it made me a bit…” Ali started, trying to explain her irritability.

“Cuckoo for coco puffs. The mayor of Cray Cray town. A big cranky pants.” Ashlyn supplied.

Ali giggled and playfully slapped Ashlyn’s shoulder, “All of the above.”

“Seriously Alex, you don’t need to apologize. I remember when I first realized I was attracted to another girl. I was in the eighth grade, and Katie was a year older than me. I was watching her shoot free throws after basketball practice, and I pictured what it would be like to kiss her in my head. It freaked me the fuck out. I tried to avoid her as much as possible, but her locker was right next to mine in the locker room. I just knew everyone in school could tell I was over the moon about her, no matter how hard I tried to hide it. For her part, she teased me mercilessly. When anybody else was around, she would be so cruel towards me, you know, a real life mean girl. But when we were alone…she would flirt like her life depended on it. I was so confused.” Ashlyn shared.

They started walking towards the restaurant again. Ashlyn reached down and slipped her hand against Ali’s, their fingers twining. Both of them feeling the jolts of electricity at the touch.

“So how did you handle it? When did you actually know for *sure* you were…” Ali inquired, her voice dropping off.

“Gay? I didn’t handle it well. I focused on my sports and didn’t date until I was a sophomore in high school. Then, I dated a couple of guys. I couldn’t stand the way they smelled, and I literally gagged when I kissed Mike. He shoved his tongue in my mouth and practically down my throat. It was so gross, I actually threw up in my mouth a little.” Ashlyn’s face scrunched up like she had just bit into a lemon, and she stuck her tongue out shuddering at the same time.

Ali bit her bottom lip to keep from giggling.

“Of course, when word got around that I had ‘puked on Mike’s tongue’ no other guys asked me out. Funny how that worked. I can’t say that I was too upset by it. I had finally kissed Katie, and believe you me, that was a whole other experience. Fireworks, floods, electricity, and totally breath stealing. When I tasted her passion for the first time, I knew there was no going back for me. I was one hundred percent on team Lesbos.” Ashlyn finished.

Ali tried to stifle her giggles which only made her snort, and big peals of laughter escaped her lips, “Did you really puke with that guy’s tongue in your mouth?!”

“Yup, sure did.” Ashlyn grinned, a deep dimple peeking out of her cheek.

As they walked Ashlyn noticed a small girl crying on a bench nearby. She steered Ali in that direction. The girl looked up and saw the two women approaching.

“Do you know where my mommy is?” the girl managed between big breath hitching sniffles.

“I don’t know your mommy, but we can help you find her.” Ashlyn replied, bending down to look the scared girl in the eye, “Where did you last see her?”

The girl pointed off in the distance towards the lake.

“I turned around and she was gone.” The youngster said before her tears started streaming down her face again.

Just then, a large bald headed man came up and grabbed the girl by the wrist, pulling her to her feet.

“Your mommy sent me to get you. She is ready to leave.” The man said gruffly, trying to get the girl to start walking.

The hair on the back of Ashlyn’s neck stood up, something wasn’t right. She stood up and blocked the man from leaving with the child.

“I don’t think so, buddy. What’s her mom’s name?” Ashlyn asked, her eyes narrowed in a warning.

“I don’t have to tell you anything. Her mom did send me, and she is gonna be pissed that you are keeping us.” The man defiantly stated, again trying to pull the child along.

Ali whipped out her cell phone and dialed 911. She quietly started talking to the dispatcher. Ashlyn slid in front of the man again. The girl looked up at Ashlyn with scared tears in her eyes.

“Mister, can they come with us?” the girl mumbled.

“Yeah mister, can we come with you?” Ashlyn challenged.

“The police are on their way.” Ali informed them.

The man’s eyes narrowed and he let go of the girl, “Have it your way, but her mom is going to sue you for everything you got.”

As soon as the man released the girl’s wrist she wrapped her arms around Ashlyn’s leg, burying her face in the blonde’s thigh. Ashlyn placed a protective hand around her shoulders. She pivoted her body so that she was between the girl and the man who looked like he might make a last second desperate grab for the child. Ali noticed and stepped closer, effectively sandwiching the little girl between she and Ashlyn. The guy let out a frustrated growl and took off down the path, empty handed.

“You are alright now, Sweetie. The bad man is gone. Ashlyn scared him away.” Ali cooed softly to the girl as she knelt beside the child.

The girl looked up at Ali and she rubbed her teary eyes.

“You’re pretty. My mommy’s pretty too.” The girl said as she reached out and ran her hands through Ali’s hair.

The girl had hair nearly the same color of Ali’s, and Ashlyn could picture her being the little one’s mom. Ali had smiled at the girl, and she moved into the brunette’s chest, wrapping her arms around Ali’s neck. Ali wrapped her arms around the girl and scooped her up. She moved them to the bench and placed the girl on her lap while they waited for the police. Ashlyn sat down next to them, and stretched her arm behind Ali’s shoulders.

“My name is Ali, and this is Ashlyn. What’s your name?” Ali asked.

“I'm Jessica. Is Ashlyn a boy or a girl?” Jessica asked bluntly.

Ali’s nose crinkled as she laughed, Ashlyn’s face breaking out into a lopsided dimpled grin, a slight blush coloring her cheeks.

“Well, even though she wears those boy clothes, she is a girl.” Ali explained.

“Why do clothes have to be boy or girl clothes? Why can’t they just cover you up?” Ashlyn playfully grumbled.

“She is pretty too, even if she wears boy clothes.” Jessica confided in Ali.

“I think so too.” Ali confided back.

“How old are you, Jessica?” Ashlyn asked.

“I’m this many.” Jessica held up five fingers.

“Oh you are so big!” Ali complimented, and Jessica’s lips finally curled in a small smile.

Just then two police officers and an attractive brunette came into view on the path. Jessica’s face lit up and she slipped off Ali’s lap, running towards the woman.

"MOMMY!!!" Jessica screamed.

The woman also broke out into a run and they met in a tangle of grateful arms. The police officers continued towards the pair, and they stood to give their statements. Jessica’s grateful mother carried her over to the two, and thanked them profusely, all the while holding her daughter close. Before they parted, Jessica gave each of them a big hug and kiss on the cheek. Ali and Ashlyn waved to the girl as the group dispersed.

“How adorable was she?” Ali remarked.

“Too cute. You know, you were pretty good with her back there, Princess.” Ashlyn posited.

“And you were down right heroic, Stud.” Ali praised her date.

“Shh, don’t blow my cover. Most people think I’m just a pretty face and sexy body.” Ashlyn teased, flexing her arms a bit.

Ali rolled her eyes and giggled, “Oh yeah, and so modest too.”

After a short walk, they arrived at a small elegant restaurant, and Ashlyn opened the door for Ali. She followed the brunette inside, and Ali melted into the hand at the small of her back, loving the way Ashlyn’s attention made her feel. Once Ashlyn gave the hostess her name, they were seated at a table by a large window that had a view of the ocean. Ashlyn reached across the table and placed her hand over Ali’s.

“This place is nice, Ash. Please don’t tell me you found it while avoiding me. I don’t think I can take another reminder of what a bitch I was to you.” Ali confessed.

“No, I actually googled it on my iphone when I was looking for a place to take the most gorgeous woman in the world.” Ashlyn replied, her thumb stroking the back of Ali’s hand.

Ali dipped her head, her lips curled in a shy smile. They picked up the menus and looked them over, quietly discussing the virtues of one dish over another, and which protein was best. Their waitress came over and took their orders as soon as they folded the menus closed. Ali grinned.

“Do you think waitresses ever just assume we are pretentious assholes for ordering plain fish, or plain chicken, no butter, no this or that, and god forbid don’t put any type of sauce anywhere near my plate.” Ali wondered out loud.

“Probably when we aren’t in our team gear with USA Soccer plastered all over our left tits.” Ashlyn replied, “You want me to casually mention that you aren’t an asshole when she gets back?”

Ali giggled at Ashlyn and shook her head, “Too late, I’m with you...guilty by association.”

“Oh you have wounded me, Krieger!” Ashlyn dramatically grabbed her chest and threw her head back.

They laughed and continued to banter back and forth until their dinner arrived. A whole grilled bronzino fish surrounded by a wreath of asparagus tips, red bell pepper strips, yellow and green squash was placed in the center of the table for the two to share.

“Oh Ash, this looks fantastic!” Ali gushed.

Ashlyn beamed, “It tastes even better.”

Ashlyn took Ali’s plate and served her some of the best parts of the fish along with a good serving of the vegetables. She loved how Ali took her time to waft the aroma to her nose and visually take in the food before wrapping her mouth around the bite; her eyes shutting in ecstasy as she allowed the morsels to flood her taste buds, finally swallowing.

“That is one of the sexiest things I’ve ever seen while eating dinner.” Ashlyn admitted.

“You haven’t seen anything yet. Wait ‘til desert, Stud.” Ali promised, and Ashlyn swallowed hard, picturing what she might have in store.

**

Ali’s nerves grew the closer they got to their hotel room, by the time they were climbing the stairs she was certain there were a dozen butterflies flying around in her stomach. The brunette was totally turned on by everything she had learned about Ashlyn that evening, and that scared her even more. The blonde was protective by nature, but she also had the biggest heart. That was evident when Ashlyn had ordered a fresh meal to go, and had deposited it next to a sleeping homeless man on their way back through the park. She hadn’t even noticed him the first time they strolled through, but it seemed as if nothing escaped Ashlyn’s attention. Ali guessed that was partly what made the woman such a fabulous goalkeeper. The blonde had even noticed when she had shivered, taking off her sports coat and wrapping it around her shoulders. She looked up to see Ashlyn studying her.

“You alright? You’re awfully quiet.” Ashlyn gently inquired.

Ali smiled sweetly back, “Mhmm. I’m just thinking about how lucky I am that I went out with you tonight.”

“I am definitely the lucky one, Miss Krieger.” Ashlyn replied, bringing Ali’s hand up to her lips and placing a tender kiss on her knuckles.

Ashlyn opened the door to their floor and they arrived at their door to their room a few seconds later. Ali waited while Ashlyn fished her card key out of her pocket and opened the door, holding it so the brunette could enter first.

Ashlyn took her jacket off Ali’s shoulders and folded it on top of the dresser. Ali turned and smiled up at her. Ashlyn reached out, grabbing Ali’s hips and drawing her in so their bodies were touching. Ali tucked a strand of Ashlyn’s long flowing blonde hair behind her ear.

“You are so goddamned sexy, Ash.” Ali whispered.

Ashlyn tilted Ali’s face upwards, her lips softly pressing against the brunette’s. Her tender kisses slowly deepening, and Ali allowed Ashlyn entry to her mouth when Ashlyn’s tongue ran over her tingling lips. As the Ashlyn’s tongue slid against her own, a moan rumbled from her throat to be swallowed and returned in full measure by the blonde. Ali’s body hummed with raw desire. She needed more…more contact…more skin…more Ashlyn. Ali’s fingers fumbled with Ashlyn’s tie, her normally nimble digits suddenly unable to perform simple tasks. Ali growled in frustration and left the tie to unbutton Ashlyn’s shirt. When she was only two buttons down, Ali grabbed each side of the shirt and yanked in opposite directions, the remaining buttons shooting off in all directions, littering the floor.

Consumed with a hunger she had never known before, Ali sunk her teeth into the soft flesh of Ashlyn’s pulse point while her hands roamed over the blonde’s breasts, relishing in the feel of the woman’s nipples as they hardened to pebbles under her touch.

“Fuck, Ali!” Ashlyn moaned, her body instantly responding to the pull of the brunette’s mouth on her neck, and the need in the defender’s touch.

Ashlyn felt herself losing her willpower to Ali’s hunger. She didn’t want their first time to be a quick lust-filled romp, so Ashlyn gently pulled back. She stilled the brunette’s hands, and had to suck in air to catch her breath. She looked at the slightly hurt expression and confusion in Ali’s eyes, and slowly bent forward to kiss away her doubts.

Ashlyn ran her fingers through Ali’s silky hair, and cupped her face, “Are you sure about this, Alex? I don’t want to rush you. I would never want to hurt you.”

Ali reached out and purposefully pulled on Ashlyn’s belt, working the clasp open. She unbuttoned the goalkeeper’s pants and slid the zipper down. Ali worked Ashlyn’s slacks past her hips and allowed them to drop and pool at the blonde’s feet. Ali ghosted her fingers back up the outsides of Ashlyn’s ethika boxers, over her tight abs, and grabbed the bottom of the tie that still hung around the blonde’s neck. Ali pulled Ashlyn over to the closest bed and shoved her down onto it. Before Ashlyn could protest, Ali hiked the bottom of her dress up enough that she could straddle Ashlyn. The blonde reached down and slowly slid the dress up the brunette’s body, and Ali reached her arms up to allow Ashlyn to slip the garment off her completely. Ashlyn’s eyes raked in the sight of Ali, completely naked…completely vulnerable, straddling her…grinding against her…the want, the hunger evident in each touch…each moan.

Ashlyn’s hands settled on the brunette’s hips, pressing the defender down…increasing the contact. Ali leaned down and claimed Ashlyn’s lips in another breath stealing kiss. While Ali was focused on the feeling of Ashlyn’s tongue exploring her mouth, Ashlyn pushed up, and rolled them over so Ali was on her back, the blonde still between her legs. Ali closed her eyes, her fingers buried in beautiful long blonde locks as Ashlyn slowly ground into Ali.

“Jesus Ali, you are so wet.” Ashlyn husked, as her boxers soaked up some of the brunette’s dripping passion.

“All for you, baby…only for you.” Ali managed before another guttural moan took over.

Ali spread her legs wider, wrapping them around Ashlyn’s waist and pulling the blonde closer, trying desperately to find more contact where her need ached. Ashlyn leaned down and kissed Ali deeply. Her strong hands gentle against Ali’s skin, ghosting across Ali’s nipples. Ali’s body arched into Ashlyn at the contact as her nipples hardened immediately. Ashlyn reached into her shirt pocket and removed the single fire and ice rose she had secreted there. A moan ripped from Ali’s throat as Ashlyn slowly dragged the tip of the rose down her throat and teased her nipples with its soft silky petals. Ashlyn’s hot tongue followed the rose’s path, alternating between breasts, swirling around the hardened pink nubs. Ashlyn finally sucked Ali’s nipple deep into her mouth, her tongue flicking across the tip at the back of her mouth. Ali’s body writhed beneath Ashlyn’s touch. It was all too much, and not enough.

Ashlyn dragged the rose lower, across taut abs, down to the insides of the defender’s well-muscled thighs. Ali bucked at the feeling of the silky rose petals sliding across her overly sensitive clit. Ali’s nails sunk into Ashlyn’s back, her body arching into the contact. Ali was so close to coming undone. She felt the blonde circling her opening with the rose, teasing her with its softness…drawing out a flood. Suddenly her eyes opened and she leaned up, kissing Ashlyn hard, possessively.

“Goddamn it Ashlyn Michelle Harris, I want you to. Fuck. Me. Right. Now. I want you to take me…fuck me until I can’t tell where I end and you begin.” Ali demanded in a voice so full of hunger Ashlyn felt her own juices spill out over her thighs.

Ashlyn tossed the rose aside. She slid down between Ali’s legs and kissed her way up one thigh, nipping along the way. When she finally slid her tongue inside Ali, her mouth flooded with Ali’s sweet taste, they both moaned. Ali rode Ashlyn’s tongue hard, her breath coming in ragged gasps.

“Fuck yes, Ashlyn!” Ali moaned as Ashlyn continued to tongue fuck her, her whole universe collapsing to the space between her legs.

Ali reached down and tangled her fingers in Ashlyn’s hair, pulling her closer. Ashlyn finally pulled her tongue from Ali, and replaced it with two fingers, plunging deep and curling. Ali’s hips rose off the bed as Ashlyn’s tongue found her clit and circled the engorged bundle of nerves, flicking across it, varying her tongue’s speed and pressure. Ashlyn gently wrapped her left arm around Ali’s hips to help pin her down as she continued to pump furiously, her tongue matching stroke for stroke. Ashlyn looked up at Ali just as Ali’s walls closed around her fingers…her toes curled…her jaw clenched tight, and their eyes met and locked onto one another…Ashlyn pulled her fingers out and plunged her tongue as deep as it would go. Ali rewarded her with a flood of passion as she came undone.

Ashlyn crawled up and wrapped her arms around Ali, holding her as the aftershocks continued to make her body quake, kissing her deeply. Ali moaned as she tasted her passion on Ashlyn’s tongue. When Ali had calmed, Ashlyn kissed her forehead gently.

“I’ll be right back.” Ashlyn whispered, and gently untangled herself from Ali.

Ashlyn hurried into the bathroom and soaked a wash cloth in hot water. She quickly brought it out before it could cool, and gently cleaned Ali, letting the cloth sit over the brunette’s core and relax her even further. Before the wash cloth could get too cold, Ashlyn tossed it aside and wrapped Ali up in her arms again. Ali laid her head on Ashlyn’s chest.

“Oh my god, Ashlyn, you are incredible.” Ali mumbled sleepily, the hard practice and mind blowing sex catching up with her.

“You are pretty incredible yourself, Princess. Sweet dreams.” Ashlyn replied, giving into the urge to close her eyes as well.

Ali fell asleep quickly, a very contented smile on her face.

Chapter Text

Ashlyn woke up with her arms around Ali, the brunette’s head on her chest, arm curled up and hand loosely curled around Ashlyn’s maroon tie, with a well-muscled leg draped across the blonde. Ali stirred, and Ashlyn leaned in to place a soft kiss on the top of the brunette’s head. Ali smiled against Ashlyn’s chest.

“Good morning, Stud.” Ali mumbled.

Ashlyn’s nipple hardened, sending a jolt of pleasure down her spine as Ali’s lips moved against it, the gorgeous brunette’s breath tickling her sensitive flesh. Ali felt the nipple harden against her, and a devilish grin spread across her face.

“Good morn…fuck!” Ashlyn squeaked as Ali’s tongue flicked across her nipple, teasing it to an even harder point.

Ali watched Ashlyn’s eyes darkened with lust and glazed over as she deliberately closed her mouth around the nipple, gently sucking and pulsing her tongue against it. Ali’s hands roamed over the blonde’s strong body, lightly dragging her nails across the flesh of Ashlyn’s side, tracing the goalkeeper’s butterflies. Ashlyn’s eyes closed, as she relished the pleasure she was feeling from the brunette’s touch. A deep moan broke the silence in the room, and encouraged Ali’s exploration, her hand slipping underneath the waistband of Ashlyn’s boxers. As her fingers slid through Ashlyn’s already wet folds, the blonde’s eyes suddenly flew open. Ashlyn’s hand grabbed Ali’s wrist firmly, halting her progress.

“That would not be advisable, Princess.” Ashlyn blurted out.

Ali looked up, tears forming from the rejection as she removed her hand. Ashlyn wiped them with her thumbs.

“No, I didn’t mean it like that, I mean…I haven’t peed yet. Uh…hold onto that thought, and I’ll be right back. Don’t go anywhere.” Ashlyn explained as she untangled herself and rolled out of bed.

Ali giggled as she watched a flustered Ashlyn frantically run to the bathroom.

“Oh you think it’s funny, huh. Maybe I should have just let you keep going.” Ashlyn teased her back from the other side of the bathroom door.

Ashlyn quickly washed her hands, brushed her teeth, and gargled mouthwash. She took a pack of Listerine breath strips from her toiletries bag, and slipped it into her shirt pocket, and kicked off her boxers before she padded back into the other room.

Ali noticed Ashlyn reaching for her tie as she re-entered the room. She jumped out of bed and wagged her finger at the blonde.

“No! Leave it…I like having you on a leash.” Ali commanded as she seized the tie, turned and dragged Ashlyn by it back to the bed.

At the bedside, Ali turned back to face the goalkeeper, and slowly reeled the blonde to her, hand over hand up Ashlyn’s tie. Ali’s eyes devoured Ashlyn from bottom to top before she crashed their lips together. Ali wound the tie around her hand, effectively capturing the goalkeeper. Ashlyn moaned as she felt Ali’s tongue demand entry to her mouth. She obeyed the silent demand, their kiss deepening with passion. Suddenly, Ali let go of the tie and pushed Ashlyn onto the bed. Ashlyn whimpered as she watched Ali dip two fingers into her own wetness and bring them to her lips, coating her lips with her passion, and licking the remnants off her fingers, leveling Ashlyn with her smoldering eyes.

“Do you want a taste?” Ali purred.

Ashlyn nodded, her capacity for speech completely gone.

“Then make room for me on this bed and spread your legs for me. Now.” Ali commanded, her voice laced with a mixture of sultry and power that had Ashlyn’s head swimming.

Ashlyn quickly shimmied up to the head of the bed, and allowed her legs to fall open, exposing herself to a hungry Ali. The brunette crawled up from the foot of the bed, her muscles rippling gracefully as she slowly found her place between Ashlyn’s goalposts. Ashlyn’s mouth went dry as Ali dipped her head down, and hovered above the blonde’s aching clit, the brunette’s predatory eyes focused on Ashlyn’s as she deliberately reached out with her tongue and impaled Ashlyn on it.

“Fuck, Alex!” Ashlyn cried out, feeling Ali drive that hard hot tongue deep inside her own aching wet core.

“Mmm, so sweet.” Ali mumbled against her, eliciting another flood to hit her tongue.

Ali slowly tongue fucked Ashlyn. Dipping deeply, swirling against her tight walls, Ali’s tongue drew out another wave of sweetness before she withdrew. Ashlyn groaned at the loss of contact in her needy core. Ali teased Ashlyn’s opening with her fingers using light controlled strokes that barely penetrated the blonde. Ashlyn growled in frustration, her hips rising to meet Ali’s fingers in a futile attempt to impale herself on the brunette’s nimble digits. Ali climbed further up Ashlyn’s body and took her lips in a searing kiss, finally granting Ashlyn a taste of their combined passion as she plunged two fingers deep inside the blonde.

“Oh god Alex, that is so good.” Ashlyn moaned when they finally had to come up for air.

Ali swallowed Ashlyn’s moans as her fingers continued to slide into her core, picking up pace. Ashlyn’s hips bucked to match Ali’s efforts, riding the brunette’s fingers harder and harder. Ali nibbled and nipped her way from Ashlyn’s mouth to her ear.

“You better not cum too quickly. I want you to soak my face in those sweet Stud juices.” Ali directed, sending another wave of desire down Ashlyn’s spine to her core.

“Oh fuck, Alex. I need to cum, please.” Ashlyn begged.

Ali slipped back down Ashlyn’s body and resumed her feast. Her tongue matching pace with her fingers, Ali pumped furiously inside Ashlyn until she felt Ashlyn’s walls collapsing around her, a flood breaking free from the blonde drenching the brunette’s fingers and face while a litany of curse words tumbled from goalkeeper’s lips. Ashlyn’s body continued to quiver and tremble, Ali licking the blonde clean. Finally Ashlyn reached down and pulled gently on Ali’s face, directing her upwards. Ali relented and crawled up to lay on top of Ashlyn, kissing her tenderly.

“Holy fucking canoli, are you trying to kill me?! If my heart beat any faster, I think it would explode.” Ashlyn inquired between gasps, trying to slow her heart rate and breathing back to normal.

“Better catch your breath while I’m gone Stud, I’m ready for round two.” Ali challenged, a lecherous glint in her eyes.

Ali rolled off Ashlyn, out of bed, and finally took care of her morning bathroom needs while Ashlyn stilled herself. The blonde finally found her strength when Ali returned. Ashlyn sat up, with her legs over the edge of the bed, and Ali stepped between them. Ashlyn wrapped her strong arms around Ali’s waist, suddenly lifting the defender off her feet, ignoring Ali’s surprised squeal, and rolling over so that Ali was on her back. Ashlyn smirked down at her.

“Yeah, but round two is gonna be played a little differently, Princess.” Ashlyn asserted, her hands finding purchase on Ali’s small breasts, teasing the nipples between her forefingers and thumbs.

Ashlyn leaned down and kissed Ali, a slow languid exploration of each other’s mouths. Ali loved the feeling of the blonde’s hard nipples rubbing against her own, the fire it reignited in her core. As their kiss deepened, Ali buried her hands in Ashlyn’s hair, pulling her impossibly closer. She couldn’t get enough of the blonde. Suddenly Ashlyn pulled back, lifting herself off a stunned Ali, and holding herself just above the brunette so the only thing touching her was the tip of Ashlyn’s maroon silk tie. Ashlyn’s biceps bulged inside the tight shirt as she swayed her body weight back and forth, the tie and open shirt tails drawing a line of gooseflesh across Ali’s chest and abdomen, her nipples tightening to pebbles. Ali’s hands ran along the back sides of Ashlyn’s arms, savoring the blonde’s hard triceps. Ali arched into Ashlyn as she continued to tease the defender with her tie.

“Fuck baby. You are such a damned tease!” Ali moaned as the silk tie slid across her nipples.

Without warning, Ashlyn leaned down and took Ali’s right breast into her mouth. Ali arched even further, wanting more contact with her favorite blonde. The phone rang. Ashlyn froze.

“Ignore it, babe. It’s probably HAO wanting to grab breakfast.” Ali encouraged Ashlyn to keep up her activities.

Ashlyn’s hands dipped lower, and her fingers slid through Ali’s wet folds, drawing out a loud moan from the brunette. Ashlyn licked and nipped her way down Ali’s body until she settled between the defender’s thighs. Ashlyn’s fingers sank slowly into Ali’s flooded core. First one, then two, and finally three fingers filling her completely. Ali’s eyes screwed shut as Ashlyn ravished her.

“Fuck yes, Ash! You fuck me so good, baby!” Ali cried out, as Ashlyn brought her to the edge of ecstasy.

The ringing phone startled Ashlyn again.

“Don’t you fucking think about stopping now, Harris!” Ali growled, and Ashlyn resumed her hard tongue lashing of Ali’s sensitive clit, matching her fingers stroke for stroke.

A loud pounding on the door caused them both to jump.

“Ashlyn, Ali, open up!” Tobin’s serious voice yelled through the door.

Ashlyn pushed herself up and off the bed. She found her boxers and slipped them on as she made her way to the door.

“Somebody better be fucking dead…” Ashlyn angrily spat out as she jerked the door open.

“Dude, Ali’s family is down in the…” Tobin started.

A deep throat clearing behind her combined with the color draining from Ashlyn’s face was all Tobin needed.

“Never mind. I have a thing I need to finish anywhere but here.” Tobin quickly excused herself and fled down the hall, leaving as quickly as her legs could carry her.

Ken Krieger’s eyes narrowed at Ashlyn standing in the doorway in a pair of boxers, a shirt torn open with a silk tie dangling between her bare breasts, and then he looked past her to see his daughter pulling covers up to her neck, one bed still pristine.

“What are you doing here?!” Ali blurted out, beyond embarrassed.

“We came to surprise you and take you out to brunch.” Ken remarked flatly.

“Surprise.” Kyle flamboyantly sing-songed.

Ashlyn stuck her hand out, “Ashlyn Harris, sir.”

Kyle’s eyes widened, “Did you wash your hands before you opened the door?”

Ashlyn nonchalantly dropped her hand to her side.

“KYLE!” Ali screamed.

Kyle shrugged his shoulders, “Shush, I’m helping.”

Ali buried her face in her hands. Ken’s jaw clenched as he bored a hole right through Ashlyn. Kyle got the blonde’s attention and motioned to her open shirt. Ashlyn quickly grabbed the two sides of her shirt with her fist and covered herself.

“You better be downstairs in fifteen minutes, Alexandra…and she better be with you,” Ken demanded before he turned away from the room, and headed towards the elevator.

Chapter Text

Ashlyn closed the door, her feet rooted to the spot still in shock.

“Oh my god, oh my god…my dad.” Ali mumbled miserably.

Ashlyn looked up to see Ali on the verge of tears. She quickly closed the distance between them and scooped the brunette up in her arms. Ali melted into the blonde, drawing comfort from her warmth, from Ashlyn’s familiar scent, and the strong arms that held the brunette protectively.

“It’s going to be alright, Princess. He loves you.” Ashlyn cooed, kissing her temple.

“You don’t have to come, you know…no matter what he said.” Ali offered Ashlyn a way out of the coming brunch from hell.

“What? And deny your father the chance to kick my ass for deflowering his little Princess? I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” Ashlyn responded lightheartedly.

Ali giggled a bit, and squeezed Ashlyn, “Tobin’s right you know.”

“About what?” Ashlyn inquired.

“You are brain damaged…but I wouldn’t want you any other way, Stud.” Ali complimented, nuzzling further into Ashlyn’s neck.

“Well, I will always be right behind you, Alex. You aren’t alone anymore.” Ashlyn replied thickly, trying to hold back her emotion.

Ashlyn gently placed three fingers under Ali’s chin, tilting her face upwards and tenderly kissed her quivering lips, “Besides, what kind of jack-wagon would I be if I just left you to face your family by yourself?! We are in this together. I don’t leave my girlfriend to fend for herself, just so you know.”

“Your girlfriend, huh.” Ali playfully contemplated.

“Yeah, my girlfriend. I don’t give away all this sexiness to just any Thomasina, Dina, or Harriet.” Ashlyn explained as she motioned down her body like one of the models showcasing an item on the Price is Right.

“Well, since I already sampled the merchandise, I guess you got me locked in with the no returns policy.” Ali teasingly relented.

Their lips met in a soft kiss, sealing the deal. Ashlyn pulled back and looked at the clock.

“Damn, we better hurry and wash off if we are going to make it to my execution…er…the lobby on time.” Ashlyn remarked, helping Ali off the bed with a wink, “Ow.”

“You are going to have to stop doing that until that black eye of yours heals, Champ.” Ali snickered as she padded into the bathroom.

“As long as you call me ‘champ’ and not ‘chump’ I’ll take it!” Ashlyn replied honestly, following close behind.

“Stop staring at my ass.” Ali teased as she reached in and turned on the shower.

“What are you talking about, I can’t see a damned thing with this stupid eye.” Ashlyn groused, playfully bumping into Ali’s backside, her hands grabbing full muscular ass cheeks, “See, I have to feel my way.”

“Ashlyn Michelle Harris!” Ali laughed, reaching behind her to playfully swat the blonde’s hip, “Don’t you dare start something you can’t finish…”

**

Ashlyn took a deep breath just outside the lobby. She glanced to Ali and saw the brunette chewing her bottom lip. Ali felt a boost of confidence as her girlfriend’s strong hand closed around her own and gently squeezed. She wasn’t alone in this, and no matter what happened with her parents, she would still have the amazing woman at her side…unless her father killed Ashlyn…nah, he wouldn’t be that upset…right?

Ashlyn leaned down and whispered into Ali’s ear, “It’s gonna be fine. I’m right here, babe.”

Ken Krieger noticed his daughter and her…girlfriend? walking towards them. He nudged Deb who looked up from her conversation with Megan Rapinoe to see Ali holding hands with a very attractive blonde woman that she didn’t recognize. They all stood, and Ashlyn caught Pinoe’s attention, motioning with a nod of her head that the midfielder give them some privacy. Kyle stood up as well, flashing the keeper a megawatt smile just as brilliant as any his sister had ever gifted the blonde. Ashlyn dropped Ali’s hand, and wrapped her left arm around her girlfriend’s waist, helping to support her weight as she could feel the normally strong defender shaking a bit. Ali leaned into Ashlyn’s side, and allowed her head to rest in the crook of the blonde’s arm, needing the contact to ground her. Ashlyn again extended her right hand towards Ken.

“Ashlyn Harris, sir.” Ashlyn repeated, her voice strong and full of a confidence she didn’t quite feel.

“Yes, you said that already. Let’s go. The car is this way.” Ken stated, his tone icy as he walked past Ashlyn whose face fell like somebody had just kicked her puppy.

Deb reached over and took Ashlyn’s hand, “It’s nice to meet you, Ashlyn. Are you also here for camp?”

Ashlyn smiled sadly, “Yes ma’am. I hope to make the roster.”

“She is a fantastic keeper, mom.” Ali proudly supplied, her right arm enveloping Ashlyn’s waist.

“Look at those muscles, I’m sure she is a great keeper.” Deb complimented, and Ashlyn felt a blush creep into her cheeks.

“Ooh, and look at that fabulous sleeve, and the perfect hair! Oh be still my heart!” Kyle added, covering his chest dramatically with both hands.

The group followed a scowling Ken to the car. They piled in, filling the BMW for the short, silent, extremely tense ride to the small café around the corner from the hotel. Ashlyn’s hand covering Ali’s for the duration of the trip.

At the café, they were shown to a small round table near the back that could accommodate all five of them comfortably. Ashlyn pulled out a chair and held it for Ali. Deb smiled as she watched the blonde help her daughter to her seat. Ashlyn scooted Ali in before she took her own seat next to the beautiful brunette, their shoulders nearly touching.

“So, I was talking to your little friend, Megan, and she mentioned that we had some weird oral tradition in our family that I supposedly taught you, Ali? I wasn’t aware that we knew our family history that far back.” Deb mentioned, offhandedly.

Ali froze, a definite blush coming over her from the neck up. Ashlyn looked down at the table, one hand on the back of her neck, avoiding eye contact.

“Let’s talk about sex baby, let’s talk about you and she…” Kyle sang while pointing to his sister and Ashlyn.

Ashlyn’s eyes went wide, and she reached behind Ali and flicked Kyle’s ear hard.

“Ow! So protective.” Kyle mentioned as he rubbed his stinging earlobe.

“So Ashlyn, where did you grow up?” Deb tried once again to get a civil conversation started.

“Satellite Beach, ma’am.” Ashlyn replied.

“Ash is a surfer.” Ali chimed in, grateful for any subject that did not include her sex life with the blonde.

“I’ve heard that’s a hard sport. Is it a sport?” Deb wondered aloud, "And call me Deb, I'm not old enough to be ma'am."

Their server stopped by to drop off waters and a bread basket for the table, everyone except Ken digging in.

“It’s more than a sport, ma’am...er..Deb. It’s a lifestyle. It’s hard to explain surfing to those who don’t surf, but for me, it’s like being physically connected to the rest of the world. Being out on the water fills me with a joy that I rarely ever feel. Only being with Ali and being between the posts are better than a day on a board.” Ashlyn quietly explained.

Ali smiled shyly at Ashlyn, in awe that the woman would prefer spending time with her over being on the water. Tobin had explained what surfing meant to surfers once, and the enormity of Ashlyn’s statement was not lost on the brunette.

“Did you graduate from college?” Ken finally spoke, though his tone was still ice cold.

Ashlyn looked up at Ali’s father and smiled nervously at him, one dimple just barely peeking out, “Yes, sir. I have a degree in Communications from the University of North Carolina.”

“Communications, or French?” Kyle teased, “Ow.”

Kyle rubbed his shin and glared at his sister who was wearing a dangerous expression.

“And just what do you intend to do with it?” Ken continued.

“Dad. That’s none of your business. Ash is a professional footballer, like me.” Ali jumped in, irritated at her father’s interrogation.

Just then the server appeared to take their orders. An uneasy truce was formed as they ordered their food.

**

“Are you sure this is the right place, Pinoe? I don’t see them.” Abby questioned the midfielder as she searched the small café’s patrons.

“Yes. I heard Deb mention to Kyle they were coming here while they waited for Ali and Ash to get…um…cleaned up.” Pinoe assured them.

“Dude, are they over there?” Tobin pointed towards the very back.

“Sure looks like the Kriegers, and one very uncomfortable goalkeeper.” Pinoe agreed.

“Alright, operation ‘defend the defenders’ is a go. Let’s sit over here, and for Pete’s sake, don’t let any of them see you!” Abby stated, sliding into a booth that provided them with a view of the Kriegers’ table.

A waitress dropped off menus to the three and brought over some water and a bread basket. Pinoe reached for the bread, and Abby smacked her hand.

“Hey, I’m starving.” Pinoe complained.

“Not the point, Pin Head. Focus.” Abby reminded the small blonde, “Remember, don’t let them take the menus away.”

**

Ken pushed his food around his plate, still glaring at Ashlyn. She had tried every trick she knew to charm the man. She complimented him, she complimented his ex-wife, his daughter, even his choice in food. Ashlyn had tried humor, and discussing deep subjects, all to the delight of everyone else at the table, but the head of the Krieger family had not cracked.

Ken watched as his little princess laughed at something the blonde had said, lightly touching her hand. A hand that had been inside his daughter’s most intimate places. The thought further sickened and enraged him. Kyle had been gay since he came out of the womb, but not his Alex. No, his precious little princess was supposed to marry a strapping young lad who would protect her, marry her, and provide her with a beautiful home and fill it with gorgeous mini Alexandras. If only he could get Alex away from the influence of this…this…dyke, perhaps she would come to her senses. She wasn’t one of them after all, she was simply a confused straight girl that had been preyed upon. He just had to find the right buttons to push…

“So tell me Ashlyn, how many women have you been with before my daughter?” Ken demanded.

All the laughter at the table died. Ashlyn looked into Ken’s eyes and saw the challenge housed there.

“Not that it’s any of your business sir, but I’m twenty-six and I’ve dated four women, including Alex.” Ashlyn replied evenly.

“Oh I’m sure you’ve slept with plenty more. You dykes are all the same, taking advantage of straight girls.” Ken scoffed.

Ashlyn’s face flushed. She hadn’t been called that name to her face since she was eighteen. She silently vowed not to lose her shit, for Ali’s sake.

Ali and Kyle shook their heads in disbelief. Had their father really just called Ashlyn a…a dyke?!

Ken finally couldn’t hold it in any longer, “How long?”

Ashlyn swallowed hard, her mouth instantly dry, “How long, sir?”

“Yes. How long…” Ken repeated, not able to bring himself to allow the rest of the words to travel past his lips as he stabbed his fork into the steak on his plate with extra gusto.

Ashlyn reached for her water glass to soothe her dry mouth and give her valuable seconds to think. She took a very large swig.

“Oh for Cher’s sake, he wants to know how long you’ve been boning my sister.” Kyle substituted his own words.

“KYLE!” the Krieger women screeched in unison.

Water spewed out of Ashlyn’s mouth, spraying Deb and Ken, part of it running out her nose, and she started coughing violently from choking on the rest that managed to find its way down her throat to the ‘wrong pipe.’ Ali had finally reached her boiling point. Her face turned red, eyes narrowed.

“That’s enough!” Ali yelled at her father, standing up leaning on the table towards him.

Ken shot up from his seat to lean across the table to meet his daughter in the middle, “It sure the hell is! When are you going to realize she isn’t good enough for you?! That woman will never be good enough for you! She’s a damned dyke who will never amount to anything because her focus will always be how to get her face between your legs!”

Ali’s jaw dropped. It wasn't just Ashlyn those hurtful words were describing, but they described her now as well.

“You do realize it isn’t just Ashlyn you are talking about, Dad. It may shock you to know, but I’ve had my face buried between her luscious legs, and I loved every second of it! It thrilled me to turn her on, to make her cum all over me. I enjoyed licking up every last sweet drop. Am I worthless dyke in your eyes now too?!” Ali shouted back.

Ali watched as her father’s face reddened, his veins in his forehead popping out. She looked around the table at her mom’s slack jaw, at Kyle who was cheering and clapping, at Ashlyn who was blushing furiously in the middle of her coughing jag. Ali widened her focus and noticed all the faces at the surrounding tables that were staring at her, and she felt exposed. Her stomach clenched and she felt ill. They all knew! Every last one of them knew. She felt hot. The world was closing in on her. She was dizzy. She needed air. She needed space. She needed people to stop staring. A look of horror swept over the brunette’s face, and she ran.

Ashlyn bolted out of her chair after Ali, still coughing and trying to catch her breath.

Tobin spotted Ali running towards them, a coughing Ashlyn following close behind.

“Menus up!” Tobin instructed.

All three players opened the menus, sticking their faces in far enough that they wouldn’t be seen as the hurt defenders fled past them. Abby peeked around the edge of the menu and waited until they had left the café.

“Menus down. Let’s go.” Abby ordered.

The three slid out of their booth and started walking towards the Kriegers’ table.

Kyle glared at his father, “Are you happy now? I thought you learned how to be a decent human being when I came out, and all the shit you put me through landed me in rehab. You know what? If I’m wrong, and you are still that same asshole, do your daughter a favor and just stay the hell out of her life. I won’t let you treat her the way you treated me, so fuck off!”

Kyle stood and stormed away from the table. He barely noticed the three players as they passed each other headed in opposite directions.

Abby, Tobin, and Megan made a bee line to intercept the Kriegers before they could pay and leave. Ken was still on his feet, calling for the check when the players arrived at the table.

Deb looked at them and shook her head slightly, “It’s not a very good time, ladies.”

“No, actually it’s the perfect time.” Abby replied, a bit harsher than she had intended.

Chapter Text

“Look, none of us really wants to interfere, but there are some things you ought to know about Ashlyn before you judge her.” Abby quietly stated, the other two nodding in agreement.

“Don’t you tell me what I need to know about that…that…” Ken started getting worked up again.

“What?! Say it again. Say it to my face, say it to theirs. We heard you, sir. We heard that vile name you so carelessly tossed at Ali and Ashlyn. That name that includes all of us!” Abby challenged.

“What do you have against Ash, anyway? She hasn’t done anything but treat your daughter like she deserves.” Tobin chimed in.

“Like she deserves?! Alex deserves someone who will protect her, fight for her, marry her and give her a home. She deserves someone who can make her happy, someone who can make her a mother. Alex deserves a man!” Ken exploded.

“Ashlyn Harris is someone like that. She may not have the swinging parts, but she is someone who fights for those she loves, is very protective, and as far as I can tell, the only one making Ali unhappy is you!” Abby argued back.

Ken scoffed before Abby took a step closer, going toe to toe with the man. His eyes widened with shock as she got within an inch of his face, staring him down. He looked past her to see the other two women with their arms crossed across their chests glaring at him as well. He took a step back and noticed the other patrons around the room who shot him disapproving looks. Then he saw the heartbroken expression on Deb’s face and he faltered.

“You will sit down, and you will listen, sir. Am I clear?!” Abby said in her Captain’s voice that brokered no discussion.

Deb’s gentle hand on his arm short circuited his angry reply, and it died unspoken as Ken quietly sank back into his chair.

“Thank you, Mr. Krieger. Tobes, you have the floor.” Abby turned everyone’s attention to the younger woman on her left.

“I don’t know what you’ve heard, but I know what you saw, and if that’s all you know about Ashlyn…you aren’t being fair to her. Before Ali even liked her, they were put in a room together by Jill. Ali was definitely going through something, and Ashlyn didn’t want her to have a bad camp because she was getting shit for sleep. Ash started camping out on the rooftop of the hotel, sleeping on the hard granulated asphalt so that Ali could get enough rest.” Tobin began, “And it definitely affected her game. So I went and told Ali she better go get her.”

Ken looked at the table, the words forming an image in his head. Deb watched as his expression slowly eased from anger into neutral.

“Little did we know at the time that when I sent Ali up there, she closed the door and they were trapped…” Tobin continued.

“Trapped?! My baby girl was trapped on the roof of that hotel?! Oh my god.” Deb interrupted, her hand coming to rest over her mouth.

“Don’t be so dramatic, Deb. I’m sure that…woman…took out her cell and called for help, being quite the hero.” Ken mocked, his anger returning.

“No. You don’t get to make fun of Ash, considering she risked her life, and injured herself saving Ali’s life.” Abby quickly chastised him as she towered above his seat, her finger pointing menacingly at his face.

Both Ken and Deb looked up at Abby, confusion apparent on their faces. Tobin and Abby exchanged a look, and Tobin nodded at Abby before she stepped back.

“Look, we all know how bad getting stuck in the elevator affected Ali. She runs up and down the stairs now for cryin out loud, just to avoid being in one again. So yeah, she freaked out, big time being locked up on the rooftop. Apparently, sometime after Ash went to sleep, Ali got up and found an old ladder attached to the side of the building…you know, the ones the firemen used to use. Anyhow, she got the brilliant fucking idea that she was just going to climb down and get off the roof by herself.” Abby picked up where Tobin left off.

“Oh my god, my baby girl.” Deb exclaimed, horrified.

Tobin and Pinoe stepped up behind her, and placed a comforting hand on each of her shoulders. Ken stared down at his hands.

Pinoe leaned down and whispered in her ear, “It’s alright Deb Deb, you just saw her so you already know she’s safe, but this is the really good part.”

Pinoe nodded at Abby who cleared her throat, “So Ali only made it about halfway down the side of our fourteen story hotel, when she looked down and got dizzy.”

Deb’s hands flew up and gripped Pinoe and Tobin’s arms tightly, the players softly kneading her shoulders. Fear squeezed her heart, tears forming in her eyes as Deb’s mind pictured her daughter alone and vulnerable in such peril. Ken sat stoically listening, but his head bent further, unable to bring himself to look at his ex-wife.

“Ali screamed for Ashlyn while she desperately tried to hold onto the ladder, her vertigo getting worse. When Ashlyn found her, she didn’t even hesitate. She just climbed out on that ladder after her. Then when she thought Ali was going to fall, that idiot slid down the railing of the ladder, tearing the shit out of her hands…the one thing a keeper needs to make the roster that we don’t, by the way. So once she is behind Ali, she stays behind her and talks her down. Though from what I understand, that ladder was about three or four stories too short. So Ash dropped down first and then caught Ali, making sure your daughter had a safe and soft landing. In the process, she also slightly sprained her right ankle.” Abby finished.

Tears streamed down Deb’s cheeks. She couldn’t even find words for the gratitude she felt towards Ashlyn. Ken didn’t move, his expression remaining the same.

“Yeah, then we all went out dancing and it had been raining all day. I watched Ash sweep Ali up out of the cab and carry her across the flooded parking lot so she didn’t have to get her feet wet. Apparently after we left, some dumb man grabbed her hand and forced her to rub his damned cock against her will. Ashlyn didn’t care the guy was huge, she just decked him. He smashed a beer bottle across her face, giving her that black eye you saw, and started a huge bar brawl. Then Ash used her body to shield your daughter while she figured out a way for them to escape out the back.” Pinoe added, glaring at Ken.

“Ashlyn is now trying to make the roster with a fucked up eye, two not quite healed hands, and a slightly sprained ankle…but she couldn’t possibly fit the requirements you think a person needs to be worthy of Ali, all because she doesn’t have a penis.” Abby finished, crossing her arms.

Deb turned to Ken and wiped the tears from her eyes.

“I don’t want to hear one more negative word come out of your mouth about that lovely woman. Shame on you! Things don’t always go the way you want them to. When will you learn, Ken? How many more people do you have to lose before it sinks in? You aren’t the only one in this family. Alex is a smart, dedicated, hard-working woman, and she is the only one who gets to choose the path her life takes. Not you, not me. Now excuse me, I can’t stand to even look at you right now.” Deb spat out at her ex-husband before turning her attention to the women who stood behind her, “Will you three be dears and take me to Alex’s room please? I have a hug to give my daughter’s new girlfriend.”

Chapter Text

Ashlyn tried to keep up with Ali as she burst from the café. She cursed her decision to be a goalkeeper as the top level defender used her explosive power to surge across the street and into the entrance to the park. The blonde tried to kick it into a higher gear, but found her speed already maxed out. She would just have to trust her instincts to find her tormented girlfriend.

As she rounded a bush along the path, Ashlyn found Ali crumpled on the bench in the park where she had held the young girl in her lap during their first date. Ali heard footsteps approach and she lifted her face from her hands to see the only thing in the world she wanted.

“Ash.” Ali’s tiny broken voice begged, needing the blonde’s arms to hold her together.

Ashlyn quickly sank down beside her, her heart breaking at the sight of Ali’s tear stained cheeks. When Ashlyn wrapped her arms around the brunette, Ali found the strength to shatter in them. Her whole body shook as Ali’s sobs cleansed pain from her soul.

“It’s ok, I’ve got you. I’m right here, and I’ve got you no matter what happens.” Ashlyn murmured, kissing the top of Ali’s head, “You take all the time you need. I’m not going anywhere, Alex. Let it all go.”

Ashlyn gently rocked her distraught girlfriend, allowing her the time to cry…the time to grieve. Ashlyn shielded Ali’s face from passersby, leaving her dignity intact. She nuzzled into Ashlyn’s chest, and clung to the blonde like a lifeline. Ashlyn’s steady heartbeat, her scent, the safety of her arms and the tender love filled kisses on the top of her head finally started to heal the space in Ali’s soul that had been wrecked from the pain her father had caused. Slowly Ali’s tears subsided.

“You ready to go back now?” Ashlyn quietly asked when she felt her girlfriend had cried herself out.

Ali nodded her head against Ashlyn’s chest.

“Wait, did you just rub your snot all over my chest?” Ashlyn gently teased.

Ali cracked a slight smile through the last of her tears, “Maybe.”

“Maybe?! Well, I don’t think being covered in your boogies is in the girlfriend contract. You will just have to take them back.” The blonde playfully huffed.

“Oh no, it’s definitely in the girlfriend contract. Didn’t you see the ‘I get to use you as my Kleenex anytime I need’ rider? It’s not my fault you don’t read the fine print, Harris.” Ali replied, still a melancholy undertone to her voice.

Ashlyn tucked a strand of Ali’s hair behind her ear and leaned down until their lips met in a tender kiss. Ali snaked her arms around Ashlyn’s neck, drawing her closer as their lips slowly moved against one another, conveying their feelings without words. A throat clearing caused them to jump. Ali looked up and saw Kyle standing there, looking down at his shoes.

“I finally found you...” Kyle mumbled.

“No. Go away. I have nothing to say to you.” Ali shut him down.

Ashlyn leaned down and spoke quietly in Ali’s ear, “It’s ok to be hurt and angry, but you need to talk to him. I know it’s a hard conversation to have, but at least hear what he has to say, and give yourself the respect of telling him how you feel about his actions. Aaaaand, if he isn’t nice, you just say the word and I’ll punch him. What do you want, a black eye…busted lip…busted balls? Whatever you want. Is it a deal?”

Ali blew out a breath. What she wanted was a nice quiet hotel room, room service, and to watch a movie cuddling with her girlfriend. Her eyes narrowed at her brother.

“Fine, but I want you to stay please, Ash.” Ali relented.

“As you wish, Princess, as you wish.” Ashlyn winked, “Ow.”

“Serves you right, dork.” Ali giggled at the reference to the Princess Bride movie that she, Ashlyn, Kelley, and Hope had discussed one day during their ice bath after practice. The blonde seeming to always know when a joke would ease her tension.

Ashlyn made room for Kyle to sit with them on the bench.

“Look, you seem like a decent guy and all, but you better be nice because one word from the Princess here, and I will end you. Nothing personal.” Ashlyn stated with a grin that Kyle didn’t know quite how to read.

Kyle finally nodded. It was much safer to just assume the muscular woman meant it. He looked at his sister’s red swollen eyes and felt a big pang of guilt.

“I’m so very sorry, Alex. I thought that after I came out, Dad worked through all of his ‘issues.’ I didn’t mean to escalate things. I was just trying to tease you guys because you two are damned adorable together…I mean ah…door…ah…ble! When did all this happen, and why didn’t you tell me?! I was kinda hurt that you hadn’t told me beforehand, but I’d never do anything to intentionally hurt you. I hope you know that.” Kyle explained.

Ali looked at the regret housed in his eyes and felt the love behind his heartfelt words. She took a few seconds to collect her thoughts before responding.

“Well first of all, we just started dating, so I hadn’t had a chance to tell you yet. I had planned on it after camp was over. You guys just showed up unannounced and surprised me…” Ali began.

“You were surprised?! Imagine the surprise we got when this one opened the door half naked and you were back there trying to dive under the covers! I’m going to need decades of therapy to get that image out of my head!” Kyle interrupted, his flamboyant personality coming out.

“You want me to deck him, Princess?” Ashlyn interjected while Kyle hid behind Ali’s shoulder.

“Not yet.” Ali grinned at her brother and girlfriend playfully bonding, “Secondly, You know I love you, Kyle, but Jesus H Christ, did you have to say ‘boning my sister’ in the middle of a crowded restaurant?! I literally wanted to crawl under a rock, plus it put that picture back in Dad’s brain. I saw it flash in his eyes. That was definitely not helpful.” Ali reprimanded.

Kyle couldn’t take the weight of his sister’s stare, so he watched a couple of ducks swimming on the lake.

“I’m sorry, Alex. I truly am. If it makes you feel any better, I told Dad I wasn’t going to let him treat you like he did me when I came out, and to fuck off.” Kyle admitted.

Ali’s eyes widened. She slapped Kyle’s arm, “Shut up! You did not.”

“Ask Mom.” Kyle replied, a smug smirk on his face.

“Oh crap, Mom. Have you seen her since brunch?” Ali asked.

“No. I’ve been looking for you. I bet she is over at the hotel waiting for you, or in her room.” Kyle reasoned.

Ali took her cell phone out of her pocket. It still had a little battery life left, so she took a deep breath and reached out to her mom.

“Hi mom…Yes, I’m fine. Ashlyn has been with me the whole afternoon, and Kyle is here now too. Mom….Mom….MOM! It’s ok, Mom. We are on our way back to the room. I’d love to have dinner with you and Kyle, but let’s just order room service and eat in, ok? Love you too.” Ali talked while the three of them made their way towards the hotel.

**

Deb was waiting in the lobby for the trio, and as soon as they got through the door, she was hurrying over to them.

She pulled Ali into a big hug, tears falling down her cheeks once more, “My baby girl, I am so, so sorry for what your father put you and your girlfriend through today.”

“It’s not your wrong to apologize for, Mom.” Ali replied, trying to step out of the body crushing hug her mother had her trapped in, “I’m sorry I had you worried. I…I just had to get out of there, away from Dad and all those people staring.”

Deb finally released Ali and turned toward Ashlyn. She had her body crushed up against the blonde in an awkward embrace before Ashlyn realized what had happened, “And you. Thank you for taking such good care of my baby girl. I feel better knowing she is in your capable hands.”

Ashlyn finally wrapped her arms around Deb to return the hug, looking over the woman’s shoulder mouthing ‘What the.’ Ali shrugged back.

“Not that I want to rush you or anything, but I’d like to get back to my room, Mom. I really don’t want to chance seeing Dad right now. I love him, but right now I don’t like him very much.” Ali commented.

“You don’t have to worry. I put him in a cab to the airport two hours ago. He wanted me to give you a message, so if and when you want to hear it, just ask me.” Deb replied, falling in step with her children.

“Good. I really don’t care what he had to say right now.” Ali replied a bit tersely, and Deb nodded.

Ashlyn worked her way between the two Krieger women and offered both her arms. Ali smiled at her mom as both women slipped an arm around one of Ashlyn’s, and she escorted them towards the stairs.

“Suck up!” Kyle teased from behind the three.

**

After a pleasant dinner Kyle asked Ashlyn to take a walk with him to give his sister and mom a chance to talk through what had happened earlier. After they had left, Deb sat on the edge of the bed and had Ali sit on the floor between her legs while she brushed her hair out. It was one of the few remaining mother/daughter bonding activities that Ali still allowed, but it never failed to make the defender feel loved and pampered. Ali’s stress seemed to lessen with each brush stroke. When she closed her eyes, it was almost as if the brunette was ten years old again, sitting in front of her mom in their living room while the news was playing on the tv in front of them.

“I will never defend what your father did today, but I do have something I need you to think about…” Deb started, never letting the brush miss a stroke.

Ali remained silent. She wasn’t sure she wanted to hear this, but she wouldn’t deny her mother the opportunity to speak after how well she had treated Ashlyn from the get go.

“You know when a child is born, parents start creating dreams for them. How smart they will be, how attractive. When they will find the cure for cancer, and so on and so forth. Your father was a complete ass today, but he was also trying to deal with the death of his dreams for you. He always dreamed you’d marry a man who graduated from an Ivy League medical school, or law school and live in a big house full of lots of children that look just like you. I don’t think he meant what he said about Ashlyn today, but he was hurt, and lashed out.” Deb continued.

“But Mom…” Ali interrupted.

Deb lightly tapped Ali’s shoulder with the flat back of the brush, “Hush, I’m not finished yet. I’m not saying you have to forgive him, which will be your choice to make. I’m just saying consider it from his point of view. You were his straight little innocent Princess when he knocked on the door, who became a sexually active adult lesbian in the span of a heartbeat when the door opened…remember when you were twelve and you didn’t knock before throwing our bedroom door open?”

“Eww…MOM!” Ali’s face scrunched up at the horrifying memory.

“Exactly.” Deb winked, “Now, why don’t you tell me about the first time you met, Ashlyn?” Deb expertly changed the subject to something much more pleasant.

“Honestly? We crashed into each other in the locker room doorway. I nearly fell, and she caught me. I looked up, and she took my breath away. There was something about her eyes. I felt like I could get lost in them for the rest of my life…and that scared the shit out of me, so I spent the next week literally trying to hate her and running away from her. Failing miserably at both.” Ali recalled, and they both laughed.

Chapter Text

Ashlyn’s cell phone buzzed with a text alert. She pushed the button and read the message as her taxi navigated rush hour traffic.

- Where are you, Stud?! We are almost to the airport.

Ali glanced down at her phone, willing the text to come through. She looked up at her Mom and Kyle sighing. She certainly hoped her girlfriend would make it to the airport in time to see her family off. It had irked her when Ashlyn had told her that she would be meeting them at the airport because of all the days in the week, she had picked this one to run errands. Finally Ali’s phone dinged. She quickly swiped the lock free and tapped the text button.

- I’m here! Standing next to the Delta curbside check-in. You worry too much, Princess.

A few minutes later, the limo pulled up. Ashlyn hurried over and beat the driver to the door, offering a hand to help first Ali, and then her mom, out of the car. Kyle crossed his arms over his chest and shot Ashlyn a sassy look.

“Aren’t you forgetting someone, Suck Up? Ali may be a Princess, but I’m a QUEEN!” Kyle teased.

Ashlyn chuckled and held out her hand again, Kyle taking it and dramatically exiting the vehicle. The driver handed the bags off to the skycap and waited to take Ali and Ashlyn back to the practice facility. Deb drew Ali into a warm hug, kissing her cheek. “I think Ashlyn is delightful. She is welcome in my home anytime you two want to come visit me.” Deb quietly informed her daughter.

Ali’s eyes misted over as she pulled back from the hug, a grateful smile on her face, “Thanks Mom. Means a lot to me.”

Deb turned and held out her arms to Ashlyn, who didn’t hesitate to move in and fill them. Ashlyn held Deb close in a tight embrace, and Deb kissed Ashlyn’s cheek. “It was so nice to meet you. Come over anytime.”

As they broke from the hug, Ashlyn motioned a skycap over. She slipped him a nice tip and he handed her a bouquet and small box he was holding for her. Ali beamed at her thoughtful girlfriend as she handed her mother a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers and baby’s breath surrounding one single pink rose. It was wrapped in a French country flair of plain brown paper held together with a piece of twine. Ashlyn flashed Deb a big dimple-bearing grin, “Thank you for raising such an amazing daughter. It was an honor to meet you.”

Deb’s face broke into a wide warm smile. She couldn’t even remember a single man Ali had dated who had given her flowers.

“Don’t lose this one, Ali. So charming.” Deb gushed, bringing the flowers to her face and inhaling their fragrance.

Ashlyn extended the box to a pouting Kyle. His face broke out into a megawatt smile, “For meeeeee?”

Kyle ripped open the box and held up a medium sized lollipop in the shape of a penis.

“Ooooh! A penis pop! Best girlfriend you ever had!” Kyle enthused before he started licking from the balls up the shaft to the head.

“Only girlfriend I ever had, Kyle.” Ali laughed at her brother’s antics, and her mom trying to hide her face from the sight of her son sticking a candy penis in and out of his mouth.

“Only girlfriend you will ever need.” Ashlyn chimed in, standing behind Ali and wrapping her arms around her waist.

The driver got Ashlyn’s attention and pointed to his wrist.

“We gotta get going if we are going to make it to practice on time. I know somebody who is a big cranky pants if she is late, and will have to run a bazillion stairs instead of what I have planned for her this evening.” Ashlyn prompted.

Ali’s eyes widened, her tongue quickly swiping over her lips in anticipation, “Well, have a safe trip guys, we gotta go!”

Ali waved to her family as they parted ways, and hurried over to the limo. She ducked inside and quickly grabbed Ashlyn’s shirt, pulling the blonde in after her.

“Fancy.” Ashlyn remarked, having never been near the inside of a limo before.

“Watch this.” Ali stated as she grabbed the phone, “Yes, can you please ring us when we are about five minutes out from the stadium? Thank you.”

As soon as Ali hung up the receiver, she switched on the stereo and raised the privacy wall between the driver and the back. Ashlyn started playing with buttons, turning on running lights, recessed party lights of all different colors, and raising a flatscreen tv from the wood grain deck. Suddenly a nude Ali straddled her surprised girlfriend.

“Are you going to waste the next twenty to thirty minutes playing with those buttons when you could be playing with mine?” the brunette purred.

A lascivious grin spread across the blonde’s face, “Hell no!”

“Good answer.” Ali responded as she grabbed Ashlyn’s right hand and cupped it to her already soaking folds, “See what you do to me?”

“God, Alex. So wet for me.” Ashlyn moaned at the feeling of Ali guiding her fingers through the sensual brunette’s silky wetness.

“Seeing you treat my family like that, big turn on, Harris.” Ali replied as she set a slow deliberate pace to her hips grinding against Ashlyn’s fingers, her breath hitching when Ashlyn pressed two deep inside.

Ali leaned down and crashed their lips together in a passionate hungry kiss, sucking Ashlyn’s bottom lip between her teeth and gently nipping before she broke the kiss entirely, “Big. Turn. On.”

Ashlyn smirked as she reached over and turned up the volume on the stereo. Ali’s hips picked up the pace as their time was limited, riding her girlfriend hard. The city blurred past them as Ali raced toward her climax. The blonde curled her fingers and started pressing her thumb in circles over Ali’s sensitized clit, soon she felt the brunette’s walls clenching her fingers. Ashlyn watched enthralled as Ali’s eyes screwed shut, head lolled back, silky chocolate colored hair cascading down her back and over her shoulders, mouth open with her name being moaned across those luscious lips, and slightly bouncing breasts arching towards her, pink nipples rock hard begging to be sucked. Nothing was quite as beautiful as Alexandra Blaire Krieger in mid-orgasm.

Before Ali could catch her breath, Ashlyn picked her up and gently set her on the seat, sinking down on her knees in front of the brunette. She kissed her girlfriend, and made her way down her body, nipping and licking across her breasts and abdomen. Ashlyn reached under Ali’s ass and pulled her forward until she could reach her sweet prize.

“Damn you taste so good, baby.” Ashlyn mumbled against Ali’s wet entrance.

Ali reached down and pulled Ashlyn’s face impossibly closer. She loved the sight of the blonde between her legs, that hot hard tongue pleasuring her, the look of pure ecstasy on Ashlyn’s face only driving her passion higher.

“I want to taste you too. Now.” Ali demanded.

Ashlyn slipped a hand inside her own shorts, past her boxers and through her wet folds. She dipped a couple of fingers inside herself, collecting the passion pooled there. As she continued to feast, she offered her fingers to her girlfriend. Ali hungrily sucked the blonde’s fingers into her mouth, licking them clean before a loud moan escaped her throat. Ashlyn was rewarded with another wave of passion from the brunette, which she greedily lapped up. The ringing of the phone ripped them out of their haze, and Ali answered, a bit breathless.

“Thank you. Can you please circle the stadium once before we stop? Thank you, sir.” Ali requested.

As soon as she hung up the phone, Ashlyn pulled her into a languid kiss.

“God you are amazing, Alex. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of your surprises.” The blonde confessed, her eyes closing as they both caught their breath.

Ali giggled, “It’s your own fault. You had to be so damned charming I couldn’t wait until this evening…plus we had this big ole limo all to ourselves, it seemed like a waste if we didn’t christen it.”

Ashlyn’s eyes flew open as she felt Ali’s hand slip into her boxers. Two fingers circling her entrance and slipping inside.

“Fuck Alex!” Ashlyn moaned.

Ali pumped quickly a few times before she withdrew. Ashlyn groaned at the loss of contact. She opened her eyes and watched Ali slowly lick her glistening passion off the slender digits.

“Wouldn’t want you to forget me during practice, Stud.” Ali sensuously purred.

“You are cruel, Princess.” Ashlyn teased, breathless.

As the limo circled the stadium for the last time, Ashlyn searched through her soccer bag until she found her pocket pack wet wipes and helped Ali clean up, before she used a few to freshen up herself. Then she placed a Listerine breath strip on her tongue and kissed Ali deeply, the strip bathing their mouths together as their tongues danced.

“You seriously think of everything don’t you, Stud?” Ali remarked as she quickly dressed.

“Always be prepared. The boy scouts taught me that.” Ashlyn replied, stuffing her ‘necessities’ back into her soccer bag.

Once the limo stopped, Ashlyn stepped out and helped Ali stand on still shaky legs. The goalkeeper smirked.

“Better get your legs back quick, I don’t know what you will tell Jill if she asks you what’s wrong.” Ashlyn teased.

“Seriously, how does your head fit through doors?” Ali teased back as they hurried past security into the stadium’s concourse.

**

Ali picked the ball off Syd’s foot and surged up the field, passing the ball off to Rampone before slipping behind Chulupny to take a pass back along the outside of the box, and sending a perfect cross to Wambach whose header found the back of the net past a pissed off diving Solo. Ashlyn grinned and shook her head along the sidelines where she was preparing for diving drills, apparently sex before practice made her little defender even better. Ali pranced back down the field, and shot Ashlyn a gorgeous smile as she passed her. Practice was nearly over and Ali just kept getting better.

Ali joined Ashlyn on the grass along the sidelines after practice was over and stretched her aching muscles. Their coaches and teammates all headed for the locker room, offices, and training room.

“Don’t do anything I would!” Pinoe called out teasingly as she jogged past, the last person besides the two of them to leave.

Ali lay on her back and Ashlyn put the defender’s leg up against her shoulder, wrapping her arms around her girlfriend’s thick muscular thigh. She leaned over Ali’s body to give the brunette’s leg a good thirty second stretch before she allowed the muscle to relax a bit. Ashlyn smiled down at Ali as she leaned in again, a bit further for the next thirty seconds.

“You are so damned gorgeous, Alex.” Ashlyn stated.

“I’m covered in sweat, dirt, and grass, and my bun is all messy now. You need to get your eyes examined, Stud.” Ali laughed off the compliment.

“Just how I like my women…feisty footballers.” Ashlyn replied, seriously.

“Oh, so your type has always been sporty princesses?” Ali sincerely asked.

“Nope, none of my other girlfriends played sports, but after you, my type has definitely changed! You set the bar pretty high there, Krieger.” Ashlyn confided as she switched legs to stretch.

“What are we going to do after camp, Ash? I mean, we only have one more day…then what? Am I going to lose you?” Ali gave voice to her fears.

“No! Of course not. We will figure it out, Princess. I can fly to visit you, you can come see me. We can have skype or facetime dates. Whatever it takes. I will fight for you…for us.” Ashlyn stated confidently.

Ali’s eyes misted up and she reached up, Ashlyn reaching a hand down to meet hers. They clasped palms fingers twining, “I’ll fight for you too.”

Ali noticed Ashlyn grimace slightly and roll her shoulder as she pulled her arm back.

“You sore?” Ali gently inquired, knowing how badly her keeper hated to show weakness.

“Yeah. I got pretty beat up today diving.” Ashlyn admitted, which made Ali even more concerned.

“Why don’t you wait here and I’ll go bring you back a bag of ice and flexi wrap. I’ll help you wrap your shoulder and then we can finish picking up all the balls for coach.” Ali offered to share Ashlyn’s latest after practice voluntary job to prove her desire to make the team.

“How did I get so lucky?” Ashlyn wondered aloud.

“Be right back.” Ali winked and sprinted off to the training room.

**

Ali filled a Cramer bag full of ice and then opened the door to the small supply office off the training room to get a flexi wrap roller from the cabinet. She stood in the doorway, her jaw dropped at the sight in front of her. Hope Solo sat wearing only her socks and cleats on the countertop with Kelley O’Hara’s face between her legs. Hope looked up with lust darkened eyes.

“Hi Krieger. Need something?” Hope asked.

Kelley started to turn her head, startled, but Hope pulled her face back to her task, “Focus, Kel. It’s all about focus. Wave with your left hand over your shoulder to Kriegy if you want.”

Kelley’s tongue found its spot on her clit again, and she continued to feast as her fingers plunged in and out of her girlfriend. She quickly waved over her shoulder with her unoccupied left hand to Ali.

“Mm, that’s the spot. Good girl. Good focus.” Hope praised, then looked back up at Ali expectantly.

Ali could feel a blush spreading from her neck all the way up her face, and she couldn’t deny that the sight of Hope Solo getting tongue fucked by her friend Kelley didn’t also make her a little wet, which she was pretty sure also made her a creeper.

“What…why…” Ali stammered.

“We both have roommates and camp is almost over.” Hope shrugged, like it was self-explanatory, “Ali, I’m going to cum soon, whether or not you are in the room…harder babe…so, what did you need?” Hope prompted.

“Uh, Ash needs a flexi wrap roller.” Ali finally found her voice.

Hope reached up over her shoulder into the cabinet and felt around until her hand found the roller. She casually tossed it over to Ali who bobbled it. She quickly scooped it up off the floor.

“Oh right there Kel…damn…harder…good girl. FUCK YES KELLEY!” Hope moaned, her hand behind Kelley’s head, holding her girlfriend’s face exactly where she wanted it.

Ali fled the room with the sound of Hope’s orgasmic moans chasing her into the hallway.

**

Ali sprinted back onto the pitch, muttering the whole way, “Oh my god…oh my god…oh my god…”

Ashlyn looked up and saw the rattled expression on Ali’s face and ran towards her. When she reached her defender, Ashlyn put her hands on the outside of Ali’s shoulders, and dipped her head so they were eye level with each other, “What’s wrong?!”

“I just walked in on Hope and Kelley fucking in the training room!” Ali blurted, embarrassed.

Ashlyn shook her head, “Yeah, I caught them a couple of times earlier this week, I’d thought they would have found a new spot by now.”

Ali narrowed her eyes at Ashlyn, “You caught them and you didn’t warn me?!”

“I hadn’t seen them in there for a few days. I really thought they had found a new place for their sexual rendezvous.” Ashlyn explained as Ali began wrapping the ice onto her shoulder.

“I know about Abby and Sarah, Pinoe, and now Hope and Kelley. Are there any other couples or lesbians I don’t know about on the team?” Ali asked, blown away that she didn’t know these women…these extended members of her family…as much as she thought she had.

“Uh, Tobes and Baby Horse.” Ashlyn replied.

“No way! Seriously?! Why didn’t I ever know?” Ali wondered aloud as they started gathering balls.

“It’s not something most people go around announcing. Pretty easy to miss when they are on the DL.” Ashlyn shrugged.

“Damn, I feel like a school girl again. I have so much to learn.” Ali joked.

“Good thing you have such a great teacher, then.” Ashlyn smirked.

Chapter Text

It was their last night together, this camp was officially over. No matter how badly they wanted time to stop…to freeze them in this perfect moment…it wasn’t going to last. Nothing could prevent the sun from rising in a few hours, and they would have to board separate planes to separate destinations with thousands of miles between them. Ali nuzzled further into Ashlyn’s neck, she fit so perfectly against the blonde, and always felt so loved and safe with those strong arms wrapped around her. Ashlyn drew her tighter against her body, both of them taking comfort in the feel of each other’s flesh resting against their own…no barriers…no walls…just two raw vulnerable souls wrapped around each other.

Ali bit her lower lip. She didn’t want to break the silence with her tears. She didn’t want to show her girlfriend how weak she truly was…lying here in her arms…a place she didn’t want to ever leave…but when she felt Ashlyn place a tender kiss against her head, her dam broke. Ali’s tears slid down her cheeks, and onto Ashlyn’s chest.

Ashlyn tipped Ali’s face up and tenderly kissed her tear stained cheeks, her eyes, and her mouth. Ashlyn swallowed Ali’s sobs in a slow gentle kiss that conveyed her feelings for the brunette in her arms. She didn’t speak words…words were fleeting…words were unnecessary…words could be spoken in haste…actions spoke louder than words could ever speak. Ashlyn let her lips…her tongue…her hands speak for her, writing a tender love letter across Ali’s flesh. Ali’s body returning that letter with one of its own as her flesh erupted in goose bumps, screaming out how much Ali wanted…needed…and appreciated the blonde.

They shared each other in those final hours of darkness in a way they hadn’t before. Slowly…tenderly…wordlessly…perfectly. Each baring the deepest parts of themselves…revealing their souls in layers…each deeper than the last…peeling away under tender ministrations…gentle explorations…and unconditional acceptance. In the end, as the dawn finally chased away the last remnants of darkness, Ashlyn kissed Ali with one lasting message that was inescapably understood…This isn’t goodbye.

Chapter Text

Ali turned up the collar of her pearl pea coat. Frankfurt was colder than she remembered. In fact, everything was colder than she remembered since leaving the warmth of Ashlyn’s arms a month ago. Sure she could put on a brave front, and smile for her teammates, smile for the cameras, even smile for her mom…but the smile never really reached her eyes. Ashlyn saw it every night before Ali went to sleep as she lay in bed with their Iphones on facetime, which is why the keeper started sending her big stuffed sharks, turtles, sea lions, penguins, and various assorted fish for her to cuddle with, in her stead. Ali loved getting a new stuffed animal in the mail because she swore Ashlyn had to have slept with it for a week; it always brought her girlfriend’s unique scent back into her bed, but that scent faded much too quickly.

As Ali climbed the stairs to her flat, she wished that Ashlyn could have gotten some time off to come watch her play in the Champions league finals. Her mom and Kyle were coming, but she knew it would do little to boost her spirits. All she wanted was a kiss. One kiss. One hug. Just to be able to touch Ashlyn again…to make her real again. It seemed as if her girlfriend were just a concept now…a picture on her phone. She needed flesh and bone Ashlyn.

**

Ashlyn finished up her morning weight training session and sat on the bench to catch her breath. She wiped sweat off her face as she looked up at the poster hanging above the weight rack…her gorgeous girlfriend changing direction to get to a loose ball, eyes focused on her prize, with a quote that reminds Ashlyn why they are still apart after a month that seemed more like an eternity. ‘You can only control two things in your life: Your Attitude and Your Work Ethic.’ Damn the latter, which was what it boiled down to…sacrificing time together because there was always one more game, one more tournament to prepare for…one more goal to achieve…and for the keeper, chasing down a legend.

Ashlyn stood and walked to the locker room. She opened the door to her locker, kissed her fingers, and placed the kiss on the picture of Ali she had taped there. She remembered the day she opened the first package from her girlfriend, and the pictures had slipped out. The one she chose for her locker was of Ali dressed to kill, looking like a runway model, holding up a ticket to Frankfurt while blowing a kiss to the camera. The brunette had used a sharpie to write her a message across the bottom, ‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. Embrace the challenge, it makes us stronger.’ She had been careful not to disturb the lipstick kiss mark Ali had left her under the phrase. It both strengthened her, and broke her heart a bit every day. She started packing her bag to go home as the memories of their last morning at camp came flooding back.

Ashlyn had picked that dress out for Ali to wear. She had wanted to see Ali in it so badly all through camp, and she was not disappointed in how gorgeous her woman filled it out. If she closed her eyes, Ashlyn could almost still feel the material bunched up at Ali’s waist as she pinned the brunette against the wall in the stairwell…when passion had proved too much on their way down to the taxi for her to resist being two fingers deep one last time. Ashlyn’s eyes opened. She winged her roll of athletic tape into her locker, and it ricocheted loudly off the back wall, skittering to a stop a few feet away from her.

God, she missed Ali. She missed the way her hair smelled after a shower as they cuddled, the way her nose crinkled as she laughed…her voice that of an angel. She missed how intelligent Ali was, and how they would ‘solve the world’s problems’ in each other’s arms every night before sleep would claim them. She missed how waking with Ali in her arms would take her breath away. She missed the weight of Ali’s hand on her arm as she escorted her girlfriend down the street…the warmth that simple touch generated. She missed watching her defender eat two eggs, yogurt, and banana every morning like clockwork. She missed how Ali would hog the sink in the bathroom putting on her make-up before practice. Ashlyn groaned and rubbed her face frustrated…she even missed the way Ali smelled all covered in sweat. She was pretty sure she wasn’t supposed to miss the feisty brunette this badly after only knowing the woman for ten weeks, but it felt like she had known her for an eternity. It felt like her heart had been ripped out of her chest and had flown off to Germany with her girlfriend, leaving her constantly aching…constantly needing…constantly craving.

**

Ali placed a smile back on her face as she saw her mom and Kyle waiting by her door to her flat. Kyle started waving frantically.

“Hey sis! About time, I thought we were going to freeze to death before you got here. I would have knocked, but I was afraid some half-naked blonde woman would answer.” Kyle made a disgusted face.

‘I wish.’ Ali mumbled under her breath as her mother drew her into a big hug, Kyle wrapping his arms around the pair to make an Ali sandwich. The defender grimaced. Her avenue of escape had been cut off. It’s not that Ali disliked hugging her family, it’s just that they always wanted to hold on too long…to the point of awkward as far as she was concerned.

“So, ready to go inside? I thought you two were freezing.” Ali asked, already trying to pull away.

Kyle squeezed harder, knowing his sister hated these long drawn out hugs. Deb laughed at the look of utter horror on Ali’s face.

“Stop torturing your sister, Kyle.” Deb playfully chastised her son as she finally released her daughter and took a step back.

Once Ali was free from all the sappy hugging, she pulled out her keys and opened the door. Deb and Kyle sat on the couch while Ali pushed the button, igniting the gas fireplace, and adjusted the flames to help chase the cold Frankfurt evening from their bones. She deposited her stuff on the small table in the hall and continued into the kitchen. While her family got comfy in her living room, Ali sliced some cheese and smoked meats she had picked up at the deli earlier.

Ali squeaked as she heard her cell phone chime the facetime alert, running to answer it. She rounded the corner and saw her brother holding her phone up so both he and their mom would be visible.

“Hi Princ…oh! Hey Deb, Kyle.” Ali’s favorite voice called out.

Deb noticed how much Ali’s face had lit up, and she smiled at the blonde, “Hi Ashlyn. So good to see you again, although I wish it had been here in person. Maybe my daughter wouldn’t be so mopey.”

“MOM! I am not mopey.” Ali protested, trying to get her phone away from her brother who was having way too much fun playing keep away.

“Don’t lie! You were all ‘oh I wish I had a naked blonde to answer my door’ earlier!” Kyle playfully mocked his sister.

“Kyle I swear, if you don’t give me my phone right now, I’m going to use your balls for pk practice.” Ali threatened, glaring at him with a dangerous look as she backed him up into a corner, the phone high above his head.

“So violent. Here, go have phone sex with your woman maybe that will calm your savage beastie.” Kyle relented as he handed the phone to his sister.

Finally Ali got to see her favorite dimpled face smiling back at her. She ran to her room and shut the door, flopping down on her bed, cradling the phone.

“Hi Princess, is this a bad time?” Ashlyn asked, not sure how long her family had been there.

“No! I mean, I can’t talk all night like I’d like to, but I miss you…and I’m not hanging up until I spend some quality time with my Stud.” Ali replied.

“I miss you too. So, are you ready for the finals? How are you guys looking?” Ashlyn asked.

“We look good, real good…what do you think?” Ali dropped her voice, a sultry edge to it as she slowly lifted her sweater, revealing herself inch by aching inch.

“Oh god, Alex. You are so mean...sexy as hell, but meeeeeeean, woman!” Ashlyn playfully groused, trying not to let her desire rise too far, knowing that her girlfriend’s family was in the other room.

Ali giggled, and let her sweater drop, covering her again. “Just reminding you what you are missing out on over there.”

“Trust me, I see your smile, your eyes, and your luscious body every night in my dreams.” Ashlyn confessed, her voice thick with raw emotion.

“God I want to kiss you so bad right now! Why do you have to be on the other side of the stupid Atlantic ocean?!” Ali blurted out her truth.

“Trust me babe, I feel the same way.” Ashlyn commiserated.

A quiet tapping on Ali’s door interrupted their pity-fest. Ashlyn brought her fingers to her lips and touched the screen, Ali doing the same, their kisses melding together in cyberspace.

“You better get going. Your family wants to spend some time with you. Good luck in the finals…remember I’m right behind you every step of the way!” Ashlyn remarked.

“Ash!” Ali cried out to stop Ashlyn from disconnecting, and Ashlyn paused, “I…I lo…ugh!”

Kyle crashed on top of Ali, cutting off her sentence.

“Hi Ashy!” Kyle sing-songed to Ashlyn before turning to his sister, “Mom says she isn’t getting any younger and wants to know if we are going to eat before she is dead.”

“Go feed your family, Princess. We’ll talk later. Bye everyone!” Ashlyn called out before she disconnected.

Ali wanted to throttle her brother. He had to have the absolute worst timing in the world. He probably planned it that way. She sighed, smacked him on the shoulder for good measure, and rolled off her bed. Maybe she could get a week or two off after the finals she thought as she ran towards the kitchen, Kyle chasing her.

**

Ali sprinted down the right sideline trying to beat her opponent to the loose ball. She was one step too slow, and they collided, landing in a tangle of limbs. The whistle blew, and she slowly picked herself up, extending a hand to the woman she had knocked over. She pulled the forward to her feet before jogging off to find her player to mark for the free kick the ref had granted just inside the corner mark.

As the cross came in, Ali leaped up, trying to head the ball away from the goal. She instantly felt the pain in her head, neck, and upper back from the head to head collision. As her body crumpled to the ground, she watched in horror as the ball sailed past Nadine into the back of the net. She was playing like shit, and now they were down a goal with seconds left in the first half. Ali closed her eyes and wished like hell when she opened them it would be Ashlyn behind her in the goal. Ashlyn who rushed out to check on her, and stop the flow of blood she felt gushing down her face to feed the grass of the pitch.

‘Daddy, how do they get the grass so green?’ she had asked him in awe of seeing her first soccer pitch. Her father looked down at his eager seven year old daughter before responding, ‘With the blood, sweat, and tears of all the players. It’s the offering you must pay to the pitch for allowing you to be great…for allowing your dreams to come true.’

Ali opened her eyes, but it was Nadine in goal…it was the trainers who cradled her head...and she felt tears of frustration seep onto her cheeks. Ashlyn said she would be right behind her, but where was she now?! Ali was helped to the sideline where the trainers gave her a quick concussion test which she passed, cleaned her head gash, and used skin glue to stop her head from bleeding. By that time, the half had ended. The wounded defender walked towards the tunnel, needing to be away from a hundred thousand screaming fans so she could collect her thoughts. As she made it to the opening of the tunnel, it was lined by fans screaming her name…trying to get her attention…wanting to make contact. “Ali!” “Ali” “Krieger!” “Ich liebe dich, Ali!” “ALEX!”

Ali’s head whipped around. Her face broke into a wide smile, tears began to fall down her cheeks as she sprinted over to the ten foot tall wall. She couldn’t believe it…the pitch had taken her blood offering and granted her wish…Ashlyn stood there, grinning down at her wearing the FFC Frankfurt Krieger jersey she had sent her. Ali frantically motioned with her hands for Ashlyn to come down to her. Never one for following the rules anyway, Ashlyn didn't even hesitate before she put one hand on the rail and swung her body over, dropping onto the field not far away from one very joyous right back.

Ali grabbed Ashlyn’s hand and ran off into the tunnel, practically dragging the blonde away from a hundred thousand prying eyes. As soon as they rounded the corner, Ali leapt into Ashlyn’s arms, wrapping her legs around her girlfriend’s waist, and crashed their lips together. She was real…Ashlyn was real…Ashlyn was flesh and bone, and her tongue was sensuously dancing inside Ali’s mouth. Nothing was going to stop Ali from securing the victory for her team now! Not when she felt this alive.

Chapter Text

Ali deftly poked the ball away from the forward who dared to cross into her territory. Nobody was going to be getting a shot on goal this half...nobody! She spun around the woman and picked up the ball on the other side of her. Using her explosive power, Ali surged ahead with the ball at her feet, leaving the stunned player to try and catch up. She saw her opposing left back sprinting toward her, on a course to intercept her outside of the box. Just as it seemed her path to the goal was denied, Ali stopped short, and flicked the ball with the back of her heel. The ball skittered away from the defender, picked up by her forward, Bettina, who was instantly double teamed. Ali saw the ball coming out wide in front of her on a give and go pass, and she exploded past the defense. The goalie was coming toward her to cut off her angle of attack, but Ali thought about the blonde sitting on the sidelines with her team, and blasted the ball off her foot. It sailed over the the outstretched arms of the leaping keeper to bend into the upper third near post. She had personally made up for her earlier mistakes, tying the match.

Ali sprinted to the sideline, there was only one person she wanted to celebrate with, and she leapt into Ashlyn’s arms, her team collapsing around them congratulating her. As flat as Ali had played in the first half, her second half was truly inspired.

Her teammates and coach had definitely noticed the shift in Ali since she ran into the locker room a few minutes late at the half, lanky good-looking blonde in tow. The fire was back in her bright cinnamon irises, and she had passionately rallied the defenders. Her coach was impressed, and immediately got a sideline pass issued for her companion...her ‘glucksbringer’, as Ali had introduced her.

Ali felt Ashlyn’s lips tickle her ear as the blonde congratulated her, “You just earned yourself a reward, Princess. An hour of my kisses. Score another goal and we will do it naked.”

Ali smirked confidently, “What do I get for a hat trick?”

“Whatever you want. I’ll be yours to command.” Ashlyn promised.

Ali licked her lips, “Your on, Harris.”

Ashlyn grinned as she walked back over to sit on the bench next to Ali’s teammates. There was no way she was a loser in this...even if she did end up being the feisty defender’s slave for the night. As she sank back on the bench, she noticed a couple of the subs talking and looking up at her frequently. She sighed. Ashlyn sure wished she could understand German...they were kinda making her paranoid. Before she could think too much on it, she noticed Ali picking the midfielder’s pocket, and sprinting up the field on a break away.

Ashlyn held her breath as two defenders collided with Ali, sending the brunette tumbling hard to the ground...inside the box. The whistle blew. Ali grabbed her knee, she felt a twinge of pain, but she quickly shook off the trainers. This was not going to end her night, especially when she had just earned Frankfurt a penalty kick.

Ali got up and started walking off the hard tackle. She vacated the box for Bettina to take the penalty kick. She looked over and found a pair of hazel eyes along the sideline that were boring holes through the two players that had fouled her. The sight of her girlfriend so intense made Ali’s heart swell. There was definitely something about protective Ashlyn that was comforting.

The roar of the crowd brought Ali’s focus away from the sidelines, and she saw Bettina running over to them, her victorious fist pumping the air. Ali watched the dejected keeper empty her net, and she was ready to pile on more pain for the woman.

“Warte nur.” Ali vowed, her eyes narrowing at the keeper…just you wait.

As play resumed, the opposing team had caught onto Ali’s inspired play and were using the left side to attack, preferring to avoid her altogether. Giselle helped Heidi trap the forward along the sideline, and kicked the ball off her to win the throw-in.

**

With ten minutes left in the second half, Ali was able to put her foot on a rebound off the bar to shoot it past the keeper. After being mauled by her teammates, Ali pranced back up the sideline. As she passed Ashlyn, she held her right hand with two fingers pointing down by her thigh and her left hand with one up by her head. She mouthed “One more” and shot Ashlyn a look that had the blonde squirming. Ali was calling it in front of a hundred thousand fans...she was going to score the hat trick.

Ali’s teammates sitting closest to Ashlyn tried to get her attention, “Hey Glucksbringer!”

Ashlyn looked at them and pointed to herself. They nodded. She shrugged her shoulders to say she didn’t understand them. They turned towards each other.

“Wie sie es auf Englisch sagen?” the short blonde asked.

“Um, gut luck...charming?” the other replied, unsure of her answer.

Ashlyn overheard their conversation and remembered that Ali had said she had called her the defender’s good luck charm to the team during the half-time meeting.

“Good luck charm.” Ashlyn corrected, and the pair smiled at her.

“Ah so. Das ist es.” the taller woman with the chestnut colored hair replied.

“Ali said you are das keeper for US, ja?” the blonde asked in broken english.

Ashlyn smiled warmly at them. Ali had said a bunch of things in the locker room, but it had all been in German so she had no clue her girlfriend had talked so much about her.

“Yes I am a keeper.” Ashlyn confirmed.

The two got excited. They scooted closer to Ashlyn, one of them placing an arm around her shoulders.

“Wir leiben, wie Ali spielt foosball, wenn Sie da sind.” the brunette quickly admitted.

Her blonde teammate shook her head, “How love we Ali spielt foosball by you near.”

The brunette eagerly nodding, “Ja so. Dank fur Duisburg spielen.”

Ashlyn’s head cocked to the right side as she tried to decipher what they were saying to her.

“Duisburg keeper ruhestand...retires...now. You Duisburg keeper next jahr, make Ali is ser gut spieler. Alles happy!” the blonde enthused in her broken English.

Finally Ashlyn understood. Duisburg needed a new keeper. Her face broke into a wide smile. It would be perfect, if she could make the team.

**

They were well into stoppage time. Ashlyn was on her feet, expecting a big push from Ali to make good on her hat trick. As Nadine blocked a shot on goal, the ricochet found Ali, and she settled the bouncing ball. Ali juked one opponent nearly out of her boots, and she passed the ball to herself between the defender’s legs. Ashlyn cheered her on from the sideline.

Ali had a break away. She was charging up the field toward the goalie. Just as she was about to plant her foot to take the shot, a defender slid into her leg, cleats first. Ali crumpled to the ground, the roar of the crowd in the stadium died leaving only one sick sound...Ali’s bloodcurdling scream. The Frankfurt strength coach and a few of Ali’s teammates had to hold one enraged Ashlyn from storming the field. The whistle blew and a red card was issued for the dirty tackle as Ali lay writhing on the ground inside the box.

Ashlyn strained against the people holding her back. She felt helpless. She needed to get to Ali. She needed to hold her...make her safe. Finally Ashlyn stopped struggling as Ali found her on the sideline. She held up her hand and gestured for the fired up blonde to relax. She sat up and grimaced at the pain in her leg. Ali wasted no time in regaining her feet after she managed to sit upright. She hobbled a few steps before she was able to push the pain down, and pretend she wasn’t hurting. Mind over matter. Nobody was going to take that pk but her!

Ali trotted over to the ball that the ref placed on the penalty mark. She glared at the goalkeeper. As soon as the ref gave her the signal she was allowed to take her kick, Ali jogged up to the ball. The keeper saw Ali’s left foot back and dove right. Ali’s left foot planted on the far side of the ball and she used her right foot to shoot the ball. Just as the ball skittered into the goal, the ref blew the three short whistle blasts indicating the game was over. Ali’s teammates dog piled her as they celebrated their 4 - 1 victory. They were champions!

A few minutes later, Ali hobbled to the sideline. She was swept off her feet into a big hug by one tall grinning blonde.

“You are amazing, Krieger, you know that?” Ashlyn gushed.

“I think I want my slave to take me off the field now.” Ali replied.

“You're the boss.” Ashlyn winked, and started carrying Ali towards the tunnel.

“I think the term you are looking for is ‘master’ there, Harris.” Ali teased as she wrapped her legs around the blonde’s waist.

Ali laid her head on Ashlyn’s shoulder. She was exhausted and in pain, but being a champion in the arms of her gorgeous girlfriend filled her soul with so much pride and joy that there wasn’t room to feel anything else. Once they were inside the tunnel, Ali’s lips found Ashlyn’s in a kiss that quickly became heated. Every hard fought battle should end like this.

“Take me home, Stud.” Ali whispered into Ashlyn’s ear, sucking the lobe into her mouth and nibbling on its sensitive flesh.

Chapter Text

“Hey sis, great game! Where are you taking us to celebrate?!” Kyle called out as he saw Ali and Ashlyn exiting the locker room hand in hand after Ali took a quick shower.

Ali groaned. Her family. She had completely forgotten they had come for the match. By the smirk on Ashlyn’s face, she hadn’t forgotten, and maybe even foolishly thought they would prevent Ali from collecting on her debt.

“Something amuses you, slave?” Ali inquired, one eyebrow arched high...daring her to speak.

Ashlyn’s smirk faltered. Kyle’s eyes widened and he brought one hand to cover his mouth.

“Damn, my sister is kinky! Who knew? So do you make her wear leashes and stuff too?” Kyle asked, snapping his fingers, “Oooh, does this mean I have secondary rights to the slave?”

Ali stepped over to Ashlyn and reached up, securing a fist full of her skinny tie, “What do you think this is? Leashes are so last century.”

Ashlyn silently vowed that she was switching to bow ties as Ali seemed content at the moment to parade her around a clapping Kyle by her tie. Ali stopped and pointed to the ground. Ashlyn rolled her eyes, but sank to her knees in front of her girlfriend. Ali leaned over to whisper into the blonde’s ear.

“Perhaps since you are being such a good slave, I will reward you once my family leaves. Perhaps I will let you taste your master, would you like that?” Ali sensuously whispered, allowing her lips to ghost over Ashlyn’s ear, causing the woman to break out into goosebumps.

Ashlyn’s eyes closed. She loved when Ali was this close. She breathed in her scent...the spiciness of her moroccan oil shampoo mingled perfectly with the vanilla almond scent of her skin care products and the light fragrant Hawaiian plumeria of her favorite perfume. Ashlyn could spend a lifetime surrounded by this scent, and never grow tired of it. She slowly nodded her head to answer Ali’s whispered question, her mouth already watering at the thought of her girlfriend’s sweet passion bathing her tongue. Maybe this slave stuff wouldn’t be so bad after all, plus she could always kick Kyle’s ass later.

Ali stood up and turned to Kyle, “Where’s mom?”

“She went to cancel the limo. She said it was silly of us to take separate cars, and I was supposed to make sure you didn’t run off without us.” Kyle supplied.

Ali’s face showed her confusion. Kyle chuckled.

“You forgot that you invited us to stay with you, huh. The blonde slave here shows up and you lose your mind. Tsk, tsk, Alex. I thought you were more focused than that.” Kyle teased, prompting both women to groan.

“Well, we might as well go bring the car around.” Ali sighed dejected, her plans for her girlfriend would most definitely have be put on hold for the night.

Ashlyn stood up and followed Ali out to her black bmw. She waited for Ali to unlock the doors and then opened the door for her, holding out her hand to help the tired defender to her seat behind the wheel. Once seated, Ali pulled Ashlyn down for a kiss. Her lips moving gently against the blonde’s, Ali’s hand cupped Ashlyn’s jaw, and she slowly slid it behind her girlfriend’s neck to pull her closer as Ashlyn’s tongue demanded entry to her mouth. Their kiss deepened, tongues sliding against each other, dancing, swirling around inside the sensitive confines of Ali’s mouth...finally eliciting a passionate moan from the brunette. Once the need for oxygen became too great to ignore, they released the kiss...breathless. Their foreheads rested against each other, needing to keep a physical connection while they caught their breath.

“God I think this is actually worse than not being in the same country. Having you right here and not being able to touch you...to feel your warm flesh against mine…to have you deep inside me...to feel your tongue pushing me over the edge, its worse somehow.” Ali complained as she enjoyed the feel of Ashlyn’s silky hair slipping through her fingers.

“Soon, Princess...soon.” Ashlyn responded, kissing Ali’s nose before tipping Ali’s face up to claim her lips once more in a tender kiss.

“GET A ROOM!” Kyle teased as he and Deb walked up behind them to the car.

“Perfect timing as always, Kyle.” Ali groused, Ashlyn standing to open the door for Deb.

Deb smiled at her daughter’s thoughtful girlfriend while she took Ashlyn’s offered hand and sank into the back seat. Kyle hurried to the other side and snapped his fingers for Ashlyn to open his door. Ali giggled at the blonde’s indignant look. She gently touched Ashlyn’s arm.

“Oh just humor him. It’s so much easier.” Ali remarked.

“For you, but you should let him know that tomorrow if he does that, I’ll snap his fingers off one at a time.” Ashlyn grumbled before making her way to the other side of the car to open the door for Kyle and help him sit.

Once Ashlyn had settled into her seat, Ali started the trek to her flat. Ashlyn reached over and placed her hand on her girlfriend’s well-muscled thigh, and Ali felt electric fire where the blonde’s fingers traced. Damn, it was going to be a long couple of days! She sighed and tried to focus on the road instead of the way those long strong fingers were making her ache deep in her core.

**

Ashlyn sat on one side of Ali’s couch with the defender’s tired foot in her hands, her strong nimble fingers massaging away the ache from a hard fought championship match. Kyle sat in a recliner and Deb sat on the love seat, admiring the way the blonde took care of her exhausted daughter. As they chatted, Ashlyn would alternate feet and move up to include tenderly massaging her girlfriend’s calf muscles. Ali lay across the rest of the couch, her eyes shut, and as Ashlyn’s fingers hit the particularly sore spot on her calf muscle where she had been taken down by the dirty tackle earlier, a very contented moan escaped her lips. Kyle squealed. Deb and Ashlyn chuckled.

“I’m going to need decades of therapy to get that sound out of my head, thanks a lot, Alex!” Kyle teased.

“Oh that’s not even close to her sexually worked up moan.” Ashlyn supplied, forgetting for a second that Deb was in the room, Ali’s eyes flew open and a blush crept up her neck into her cheeks.

“Oh really, Ashlyn? And you know this...how exactly?” Deb couldn’t resist teasing her daughter’s girlfriend as Ali covered her face with her hands.

The color drained from Ashlyn’s face as she realized what she had just admitted to in front of Ali’s mom.

“I...uh...well...uh…what I mean is...um...” Ashlyn stammered.

“Anybody need a refill?!” Ali blurted out, sitting up and yanking her limb out of Ashlyn’s grasp.

She fled the room to the kitchen, completely forgetting the glasses of her guests. Ashlyn scooped them up off the coffee table, and hurriedly followed. Deb and Kyle’s laughter ringing out from the other room.

The blonde set the glasses on the counter and Ali buried her face in Ashlyn’s chest, “I can’t believe my mother. Oh my god.”

Ashlyn leaned down and kissed the top of Ali’s head, her arms wrapping tightly around the brunette’s waist, “I suppose I’m not being a very good slave. I keep forgetting who is in the room.”

“Well, we are all alone now, so my slave better get down here and kiss me.” Ali murmured, reaching up and sliding her hands into Ashlyn’s thick blonde mane.

“Mmm. Yes, Princess.” Ashlyn started leaning down.

Ali brought her right hand back to Ashlyn’s chest and pressed gently against it, “No. The word is ‘master.’ Say it, Harris.”

Ashlyn smirked as she weighed her options. Ali playfully smacked her shoulder, and pointed down in front of her.

“If you are going to be a naughty slave, I might have to punish you,” Ali reminded her girlfriend, “On all fours.”

Ashlyn sank to the floor onto her hands and knees, interested in where Ali was taking this one. Ali proceeded to sit down on her slave throne, slowly running her hand over Ashlyn’s ass. The brunette quickly slid her other hand into her own pants, dipping inside herself to cover her fingers in her own passion. She removed her hand and held it in front of Ashlyn so the blonde could see the glistening prize. Ashlyn swallowed her moan.

“Say it.” Ali commanded, keeping her fingers just out of reach of Ashlyn’s mouth.

“Please, Master.” Ashlyn relented, earning herself the sample of what was in store for her as Ali allowed her to take her fingers into her mouth.

Ashlyn’s eyes shut as the sweetness of her girlfriend’s passion hit her tongue. She sucked on Ali’s fingers gently, running her tongue over them to clean off every last drop. Just then, Deb walked around the corner. She stopped in the doorway looking at the two. She shook her head.

“Nope. Not even gonna ask.” Deb commented as she walked over to the counter next to the women and poured herself a refill.

Ali bounced up and down from Ashlyn’s laughter. She could only imagine what Deb was thinking. Ali continued to sit demurely in silence, preferring to pretend that her mom hadn’t just walked in while she was role playing with her girlfriend.

Once Deb had vacated the kitchen, Ali swatted Ashlyn’s ass, “Naughty slave, you got your master caught by her mother. You are definitely going to get punished tonight.”

Ali stood up, allowing Ashlyn to regain her feet. Ashlyn poured Kyle a refill and started to walk off. Ali cleared her throat, causing the blonde to stop in her tracks and look back.

“Aren’t you forgetting something? My slave better get her ass over here and kiss me!” Ali huffed.

Ashlyn smiled and leaned over, her lips locking with Ali’s. The blonde’s empty hand gripped Ali’s waist and pulled her firmly against her body, while she set the glass down on the counter behind her. Ashlyn deepened the kiss, allowing Ali to taste herself on Ashlyn’s tongue. Ashlyn pressed her hips into Ali, increasing the pressure against Ali’s aching core. They both stifled moans.

“Where’s my coke?” Kyle called out from the living room, “Did you have to go pick it off the cola tree?!”

Ali pulled back from the heated kiss, her eyes darkened with lust and she shook her head, “Damn it, he has the worst timing in the world!”

Ashlyn groaned, it was going to be a long evening.

**

Ashlyn gently woke her girlfriend with soft kisses. Ali’s eyes opened and she smiled against Ashlyn’s soft lips. It had been hours since they had climbed into bed, relishing the feeling of being in each other’s arms again, warm naked flesh comforting and arousing at the same time. Ali had been so exhausted, she hadn’t been able to keep her eyes open while they waited for Kyle and Deb to fall asleep.

“Hi there, sleepyhead.” Ashlyn whispered, “Everyone is asleep.”

Ali kissed Ashlyn passionately, her tongue demanding entry to the blonde’s mouth. She had dreamed of being in Ashlyn’s arms for so long...dreamed of Ashlyn’s hands roaming her body, trailing fire from her fingertips. Ali couldn’t wait any longer...Ali wouldn’t wait any longer. If anybody woke up and heard them, well, they shouldn’t be such light sleepers.

As their tongues danced against each other, Ali grasped Ashlyn’s hand and brought it to her aching nipple. It immediately hardened under the familiar touch. Ali’s body was alive again, arching into Ashlyn...begging to be touched. Ashlyn took her time, slowly kissing, licking, and nipping over Ali’s body. A very slow exploration, memorizing every curve, every muscle. She traced the brunette’s rib tattoo with her tongue, as Ali stifled her moans, writhing under Ashlyn’s loving ministrations.

Ali’s body was on fire, she was burning with such a deep desire, she didn’t know if she would be able to hold out very long. Her brain was getting foggy, and she closed her eyes, wanting to concentrate on nothing but the feel of Ashlyn on her skin. Ali gasped when Ashlyn entered her, filling her. She rode the waves of pleasure from Ashlyn’s tongue...from her fingers tattooing love on her most intimate flesh. When Ali could hold out no longer, her walls clenched onto Ashlyn greedily, not wanting to let go, and she spilled sweetness across her tongue. Ashlyn continued to pump gently, allowing Ali to come down slowly. She kissed her way back up Ali’s body and captured her lips in a kiss that said everything.

“God I love you so much, Ashlyn. I wish we could stay like this forever, just you and me. I’ve missed you.” Ali confessed.

“I love you too, Alex. I’ve never felt this way before, never been so fucking crazy about anybody. I don’t ever want to leave your side.” Ashlyn replied.

“Then stay.” Ali whispered.

Chapter Text

‘Then stay.’ It had just come tumbling from her lips before Ali could even think about what she was saying...what she was asking of Ashlyn. Ali froze. Fear squeezed her heart and stole her breath. She cringed. Not only had she confessed her love...not just ‘damn I’m in serious like with you’ not just ‘god Stud you rock my world with that talented tongue of yours’ but she had actually said THE words...the all powerful ones...the ones you don’t drop casually. The words you don’t take back. She had finally admitted to Ashlyn that she loved her. Love. ‘I love you so much.’ It was dark. Too dark. Ali couldn’t see the expression on Ashlyn’s face and it scared her. Yes, the blonde had said it back, but did she mean it, or was she simply caught up in the moment?

Ashlyn sensed a change in Ali, and she tightened her grip around the brunette’s waist, “Something wrong, Princess?”

Ali shook her head. Ashlyn could feel the heaviness permeate the air around them. If Ali didn’t want to talk about it, she only knew how to give her physical comfort. Ashlyn tipped Ali’s face towards her and tenderly kissed her girlfriend. Her lips conveying the love and concern she felt for her suddenly-sullen defender. Ali melted into the kiss, feeling the love radiating off of the blonde. Ashlyn slowly moved her lips against Ali’s. As she began to pull away, she sucked the brunette’s bottom lip, trapping it between her teeth and gently tugging. Ali moaned, and she cupped Ashlyn’s face, drawing her in for another kiss. As the kiss finally broke, Ali nuzzled into Ashlyn’s neck and sighed.

“Do you ever wonder what our life would be like if we didn’t play football? I mean, look at us, I’m in Germany, you are in the US. We don’t even know when we will see each other again. I’m under contract here for another two years!” Ali delicately broached the subject, fear causing her heart to beat wildly in her chest...what if Ashlyn couldn’t wait?

Ashlyn gently massaged Ali’s shoulder as her girlfriend cuddled deeper into her side. The contact of their naked flesh comforting. She pressed herself against the brunette, trying to meld their bodies together...to give Ali the confidence she felt.

“Number one, we most likely wouldn’t have ever met, and I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty damned grateful for that day...even if you did try to take my head off with a pk.” Ashlyn started, Ali giggling at the memory, “Number two, I’m not going anywhere. I don’t know, Princess. You are amazing. I have never fell so hard, so fast. You have nothing to worry about. Once you have the best, who gives a shit about the rest. Number three, have you ever looked in a mirror?! You. Are. Fucking. Gorgeous. I’d be a damned fool to walk away, and grandma didn’t raise no fool.”

Ali traced the intricate design of Ashlyn’s sleeve tattoo, “So when did you know you wanted to date me?”

Ashlyn grinned, “Date or was attracted to...big difference, Princess.”

“Ok, both.” Ali replied, curiosity kicking her fear’s ass.

“I thought you were damned hot when you came crashing into me, absolutely adorable the way you blushed and tried to run off without your stuff. I was hooked when you blasted the ball at my head. I really wanted to get to know that sassy smartass.” Ashlyn freely admitted.

Ali laughed, “Well, you had already made me late…”

“LatER...you were already late, Krieger. Can’t blame me for all of it.” Ashlyn teasingly reminded her girlfriend.

“Oh yes I can...it’s in the girlfriend contract. Like I said before, It’s not my fault you didn’t read the fine print, Harris.” Ali sassed back.

Ashlyn leaned in and tenderly kissed Ali. As the slow languid kiss began to build, Ashlyn ghosted fingers down the side of Ali’s body, and across her ass. Ali glanced at the sliding glass door to the deck. Daylight was just starting to peek over the horizon. If they hurried, perhaps they would have time to enjoy each other before her family got up and around. Damn, if only they could have kept the bedroom, but Ali couldn’t do that to her mom. Her mom always got her bed, and Kyle slept in the small bonus room she used as an office/gym on an air mattress, leaving the pull-out couch for the young couple.

Ali ran her hand down to capture Ashlyn’s nipple. She loved the way it hardened from her touch...the way the gorgeous blonde’s breath would hitch from the contact.

“Al...Ali...wh...what are you doing?” Ashlyn stammered, already getting lost in the feel of her girlfriend touching her...it had been too damned long.

“Shh, what does it look like? I’m about to take my gorgeous woman and make her cum all over me.” Ali stated the obvious, as she continued to work Ashlyn’s nipples.

“Wh...what about...mmmm” Ashlyn moaned as Ali sank her teeth into the crook of her neck, sucking and nipping...definitely leaving a mark, “family.”

“Guess you better cum fast, then...before they wake up.” Ali instructed, working her way down the tall blonde’s body, “Because nothing is going to stop me from tasting you right now.”

Ali slipped between Ashlyn’s legs, and settled herself. She licked up one muscular thigh, and down the other, before nipping her way back up to the blonde’s already soaking folds. Ashlyn moaned as Ali’s tongue impaled her. The brunette worked her tongue slowly in and out of Ashlyn, dipping deep and swirling around her satin walls. Ali moaned at the sweetness of her girlfriend, the vibration going down her tongue and releasing another flood of ambrosia from Ashlyn.

“Alex...mmm so fucking good.” Ashlyn moaned softly.

Ali continued to slide her hot hard tongue in and out of Ashlyn as she traced the blonde’s mermaid tattoo on her thigh with her fingertips. She weaved her hands into the brunette’s long silky hair, drawing her closer...wanting…needing...to feel Ali deeper inside. Ashlyn’s eyes shut, lips parted slightly, the end of her tongue poking out between her lips while she concentrated on the feeling of Ali’s tongue driving her closer to the edge. Ali watched, transfixed, as the blonde surfed the waves of pleasure she created with her tongue.

“Oh god baby...fuck me so good...don’t stop.” Ashlyn moaned.

Ali withdrew her tongue and replaced it with two fingers, driving deep, her tongue finding the engorged bundle of nerves above. Ali’s tongue kept pace with her finger thrusts...her rhythm building in intensity.

“Don’t stop baby, I’m so close.” Ashlyn panted.

Ali pulled her face away from Ashlyn who groaned at the loss of contact, “Watch me, Ash. Watch me loving you, baby.”

Ashlyn opened her eyes and watched as Ali resumed her feast. The brunette flicked her tongue rapidly against Ashlyn’s clit while she pumped furiously inside. Ashlyn reached for Ali’s left hand, their fingers twining. Their eyes locked onto one another as Ashlyn came undone, spilling out over Ali’s hand, drenching the brunette in her passion, her name tumbling from the blonde’s lips.

“I want you to cum with me, Alex.” Ashlyn petitioned as Ali kissed her way back up the blonde’s body.

As they kissed deeply, Ashlyn rolled them on their sides. Her hands ghosting over Ali’s body causing the beautiful brunette to moan. Ali lifted her leg over Ashlyn’s hip, inviting her girlfriend’s strong fingers to continue their exploration into her most intimate flesh. Ashlyn’s fingers slid easily through Ali’s soaking wet folds.

“God Ali, you are so wet, babe.” Ashlyn moaned into the brunette’s mouth.

“All for you, Ash. Only for you.” Ali murmured back, relishing in the feeling of Ashlyn’s touch.

“Stay with me.” Ashlyn gently commanded as they entered each other, gazing deeply into each other’s eyes.

Sunlight chased away the dawn as they slowly made love to each other. Time stood still as they pumped into one another. Ashlyn was too worked up from earlier and couldn’t last long, she fell over the edge first.

“Don’t stop, Ash. I’m getting close, baby.” Ali mumbled, trying to remain focused on Ashlyn’s lust darkened hazel eyes.

The door to the bedroom opened and Deb walked into the hallway. Ashlyn froze, two fingers still buried deep in Ali who quickly threw the covers back over them. In three steps Deb was in the living room.

“Good morning, Alex.” Deb called out cheerily.

“G...good morning, mom.” Ali managed to get past her lips.

“Good morning, Ashlyn.” Deb greeted her daughter’s girlfriend as she reached the edge of the living room and kitchen.

Ali nudged Ashlyn, “Oh, uh, good morning ma’am.”

“It’s Deb, or Mom, or Deb Deb, but not ma’am. Makes me sound so old.” Deb reminded Ashlyn as she grabbed the coffee pot and turned to fill the carafe with water.

Ashlyn started to pull out of Ali, but the brunette quickly grabbed her wrist, trapping her in place. Ashlyn’s eyes widened, and she mouthed, ‘What are you doing?!’ Ali whispered, “Don’t you dare stop now, I have already been left high and dry when my dad knocked, I’ll be damned if it happens in my own apartment!”

Ashlyn gazed into Ali’s determined eyes and sighed. She knew she could never deny this woman anything. Ashlyn was completely and totally whipped by Alexandra Blaire Krieger. She glanced back over her shoulder and started working her love again. Before Ali could plummet over the edge and come undone, Deb walked back into the room and sat down on the edge of the fold out bed next to her daughter. Ashlyn froze again, but one look from the frustrated brunette had her moving again.

“It’s supposed to be a really nice day out.” Deb mentioned casually as she took a sip of her coffee.

“Mmmmhmm.” Ali replied, eyes focused on an extremely embarrassed Ashlyn.

“I was thinking maybe Ashlyn and Kyle could go pick us up some of that fabulous strudel from the bakery on the corner, and then you can show us around a bit this afternoon.” Deb supplied.

“Oh that’s good.” Ali replied, her voice nearly cracking as she reached between her legs and put Ashlyn’s thumb on her clit.

Ashlyn slid deep inside Ali and curled her fingers while her thumb worked small circles over Ali’s clit. It wasn’t long before Ali’s hand squeezed Ashlyn’s arm, her passion flooding Ashlyn’s hand, and she shuddered.

“Are you alright?!” Deb asked, seeing her daughter shaking.

“Uh yeah, I’m just...cold.” Ali quickly lied.

“Here, I’ll turn up the heat for you, where is the thermostat?” Deb offered.

“In the hallway, down by the bathroom.” Ali replied.

As soon as Deb started walking away, Ashlyn gently pulled her fingers out of Ali, and grabbed their discarded clothes off the floor next to the bed. The blonde handed a t-shirt and Ali’s pajama bottoms to her, and started pulling on her own t-shirt and boxers as quickly as possible while Deb’s back was turned. They quickly got back into a snuggle after dressing. They smiled at Deb as she walked back into the living room.

“Would you two like some coffee? I don’t mind getting you a cup.” Deb offered.

“Coffee would be amazing, Mom.” Ali enthused.

“How about Ashlyn?” Deb asked as she headed toward the kitchen.

“Oh I don’t want you to go to all that trouble.” Ashlyn answered, her face still a little blushed.

“Nonsense. It’s no trouble, at all,” Deb responded, “How do you take it, Sweetie?”

“Light and sweet.” Ashlyn replied before she covered her face, turned back to Ali and whispered, “You know I’m never, ever, EVER going to be able to look your mother in the eyes again, right Princess?!”

“It’s your own fault, if you weren’t so damned hot and mind blowingly talented in bed, I would be able to resist you.” Ali whispered back, a smug smirk firmly in place.

Deb arrived with steaming mugs of coffee. She handed them to ‘her girls’ and sank back down on the sofa bed next to Ali. The door to the bonus room creaked open and Kyle slowly padded out. He had one hand over his eyes, and was waving the other around out in front of him to check for obstacles in his path.

“Is it safe?! All the blondes covered, no naked titties, nobody making out or anything?” Kyle teased.

“Oh yeah, it’s perfectly safe. Mom’s on our bed for crying out loud, what could possibly be happening?!” Ali called out, as Ashlyn nearly choked on her coffee.

**

Ashlyn and Kyle had left on a strudel run. Deb and Ali were putting the couch bed away. Once it was all folded up, Deb sat down and placed a hand on her daughter’s arm.

“Sit with me a minute, baby girl.” Deb gently directed.

Ali sank down beside her mom, “What’s up?”

“I wanted to ask you the same thing. I can always tell when something is bothering you.” Deb quietly reminded Ali it was no use trying to lie.

Ali nodded, “I told her, mom. I said it.”

“Said what?” Deb asked, confused.

“I told her that I love her.” Ali confessed, her voice trailing off with uncertainty.

“And this is a bad thing, how?” Deb gently prompted her daughter to continue.

“It was too dark. I couldn’t see her face...I couldn’t tell how she felt about it.” Ali mumbled.

Deb put her arm around Ali, “Did she say anything?”

“Yes, she said that she loved me too, but you know, she could have just said it out of reaction...or…”Ali started.

“Or maybe she really meant it. You have always been so intelligent, driven, and confident...except when it comes to your love life. I know it’s scary to put yourself out there, but don’t you think Ashlyn is just as scared?” Deb reasoned.

Ali leaned against her mom’s shoulder, enjoying the comfort, “I suppose. It’s just...we are so far apart, and just look at her! She is so fucking gorgeous. I’m sure women throw themselves at her all the time.”

“Language!” Deb playfully reprimanded her daughter, “And you are equally as gorgeous, baby girl. I seem to recall a bunch of men who ‘throw themselves at you all the time’ too. Should Ashlyn worry that you are going to stray simply because she is far away from you?”

“No. C’mon mom, it’s different.” Ali argued.

“Actually, it’s not. You either trust her, or you don’t...and if you don’t you need to stop it now before you really hurt her. From what I see, she is absolutely over the moon about you. Listen to your mom, take some deep breaths, and just go with it. Trust Ashlyn until she gives you a reason not to. I happen to think you have nothing to worry about.” Deb replied, kissing Ali’s head.

“You really think so?” Ali asked, a hopeful tone to her tired voice.

“Don’t you have eyes, child?! Ashlyn Harris is head over heels in love with you.” Deb stated with finality.

Chapter Text

Ashlyn looked at her watch again. She had been waiting in the parking lot of the bus station for nearly an hour. ‘Then stay’ Ali had whispered, just barely loud enough for her to have heard it. When she had to leave, to fly back to the wrong side...the empty side...of the Atlantic, it broke her heart. Ashlyn had wanted nothing more than to stay in Germany close to her gorgeous girlfriend, but reality was that she had many loose ends to tie up before she could even consider such a thing, small little details like actually making the Duisburg roster for the next season. Deb and Kyle had been very generous and sweet insisting that they wanted a hotel room the next night since Ashlyn had to fly back the following day, which afforded the couple some very well spent hours in privacy...but it never seemed like they had enough time together. Ashlyn sighed. Some days she knew her heart hadn’t come back with her.

Ashlyn rubbed the steering wheel of her black Jeep Wrangler. She had worked her ass off to get it. Scrimping and saving from the time she was sixteen doing odd jobs around town, through college on the work study program, all while studying and winning three D1 National Championships. The day that her best friend Whitney had driven her to the dealership and she had gone in, plunked down a cashier’s check, and drove out with ‘Desiree’ was one of the proudest days of her young life. Whitney said Desiree was the perfect name for her because it was a French name that meant ‘the desired one.’ The desired one alright, Ashlyn had finally given away her virginity...finally allowed someone...her last girlfriend...to enter her most intimate flesh in Desiree’s back seats while they were parked at the beach. The blonde blushed, that was definitely not going on the list of things to mention. Finally a young butch looking woman got off the bus and looked around. Ashlyn put her hand up to get the woman’s attention and she made a bee line to the jeep.

“Hey, are you Ashlyn Harris?” the young woman asked, sparing the blonde a friendly grin.

“That’s me.” Ashlyn tried to smile in return, but her heart just couldn’t fake it anymore.

“Jen Duncan. Wow, you weren’t kidding, she is a beauty!” the enthusiastic woman gushed as she ran her hand appreciatively over the hood of the black jeep.

“She runs like a champ. I bought her new when I got out of college. I travel a lot for work, out of the country sometimes, so when I’ve been away, she has been at my grandma’s under the car port.” Ashlyn supplied.

Ashlyn watched Jen walk around the outside of her prize possession...inspecting it...appreciating every fine detail.

“I kept all the service records, she really only has 28,787 miles on her, and she has never been in an accident or hurricane. Do you want to take her to your mechanic to get checked out?” Ashlyn asked, trying to keep her voice from cracking.

Jen took in the fine details of the Jeep. It was apparent how much love had been poured into the vehicle. It was free of scratches and dents, the body shone like an endless obsidian pool from an amazing wax job, and the interior was shiny and spotless. Jen opened the hood, even the engine was spotless. She checked the oil dipstick. Clean oil. She couldn’t wait to slip behind the wheel. Jen had dreamed of owning one for a couple of years now. Just think how cool she would look pulling up to rugby practice in that! Oh yeah, it was definitely a chick magnet.

Jen turned towards Ashlyn and stuck her right hand out, “Sold.”

**

Ashlyn hadn’t been able to watch as Jen drove away in Desiree, all the paperwork signed. She had cash in her hand...actually so much cash in hand that the blonde was kind of paranoid that she would get jacked for it. Ashlyn shoved the wad of cash into the front pocket of her skinny jeans and left her hand in her pocket over it. Now that she finally had money for the ticket, it was time to catch a bus to the airport and tryouts in Duisburg.

**

Ali was tired from yet another day full of media interviews, and getting her apartment ready to sublet for the next several months while she returned to the states. She was elated to be going back...back where she could see Ashlyn more often. They were both professional football players, so she knew they would never really have a ‘normal’ relationship...never be able to simply live close to each other and date like most everyone else did...but to be able to see each other at least once or twice a month made her heart flutter.

Ali looked up from the box she was packing when the doorbell rang. She walked to the door perplexed, she wasn’t expecting anyone. Ali glanced through the peephole before she opened the door.

“Hallo Nadine. Was fuer eine uberraschung?” Ali remarked.

“Hallo miene freundin. Your German is good. I hope my english is also. Sorry for the surprise, but I need you to come mit me.” Nadine replied as she walked past Ali into the living room and checked her watch.

Ali’s brows furrowed. She was busy getting things ready so she could go see Ashlyn for a few days before she had to report to her new team in the states.

“I really don’t know if I have time…” Ali started.

“You will make time. Is very important, ja.” Nadine insisted, and grabbed Ali’s coat from the back of the couch.

Ali scowled at Nadine, but allowed the keeper to help her into her coat.

“We go now. Sie werden mir spater danken.” Nadine said as she gently directed Ali out the door with a firm hand to her lower back.

“And just why will I be thanking you later?” Ali groused as she pulled her keys out and locked her apartment.

“You see, ist important.” Nadine answered cryptically as she glanced at her watch again.

Ali blew out a frustrated sigh and followed Nadine down the steps and to the train station on the next block over. Her patience wearing thin, Ali glared at her friend.

“Really? A train? I have a plane to catch in two days, and a whole apartment to box up before then.” Ali protested, “What could possibly be so damned important?!”

A train was pulling away from the station, and Nadine pointed to the platform behind it, “I thought you might want to meet Duisburg’s new keeper.”

Ali watched as the train pulled away, revealing a tall blonde dressed in a Duisburg kit with a very familiar dimpled smile on her face. Ali’s face lit up with an extremely bright megawatt smile. She threw her arms around Nadine and pulled her in for a quick hug.

“Oh du bist das beste, ich danke ihnen...ich danke ihnen so sehr viel meine freundin!” Ali complimented and thanked her friend before she turned and ran up the steps to the walkway that connected the train platforms.

“Ja, ja, ja…holen sie ihre geliebten!” Nadine called out after her before turning to leave.

Once she had reached the other side of the walkway, the brunette started down the steps two at a time while her girlfriend stood at the bottom, with strong arms open wide. Ali launched herself off the steps into Ashlyn’s waiting arms, their lips crashing together. The kiss was hungry and breath stealing. Ali wrapped her legs around Ashlyn’s waist and her arms around the blonde’s neck, not caring what anyone thought. All she wanted was to feel Ashlyn everywhere. Finally the need for oxygen forced them to break the kiss, leaning their foreheads against each other to share the same breath.

“What is going on?! How...how did you even know to try out?” Ali wondered aloud as she held on to her love...her anchor, relishing the feel of Ashlyn’s strong arms holding her just as tightly.

“A couple of your reserves told me during your championship match. I guess they thought you played better with me around or something.” Ashlyn explained as Ali’s head lay on her shoulder, her unique scent flooding Ashlyn’s senses, “God, you smell so good, Alex.”

Ali smiled, “You smell like home to me.”

Ashlyn held Ali for what seemed like both a lifetime and a heartbeat. Reluctantly, Ali eventually released her hold on Ashlyn’s waist, and the blonde allowed her to slip out of her arms to stand.

“So, do you know of a good place to stay for a couple of nights? I seem to have a few days to kill before my flight home.” Ashlyn playfully remarked.

“Maybe...but you have to earn your keep at the place I have in mind.” Ali sassed back.

“Hmm, does this entail being a slave to a hot brunette?” Ashlyn teased as she bent down to pick up her duffel bag.

“As my favorite smart ass once told me, you never know.” Ali replied as she swept her hand down Ashlyn’s back and over her ass, turning to walk back to her apartment.

Ashlyn chuckled. She slung the bag over her shoulder then turned and caught up to Ali at the stairs, “Hey, what was Nadine yelling at you before she left?”

A slight blush crept into Ali’s cheeks, “She told me to go get my lover.”

**

Ashlyn grunted as she lifted another heavy box and carried it into the ‘bonus room’ which was being turned into Ali’s storage unit. After stacking it on top of several other boxes, the blonde wiped sweat off her forehead.

“What’s in here? A dead body?! You know, this isn’t quite what I had in mind when I asked if this meant I had to be your slave, and I really didn’t think it’s what you had in mind when you ordered me to take off my shirt.” Ashlyn playfully grumbled as she stood in her Duisburg warm up pants and sports bra, a light sheen of sweat covering her body, and checked the stability of the stack of boxes next to her.

Ali carried in a light box and paused to plant a kiss on Ashlyn’s cheek before she stacked the light box on top of the heavy one her girlfriend had just deposited, “Well, the sooner my slave gets this done, the sooner I can have her do other shirtless activities for me.”

Ashlyn rubbed her hands together, “Oooh, now we’re talkin!”

Ali giggled as the blonde ran into her living room to grab another box.

**

Ali smiled as she watched Ashlyn go about her task with finesse. She loved the way the blonde took her time...made sure that she had gotten every last drop before moving on. Ashlyn bent lower and Ali broke out into goosebumps as her girlfriend’s hot breath blew across her flesh.

“Mmm, you are so good at that babe.” Ali moaned.

Ashlyn flashed her a cocky smirk, “Well, I had a fabulous teacher.”

Ali picked up her hand and inspected her nails. They were perfect, not a speck of color on her cuticles, the nails covered in rich velvet pink color without any brush marks. She laid her other hand in Ashlyn’s lap, and the blonde started brushing the pink across her thumb nail. Ali watched Ashlyn continue to work, diligently covering her nails.

“How did you get to be so good with nail polish?” Ali wondered out loud.

“I took art classes starting in Jr. High. I love to paint. I also love to sculpt.” Ashlyn replied, “I think I want to be an artist after football.”

Ali gifted Ashlyn with a megawatt smile, “You would be an absolute badass artist, Harris.”

“What about you? What secret interests do you harbor beyond football, Miss Krieger?” Ashlyn inquired as she brought her girlfriend’s hand closer to her face to inspect the nail she just finished for imperfections.

“I think I want to be a wedding planner...if I can stand the bridezillas.” Ali confessed.

Ashlyn chuckled, “If anyone can handle them, it’s you, Princess. Wedding planner, eh? So did you have tons of scrap books filled with dream weddings when you were little?”

“Yes I did, and may I remind my slave that if she laughs at her master, she will be sleeping alone on the couch.” Ali playfully challenged.

“I would never dream of laughing at you, Princess. You are amazing, no matter what you decide to tackle...that’s why you are such a great defender.” Ashlyn cheeses with a wink.

Ali groaned.

“Too much?” Ashlyn asked as she finished up another nail.

“Just a little.” Ali affirms with a giggle.

Ali leans back against the pillows and sighs, enjoying the loving treatment she is getting from her girlfriend. How could she possibly be any more perfect? Ashlyn notices as Ali’s eyes rake over her with a lecherous glint.

“Kiss me, slave.” Ali demands, “Now.”

Ashlyn grabs both of Ali’s wrists and holds them away from her as she leans in and captures Ali’s mouth in a passionate kiss. Ali melts into her girlfriend’s body, her hands struggle against Ashlyn’s as she desperately needs to touch the blonde. Ashlyn pulls back and then places a kiss to Ali’s nose.

“I’m not letting go because I’m not going to let you ruin your nails and then insist that I start over, when we can be moving on to other more fun activities, Princess.” Ashlyn informs the persistent brunette.

“What if I order my slave to release me?” Ali challenges, her eyes dark with lust.

“Then I suppose my master will just have to punish me...after her nails dry.” Ashlyn reasons as she firmly holds Ali’s wrists in the air away from any source of potential nail polish damage.

“Oh trust me, you are earning yourself some punishment, slave.” Ali promises, a very sultry tone to her voice.

“Mmm, I can’t wait.” Ashlyn replies as she leans forward to kiss Ali again.

The phone ringing brings groans from both women. Ashlyn holds both of Ali’s wrists in one hand and then uses the other to fetch the receiver from Ali’s nightstand. She holds the phone up to the brunette’s ear.

“Hallo?” Ali answers, “Oh hey. What’s up?”

Ashlyn starts kissing along Ali’s exposed neck, eliciting a soft moan from her girlfriend. As Ali continues her phone conversation, the blonde kisses and nips her way down to Ali’s exposed cleavage. Ali sucks in breath as she feels Ashlyn’s tongue trace over the edges of her breasts, working its way under her bra. Finally, she nudges Ashlyn who is so focused on what she is doing with her tongue that she doesn’t realize Ali’s conversation has ended. Ashlyn sets the receiver back on its base.

“Ash, what have you done?” Ali quietly asked.

Ashlyn releases Ali’s wrists and looks at her in confusion, “What do you mean, baby?”

“That was Whit. She found some classified ads about a Jeep for sale with your name and cell phone number listed. She wanted to know what was going on since she says you worked and saved for six years to buy it. Want to tell me what you are doing?” Ali inquired.

“I needed money for a plane ticket to try out for Duisburg.” Ashlyn shrugged.

“Oh baby, how could you sell your Jeep? I know how much you loved Desiree.” Ali asked as she tenderly cupped Ashlyn’s face.

“You’re right, I loved Desiree...but not as much as I love you.” Ashlyn confessed.

Ali pulled Ashlyn down to her, their lips meeting in a very slow, tender, loving kiss. Ali slowly ran her fingernails down Ashlyn’s back and swallowed the blonde’s moan. When she reached the waistband of the keeper’s warm up pants, she slid her hands underneath to grab handfuls of the blonde’s bare muscular ass cheeks. Ali sensuously massaged them before pulling her hands out and flipping a surprised Ashlyn onto her back. She straddled her girlfriend, slowly grinding into her, Ashlyn’s arching into her.

Ali leaned down and kissed Ashlyn deeply, her hands pushing her girlfriend’s sports bra up. Ashlyn sat up, and allowed the brunette to pull the garment off over her head. The blonde grabbed the hem of Ali’s blouse and lifted it over her head. Ashlyn buried her face in the space between the brunette’s small breasts, and placed tender kisses there, as her right hand slipped around and unsnapped her girlfriend’s lacy black bra.

Ashlyn pushed her hips off the bed and allowed Ali to pull off her remaining clothes, returning the favor before the brunette settled her soaked core against the blonde’s. They gazed silently into each others eyes as they moved against each other...friction only adding to the fire that consumed them. Slowly they ground together...hips moving...desire building. Ali’s hands found Ashlyn’s breasts and she rolled the blonde’s nipples into aching hard points. Ashlyn’s hands mirrored Ali’s, tenderly kneading the soft flesh, the blonde relished the feel of her girlfriend’s nipples hardening under her touch. Time slowed to a crawl as they moved against each other. Ali grabbed Ashlyn’s hand and put it against her swollen wet folds as she simultaneously pressed two fingers deep inside the blonde. Ashlyn followed Ali’s lead and they pumped in and out of each other to the same slow, deep rhythm. Sweat glistened off their flesh as they continued to drive each other towards the edge. Cinnamon eyes locked onto dark hazel as they both shuddered, passion spilling and mixing. Not able to hold herself up any longer, Ali lay down with her head on Ashlyn’s shoulder, neither woman withdrawing.

“I love you so much Ashlyn Michelle Harris.” Ali whispered, kissing the blonde deeply.

Chapter Text

Ali looked up from her calculator and reached for her cell phone. She chewed her lip nervously as she waited for her manager to answer. Her lips curled into a shy smile when she heard his voice.

“Alexandra, always a pleasure. What can I do for you?” Daniel greeted.

“Hi Daniel. What was the offer again?” Ali inquired, running numbers in her head.

“Jason said they could manage what you asked for, and just need your definitive answer by next week. Have you had time to think it over?” Daniel replied.

“I have. Book it.” Ali stated confidently.

“Are you sure? Once this gets out, there isn’t any going back.” Daniel reminded his client.

Ali picked up the picture of Ashlyn she kept on her desk and gazed lovingly at it, “I’m positive.”

**

Ashlyn heard the facetime alert just as she was headed out the front door of her apartment, and left the door wide open as she ran to her computer. She accepted the call and her face broke out into a wide dimpled grin as Ali came into view.

“Hey my beautiful Princess, how are you today?” Ashlyn remarked, glancing up at her abandoned door.

“Do you have a few minutes? We need to talk about something.” Ali replied, her voice a little shaky.

Fear squeezed Ashlyn’s heart. Was this it? Was today the day that Alexandra Blaire Krieger decided long distance was too hard and shattered her heart?

“Okay. What’s going on?” Ashlyn asked, trying to remain calm...at least on the surface.

Ali fidgeted in front of the camera. Ashlyn could tell she was nervous and unsure of herself. Her chest tightened, not allowing air into her lungs.

“God Alex, if you are going to break my heart just do it quickly, I can’t stand this buildup.” Ashlyn blurted out, looking down at her hands, her shoulders slumping.

Ali’s eyes widened, “Oh no, baby! I’m not breaking up with you! Why on earth would I do that?! I love you so very much. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me dork, and I’m not going anywhere...well, except to this photoshoot for the ESPN Body Issue. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”

Ashlyn looked up into her girlfriend’s loving gaze, and released the nervous breath she had been holding.

“Oh thank god. I don’t ever want to find out what life without Princess Warrior is like.” Ashlyn confessed, her words coming out fast and full of emotion, “Wait a minute, did you just call me a dork?”

Ali wished she could cup her favorite blonde’s face, to touch her skin and give her comfort, “Yes I did, because I can’t think of any reason why you would ever make the assumption I was leaving your silly gorgeous ass.”

“Whew, I thought you might be tired of me picking you up from the airport on my skateboard. You know, since your skateboarding skills leave a bit to be desired.” Ashlyn teased back.

“Careful Harris, are you trying to talk me into or out of breaking up with you?” Ali playfully warned, winking at her girlfriend.

“Well we dorks tend to stick our feet in our mouths quite regularly,” Ashlyn replied then leaned back in her chair and lifted her foot towards her mouth.

“Stop before you hurt something!” Ali laughed, Ashlyn joining her.

“Really, what did you want to talk about?” Ashlyn inquired.

“I...I agreed to do this photoshoot, and I really would like it if you came with me. I’m going to need you because it’s...um...it’s...well...naked.”

“Of course I’ll go with you, if it’s what you want. You know I’ll always be right behind you, no matter what.” Ashlyn pledged, “But can I ask you why you agreed to it? Somehow I just don’t picture you as the ‘naked in front of a camera’ type. Correct me if I’m wrong.”

“I have a few reasons, but mostly because I struggled with some body issues dealing with my ‘thunder thighs’ as some people put it. I don’t want little girls to be afraid of being athletic, or having muscles...of looking different than their little friends. I want them to look at these pictures and know they can be proud of who they are.” Ali admitted, pain still evident in her voice and eyes.

“Well, I’d never miss an opportunity to see you naked, so color me there!” Ashlyn enthused, wagging her eyebrows to distract the brunette from her painful memories.

“I was banking on that, Stud.” Ali giggled.

Ashlyn looked up at the clock on the wall and grimaced, “I’m late getting out the door, Princess. If I leave now, I might be able to get there on time. I’ll have to skate fast though.”

Ali shook her head, a pang of guilt twisting in her gut, “Are you seriously skateboarding to practice?!”

Ashlyn winked and grinned, dimple on full display, “It’s not that bad, and I can count it towards my daily cardio and core work.”

“Just be careful and play nice with the cars, Harris. I don’t want to hear your name on the six o’clock news.” Ali gently reminded her girlfriend before kissing her fingers and placing it against the screen, Ashlyn doing the same so their kiss melded together in cyberspace.

“I love you, Alex. Text me the deets for your photoshoot, and I’ll be there, babe.” Ashlyn reminded.

“Love you too, Ash.” Ali replied before disconnecting, feeling better already.

**
Ashlyn looked up from the canvass as her phone rang. She grumbled as she reached for the receiver. She needed to get work done on it if she was going to have it finished in time.

“Hello?” Ashlyn mumbled as she contemplated the color she was mixing.

“Hey how is my favorite lez-in-law doing?” Kyle greeted his sister’s girlfriend.

Ashlyn smiled, she really did enjoy Kyle, and appreciated how he had told off Ken when their father had given Ali such a hard time about them dating.

“I better be your only lez-in-law.” the blonde deadpanned as she capped a tube of paint.

“Well I can’t guarantee you that title if you go around allowing Alex to show off her goodies to the world! I mean, I’m sure you will get some...stiff...competition after those pictures come out.” Kyle teased, “For Madonna’s sake, why would you ever let her do such a thing?!”

“Kyle, I don’t allow your sister to do anything. She is an intelligent woman who makes her own decisions. Besides, if I tried, she’d just say it was in the girlfriend contract and make me do her nails shirtless or something for having the gall to challenge her.” Ashlyn chuckled.

“You do her nails?! Oh man...you just lost serious bro points!” Kyle managed to get out between giggle fits.

“Shut up.” Ashlyn groused, dipping her brush to swirl paint in the small cup, “Did you actually need something, or are you simply calling to torture me with thoughts of your sister naked?”

“Ew. Stop it!” Kyle made gagging sounds as Ashlyn turned the tables on him and chuckled at his discomfort, “I was just checking to see how you felt about her doing this whole posing naked thingy.”

“Seriously, I never pegged Alex for the type to willingly pose nude, but I’ve done a little research, and the pictures are all really artistically done. They don’t show anything remotely considered erogenous. That makes me feel better about it, plus Alex said she wanted to do it to help people overcome their own body image issues. I love that she is willing to put herself so far out there to help others.” Ashlyn thoughtfully replied.

“I’m glad you are all onboard for operation Krieger spread. I know she is going to need your support, Ashy...my sister is really not an exhibitionist.” Kyle stated conspiratorily.

“You don’t say.” Ashlyn deadpanned.

**

The months had flown by, and it seemed like yesterday that Ali had agreed to pose nude, not like she was in the dressing room...or undressing room...minutes away from having to bare her body to complete strangers...to the world really. Ali had been so happy to see Ashlyn at the airport and finally kiss her again, but that joy had soon turned to dread as they drove to the photoshoot. Dread had turned to unease, which became anxiety that had brought on a bad case of the jitters...but now as she was supposed to be undressing, the normally confident brunette was straddling the line between all out panic and terror.

 

Ashlyn watched from the couch as Ali nervously flit around the room, picking up anything not nailed down, and investigating every nook and cranny of her dressing room. What she wasn’t doing was shedding her clothes and putting on the robe she was supposed to wear outside to her photoshoot. The blonde stood and walked over to her girlfriend. She reached out and stilled the terrified brunette’s hands. Ali looked up and lost herself in the kindness of the soft hazel eyes gazing back at her, and the defender felt a calmness start spreading through her.

“It’s not too late to change your mind.” Ashlyn quietly stated, tucking a loose strand of hair behind Ali’s left ear and pressing a kiss to her temple.

“I can’t back out now. I...I don’t really want to, I’m just fucking nervous as hell.” Ali responded.

“Here, let me help you.” Ashlyn suggested, wrapping her arms around the brunette’s waist, holding Ali tightly against her body.

Ashlyn slowly leaned in and captured Ali’s lips with her own in a tender...loving...languid kiss. Ali’s eyes closed at the feeling of Ashlyn’s soft lips caressing her own, and as the kiss deepened, she moaned into Ashlyn’s mouth. The blonde’s hands slowly lifted Ali’s blouse and breaking the kiss only long enough to slip the blouse over the brunette’s head before crashing their lips together again...the kiss turning hungry. Ali felt Ashlyn’s hands slip around her back and unclasp her bra in one deft motion. Ashlyn kissed along the defender’s jawline...down her neck...nipping and licking her way to Ali’s bra strap. The brunette’s breath hitched as she felt Ashlyn’s deft tongue slip the strap off her shoulder.

Ali grabbed fists full of wavy blonde hair as Ashlyn sank to her knees...kissing...nipping...sucking her way over her girlfriend’s small breasts and toned abs to the waistband of the defender’s skinny jeans, her fingers trailing behind, sliding Ali’s bra off. The brunette moaned at the sight of Ashlyn using her teeth to slowly unzip the jeans. Ashlyn pulled Ali’s jeans down until they pooled at her ankles, running her hands back up the back of her legs, grabbing hands full of muscular asscheeks. Ashlyn’s head dipped lower, and she ran her tongue over the thin satin material of Ali’s lacy black thong, releasing another flood of passion from the brunette.

“Oh god, baby, you make me feel so good.” Ali moaned as Ashlyn pulled her thong down and ran her hot hard tongue through the brunette’s soaked folds.

A loud banging on the door brought Ali back to reality as they both jumped, “They are ready for you, Ms. Krieger.”

The terror had returned to Ali’s eyes, so Ashlyn stood and placed her hands on her face, “I’ll be right behind you, Princess. You got this, and if you get scared, just imagine the camera is me.”

Ali shivered as Ashlyn reached behind her and pulled the big fluffy white bathrobe off the hanger and helped the brunette into it. The blonde kissed Ali tenderly as she tied the belt around her waist. She wrapped her hand around Ali’s and led her out to where they had the bounces and lighting equipment set up. Ali understood now how a condemned prisoner felt walking toward the inevitable. It made her stomach twist...sweat beading on her forehead. The only sound the defender could hear was her heart pounding in her chest. Suddenly, Ashlyn was kissing her cheek and she was alone.

“Ms. Krieger, if you could drop your robe now, we’d like to get started with the first pose.” the photographer, Williams said.

Ali froze. She knew this was the only way, but her throat was closing, her chest squeezing, and she suddenly felt hot...too hot...dizzy.

“Ms. Krieger? Ms. Krieger, we need to get started, we are losing the golden light.” Williams tried again.

Ashlyn noticed the look of terror on Ali’s face and leaned over to Williams, “Do you have a shot list you wanted to take?”

Williams handed her the list and she memorized the top three entries before turning back to him, “Get your camera ready.”

Ali could feel a shift in the energy. She heard snickering...snickering! Then she followed the PA’s gaze behind her. Ali’s mouth dropped open.

“ASHLYN MICHELLE HARRIS! What in the hell do you think you are doing?! YOU PUT YOUR CLOTHES BACK ON THIS INSTANT!” Ali demanded.

Ashlyn leveled her with a defiant look, “Why do you get to have all the fun and be naked in front of everybody?”

“Because I’m getting paid the equivalent of five years NWSL salary to be naked in front of everybody.” Ali huffed.

“I don’t know why, I’m a better naked model than you.” Ashlyn provolked.

“Oh hell no you didn’t!” Ali responded, her eyes narrowing at her girlfriend.

“C’mon Krieger, let’s see what you got. Can you do this?!” Ashlyn goaded her girlfriend, and dribbled a golden ball from one thigh to the other.

“Bring it, Harris.” Ali challenged back, her super competitive nature getting the best of her as she ripped her bathrobe off and motioned for the ball, the camera clicking away.

“Sure, sure, sure, that was easy...but can you do this?!” Ashlyn dared her girlfriend, stopping the ball Ali passed back with one foot on top of it, twisting slightly at the waist to ensure everything was concealed from the camera.

After Ashlyn passed the ball back to Ali, she struck the same pose. Shot after shot the pose down continued until they were down to the final one. Ashlyn got her hair wet and sat on a bench. She looked at Ali with an over the top sexual expression that ended up looking like a comic book character trying to be sexy. Ali burst into a giggle fit.

"Oh god Ash, you have to stop. Promise me you will never look at me like that again." Ali commented, trying to catch her breath.

The brunette sat on the bench that Ashlyn had vacated and sent her a searing look. She hadn't even noticed the camera clicking away. Ali was surprised when Williams called the shoot. She pulled her robe back on and grinned at Ashlyn.

“Ok, Stud, will you please put your clothes back on now?” Ali inquired, noticing how many techs were still milling about.

“Take away all my fun.” Ashlyn playfully pouted as she reached down for her pile of clothes, sticking her tongue out at Ali.

“Well, if you put them back on, I’ll have more fun taking them back off later to thank you for helping me through this.” Ali sassed as she walked past Ashlyn toward the dressing room.

Ashlyn hopped on one leg to keep up while shoving the other into her boxers. Ali flashed one side of her chest at the blonde and then took off running, Ashlyn chasing after her, both of them laughing. Ali squeaked as Ashlyn caught her, strong arms sweeping her off her feet.

“Thank you, Ash. I really don’t think I could have made it through today without your help.” Ali stated sincerely, cupping her girlfriend’s face.

“Anytime you need some help being naked, I’m your woman.”Ashlyn winked.

“Yes you are.” Ali responded before she crashed their lips together in a searing kiss.

Chapter Text

Ali looked across the pitch to where Duisburg was warming up. Today they were opponents. Today she wasn’t supposed to appreciate the strong blonde’s athletic prowess between the posts. Today, one of them would be eliminated. It had been nice being in Germany together. Well, close by anyway. They were much closer than when they were in the US. Ali smiled sadly, it seemed that they never got to spend as much time together as they would like...each of them having time and travel commitments that didn’t allow for much else. Oh but when they did get together! Time was spent exploring together...wrapped around each other...sweaty...spent...languid kisses...and conversations held in each others arms. Sometimes they wouldn’t leave the bedroom all weekend, especially since Ali had purchased the ‘bedroom fridge.’ Best investment ever!

Ali watched as Ashlyn sensed her and looked up, their eyes locking onto one another. God that cocky smirk...yes, her girlfriend had been born to be a goalkeeper. Seeing Ashlyn like this had always been such a turn on...powerful...athletic...confident. Ali swallowed hard as she watched Ashlyn slowly tape her long strong fingers...fingers that had been deep inside her most intimate flesh...fingers that had pushed her to the edge of ecstasy…fingers that had touched her very soul and caused her to come undone...fingers that had been drenched in her passion. The defender could feel her own wetness pool between her legs. Only Ashlyn had ever been able to get her wet simply by looking at her. Ali was startled when she felt a shove to her shoulder, and she tore her eyes away from a smoldering Ashlyn.

“You plan to eat her up right now, Princess Warrior? Maybe you wait until after das match, ja?” Nadine playfully chastised.

Crimson invaded Ali’s cheeks. She had been caught lusting after her girlfriend by a teammate, and not just any teammate, but Ashlyn’s direct competitor.

“I’m just sizing up the competition.” Ali replied nonchalantly.

“Uh huh, what size ist she?” Nadine asked, one eyebrow arched.

“Perfect.” Ali quickly supplied, jogging away from her amused goalkeeper.

Ali continued to jog up the sideline of the pitch towards Duisburg’s warm ups. Her breath hitched as she caught Ashlyn winking at her, the blonde’s tongue running over her lips. She felt wetness spreading between her legs again. Damn that woman! Ali’s eyes narrowed...two could play at that game.

Ali waited until Ashlyn had started blocking shots between the posts. She jogged behind Ashlyn and stopped where the blonde could see her out of the corner of her eye. Ali faced the stands with her girlfriend behind her. She stretched her lower back and bent over to grab her toes.

“Shit!” Ashlyn exclaimed as the ball hit her in the side of the face and ricocheted over by Ali.

“Nice save, Harris.” Ali giggled, extending her stretch to give Ashlyn a good show.

“Got the job done.” Ashlyn replied, openly admiring Ali’s ass as she retrieved the ball, “Plus I got to enjoy your assets before Nadine today.”

“Stop staring at my ass.” Ali commented as she made sure to stretch from side to side slowly so her muscular ass would sway slightly for Ashlyn’s viewing pleasure.

Ali squeaked as Ashlyn swatted her ass on her way back toward the goal, “Hey!”

“You’re offside, Krieger.” Ashlyn teased.

**

Ashlyn barked out orders in broken German as Frankfurt continued their assault on her half. She saw Ali slipping the seam between her defenders and adjusted to take away the angle, knowing that her girlfriend wouldn’t be shy about taking the shot herself if the Frankfurt forward wasn’t free for a cross. The blonde slid across the face of the goal as Ali served a perfect cross, her forward Bettina finding the pass with her head and redirecting it on goal. Ashlyn pushed off with her strong legs and flew towards the ball, her arms outstretched. Just before the ball went past the line Ashlyn’s hands trapped it, and she brought the ball in toward her, tucking herself around it as she crashed to the cold-hardened ground in front of the goal. Ali had continued to push forward in case there was a rebound, and she stopped a foot from where Ashlyn lay.

“Lucky save, Harris. Next time I’m blasting it past you...nothing but net.” Ali commented above Ashlyn.

“All day long, Krieger. All. Day. Long. Nothing gets past me, but you go ahead and try, it’s so cute.” Ashlyn replied with a cocky smirk and wink as she regained her feet.

Ali took off to recover her defensive position as Ashlyn boomed a kick to midfield. Her trash talk had left her scrambling. She mentally kicked herself for it. Thankfully several players had their one touch passes intercepted so she had plenty of time. She helped Giselle trap a Duisburg midfielder along the sideline and Ali worked hard to win the ball, finally poking it through the midfielder’s legs to Heidi who got a pass off across the pitch.

Ali sprinted up the sideline to stay in the play. Seeing the play develop well, the determined brunette cut to the inside of her defender just as Bettina drew a double team, exposing a weakness on their backline. Ashlyn was furious that they were leaving Ali wide open.

“Krieger, Krieger, Krieger! FUCK! SOMEBODY PICK UP KRIEGER!!!” Ashlyn yelled at the top of her lungs, pointing to her wide open girlfriend.

None of her defenders were in position to pick her up, and unfortunately Ali was still onside when a low line drive pass was made to her. Ashlyn made the split second decision to run forward and intercept the pass just as Ali brought her foot up to redirect the ball. Ashlyn caught the ball in the same instant that Ali’s foot made contact with her groin, the keeper crumpling to the ground with the ball tucked against her torso. Ashlyn’s face drained of color and she writhed in agony, the whistle stopping play.

“FUCKING HELL!” Ashlyn screamed, the pain in her pelvis making her nauseated.

Ali dropped to the ground next to her injured girlfriend and hesitantly put a hand on Ashlyn’s shoulder.

“Oh my god babe, I am so sorry!” Ali blurted out as Ashlyn continued to writhe in pain.

“Damn it, Alex! What the hell were you thinking?! Fuck it hurts!” Ashlyn lashed out, using all her focus not to grab her abused lady bits in front of the packed stadium.

A collective groan echoed through the stadium as the replay was shown on the jumbotron and crimson invaded Ashlyn’s cheeks, “Oh god, they all just saw you kick me in my vajayjay.”

Ali tried to swallow the giggles that threatened to spill out, causing her to snort loudly. Ashlyn glared up at her as the brunette dissolved into a fit of laughter.

“Shut up! I hope they give you a red card...you are so not getting laid tonight.” Ashlyn playfully groused, pain still etched across her face.

Bettina knelt down next to Ali and slipped an arm around her shoulders, “Aw, look at das, you broke your Glucksbringer, Mumbles. You need a stronger one...a German.”

“Stop hitting on my girlfriend, Bettina!” Ashlyn retorted.

Bettina patted Ashlyn’s head patronizingly and looked at Ali, “See, I fix for you. You are still her girlfriend.”

Ashlyn saw the referee jogging over and she groaned, “God Alex, help me up. Give me some of my dignity back.”

“I dunno Harris, you still pushing for a red card?” Ali sassed as she extended her hand out to pull the blonde to her feet.

Ashlyn grabbed Ali’s hand and allowed her girlfriend to help her off the ground. She bent over at the waist and rested her hands on the tops of her knees, trying to catch her breath, the pain slowly subsiding.

“You know, it’s a damned good thing I’m not a guy, Princess, or we’d never be having kids.” Ashlyn remarked as she waved off the concerned referee.

Ali rubbed gentle circles on Ashlyn’s back, “Are you ok, Ash? I really am sorry.”

“Oh I know it wasn’t intentional, Alex. I’ll be fine. Just sore as hell...and I don’t even want to think about anything touching me there at the moment.” Ashlyn admitted at she stood upright, ready to resume play.

During stoppage time, both Ashlyn and Nadine had made spectacular saves so the two teams went into their locker rooms at the half tied at nil.

**

Midway through the second half the score remained at nil, both teams fighting hard. Ashlyn had made a couple more diving saves as Frankfurt was holding possession well, Ali being a central figure in that pressure. At least on this drive her defensive line had stayed in position, but Ali had earned Frankfurt a corner kick by knocking the ball off the Duisburg defender’s leg over the endline. Ashlyn directed her defense and she watched as the players all jockeyed for position. Bettina had drawn a crowd, leaving only one defender on Ali and Heidi. Giselle held up four fingers and Ashlyn noticed Ali’s eyes narrow in concentration. The blonde crept toward Ali, and as the cross came in towards the brunette, Ashlyn leaped to try and pluck the ball away from her just as the Frankfurt star tried to put her head to the ball finding Ashlyn’s head instead. Pain engulfed both of them as they crumpled to the ground.

Ashlyn blinked, her blurry vision finding Ali laying on the ground with a gushing head wound. Why was Ali bleeding? The blonde dragged herself over to her injured girlfriend and wrapped herself around Ali, instinctively guarding her Princess against the danger her concussion fueled brain perceived them to be in.

Ali’s eyes fluttered open. As her vision cleared, she saw Ashlyn hovering above her, blood streaming down the blonde’s face from a gash over the keeper’s right eye. Ali reached out and applied pressure to the wound, causing Ashlyn to grimace and hiss from the pain. Ashlyn pressed her gloved fingers to Ali’s head and watched as her girlfriend’s blood found the gaps between her fingers and seeped over them, staining her white gloves red. Her gloves? Football? Ashlyn closed her eyes and her brain fought hard to retrieve the memory of the last few minutes.

Ashlyn’s eyes snapped open when she felt hands on her shoulders pushing her back to the ground and separating her from Ali. Panic set in as she lost contact. The trainers were holding her head steady where she couldn’t see her favorite brunette. Ashlyn ripped her gloves off needing to feel her lover against her skin. She frantically reached out her hand, blindly searching until she felt warm flesh. Ashlyn laid her hand over the top of Ali’s and twined their fingers, a relieved sigh escaping her lips.

Questions. They were bombarding her with questions and Ali squeezed her eyes shut to block out the noise and pain it caused. She felt the familiar sensation of Ashlyn’s touch, the keeper must have removed her gloves. Ali fought to slip closer to that strong hand...the hand that was desperately holding onto her.

“Alex! Alex!” Ashlyn called out, ignoring the questions of the trainers, there was only one thing she needed right now...to hear the other half of her heart say something...anything.

“I’m here, baby. Shh, it’s ok. I’m here.” Alex cooed, her voice calming the blonde as she used her thumb to rub soothing circles on Ashlyn’s pinky.

Ashlyn fought to stay awake as the sound of wailing sirens got closer. She felt herself being turned over and the board being slipped under her. Ashlyn held Ali’s hand tighter as the medics began strapping her down, and wanted her arm over her chest...but that would mean letting go of Ali. No way in hell was the blonde letting go of Ali. She needed the brunette...without the brunette she wouldn’t be able to breathe...her heart would stop beating. Ashlyn knew life without the feisty defender was no life at all...so she gripped tighter. The medics eventually stopped trying to separate the two and wheeled them off the field together to the waiting ambulance, the crowd giving them much love.

**

Ashlyn floated in and out during the ride to the hospital. Once they were being wheeled into separate ER bays, the blonde started fighting to get back to Ali. The brunette heard a loud crash followed by lots of cursing.

“Get the fuck off me! Where is Alex?! I need my girlfriend!” Ashlyn bellowed, fighting the orderly who was desperately attempting to get the agitated keeper’s hands inside the restraints.

“Einfach. Entspannen Sie sich. Wir werden gut um Sie kummern.” the orderly stated, trying to calm the crazed blonde.

“What the fuck are you saying?! Are you making fun of me?! Where is Alex?!” Ashlyn barked out, straining against the man.

Ali looked up at her startled nurse, and laid a hand on her forearm to pull the woman’s attention from the ruckus.

 

“Das ist mein Liebling, und sie wird nicht aufhoren, bis sie zuruck au mir. Sie hat eine kopfverletzung.” Ali explained.

“Ah so. Ja, ich werde den Arzt informieren. Danke.” the nurse excused herself to go inform the doctor that the blonde was Ali’s darling and had a head injury.

As soon as they wheeled Ali back into the same bay as Ashlyn, the blonde quieted down. Ali shook her head at her girlfriend.

“I swear since I met you, I keep getting put into the trouble makers room.” Ali teasingly admonished.

“Oh god Alex, I’m so happy you are here. My head isn’t working right, and these people keep talking gibberish at me.” Ashlyn whined.

Ali giggled as she leaned over towards Ashlyn and stated conspiratorily, “That’s not gibberish, it’s German. We are in Germany, Ash.”

“We are? Germany? I knew that. I was just testing you.” Ashlyn replied, yawning.

“Nope, no going to sleep, Stud. You have a head injury.” Ali reminded the blonde.

“Oh yeah,” Ashlyn said as she looked at Ali funny, “Wait a minute, it was you! You have a hard head.”

“You have no idea.” Kyle interjected from the doorway as he swept into the room.

“Kyle! I don’t think they are going to let you stay, but I’m so happy to see you!” Ali commented just as a large nurse walked into the room and started trying to usher him out the door, “Is mom here too?”

Kyle started girly slapping the air in front of the nurse to buy some time while he answered, “Yeah, she is making sure you two get put into the same room. They are already talking about keeping you overnight for observation.”

“Oh good, I like sleeping with Alex.” Ashlyn eagerly chimed in.

“Eww, file that under things I never wanted to know!” Kyle teased as he finally allowed the nurse to remove him from the room, “Laters my lezzes.”

Ashlyn turned to Ali as Kyle retreated down the hallway, “I like him.”

“How hard did you hit your head?” Ali replied.

The doctors had arrived and after stitching up their head wounds, sent them for MRI’s before they could settle into their room for the night. Deb and Kyle pushed their beds together so that Ashlyn would relax and stop trying to climb out of her bed to sneak into Ali’s. Ashlyn wrapped her arms carefully around Ali, the brunette’s head using her shoulder for a pillow, one arm and leg draped over the blonde.

“You know, this is not how I pictured spending the night with you tonight was gonna go, Princess.” Ashlyn complained as the nurse left them for another whole fifteen minutes.

“What? You don’t like having a light shined in your eyes four times an hour all night long? What’s wrong with you?” Ali teased, nuzzling further into Ashlyn’s neck.

“The only way I like staying up all night is when I get to…” Ashlyn started.

A loud throat clearing interrupted Ashlyn and she opened her eyes to see Deb smiling at her from a chair next to their makeshift double bed.

“Hi Mom. When did you get here?” Ashlyn greeted, crimson invading her cheeks.

“I’ve been here since they brought you in, sweetheart. So what were you saying?” Deb teased.

“Um...I was saying the only way I like staying up all night is when I get to...play Yatzee with Alex.” Ashlyn replied innocently.

“Don’t believe her, mom. She doesn’t like to play anything she can’t win.” Ali joked, kissing an indignant Ashlyn on the cheek.

**

The following morning the nurses had found the replay of the match on tv for the couple and they were watching intently. Ashlyn groaned when she realized the camera had a tight shot on her as Ali’s foot had found her groin. Kyle was laughing hysterically at the blonde.

“Oh my god. I can’t believe they showed you kicking my kitkat on tv!” Ashlyn grumbled, watching herself writhe on the ground.

“Mmm, tasty wafers that melt in my mouth.” Ali replied.

“I’m still right here, girls. Still not deaf.” Deb deadpanned, shaking her head.

Deb decided to take a walk as the second half started. In truth, she really didn’t want to see the injury that brought both of ‘her girls’ to the hospital, again. Seeing it in person was more than enough. As the corner kick started, Ashlyn and Ali watched transfixed as their heads collided in mid-air, both of them collapsing to the ground with blood streaming. Ali smiled as she watched Ashlyn’s protective nature reveal itself. It was weird to experience what she remembered in that way. Almost like an out of body de-ja-vu. Apparently the end of the match that they missed had been very exciting. It had gone to penalty kicks. The women watched as Nadine made one save and Liesl, Ashlyn’s back up, hadn’t made any. Ali cheered while Ashlyn groaned.

“I see, this was all a plot to take me out so you guys could win the shoot-out! You know I would have stopped Heidi’s shot.” Ashlyn groused.

“What are you talking about? Heidi only took the shot because I wasn’t there. If I had been there, I would have blasted that ball past you, anyway.” Ali retorted.

“In your dreams, Krieger! You know I don’t get fooled by your feints. I know how you think.” Ashlyn smirked.

“Oh Really?! And just what am I thinking now?” Ali challenged.

“Where to hide my body so you don’t go to prison. Too easy, Kriegy.” Ashlyn responded, gently kissing Ali’s forehead.

Chapter Text

It had been a couple of weeks since they had been released from the hospital, and Ali worried about Ashlyn. A few days after they got out of the hospital, Ashlyn developed a headache that seemed never to go away. She teased like she always did, but at times the brunette noticed a vacancy in her soft hazel eyes, or she seemed not to remember details until being reminded. There were times when the blonde was uncharacteristically moody and short tempered. Ali was certain her girlfriend was trying to hide a concussion. At least Ashlyn had been willing to stay in the Frankfurt flat and not insist on going back to her shared apartment in Duisburg, so Ali could keep an eye on her.

Ashlyn had finally fallen asleep with her head in Ali’s lap, and she absently ran her fingers through the blonde’s hair, massaging the scalp underneath. Ali had the shades pulled and sat against the headboard, daydreaming about the upcoming holidays...the first ones they would celebrate as a couple.

Ashlyn was startled awake as her cell phone rang, and she groaned as the ringtone caused a sharp pain in her head...like being stabbed with an ice pick repeatedly. Ali reached over and answered it as quickly and quietly as possible while the blonde nuzzled further into her lap and pulled a pillow over the back of her head to muffle the pain inducing noise.

“Hallo?” Ali answered automatically.

“Hey Buttnugget, did you know your woman is naked in this magazine I’m holding? She is smokin and what a bangin body! So Dumbass, when are you bringing the babe here for me to steal away from you?” Chris teased.

Ali blushed, she had forgotten her ‘goodies spreading issue’ as Ashlyn had called it, had come out nearly three weeks ago. She leaned down, lifted one side of the pillow covering her girlfriend’s head and whispered to Ashlyn, “It’s Chris. Are you up to talking?”

Ashlyn moaned, “Jerk,” and pulled the pillow back over her head.

“I’m sorry Chris, this is Ali and Ash isn’t feeling good enough to chat right now. She has a concussion and her headache is pretty bad.” Ali explained just above a whisper, not entirely sure who Ashlyn was referring to.

“Oh...uh...well...I was...um...nice tattoos you have.” Chris stammered, embarrassed that she had heard his comments about her body.

“Thank you. I’ll be sure to tell Ash that you called.” Ali replied demurely, not really wanting to get into the whole awkward conversation with him.

“Uh, ok then. Tell her I’m sorry she hurt her head, and to feel better.” Chris managed before hanging up.

Ali placed Ashlyn’s cell phone back on the nightstand next to her bed, and resumed tenderly massaging her until well after the blonde had drifted off into a deep sleep. The brunette carefully slipped out from under Ashlyn and leaned down placing a gentle kiss on her temple, then gathered up the blonde’s dirty clothes to add to her own laundry.

After starting a load, Ali took out her cell phone and started making calls. If all went well, she would have Thanksgiving planned before Ashlyn woke up. She smiled as her mom answered. Deb would make the perfect ally in her plot.

**

Ali went to the kitchen to fix herself something light to eat when the doorbell rang. She quickly made her way to the door, not wanting the person to ring again, and wake Ashlyn when the blonde had finally been able to sleep. One of her team’s couriers stood there with a huge sack of fan mail.

“Wow. That can’t all be for me.” Ali exclaimed, her eyes going wide at the enormity of the mail bag.

“Ja, und es gibt viel mehr.” the courier replied, handing her the first bag and revealing another nearly as large that he had set down next to her door.

Ali had to make two trips to bring all of her fan mail inside, and sank down on the sofa. She had never seen anywhere close to this much mail before. The defender had always prided herself on answering every letter she received, feeling that if somebody took the time to write her and let her know what her playing meant to them, then she could take the time to respond...but this was quite overwhelming. Ali took a deep breath and took out the first envelope.

Ashlyn opened her eyes and blinked. The bed was empty and cold. Where was Ali? She moaned as she rolled out of bed and stood unsteadily on her feet for a few seconds to get her bearings. Light poured into the room as she opened the door, and Ashlyn lifted her arm in front of her face to block the majority of it while her sensitive eyes adjusted. She slowly padded through the hallway to the living room where she found her girlfriend sitting with her legs curled underneath her reading mail from two large mail sacks.

“See what you get for showing the world your goodies? How many marriage proposals have you received, Princess?” Ashlyn joked as she sank down onto the couch next to her girlfriend and kissed her cheek.

“Um, somewhere in the neighborhood of five hundred so far, but I have thousands of more letters to get through so that number may or may not increase.” Ali pointed to a pile on the far end of the coffee table, “That’s the proposal pile, help yourself.”

Ashlyn picked up a couple of letters from the pile Ali had pointed out to her and started reading. She scowled, not liking how much the person writing was referencing Ali’s naked body before ending it with a not so decent marriage proposal. She looked up at Ali and shook the letter in her hand.

“Seriously, Alex?! ‘You would look so good wrapped around my cock, marry me and we can make a fortune off the pictures?!’ Who the fuck is this pervert?! Who the hell would actually write and send that to you? I’ll end him.” Ashlyn raged, looking for his contact info on the envelope.

“Baby, please don’t get yourself worked up...it’s not good for your headache.” Ali cooed, trying to defuse Ashlyn while making a mental note to take out the trash full of the letters and dick pics she had received by a whole other level of perverts.

Ali had seriously underestimated how agitated those letters would make Ashlyn. She knew the blonde was protective, but this was just one more indication how different her brain was functioning because normal Ashlyn would have laughed this off. Normal Ashlyn would have smirked and cockily commented that all those guys wanted what she got anytime she chose. Then normal Ashlyn would have decided she wanted the brunette right then, and would have leveled Ali with a look that made her wet and all too willing to give normal Ashlyn what she wanted. Ali scooted closer to Ashlyn and started massaging her neck and shoulders. It wasn’t long before Ashlyn’s eyes rolled back and her eyelids fluttered closed, a moan of pleasure escaping past her lips as the blonde melted into Ali’s touch. Ali let her free hand slip down her girlfriend’s arm and gently extracted the letter while Ashlyn was focused on the pleasure her other hand was giving the blonde.

“Run away with me, Alex. Let’s just go disappear and live on a deserted island...just the two of us. I will teach you how to surf, and we can spend all day sunbathing on the beach, surfing, and having wild sex on the beach that makes all the monkeys jealous.” Ashlyn murmured.

“Well, as much fun as wild monkey sex with you on the beach every day would be, you would start complaining that there was no competition after the first day.” Ali replied, kissing Ashlyn’s temple.

Ashlyn nuzzled into Ali further, breathing in her intoxicating scent, “I would teach the monkeys how to play football. We could build a goal out of palm fronds.”

“And what would we use for a ball?” Ali inquired, an amused grin on her face as she pictured the blonde hard at work teaching monkeys the finer points of football strategy.

“Coconuts of course.” Ashlyn reasoned.

“Of course. But have you ever actually kicked a coconut, Stud?” Ali asked.

“Watch it Princess, you are going to get kicked out of my fantasy with that kind of talk.” Ashlyn playfully threatened.

“Yes, but how nice of a fantasy will it be without me? Then it really would be wild monkey sex.” the brunette giggled.

“Eww. You are seriously twisted, Krieger. I think you have spent entirely too much time hanging out with Kyle.” Ashlyn chuckled.

“I agree.” Ali remarked, “I might not be running away with you to a deserted island, but we are going on a trip together soon.”

Ashlyn sat up and looked at her girlfriend, confused, “What do you mean?”

Ali bit her bottom lip, had she overstepped boundaries by making holiday plans for them? She reached for Ashlyn’s hand and gave her a smile she knew would melt the blonde’s heart. Better to at least get her girlfriend a little mushy before springing the surprise on her. Since the concussion, Ali wasn’t entirely certain how the woman she loved would react.

“Well, we have tickets to Miami for Thanksgiving.” Ali watched Ashlyn’s face scrunch in confusion, “Surprise.”

“You got us tickets to Miami? We are spending Thanksgiving with your family?” Ashlyn asked, trying to make sense of it.

“Yes, and your grandma and Chris are coming as well.” Ali cheerfully supplied.

“Oh god. You really think that’s such a great idea? I mean, my family is a little rough around the edges.” Ashlyn groaned, hiding her face in her hands.

“Are you trying to say my family are snobs, Ashlyn?” Ali asked, a hurt undertone to her voice.

Ashlyn’s head snapped up and her eyes widened, “NO! I’m not saying that at all, Princess. Your family is wonderful.”

Ashlyn fidgeted under Ali’s intense gaze. The blonde finally couldn’t take Ali’s scrutiny any longer and looked down at her hands in her lap. The brunette stayed silent knowing there was something her girlfriend was holding back. She took the blonde’s hands into her own, dipped her head so they were gazing into each other’s eyes again, and raised her brow to encourage Ashlyn to continue. Finally Ashlyn took a deep breath.

“I...I just worry you might change your mind about us once you meet mine.” Ashlyn whispered.

“Oh babe, do you really think that I’d stop loving you because of your family?” Ali asked, tenderly cupping Ashlyn’s face.

“Maybe. Well, I did until you put it like that.” Ashlyn confessed, feeling silly now.

“Besides, did you stop loving me because my dad is an asshole?” Ali turned the tables on Ashlyn.

Ashlyn chuckled, “Point to Miss Krieger, world’s most intelligent woman.”

“Oooh, can you repeat that a little louder for the microphone, please?” Ali teased, her face lighting up as she pretended to hold a mic out to Ashlyn.

Ashlyn pushed Ali’s hand aside and leaned in, capturing her girlfriend’s lips in a tender kiss. The blonde’s hands roamed down to the defender’s perfectly round muscular ass and lifted her onto the keeper’s lap. As the kiss became passionate, Ali smiled against Ashlyn’s soft lips, she loved the moments when she had her normal Ashlyn back.

**

Ali smiled as Ashlyn hefted her bag onto the scale at the ticket counter, her girlfriend was the epitome of a chivalrous southern gentlewoman. The blonde shook her head as the ticket agent informed her the bag was thirty pounds overweight. Ali chewed her lip as she watched Ashlyn pull the bag off the scale, unzip her own bag and make room for some of Ali’s things without so much as a complaint or sarcastic remark. For the keeper, this had simply become routine whenever they traveled together. Take a bigger suitcase than you need, leave space for Ali’s things, and then transfer them over after you know how many pounds need to come out of her overstuffed bag.

“Could I have a couple of those, please?” Ali asked the baggage handler, pointing to the ‘caution: fragile’ stickers with a picture of a broken wine glass on it.

The man eagerly handed several of them to the gorgeous football star, grinning stupidly at her. Oh geez, he has seen ‘the issue’ Ali thought as she thanked him, trying to ignore the man’s oogling eyes while Ashlyn finished re-packing both of their suitcases. Ali slipped the stickers into her purse and turned to wait on the blonde who was finishing up checking their suitcases.

**

The flight from Frankfurt to Miami was long, and Ali was happy to finally get a chance to relax and read the novel her mom had loaned her several months ago. Ashlyn had fallen asleep with her head resting against Ali’s, the brunette using Ashlyn’s shoulder as a pillow. Her girlfriend’s soft snores were soothing background noise as Ali continued to read...too soothing as Ali’s eyes fluttered closed after a few minutes, sleep claiming the brunette as well. The flight attendant scooped up the book that had fallen out of Ali’s hand and tucked it into the seat back pocket, smiling down at the couple as they cuddled in their sleep. He switched off Ali’s reading light before moving up to the galley.

**

Ashlyn slowly blinked the sleep from her eyes as the landing announcement came over the loudspeaker. Ali had already filled out her customs form for her, all she had to do was sign it and return it to their flight attendant. She smiled at the thoughtfulness of her favorite brunette. The flight attendant came down the isle with Ashlyn’s fedora in hand. He paused in front of her, and she handed him the customs form.

“Here, let me.” Ali stated, reaching for the hat.

Ali took the hat from the man and ran her hand lovingly over the crown before she gently placed it on Ashlyn’s head, tipping it slightly back, “Perfect.”

“Thank you, Princess.” Ashlyn remarked as she gave the brunette a quick chaste kiss on the lips before stepping out into the isle.

**

Ashlyn’s eyes lit up as she saw Chris and her Grandma waiting for them outside the international arrivals doorway. It had been nearly a year since they had been in the same space together. Ali smiled at how happy her girlfriend looked.

“Go ahead, I’ll be right there, Ash.” Ali encouraged Ashlyn who smiled like she had just won the lottery.

“You are the best girlfriend ever, Princess.” Ashlyn commented and took off running towards her family.

Ali watched with a satisfied grin as Chris started to crush his sister in a hug, but stopped himself and gently squeezed her instead. Ashlyn punched him lightly in the shoulder before turning and wrapping her arms around her Grandma for a loving embrace.

Ashlyn wrapped her right arm around Ali’s waist as she walked up to the group and stood next to her girlfriend. Chris’ eyes went wide, and he fist bumped Ashlyn while mouthing ‘wow’ at her. Ashlyn nodded in agreement.

“So this is the most amazing and gorgeous woman in the world, my girlfriend Alex. Alex, this is my weirdo brother Chris, and my equally amazing Grandma.” Ashlyn introduced everyone.

“Damn you look hot even in clothes...I mean, in person.” Chris corrects himself remembering Grandma is standing next to him.

“Oh sweetheart, I saw the pictures too.” Grandma pats Chris’ arm before turning her attention to an embarrassed Ali, “You are a very beautiful woman, in and out of clothes. Nothing to be ashamed of, honey. The good Lord simply wrapped all your amazingness inside a gorgeous package and tied it together with a pretty bow. My Ashlyn is a lucky woman to have you.”

“Thank you, but I think I’m the lucky one.” Ali quickly replied, the blush extending from her cheeks all the way down her neck as Grandma pulled her into an awkward hug as far as the brunette was concerned.

“Ok, can we stop talking about my girlfriend being hot and naked now?!” Ashlyn grumbled, coming to Ali’s rescue.

“Sure. Whatever you say, Buttnugget.” Chris replied, reaching for one of their bags.

“I tried to warn you.” Ashlyn whispered into Ali’s ear as she also reached down for the handle of Ali’s large roller bag.

“They are fine, Ash. Really. But one day you are going to have to tell me what a ’buttnugget’ is and why your brother keeps calling you that.” Ali replied, falling in step with Ashlyn behind Chris and Grandma.

Ashlyn chuckled, “I’m sure you are smart enough to figure out what comes out of a butt, Princess.”

Ali’s face scrunched up, “Ew, he is calling you poop?!”

“Well, it used to be ‘little shit’ but Grandma would get on him for cussing.” Ashlyn replied, amused by Ali’s reaction.

As they made their way to the parking garage, Ali watched Ashlyn and Chris tease each other, and Grandma step in when it started to get a little heated. Finally the group stopped beside a very large double cab Ford pick up that had been lifted, and had four large monster truck tires. There was an american flag mounted in the bed just behind the cab. Ali’s eyes widened. The bottom of the cab was eye level with her. How the hell was she supposed to climb up into that thing?! How the hell did Grandma climb up into that thing?!

“Welcome to redneck central, Princess.” Ashlyn commented as she tossed their bags into the back, “I see you brought the good car, Fart Face.”

“Ignore them, honey. It’s what I do. Makes it easier when they start up with those gross names they call each other.” Grandma advised Ali, “But it’s always been the way they show each other their love.”

Ali let out a startled squeak when Ashlyn swept her off her feet and lifted her up onto the back seat at the same time Christ lifted Grandma into the front passenger seat. Well, that was one mystery solved. The two siblings went around to the other side of the truck and deftly climbed in. Ashlyn reached over and held Ali’s hand, needing the comfort of her girlfriend to calm her nerves as Ali directed them to her mom’s house on the beach. By the time they pulled up into the driveway, Ashlyn’s leg was bouncing constantly with nervous energy.

“Relax, Stud. My family will love them.” Ali remarked and placed her hand on Ashlyn’s leg to still it while she gave the blonde a tender kiss.

“Hey, no making out in the back seat of Betsy!” Chris teased, watching the pair in the rear view mirror.

“He named his big monster truck, Betsy?” Ali asked, certain she was mistaken.

“Yep, Betsy Ross because until today, Chris hasn’t been able to get any woman younger than Grandma into it.” Ashlyn teased her brother.

Chris shot Ashlyn the middle finger as he put the truck in park. Ali’s eyes lit up as she spotted Kyle coming out of the front door.

“Go ahead, Princess, I’ll be right behind you.” Ashlyn stated, knowingly.

Ali opened the door and jumped down. She met Kyle halfway between the truck and the front door. Kyle picked Ali up and spun her around. Ali started getting a bit uncomfortable as her brother continued to hold her in a tight hug. She squirmed in his arms and he chuckled as he held on tighter. Deb appeared at the front door, waving to the group as Ashlyn helped her Grandma down from the truck.

“Quit torturing your sister, Kyle.” Deb admonished her son, who reluctantly released a tensed Ali.

Ashlyn came around the truck with her family and Kyle rushed over squealing, “My lez-in-law!”

Just before Kyle would have launched himself at Ashlyn, he abruptly stopped and gently reached out for Ashlyn. Her eyes narrowed and she looked at him expectantly.

“What?” Kyle muttered as he softly patted her, “I can follow directions.”

“What are you talking about?” Ashlyn inquired, clearly confused.

Kyle pointed to her fedora. Ashlyn ripped it off her head and looked it over. Tucked into the hatband was one of the ‘caution: fragile’ stickers Ali had received from the baggage handler. While Ashlyn had been asleep, she had taken a pen and drawn a face on the cracked chalice part of the wine glass, making it a broken oversized head. The eyes were big and oogly, looking off into different directions, and the mouth was a zig zag line with a tongue sticking out. Ali had used the stem of the wine glass as a body with a mini adidas symbol on the chest, drawing stick figure arms that extended from each side and bent at the elbow, complete with over-sized gloved hands. She drew a line down the center of the stem from the waist line to make separate legs and the base became two feet that she had added cleats to as well as drawn in a soccer ball by the toe of the right ‘foot.’

“Really, Alex?” Ashlyn tried to sound mad, but the drawing was too cute to pull it off with any conviction.

“What? You’re the artist, not me.” Ali replied, shrugging.

Ashlyn pulled Ali in for a quick kiss.

“Ugh, you two are disgustingly adorable. I need a man.” Kyle pouted.

As they all walked into the house after the introductions, Deb put her arms around Ashlyn and Ali. She steered them into the small reading room off the front foyer, and closed the door behind them.

“I just need to tell you that I invited your father and told him he could bring a guest to Thanksgiving dinner.” Deb started.

“MOM!” Ali interrupted, before Ashlyn lightly pressed a finger to her lips, earning her a glare from the brunette.

“Listen, he promised he would behave, now I need you to promise me that you will at least be civil for my sake. You don’t have to forgive him if he hasn’t earned it, but young lady, he is still your father and still a part of this family. I love you, Alex. I love you more than my own life, and I love that you have found happiness with someone as wonderful as Ashlyn. It is going to take your father a bit longer to come around, but I’m sure he will. For now, can we please just all have one dinner together. I think he deserves one more chance to make it right.” Deb explained.

Ali sighed loudly, “Fine. I’ll be civil, for you.”

“That’s all I can ask. Thank you, baby girl.” Deb replied, kissing Ali’s forehead before turning and leaving the couple alone in the room.

“And you...so much for always being behind ME.” Ali tried to push past Ashlyn, but the blonde blocked her path.

“Get out of my way, Harris. I don’t want to talk to you right now.” Ali stated, her voice low and full of scorn.

“Not so fast, Alex. I love you baby, but you sometimes shut people down instead of listening to their truth. How can you expect others to listen to yours if you aren’t willing to do the same for them? I wasn’t picking your mom’s side over yours, I was showing you how much I love you by getting you to consider your mom’s truth. I love you, and no matter what, at the end of the day I will always be right behind you every step of the way...even when you go down the wrong path. Now you can leave all pissed off at me, or we can take a walk along the beach and I can listen to your feelings about your father, but I will love you either way. Your choice, Princess.” Ashlyn softly explained, her gentle eyes conveying her love as she stepped out of the doorway.

Ali closed her eyes. She was pissed, but who was she really pissed off with? It wasn’t fair to take out her anger and frustration with her dad on anyone else. Ashlyn did have a point. Ali opened her eyes and frustrated tears pooled unshed in them as she leaned into the blonde’s chest and allowed them to fall. Ashlyn wrapped her arms around her girlfriend and kissed the top of her head.

“It’s going to be alright, baby. I’m here. Let’s just go for a walk. C’mon.” Ashlyn cooed, gently leading Ali back through the doorway.

“Hey, we are gonna go for a walk along the beach. We’ll be back in a while.” Ashlyn informed the house full of relatives as she shielded Ali from view.

The couple walked slowly down the darkened sand, the sound of the waves crashing and lapping at the shoreline soothing them. Ashlyn found a spot that provided a little privacy with a palm tree and some vegetation around it, and she steered Ali over. Ashlyn sat down with her back against the tree and Ali curled up into her lap, leaning her head against the blonde’s chest.

“Sometimes I wish I could hate him, you know? I wish I didn’t care what he thought of me...of us.” Ali confessed, her voice tiny and soft.

“But you do, and his words hurt you.” Ashlyn finished.

Ali nodded, the tears finally falling. Ashlyn tightened her arms around Ali, pulling her impossibly closer, and rocked the brunette as she cried.

“You need to talk with him, Alex. I’ll be there if you want me to, but at least give him a chance to apologize, and make it right. If nothing else, we can be civilized to him, eat dinner, and come back out here. No matter what, I’ll be with you and I’ll be loving you.” Ashlyn whispered, kissing Ali’s head.

“I think what hurts the worst is that I was always a daddy’s girl growing up. He told me I could be anything I wanted when I got older, and he would always love me. I believed him too...and then when he said those things about you...about us...it made my whole childhood a lie.” Ali finally admitted out loud.

“No Princess, it didn’t make your childhood a lie, it made your dad a fool. When you love someone completely, you love every part of them...no matter what.” Ashlyn explained.

“Do you love all the parts of me?” Ali asked, almost afraid of the answer.

“Definitely. I love your smart parts, and your goofy parts, your playful parts, and your serious parts. I love your confident parts, your tender parts, your rough parts, your angry parts and your happy parts. I love your light parts, your sexy parts, even your farty parts and the parts of you that are so competitive you kicked my lady parts, but I especially love your vulnerable parts, and your dark parts.” Ashlyn stated as she punctuated each ‘part’ with a kiss.

“Mmm. Why do you love my dark parts?” Ali wondered aloud.

“I love them the best because I’m the only one you allow to see them. It’s like the secret side of you that I get that nobody else does. They are also what completes you. Without them, you wouldn’t be a whole person, and without the dark how can we appreciate the light?” Ashlyn replied.

Ali’s eyes glistened full of emotion in the moonlight, and she turned to straddle Ashlyn’s lap. The brunette kissed Ashlyn soundly, pressing her body against the blonde until they both moaned.

“God Ash, the things you make me feel. I want you. Now!” Ali blurted out, her eyes full of desire.

“Here? Now?” Ashlyn replied, looking around the beach for anyone who might be able to see them.

“Right here. Right now. I thought you said you loved all the parts of me?” Ali challenged.

“I do.” Ashlyn quickly responded, her hands settling on Ali’s hips as Ali started to grind herself against the blonde.

“Even my naughty horny parts?” Ali challenged again.

Ashlyn smiled, “Especially those.”

“Good answer, Stud...good answer.” Ali husked before crashing their lips together in a searing kiss that left them both breathless.

As their tongues danced inside Ali’s mouth, Ashlyn slowly unzipped Ali’s Frankfurt FFC warm-up jacket and slipped it off her shoulders. She started kissing Ali’s neck as the brunette leaned back, exposing more of her sensitive flesh to her girlfriend’s nipping teeth. Ali pulled her t-shirt and sports bra over her head and dropped them to the sand next to them in a heap. Ashlyn took a second to admire the brunette’s athletic body...drinking in the small perky breasts with nipples already hardening in the night air before dipping down and capturing the left one in her teeth, flicking her tongue across the surface. Ali’s breath hitched at the sizzling contact. The brunette reached up and released Ashlyn’s bun, shaking out the long wavy blonde hair that she adores while the blonde continued to lavish attention on her achingly hard nipple.

“God Ash, I love the way you touch me.” Ali moaned out as Ashlyn continued to suck her nipples, her fingertips ghosting over Ali’s rib tattoo.

“You are so fucking incredibly gorgeous, Alex. You take my breath away.” Ashlyn murmured against the brunette’s breast.

Ashlyn spent several minutes teasing Ali’s breasts and nipples until Ali was so worked up she swore a stiff breeze might send her over the edge. She finally couldn’t take any more and pushed away from the blond. An amused Ashlyn watched as Ali stood and ripped her warm-up pants off followed closely by her panties. Ashlyn let out a surprised yelp when Ali took her by the ankles and pulled her away from the trunk of the palm tree so she was laying in the sand. Ali didn’t give her girlfriend a chance to sit up because as the blonde started to, the feisty brunette shoved her down and straddled her face.

“No more teasing! I want you to Fuck. Me. Right. Now. Ashlyn. Michelle. Harris.” Ali commanded, as she started grinding her own soaking wet core against Ashlyn’s face, “Fuck me with that fucking glorious tongue of yours until I don’t even know my own name, baby.”

As soon as the first drop of Ali’s sweetness reached her tongue, Ashlyn moaned. She drove her tongue as deep inside Ali as it would go, a flood of the brunette’s passion spilling across it as Ali’s hips thrust harder against her. Ashlyn loved the feeling of Ali’s hot silken walls greedily collapsing around her tongue...seeking out the connection...the pleasure...only she could give. Ashlyn moaned at the sight of Ali taking her pleasure, using her well muscled thighs to pump herself up and down against the blonde’s tongue. Ashlyn worked her tongue in and out, and flicked around her girlfriend’s sensitive clit before diving into her core once more. The moon had risen behind the brunette, and it’s light made Ali’s flesh glow...Ashlyn swore she had her tongue buried inside an angel. Ali reached down and twined their fingers of both hands, her hips increasing in speed to match Ashlyn’s tongue thrusts, and as she crested the wave, she threw her head back and let go.

“AAAAAAASH!” Ali’s moan was raw...powerful...and very loud.

Ashlyn caught Ali as the spent woman collapsed, and she held her tightly, conveying all of her feelings for the brunette in her kiss. Ali reached up and cupped Ashlyn’s face as they continued to kiss each other tenderly. Finally Ali needed more air and she broke the kiss, laying her head against Ashlyn, her lips curled in a satisfied smile, her fingers playing with the blonde’s hair.

“God I love you so much.” Ali whispered, “How did I ever get so lucky?”

Ashlyn wrapped her arms around her girlfriend tighter having felt the brunette shiver, and kissed her temple, “Oh, I am definitely the lucky one, Miss Krieger. I never even dreamed I’d end up with someone as amazing as you.”

Ashlyn held Ali until she had regained her strength. When Ali was ready to get dressed, Ashlyn peeled her hoodie off, followed by her t-shirt and sports bra, putting the clean bra and shirt on a confused defender. “Wha…” Ali started before Ashlyn placed a gentle finger on her lips.

“Let me love you, babe. Your clothes are full of sand, and no amount of shaking them off is going to change that. Mine aren’t. Trust me, you do not want sand in places where sand ought not ever be.” Ashlyn commented.

Realization dawned on Ali and she giggled, “Such a wise surfer girl.”

“Tricks of the trade.” Ashlyn agreed as they stood and she carefully took off her jeans and boxers, tossing them onto her shoulder to keep them away from the sand.

Ali felt incredibly loved and surprisingly sexy as she stepped into Ashlyn’s ethika boxers. She loved feeling how wet she had gotten the blonde as Ashlyn pulled the boxers up, and their passion mixed into the garment. Once she had Ashlyn’s jeans on, Ali felt completely surrounded in Ashlyn’s warmth and love. It was like the best kind of hug. Ashlyn shook the sand out of Ali’s clothes as much as possible before slipping them on.

“Good thing I wasn’t wearing a dress.” Ali teased as she took Ashlyn’s arm, the blonde not even complaining about the abrasive sand as they walked back toward Deb’s house.

“Yeah...well...you might have been on your own with that one.” Ashlyn teased back.

“I thought you loved all the parts of me...what about the girly parts?” Ali joked.

“I love your girly parts...as long as it doesn’t include me in a dress.” the blonde responded, dipping down and kissing the brunette who giggled against her lips.

When they reached the back door to the house, Ali checked the kitchen. It was empty. She quietly opened the slider and they slipped inside. Ali pointed to a small staircase off to the side, and Ashlyn headed to it, holding Ali’s hand. The two managed to creep up the stairs undetected, and tip toed down the hallway to a pink door with a picture of a crown painted on it. Ashlyn smirked and raised her eyebrows at Ali who only grinned and shrugged, opening the door.

Ali pushed Ashlyn through the dark towards her bed as she started kissing her. It was time for round two, besides, she fully intended on thanking Ashlyn for being so thoughtful. Once they got to the bed, the brunette pushed her girlfriend down, and Ashlyn pulled her down as well, both of them hitting the bed at the same time.

“What the fuck!” Ashlyn yelped as Ali squealed, both of them landing on warm bodies.

The light on the night stand next to the bed switched on and revealed Kyle laying next to Chris on Ali’s bed.

“Told ya. They totally snuck off and did it. Look, they even switched clothes.” Kyle remarked to Chris.

“You win. Damn sis, can’t even keep it in your pants for ten minutes!” Chris shook his head.

Crimson invaded Ali’s face and she started smacking her brother, “GET OUT OF HERE!”

Ashlyn bit the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing as feisty Ali chased the two men out of her bedroom with threats to relieve them of their manhood should they dare to return. Finally Ali sank onto the bed next to an amused Ashlyn.

“God, if it’s this bad only a few hours in, I don’t want to see what dinner is like tomorrow.” Ali lamented, shaking her head.

“It’s always an adventure with you, Princess.” Ashlyn replied, as Ali tucked herself into the blonde’s side.

 

**

The next day went by smoothly as Grandma and Deb cooked alongside each other. They seemed to really hit it off, and even Ashlyn had to admit that Chris and Kyle were thick as thieves despite their obvious differences. As the day wore on, Ali got more nervous. At least if her dad brought a date, he couldn’t be too terrible...right? He wouldn’t want to sully his image in front of his girlfriend.

Before she was ready to face him, the doorbell rang. Ali groaned, knowing who was on the other side. Kyle refused to open the door, so Deb walked from the kitchen, sparing her children a hard look as she walked past the living room. As she opened the door, everyone was surprised as Ken and a young gentleman stood on the porch dressed in formal attire.

“Oh, uh, come in.” Deb offered as she gave Ken a puzzled look.

“Thank you, Deb.” Ken replied as he kissed her cheek, “This is my friend, Derek Masters. He is graduating from Harvard Law school in the spring.”

Ali narrowed her eyes at her father. Why in the world would he bring a man her age as his ‘plus one’ to their Thanksgiving dinner?! As Ken moved into the living room, Ashlyn stood and extended her hand to him.

“Mr. Krieger, good to see you.” the blonde exclaimed warmly.

Ken brushed past Ashlyn and stood in front of Ali. He opened his arms wide and she looked up at him, not really in the mood to hug anyone...especially her father who had once again blown off her girlfriend. She noticed her mom’s pleading eyes so she blew out an exasperated breath and stood up, allowing the man to pull her into his chest. She did not return the affection.

“Alex, you look so good, sweetheart. Such a beautiful dress, and I love your hair down like that. So classy.” Ken gushed, “I’d like you to meet my friend Derek. He was kind enough to accompany me here so I didn’t have to drive all the way from Virginia all alone.”

Ali glared at the young man who didn’t seem to notice anything but how fine she looked in the black cocktail dress that hugged all the right curves. He grinned at her a little lasciviously, and Ali knew immediately that he too had seen her ‘goodies spreading’ issue. Why...oh why had her father decided to torture her?!

“Hi Derek, so nice of you to keep my father company. Have you met my girlfriend, Ashlyn Harris?” Ali wasted no time in letting the man know she was definitely off the market and not on the menu no matter what lies her father may have pumped him full of to get him to agree to the trip.

Derek smiled and his teeth were perfectly straight and white. He noticed Ali looking and supplied, “My dad is a dentist.”

Of course he is, Ashlyn thought as she watched the exchange, biting her tongue. Ashlyn held her hand out towards the young man, and was surprised as he took it, but not surprised when he bared down in a show of strength. The blonde simply smirked at his attempts to intimidate her, and squeezed back with equal measure, noting a bit of the confidence leave his eyes.

“Dinner is ready, come and get it!” Grandma exclaimed, coming around the corner just in time to see the intense handshake.

Deb’s long dining table was full of holiday favorites, and Ashlyn allowed Ali to choose her own seat, pulling it out for her once she made her decision. While Ashlyn held her chair, Derek and Ken quickly slipped into the chairs on either side of her. Ali started to stand, but Ashlyn kissed her cheek and whispered in her ear, “It’s ok, I’ll sit across from you and have the best view in the house.”

As Ashlyn started around the table, she paused to pull out the chair at the head of the table for Deb as Chris had already pulled out a chair for Grandma. Kyle stood next to his chair and looked pleadingly as Ashlyn approached. She rolled her eyes and shook her head, but pulled the chair out for him as well before taking the seat directly across from Ali.

“Well at least someone around here knows how to be a gentleman.” Kyle quipped, defending his favorite lez-in-law.

Deb smiled at everyone even though she was starting to re-think her invitation to her ex. Had he changed at all? Despite her reservations, she took a deep breath and trusted him one last time.

“Ken, will you please say the blessing?” Deb inquired.

Ali felt on edge as she was practically forced by the edicts of good manners to hold her dad and Derek’s hand for the prayer. She looked up and felt calm seep into her, as her eyes locked onto the gentle hazel eyes of her favorite person across the table from her.

“Thank you dear Lord for these our many blessings. Let us remember on this day of Thanksgiving Your love and sacrifice to wash us all clean, and to accept You and Your wisdom, oh Lord in our daily lives. Let us trust in You, Lord, knowing that we can change if we only pray hard enough...if we only believe hard enough. That You have prepared a place for all of Your obedient children, and to be grateful for that. In Your name, amen.” Ken prayed.

Ali felt her anger rise the longer her father’s ‘blessing’ went on. By the time he finished, she was flat out pissed. She looked at her dad and her eyes narrowed.

“Have you been praying that I’ll stop dating Ashlyn and go back to some guy, dad?” Ali inquired, Deb cringing.

“Every day, Princess.” Ken proudly admitted.

“And you have complete faith that God will ‘restore’ me to your version of the perfect daughter?” Ali challenged.

“Of course!” Ken stated indignant that it was even a question.

“Fine. Let’s see how well your God listened to you.” Ali spat out as she turned to Derek and crashed her lips to his.

Ashlyn gripped the table, her gut twisting in jealousy, but she had faith in her girlfriend. It was nearly too much for her to take when the brunette ran her hands down his body to cup his growing manhood. Finally Ali pulled back, and sauntered over to Ashlyn. She straddled the blonde and kissed her, both of them moaning as the kiss deepened. Ken’s face turned red as he watched his daughter run her hands down the blonde’s body and grind into her.

“No contest.” Ali breathed out before capturing Ashlyn’s lips again, plunging her tongue possessively into the blonde’s mouth.

Ken shook with anger. Derek looked down in defeat. Deb buried her face in her hands. Kyle cheered and clapped.

“Pass the popcorn.” Grandma broke the awkward silence.

“There isn’t any popcorn, Grandma.” Chris replied quickly.

“Nonsense, there is always popcorn at a show, and this one just got good.” Grandma replied sweetly.

Chapter Text

Ashlyn reached over and placed a comforting hand on Ali’s thigh as the sullen brunette continued to stare out the window at the passing landscape. The blonde couldn’t believe how incredibly cruel Ken had been to his daughter at the all out shit show that was Thanksgiving dinner. She would never forget the look on Ali’s face as Deb screamed at Ken to get the hell out of her house and take that pompous assed little lawyer wannabe with him, and Ken telling Ali that no dyke would ever be welcome in his house so if she chose Ashlyn over being normal to come clean her belongings out of his home...her childhood home...the place where Ali was supposed to feel the most loved and least judged. Ashlyn would never forget how Ali had looked equal parts triumphant and broken, victorious and guilty when she turned to Ken with narrowed eyes and dared him to repeat himself, then had turned back and chosen the blonde with the most passionate love-filled kiss they had ever shared...how Kyle had grabbed Grandma’s wine glass and thrown the contents in Ken’s face as he had told his gay children that they were as good as dead in God’s eyes. She would never forget how the cabernet dripped off Ken’s chin and stained his crisp white shirt blood red. Deb had been so apologetic after Ken and Derek left, but Ashlyn could see the pain housed in Ali’s eyes. This cut deep, and she wasn’t sure how her girlfriend was ever going to feel the same again, but Ashlyn vowed she was going to do everything in her power to put that megawatt smile back on her favorite face no matter what it took.

Ali laid her hand on top of Ashlyn’s and twined their fingers. She was not sorry that she had chosen the blonde over a continued relationship with her father. Ashlyn was right, he was a fool. After much contemplation Ali was simply sad that he had gotten this sucked into that stupid evangelical church. It had poisoned his once open mind and cost him not only his marriage, but now his children as well. Ali could only hope that one day he would be strong enough to break free from its influence.

Ali felt nauseated as Ashlyn turned her BMW down the long driveway to her father’s house. She was beyond grateful that her girlfriend had offered to drive her. If Ali was being honest, she wasn’t entirely sure she could face her father alone knowing that he was disgusted by her, and having Ashlyn there would definitely help her get through it. Ali took a deep breath as the car stopped and the blonde put it into park. Ashlyn brought Ali’s hand to her lips and placed a gentle kiss across the knuckles.

“You don’t have anything to feel bad about. This isn’t on you, Alex. It’s not your failure, it’s his. I hope you know that.” Ashlyn checked in with her girlfriend who hadn’t uttered a word in the last forty minutes of their drive.

Ali finally met Ashlyn’s eyes, and she nodded, the lump in her throat preventing her from actually getting words out of her mouth. She was so close to tears, but Ali refused to let them fall...to give her father the satisfaction of knowing how deeply he had wounded her. Ashlyn leaned over and kissed the brunette tenderly before she got out and walked around to the passenger door. Ali took a deep breath as her girlfriend opened her door for her and she took Ashlyn’s hand as she stood up.

They walked hand-in-hand up the steps to the large covered wrap-around porch. Ali knocked on the door, not wanting to use the key she had already slipped off of her keychain. This was no longer her home.

As they waited Ali looked around the place she and Kyle had spent so many hours playing together when they were growing up. The sunny spot where they played with Ali’s doll house. Ali had hidden Ken inside the woodpile so their mom would buy another and Kyle could have two boy dolls to play with so he would stop cutting Barbie’s hair short. Ali’s eyes drifted to the spot where they set up their ‘beauty shop’ and styled their mom’s hair together for hours before their father had come home and put an end to their fun...to the porch swing that had been their time machine, whisking them off to adventures in the past and future. When he was ten, it was the place where Kyle had first confessed to her that he was attracted to other boys as they swayed back and forth in it. Ali allowed her eyes to go to the corner of the porch that still bore the scorch marks from when the neighborhood boys had thrown a lit M-80 firecracker at Kyle and she had picked it up and flung it back at them. After it had glanced off one of the bully’s side and rolled into the corner, they scattered...jumping off the porch yelling curse words at the ‘fag twins.’ Ali noticed some boxes next to the mark. She went over and peeked inside the top one. It was full of her awards and trophies...all of her childhood victories packed up and left on the porch like trash.

“These are mine. Will you please put them in the trunk for me, Ash?” Ali quietly petitioned, not wanting to think too much about it.

Ashlyn bit her tongue and pushed her anger down. It wouldn’t do her girlfriend any good to blow up at Ken right now. They still had to collect her belongings, and knowing her lady, those few boxes couldn’t possibly contain everything she had or would want back. Ali rang the doorbell as Ashlyn carried the boxes to the car and popped the trunk, disappearing behind it as she bent down to place the boxes inside.

Ken answered the door. He motioned for Ali to come in and she stepped inside, the door pulled shut behind her.

“You know where your room was.” Ken stated flatly before walking off to the kitchen, the smell of scotch on his breath.

Ali climbed the stairs and ran her hand lovingly over the banister that she and Kyle had slid down countless times. At the landing, she paused and took in the sight of the fireplace where their stockings had hung every Christmas, the tree taking up the entire corner in front of the huge window. The couch were she had curled up in her father’s lap as they watched tv. She had always felt safe in his arms, he had always been her hero. Ali felt hot tears stinging her eyes. She turned and quickly fled up the rest of the steps, and down the hallway to her room. The brunette threw open the door and froze in the doorway, her face scrunched up in confusion at the sight of Derek folding up her ‘unmentionables’ and placing them into a box.

“What the FUCK do you think you are doing?!” Ali challenged, her voice a low growl.

Derek looked up at the dangerous expression on the brunette’s face and smiled, “Ken wanted me to help him clean out this room. He said he couldn’t stand to touch anything so he asked me to do it.”

“You touch one more pair of my panties and I will rip your dick off and shove it down your throat. Get the fuck out of my room you fucking pervert!” Ali replied, taking a step towards him.

Derek sighed and stood up, stretching nonchalantly, “Fine. I needed a break anyway.”

Before Ali could touch any of her things, she was startled by her father’s loud voice. Ali ran out of her room and down the stairs. The front door was wide open and she saw her father standing in front of Ashlyn on the porch.

“YOU are NOT welcome on MY PROPERTY! GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE YOU FUCKING DYKE!” Ken yelled, his face contorted in rage.

“I’m not leaving Ali here alone with you.” Ashlyn calmly retorted, looking past him into the house, searching for her girlfriend.

Ali screamed as Ken sucker punched Ashlyn and used her backward momentum to toss the blonde off the porch. She landed with a heavy thud in the fresh snow, blood dripping from her split lip. Ashlyn noticed the irony of the snow being stained red like Ken’s shirt had a few days prior. Ali tried to run to Ashlyn’s side, but her father grabbed her as she reached the porch. Ali tried to twist away from his grip, but his rage fueled strength had her trapped. Ashlyn managed to get to her feet and started towards the porch.

“See what you made me do, Alexandra?! It didn’t have to be this way. YOU don’t have to be this way!” Ken yelled at his daughter as he shook her.

“Please Daddy, you’re hurting me.” Ali’s tiny pain filled voice finally broke through the man’s alcohol fogged brain, and he released her, a horrified look on his face.

“Go. Take your dyke whore and get out of here. You can come back later for your things...alone.” Ken stated too calmly before he went back into the house and slammed the door.

Ali threw her house key at the closed door and it ricocheted off, skittering across the porch. Before she could turn around, Ashlyn was behind her and had the brunette wrapped in strong arms. Ali felt the strength of her girlfriend and she shattered. The blonde scooped Ali up and carried her to the car.

Ken took a hard draught from the scotch bottle as he watched them drive away. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he turned away from the window. Ken picked up his bible and flopped down on the couch to read. His little girl was long gone.

**

Ashlyn didn’t need to think about where to take Ali, she just turned the car onto the 95 south interstate highway and mashed the gas pedal. Normal people took sixteen hours to drive from Alexandria to Satellite Beach stopping to eat and such, but Ashlyn was not normal...the blonde pulled into the driveway of her grandma’s house in just under eleven. She looked over at Ali who had cried herself to sleep while still in Virginia, and Ashlyn thought it best not to tell the distraught brunette that she had averaged 90mph the whole way there, only stopping for a quick pee and to fill the gas tank twice.

The elderly Harris woman met Ashlyn outside the door to Ali’s white BMW, and drew the tired keeper into a tight hug, noting her busted and swollen lower lip.

“It was awful, Grandma. I can’t believe how angry and violent he got...all because I love his daughter and she loves me.” Ashlyn confessed while tucked in her grandmother’s arms, “I didn’t know where else to go. I didn’t want to take her back to the apartment in DC...its only thirty minutes from him, and she was so broken. She cried herself to sleep.”

“Shh...it’s all over now, Sweetheart. I put fresh sheets on the bed in your room as soon as we hung up, and dinner is about ready. You need to keep up your strength for her, the poor lil Peanut.” Grandma compassionately exclaimed, sparing a glance at the woman still asleep in the passenger seat.

Ashlyn left Ali asleep in the car with grandma to watch over the brunette while she raced up the stairs and pulled the covers of her full sized bed down, then sprinted back outside. Ashlyn carefully picked Ali up out of the car and paused so her grandma could place a tender kiss on her girlfriend’s forehead. The brunette’s eyes fluttered at the contact but then stilled once more as Ashlyn carried her inside.

Ashlyn very slowly laid Ali on her bed. Not wanting to wake her distraught girlfriend, the blonde carefully removed her shoes, unbuttoned her jeans and slid her hands underneath the brunette’s back to unhook her bra for extra comfort before pulling the covers up. Ashlyn knew her grandma wanted her to come downstairs to eat, but she just couldn’t bring herself to leave Ali...what if she woke up and she was in a strange room with an empty bed? Her mind made up, Ashlyn quickly undressed down to her ethika boxers, then slipped into a clean tank top before getting into bed next to Ali. She wrapped herself around the smaller woman and kissed the brunette’s temple, grimacing slightly at the pain it caused her lip.

A few minutes later, grandma quietly walked into the room carrying a tray. She smiled knowingly at Ashlyn who just shrugged and spared her grandma a sheepish grin.

“I figured this is where I’d find you. You still need to eat, sweetheart. I’ll be back to check on you two in the morning.” Grandma said as she set the tray containing a glass of milk and a plate full of homemade macaroni and cheese, green beans, and cornbread on the nightstand next to Ashlyn.

“I love you, Grams.” Ashlyn commented, reaching out for the older woman, pulling her into a hug.

“I love you too, Tumble. See you in the morning.” Grandma replied, using the pet name she had given Ashlyn as a child.

Ali stirred as Ashlyn began eating her dinner, “That smells good.”

“You want some?” Ashlyn asked, holding her forkful of macaroni and cheese in mid-bite.

Ali nodded and Ashlyn redirected the fork to Ali’s mouth. She watched as Ali’s lips closed around the fork and her eyes brightened just the tiniest bit.

“Wow, that is good.” Ali complimented as she began to look around the strange room, “Not to seem ungrateful for you driving us, but where exactly are we?”

“My Grandma’s. Open up.” Ashlyn quickly fed Ali another bite.

Ali allowed Ashlyn to feed her the bite...and a few more before her thoughts turned to father, and her stomach began to sour.

“No more. My stomach hurts.” Ali explained, and Ashlyn ate a huge bite before placing the plate on the nightstand and turning her full attention to her girlfriend.

Ali caught sight of Ashlyn’s bruised and swollen lip, and guilt twisted in her gut threatening to cause her to lose the food she had just ate, “Oh god, Ash, I am so very sorry he did that to you.”

Ashlyn saw the guilt housed in Ali’s eyes, and tucked a strand of the silky sable hair behind the defender’s ear before gently pressing her lips to her temple.

“You have nothing to apologize for, Alex. Besides, I’ve had soccer balls hit me in the face way harder than that.” the blonde keeper reminded her girlfriend.

“I still can’t believe he...he hit you like that. I have never seen this side of my father before, Ash. It’s like he couldn’t think through all of his rage...like he became some sort of monster.” Ali admitted, her eyes cast down in shame, unable to meet her favorite hazel ones.

“He’s not a monster, Alex. He is your father, and he was drunk, hurting, and in an alcohol fueled rage. Trust me, I’ve seen plenty of those with Chris’ party friends and I have had my fair share of all out fist fights because of it.” Ashlyn confided as Ali laid her head on the blonde’s shoulder, finally feeling safe again as her favorite strong arms held her tight.

Ali traced the intricate designs of the tattoos on Ashlyn’s arms and leaned up to press a kiss to her cheek, “Yeah well, I’m still sorry he did that.”

Ashlyn grinned back, “Yeah well, it was my own fault you know.”

Ali’s eyebrows knitted together in confusion, “How do you figure that one?”

“I should have plastered one of your ‘caution broken head’ stickers on my forehead before I saw him. They worked so well in Miami.” Ashlyn gently teased.

Ali softly giggled, “You are such an adorable dork sometimes, I can’t believe how easily you get me to laugh when I feel so fucking horrible.”

Ashlyn laid her head against Ali’s, “Well, don’t let that out or you will totally ruin my badass reputation.”

“Your secret is safe with me, Harris.” Ali replied.

Ashlyn yawned and relaxed from the warmth of Ali’s body nestled next to hers. The brunette was so grateful to be laying in this incredible woman’s arms. Ali realized that she was feeling something she hadn’t felt since sitting on her father’s lap as a child...yet it was completely different at the same time.

“You know what you are, Ash?” Ali inquired, her eyes misty with emotion.

“What’s that?” Ashlyn prompted, her voice a little raspy from the weariness of the day settling in.

“You are my fallout shelter...my one safe haven. I love you so much.” Ali confessed.

Ashlyn turned and captured Ali’s lips in a slow open mouth kiss filled with love and tender adoration. When they finally broke the kiss, Ashlyn gazed deeply into Ali’s eyes, noticing some of the sparkle had returned.

“And you are mine. I love you too, Alex.” Ashlyn replied, her voice strong and confident.

Ashlyn wrapped her arms around Ali a little tighter, holding her in a very comforting embrace as Ali lay one arm and leg across the blonde’s body, snuggling deeper. Ashlyn’s breathing started to deepen as her grip relaxed.

“Ash.” Ali’s voice startled Ashlyn and she jerked back to consciousness.

“What Princess?” Ashlyn yawned.

“I’m not sleepy.” Ali confessed, her body suddenly full of energy.

“I’m not surprised since you slept for like the past fourteen hours.” Ashlyn mumbled.

Ali sighed as Ashlyn settled again.

“Ash.” Ali’s voice caused Ashlyn to groan a bit.

“What Princess.” Ashlyn patiently repeated.

“I’m hungry.” Ali purred.

Ashlyn opened one eye, peeking at Ali’s expression, and chuckled, “I’m not getting any sleep tonight, am I?”

“Sleep is totally over-rated.” Ali eagerly replied, slipping her hand underneath Ashlyn’s tank top to ghost over her girlfriend’s breasts causing the blonde to moan.

Chapter Text

Sunlight streamed in from the sliding glass doors to the balcony off Ashlyn’s room and Ali threw her arm over her eyes to block it out. Ashlyn moved her arm and kissed her gently.

“Princess.” Ashlyn voice invaded the quiet room.

Ali groaned, “What Stud?”

“I’m not sleepy.” Ashlyn playfully whined, mimicking Ali the night before.

“Well you should be. We only went to sleep a couple of hours ago.” Ali mumbled, putting her arm back over her eyes.

“Princess.” Ashlyn said playfully as she picked up Ali’s arm again.

“What Stud?” Ali replied, well aware of what this actually was.

“I’m hungry.” Ashlyn stated, her stomach growling loudly.

“You have leftovers on the nightstand.” Ali remarked, trying to pull her arm back over her eyes, but Ashlyn was having none of it.

“Sorry, you went off script. The correct response is, ‘I’m not getting any sleep this morning am I?’ Besides, we already ate it all last night between rounds three and four, remember?”

A blush crept into Ali’s cheeks, “How could I forget round four?! And where did you even learn that?”

Ashlyn kissed Ali’s nose, “Animal Planet.”

Ali giggled, “Of course you did, and you call me twisted.”

“Hey, I didn’t hear you complaining about wild monkey sex last night.” A playfully indignant Ashlyn grumbled.

“Well this monkey is all sexed out and needs her beauty sleep.” Ali yawned, “But if you think you can change my mind, go for it. Let’s see what you got, Harris.”

Ali was surprised when Ashlyn jumped out of bed and began wiggling all around, jumping, spinning, swaying, and scratching under her armpits.

“What in the hell are you doing?!” Ali giggled.

“My wild monkey mating dance. No lady monkeys can resist my wild monkey mating dance.” Ashlyn replied as she continued to dance around in jerky motions, flexing her biceps and wiggling her eyebrows exaggeratedly, finally stopping in front of Ali, ripping the blankets off of her, and beating her chest.

Just then the door opened, and Grandma walked in.

“King Kong.” Grandma stated, not missing a beat.

Ashlyn jumped in between Ali and her grandma, “GRAMS! What are you doing?! We are naked here.”

Grandma smiled sweetly at the pair as she continued over to pick up the empty plate off the nightstand, “Well you’ve never been shy with your body, and besides I’ve seen your little naked butt since you were in diapers, Tumble, and the whole world has seen the Peanut’s beautiful naked body. Now are you going to tell me if I won or not?”

“Won what?” Ashlyn asked, confused.

“Your game of naked charades.” Grandma replied with a knowing smile.

“Yes, yes you won, now will you please leave?!” Ashlyn squeaked, more embarrassed at her grandma catching her acting like a monkey than being naked.

“Just came to tell you that breakfast will be ready in about ten minutes. I will see you both downstairs.” Grandma stated with a wink at the couple.

Ali dissolved into a fit of laughter as the door shut, “I love your Grandma, King Kong.”

“Yeah well, you’re not such a tough nut to crack, are ya.” Ashlyn retorted as Ali got out of bed and slipped into the bathrobe the blonde dug out of the dresser for her.

“No. See that wasn’t even funny.” Ali commented as she followed Ashlyn out into the hallway towards the bathroom.

“Sure it was, Peanut. And stop staring at my ass.” Ashlyn teased over her shoulder, continuing with their role reversal from earlier.

“Pretty sure I have ass staring privileges, it’s in the girlfriend contract, Harris. You really should read it sometime.” Ali teased back, swatting Ashlyn’s muscular ass as the blonde swayed it in front of her, “And I don’t wiggle like that in front of you.”

“Oh you totally do, Princess, maybe even more.” Ashlyn chuckled, turning around inside the bathroom and kissing Ali as she reached behind her to shut the bathroom door.

**

After breakfast, Grandma sent Ashlyn on errands so she could talk with Ali, and the blonde had a few of her own she wanted to do at the same time. The brunette helped the older Harris woman clear the dishes from the table and moved in front of the sink without being asked, taking on the role of dishwasher. Grandma smiled and stepped next to the young woman, dish towel in hand, and they developed a rhythm of washing and drying in sync.

“I want you to know that no matter what happens with you and your father, or between you and Ashlyn, you always have people who care about you, Peanut.” Grandma said, running the towel around the inside of the cup Ali handed her.

“I know. I just never thought my daddy...no, my father...could do something like that. Did you see them? I know Ash did...I think she just wanted to pretend not to so I wouldn’t feel awkward...or something like that.” Ali asked, staring at the dish in her hands, not wanting to look at the woman next to her.

“You mean the handprints he left on your arms? Oh child, those don’t define you. They are the result of a man losing himself to his fear. Men are such weak things, you understand. Oh I know, they are physically stronger than most of us, but they can’t handle emotions very well. I think your father is lost, Peanut. He may wander around for years, who knows...you know how men refuse to stop and ask for directions...but I think eventually he will understand what he is doing now is so very wrong. The question will be, are you going to forgive him when he does?” Grandma replied, sharing her views.

Ali felt tears welling up in her eyes, “I don’t know. I don’t know if I can.”

Grandma pulled Ali into a hug, “And that’s a fine place to be right now. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that a person don’t have to know everything to be alright in this world. You and Ashlyn are going to be alright no matter what anyone else thinks of you and your relationship. You are both smart, talented, highly driven, beautiful women. Personally, I couldn’t be prouder that you are by my Tumble’s side, and I don’t give a rat’s patootie what anyone else thinks about it.”

“Thank you. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.” Ali replied as she felt comforted in the woman’s arms.

Ali’s lips curled up into a smile finding that she liked the way Grandma Harris hugged, it was tight enough to feel her love, but loose enough not to be smothering...and as soon as Ali was ready to break the embrace, she let go. Perfect hug.

“Why do you call Ash ‘Tumble’? I’ve heard you say that a few times now.” Ali inquired as she picked up another plate and scrubbed it with the soapy sponge.

“That child was a wild one. She would follow after Chris and his friends all the time. Whatever mischief they got into, she wanted to do it as well. The boys tried everything to get rid of her, but the rougher they got, the more she adored them. It was like they would push her down and she would go tumbling, get right back up and give them as good as she got. I just started thinking of them as…” Grandma started explaining.

“Rough and Tumble.” Ali finished, a wide grin on her face as she pictured the siblings in Grandma Harris’ description.

“Exactly. See, I knew you were a smart woman.” Grandma praised the brunette, “Would you like to look at some very adorable pictures of Tumble that I’m sure she would be embarrassed for you to see?”

Ali had to laugh at the mischievous glint in Grandma’s eyes, “I’d love to.”

**

Ashlyn stood just inside the doorway to the living room with her arms full of packages, and groaned at the sight of her grandma and her girlfriend sitting together thick as thieves with several opened picture albums spread out around them. It was official, her grandma had adopted Ali, and now she was sharing all of the blonde’s most embarrassing pictures and stories of her childhood. It couldn’t get much worse.
She had to think of some kind of distraction, quick!

“Hey Princess, look, I brought you Gucci.” Ashlyn called out, holding up a bag.

“That’s nice.” Ali remarked, not even looking up from the photo in Grandma’s hands, “Oh my god, is that Ashlyn in a prom dress?!”

“Yes, ninth grade. Some dance or other.” Grandma chuckled at the memory of how Ashlyn had seemed like a fish out of water in that dress she had asked her to make so the lanky blonde wouldn’t be the only one not going to the dance.

“Look Princess, Prada.” Ashlyn tried again as she held up a bag from a local shop.

“Mmhm. That’s nice Ash.” Ali replied, again not taking her eyes away from the pictures.

“I brought you presents, Alex!” Ashlyn tried one last time, using one of Ali’s favorite words.

Ali looked up at all the bags in Ashlyn’s arms, and she smiled, “Oooh, presents for me?!”

“Maybe they were early Christmas presents since we came down here without any clothes, but I don’t know now. I think I should return them.” Ashlyn teased, happy that she had finally distracted her girlfriend from the pictures.

“That’s not how you do it, King Kong.” Grandma stated, the glint returning to her eyes.

“Not how you do what, Grams?” Ashlyn asked, confused.

“Get her naked in your bed. Let’s face it, that silly dance of yours wasn’t gonna do it, but those clothes might.” Grandma replied sweetly, watching in glee as both women turned bright red.

“Just how long were you standing outside my room this morning?!” Ashlyn inquired, not sure she wanted to know.

“Long enough my monkeys, long enough. Those walls aren’t nearly as thick as you think they are, and I had chores to do in the hallway. Now go take Ali upstairs and let her get out of your clothes.” Grandma shooed them.

**

“Come on, I wanna see.” Ashlyn whined through the closet door.

“No.” Ali replied.

“Why not?” Ashlyn pressed.

“Because I look like the Michelin Man.” Ali pouted.

“Aww, I bet you look adorable. Please, Princess? For me?” Ashlyn begged.

“Why can’t I see what else you brought me?” Ali asked, still unhappy with her current outfit.

“Because they are for later.” Ashlyn replied.

“Fine.” Ali relented and opened the door, She grimaced at how tight it felt as she waddled out of the closet in her new wetsuit, “See?! I even walk like the Michelin Man.”

“Oh Princess, you don’t look anything like the Michelin Man. My god, you are a goddess, woman!” Ashlyn commented, as she circled Ali and raked her eyes up and down.

“This. This is what turns you on, Stud? Seriously? It’s rubber.” Ali pointed out as she shook her head in disbelief.

“It’s neoprene and it’s hugging all my favorite places, and it will allow you to come out and share my world with me...damn right it’s sexy!” Ashlyn enthused.

Ali noticed how excited Ashlyn was to show her what the ocean meant to her, and the brunette couldn’t help but get a little excited herself, “Well, if you put it that way I suppose we can hit the beach...and I admit, you are pretty cute in yours.”

Ashlyn’s face cracked into a wide dimple bearing smile and she grabbed Ali’s hand and pulled her towards the staircase. They practically ran down the stairs and out the back door. Ashlyn used her free hand to snatch her board that was leaning against the back of the house. The pair made their way down to the water’s edge before Ashlyn stopped, grinning at Ali.

Ashlyn spent some time teaching Ali how to duck dive under waves, and then they made their way out past the breakers. Ashlyn helped the brunette avoid the bone crushers and finally they had made it to smooth water. Ali managed to sit up on the board, and the blonde pulled herself up behind her girlfriend. Ali leaned back into Ashlyn and they floated, legs dangling in the 80 degree water.

“Oh my god, Ash, it’s so peaceful out here.” Ali commented as she felt the water move gently beneath her.

“It’s one of my favorite places in the world. I come out here when I need to think, or recharge. I feel alive out here...connected, ya know?” Ashlyn explained, her arms wrapped around Ali, wishing there was no need for wet suits so she could feel the heat of the gorgeous woman in her arms.

“I’m beginning to.” Ali replied in earnest.

“This is where I came when I couldn’t handle watching my dad drink himself into a stupor...or watching them take my mom away and lock her up in the mental hospital after I found her with her wrists slashed and I had to put pressure on them to slow the bleeding. The ocean washed her blood off me...it cleansed me...made me whole again. I came out here when Chris started using and I found him passed out with a needle stuck in his arm.” Ashlyn recalled some of the many painful memories that had chased her to seek the comfort of the waves.

Tears welled in Ali’s eyes as she listened to the pain filled childhood Ashlyn had. It wasn’t fair that someone so kind and generous had such a shitty beginning in life. Ali squeezed Ashlyn’s hands, twining their fingers.

“I can’t even imagine Ash. You are so strong, babe.” Ali whispered, bringing Ashlyn’s hand to her lips and tenderly kissing it.

“I’ve never brought anyone else out here. I never wanted to share this with anyone...until I met you.” Ashlyn confessed.

“I am so honored to be your lady, Ashlyn...so honored that you want to share yourself with me. You are the best gift I ever received.” Ali replied.

“Hey that’s my line.” Ashlyn teased, her nerves getting the best of her.

Ali rubbed her thumbs over Ashlyn’s hands soothingly, knowing exactly what the blonde was doing. Ashlyn leaned her chin on the brunette’s shoulder and the couple sat in companionable silence for a while, enjoying the feel of the ocean beneath them, the sea gulls flying in the sky diving into the water to scoop up a quick meal, and the feel of being close to each other.

“I know I just sort of brought you here, but I suppose we should figure out what we are going to do for Christmas since its ten days away. I’m up for however you want to spend it. Did you have any ideas?” Ashlyn finally broke the silence.

“Well your Grandma said that she would love for me and my family to have Christmas here. I think I’d like that. Especially since my father doesn’t know where your family lives.” Ali started.

“That’s a plus.” Ashlyn agreed.

“But I really do need to talk with my mom, and Kyle too. So I was thinking maybe I’d go spend a few days down there with them. Not that I like being away from you when I don’t have to be, but that would give us each some time to do our secret shopping, and then we’d drive up here for Christmas Eve and stay a few days. How does that sound?” Ali chewed her lip nervously, hoping that Ashlyn wouldn’t be upset that she needed a little time alone with her family to process what had happened with her father.

“Sounds perfect, Alex. When were you thinking you’d head to Miami?” Ashlyn asked, hoping she might get another day or two.

“I’m still pretty tired, but I was thinking maybe I’d leave on the eighteenth. That way, I get a week to do my shopping and spend time with mom and Kyle, and then I get to see you again. But most importantly, I get three more days with you in the mean time.” Ali explained, turning her head and capturing the blonde’s lips, Ashlyn smiling into the kiss.

“That’s my girl, always thinking.” Ashlyn mumbled against Ali’s lips before deepening the kiss.

**

The morning Ali was going to drive to Miami, she was surprised that Ashlyn hadn’t joined her in the shower. The blonde seemed a little distant when they woke up. Sure her girlfriend had kissed her good morning, but mumbled something about grandma needing her to replace something, and had slipped out of bed rather quickly. Being half asleep, Ali hadn’t really heard everything.

After she showered, Ali dressed alone in Ashlyn’s room. She took her time and looked at all of the awards and pictures from the blonde’s childhood that were still hanging on the walls. Finally Ali made her way downstairs and looked around for Ashlyn.

“She’s out in the garage working on my car, Peanut.” Grandma called out from the living room.

“Thank you, Grandma!” Ali called back.

“You better come give me a hug before you disappear to Miami, young lady! Don’t make me have to get up off this couch.” Grandma teased.

Ali left the door opened and ran into the living room. She reached down and drew the old woman into an embrace.

“You know I don’t really like hugs, right Grandma?” Ali mumbled against the woman’s cheek.

“Don’t know why not, you give real good ones, Peanut.” Grandma replied before letting her arms fall away from the brunette as she stood back up, “My, my, and in that pretty red dress she bought, you think Tumble isn’t gonna want one?!”

Ali grinned as her cheeks turned crimson...she had been caught. The dress was definitely so Ashlyn would want to touch her...hopefully in more ways than just a hug.

“I’m about to find out.” Ali simply replied as she walked back out of the room.

Ali sauntered up the driveway to the detached garage. She stood in the doorway and openly admired Ashlyn leaning under the hood of Grandma Harris’ 1977 gold Mercury Grand Marquis. The blonde was wearing a white tank top stuffed into blue coveralls that were unzipped to, and tied by the empty sleeves around her waist, black steel toe work boots, and a red shop towel that peeked out of her back pocket. Splotches of oil and engine grime dotted her entire body here and there, and she was covered in a light sheen of sweat that made her muscles glisten as they rippled with her efforts to turn the wrench in her hand. Her hair was pulled up into a tight bun, out of her way. Ali’s tongue ran over her lips hungrily. Good god, that woman even made dirt sexy. Ali could feel the wetness pooling between her legs, and her core ached for Ashlyn’s touch.

Ashlyn jumped when she felt hands run possessively over her ass. The blonde turned around, and smirked at the hunger housed in her girlfriend’s lust darkened eyes as she wiped her hands on the shop towel she had retrieved from her back pocket.

“Well hello there, Princess. You are absolutely stunning.” Ashlyn husked as her eyes raked down Ali’s body, noticing the way the brunette’s nipples were already straining against their red cotton prison.

“You are sexy as hell, grease monkey.” Ali purred, devouring Ashlyn with her eyes.

Ali reached up and grabbed a fist full of Ashlyn’s tank top at the neck opening, and pulled the blonde down to her, crashing their lips together in a searing kiss. The feisty brunette’s tongue demanded entry to Ashlyn’s mouth, and the blonde allowed her to deepen the kiss, both of them moaning as their tongues found and danced with each other. Before Ashlyn could touch her, Ali grabbed both wrists and held them back. As the kiss ended, Ali stood back and pulled Ashlyn away from the car. She started pushing Ashlyn back to the sink at the back of the garage.

“Don’t even think about touching me with those disgustingly dirty hands.” Ali quipped as she continued to push a smirking Ashlyn backwards.

When they reached the workbench, Ashlyn grabbed the edge with both hands to keep from running her hands over her girlfriend’s luscious body as Ali once again captured her in a sizzling passionate kiss. Ali sucked Ashlyn’s lower lip into her mouth and held it between her teeth, gently pulling on it before letting it slip away.

“Good thing I planned ahead then.” Ashlyn replied, her voice husky with desire as she reached out and grabbed Ali’s wrist guiding her hand to the crotch of her coveralls.

Ali’s eyes widened, “Oh my, is that a wrench in your pocket Stud, or are you just happy to see me?”

Ashlyn pulled off her dirty tank top and Ali slid her hands under her sports bra, the blonde’s nipples hardening immediately to the familiar touch. Ali kissed and nipped down Ashlyn’s neck, gently sucking on her girlfriend’s sensitive spots earning her a deep moan for her efforts. Ali worked her way down Ashlyn’s muscular torso, licking and nipping, leaving tiny love bites that made the blonde’s breathing hitch and moans to escape her lips. The brunette’s nimble fingers quickly untied the arms of the coveralls at her waist, and she used her teeth to unzip them further until the generous strap-on the blonde had been concealing inside popped out. Ali slowly wrapped her mouth around its head and Ashlyn felt her passion dripping down her legs as the shaft disappeared behind her girlfriend’s red glossed lips.

“Oh fuck, Alex, you are so fucking hot!” Ashlyn moaned, watching Ali give her a blow job, the base pushing into her clit with every move of the shaft.

Ashlyn was worked up beyond control. She pulled her appendage out of Ali’s mouth and bent down, picking the brunette up and setting her down on the trunk of the car...dirty hands and clean dress long forgotten. She crashed her lips to Ali’s, her tongue pushing past her girlfriend’s lips immediately seeking entry into the brunette’s hot mouth.

When they broke the kiss for much needed air, Ali spread her legs wider and pushed on Ashlyn’s shoulders, “I need to feel your tongue on me, Ash. Right. Now.”

Ashlyn’s desire was matched by Ali’s need and she quickly sank down between her love’s thighs. The blonde licked up the inside of one muscular thigh, stopping to nip just below the apex. Ashlyn was pleasantly surprised by a lack of intimate apparel and the pink jewel that was glistening with passion just for her.

“Ooooh damn baby your tongue feels so fucking good!” Ali loudly moaned as Ashlyn buried her tongue inside the brunette, her sweet passion causing the blonde to moan in return.

Ashlyn brought Ali close to the edge several times, only to back off and allow her to come down a little before working her up again. Soon Ali leveled Ashlyn with a dangerous look. Ashlyn smirked and pulled away from the feisty brunette.

“Ashlyn Michelle Har…” Ali started to threaten until she was flipped over onto her stomach, “yessssss!”

Ashlyn slowly slipped her generous member inside Ali’s soaked velvet core all the way to the hilt. Ali’s eyes fluttered closed at the feeling of Ashlyn filling her so completely. She pushed back into the blonde, trying to get as much inside her as possible. Ashlyn gently thrust in and out, increasing the speed to match Ali’s, her dirty hands gripping handfuls of the brunette’s hips. Soon the pace was frantic, and Ali was bouncing from the contact, her face contorted in pleasure.

“Harder baby! Fuck yes! God I love how you fuck me!” Ali’s dirty talk fueling Ashlyn’s thrusts.

“You like that don’t you babe, you like having my cock buried inside you, don’t you.” Ashlyn replied.

“God yes!” Ali moaned, Ashlyn’s statement taking her closer to the edge.

“Cum for me, beautiful. Cum all over my cock.” Ashlyn commanded as she thrust deeply.

“Oh god AAAAASHLYN!!!” Ali cried out as her body went rigid and convulsed before she collapsed...spent...against the trunk of the car.

Ashlyn slowly and gently withdrew. She helped Ali turn over and kissed her tenderly, Ali’s arms snaking around her neck drawing the blonde closer.

“I love you, baby. I still can’t believe you chose me.” Ashlyn confessed, her forehead leaning against Ali’s.

“I’m the one who can’t believe how lucky I am. I love you, Ashlyn, and I am going to miss the shit out of you this week.” Ali replied.

“Well, I couldn’t let you go to Miami without a little something to remember me by.” Ashlyn stated, kissing the brunette’s nose.

“Oh that is anything but little, Stud, and just so we are clear here, I don’t need this…” Ali grabbed the strap-on dangling between them, “to be satisfied. You are more than enough for me.”

“Well of course, but what if I like to use it every once in a while?” Ashlyn whispered, winking at Ali.

“That’s fine as long as I get to use it too.” Ali replied, with a cocky smirk.

Chapter Text

Ali tried not to think about her father as she drove to Miami, but her thoughts were constantly being invaded by images of her father hitting Ashlyn in the mouth and throwing her off the porch, the blonde sailing through the air to land hard in the snow. She kept seeing blood dripping off Ashlyn’s chin, making a pool of red in the sea of white, a look of shock on the blonde’s beautiful face. Like a movie on a continuous loop, Ali kept seeing the murderous rage in her father’s eyes as he grabbed her...violently shaking her...blaming her...the man in front of her was a monster, and yet, also her father. Ali blinked back tears that made the road ahead of her blurry. She needed to put it out of her mind so she could drive safely.

Pulling over at the next rest area, Ali put the car into park. Not having Ashlyn to distract her from her pain any longer, the brunette buried her face in her hands and wept. Soon her whole car shook from the force of her sobs. Too distraught to care about privacy any longer, her hands fell to her sides as tears streaked down Ali’s face, mixing with the snot flowing unchecked from her nose. The heart broken brunette swiped it with the back of her hand as a tapping sound pulled her from her painful memories. She looked out of the window and saw a small blonde child standing next to her car, holding a bouquet of yellow dandelions freshly plucked from the grounds.

Ali’s heart melted at the thoughtfulness of the youngster as she rolled her window down. She could see the kid’s mother running towards them, concern evident in the woman’s eyes.

“Don be sad, pretty lady.” the boy said as he extended the dandelions towards her.

Ali’s face broke into a sad smile, earning her a brilliant smile from the boy in return as his mom arrived.
She put her hands on his tiny shoulders and looked at Ali apologetically.

“I’m so sorry. Brandon is autistic and really doesn’t have a filter. His older brother was supposed to watch him so I could use the restroom.” the woman said in a harried voice.

“It’s no problem, really. I...well...it was kind of just what I needed.” Ali replied, her smile losing some of its sadness, “Do you mind if I…”

The woman smiled and nodded, and Brandon beamed as Ali reached out her window and took the ‘flowers’ he picked for her.

“See mommy, I made pretty lady all better.” Brandon swelled with pride.

“Yes you did, thank you, Brandon.” Ali replied, reverently holding the treasured weeds.

Ali watched as Brandon and his mom walked back to their minivan, waving goodbye to her. The brunette waved back. She smiled thinking of how many children she and Ashlyn would have together, at least two, maybe three, or even four. Ali suddenly could picture Ashlyn holding a baby...feeding it...changing its diaper...badly...insisting on dressing it in that gawd awful Carolina Blue...chasing a toddler around...tickling...teasing...teaching their children how to be good people because lets face it, the blonde wouldn’t be able to teach them anything but how to be a cocky keeper, and a family should only have to put up with one. Ali would teach the children how to handle the ball...footwork...defense...and how to blast the ball at cocky keepers. Ali’s smile faded. Did Ashlyn even want kids? God, they had been together nearly a year and they hadn’t even talked about what a future beyond football looked like. Ali grabbed her cell phone and pushed her number one speed dial contact.

It only rang three times before her favorite voice came through the speaker, “Couldn’t stay away from me for a whole hour, huh. I’d say my send off was an arousing success.”

“Oh god, how do you even fit your head through doorways, Harris? I didn’t call because of THAT...I...I need to know something.” Ali chewed her lip nervously...what if the blonde didn’t want kids?

“No, I haven’t had a chance to watch any more Animal Planet, Princess. Grams blocked the channel.” Ashlyn joked.

“Ash, this is serious.” Ali tried to get her girlfriend to concentrate.

“Sorry babe...what’s wrong?” Ashlyn immediately focused, worry evident in her voice.

“I just...I...Ineedtoknowifyouwantkidswithme.” the words quickly tumbled past her lips in perfect Ali mumble.

“Are you even speaking english, Princess?” Ashlyn asked, trying to decipher the jumble of words Ali had strung together, and coming up empty handed.

“Kids, Ash...Do. You. Want. Kids.” Ali enunciated, and getting a little frustrated that the blonde couldn’t understand her.

“Well yeah...I mean, not tomorrow or anything...but eventually. That is...if you do. I...I love kids, Ali. I think you...well, I think you would make a wonderful mom. Where is this even coming from? I know I’m pretty virile and all...but I still don’t think I got you pregnant, it was only an hour ago, and you were using protection right?” Ashlyn ended on a nervous joke...what if she had answered wrong, would Ali break her heart?

“Good answer, Stud...good answer, glad we are on the same page.” Ali sighed, in turn hearing Ashlyn release the breath she had been holding, “I just saw the most adorable little boy at the rest area and started picturing our future family...then I realized we hadn’t ever talked about it.”

Ashlyn wished she could kiss her gorgeous woman right then. Alexandra Blaire Krieger was just daydreaming about a future together, and being the mother of HER children. Wow.

“So you were thinking about a future with me and our house full of little Kriegers, huh?” Ashlyn replied, the cocky smirk evident in her voice.

“Who said I was having them?” Ali teased back, picturing the look of terror that just crossed the blonde’s face.

**

Deb looked up from the Christmas card she had been composing as Ali walked through the door. The brunette closed her eyes and breathed deeply, the smell of a pot roast cooking and hot cinnamon-apple cider on the stove top wafting through the house made her mouth water and her stress fall away.

“Hey baby girl, how was your drive, are you hungry?” Deb asked as she finished up the card and stuffed it inside the cheery envelope.

Ali walked over and sank onto the sofa next to her mom. She put her head on the older woman’s shoulder and leaned into her, wrapping her arms around her in a loose hug. Deb willingly returned the unusual affection from her daughter.

“Is everything alright?” Deb gently prompted.

“Where’s Kyle?” Ali asked, only wanting to have to tell the story once.

“He went shopping. Said he needed to get your present so that you two could hit the shops together later.” Deb explained, running her fingers through her daughter’s hair and kissing her temple.

“Hmm. OK. Well can I ask you something, then?” Ali mumbled.

“Anything, baby girl. What’s on your mind?” Deb responded, happy that her daughter still sought her advice on things.

“Do you think I’d make a good mother?” Ali asked, still picturing little kids running around playing with Ashlyn.

“I think you’d make an excellent mother, baby girl. Oh my god, did Ashlyn propose?! Let me see the ring!” Deb’s eyes got wide with excitement as she tried to put Ali’s question into perspective.

“Whoa there, put the brakes on, mom! It’s not that serious...yet. I just sort of starting seeing what my life after football might look like on the drive here, and yeah, I want kids.” Ali explained.

“You want kids, or you want kids with Ashlyn, honey?” Deb asked for clarification.

Ali rolled her eyes and shook her head. Her mom could be like a dog with a bone. She wouldn’t let an idea go until she had exactly the information she wanted.

“Both I guess.” Ali responded after carefully considering her mom’s question.

“Oh yeah, I’m gonna be a grandma! I’m going to spoil them rotten and fill them full of sugar before I give them back to you. Also, expect lots of noise making toys for Christmases and birthdays.” Deb cheered enthusiastically, dancing in her seat.

Ali sighed and sat up...her mother was incorrigible, “See, this is why I don’t discuss babies with you.”

Deb laughed pulling Ali in for a tight hug, which the brunette pushed back against and squeezed her eyes shut.

**

Ali and Kyle helped Deb clear the table after a wonderful meal. Once the kitchen was clean they settled around the table to play cards. After Kyle won the first three games and Ali was convinced he was cheating, they switched to Yatzee.

“So what’s new in LA? Found a man, yet?” Ali asked as she rolled her dice.

“Ugh, too many men. They always want to get physical without...you know...having the relationship part. I’m just not into one night stands. I respect myself far too much to be used and abused...no matter how big their equipment is.” Kyle finished with a flourish.

“If you two are going to keep talking about sex, I’m going to go take a bath.” Deb warned.

“No mom! I mean...please stay. I...well…” Ali took a deep breath, “There is something I need to tell you both. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to say it all day.”

“Oh my gawd! You’re gay! I knew it, I knew it...it must be that big blonde stud you’re sleeping with’s fault.” Kyle exclaimed in mock surprise.

Ali playfully smacked Kyle’s shoulder, “I’m serious.”

Deb reached over and put her hand on Ali’s, “What is it? If something is hard to say, I find it easier to just rip the bandaid off and say it all at once. We will be quiet.”

Kyle noted his mom’s stern look and he nodded in agreement, putting his hand on top of Ali’s other hand for support, but mostly in case she wanted to smack him again.

Ali took a deep breath. Why was it so hard to tell them? Tears started to well up in her eyes, and she could see that both of them were now paying rapt attention.

“Ok, so Ash and I went to pick up my things from father’s.” Ali started, Deb’s eyes narrowing at the use of ‘father’ instead of ‘dad’ knowing that it must be quite a serious offense, “When we got there, he had all of my trophies, awards, ribbons...all of it in boxes set out on the porch like garbage. So I had Ash put them in the trunk. Meantime, HE opens the door and lets me in.”

Tears start to fall down her cheeks at the memory, and Ali closes her eyes. She doesn’t want to see them...to see how her words will change them.

“Mom, he smelled like a fucking distillery. He had quite a bit of scotch in him already at this point. He told me that I knew where my ‘old room’ was, and he walked off. I went up there and that fucking little scummy law student Derek was IN MY ROOM, Mom! Not only that, but he was packing up my...um...dainties.” Ali searched for a word to use that wouldn’t embarrass either of them.

“You mean that...that...CREEP was going through your thong drawer?!” Kyle spat out, disgusted.

“That is definitely NOT ok, baby girl. Why would your dad allow such a thing?!” Deb echoed Kyle’s sentiment.

“He said that father wanted him to clean my room out because HE couldn’t stand to touch any of my stuff. But that’s not even the worst of it…” Ali prepared herself for the next revelations.

“Oh god, what the hell has that man done now?!” Deb asked, afraid of the answer.

“I...he…”Ali stuttered, tears falling like rain down her cheeks.

Deb and Kyle both scooted their chairs closer to Ali’s and started rubbing her back, soothingly.

“Take your time, baby girl.” Deb cooed trying to comfort her obviously distraught daughter, her anger rising in her.

“Mom, he was out on the porch screaming at Ashlyn...calling her a...a...damned dyke! Then when she wasn’t looking he...he PUNCHED HER IN THE FACE! I couldn’t believe it! It was like a movie in slow motion...she started falling backwards, and he grabbed her and pushed her off into the snow. That’s gotta be at least a four foot drop! She landed so hard I...I could hear it!” Ali tried to get the words out around her sobs, “Then when I tried to run to her...he...he...he grabbed me...so fucking hard...and...and…he shook me...he...he...hur...hurt me! I...I couldn’t...believe...he...could...do that!”

Ali pushed up the sleeve of her t-shirt and Deb gasped at the angry deep purplish handprint bruise that had come up in the last few days. Kyle’s face turned red.

“I’m gonna kill that son of a bitch!” Kyle screamed, jumping to his feet and pounding his fist into the table, causing Ali to flinch.

“You will do nothing of the kind, Kyle! SIT DOWN!” Deb ordered.

Kyle reluctantly sank back into his chair, still fuming. Deb felt sick to her stomach. Ken had actually gotten worse instead of better. It had to be that damned church.

“I am so sorry, baby girl. I...I really thought he would get better after I left him. When Kyle came out, he was so upset and blamed me for it. We fought all the time.” Deb admitted.

“Mom, I never knew that.” Kyle looked up, guilt twisting in his gut...he really had caused their divorce.

“Honey, it isn’t your fault. I’m not ashamed of who you are...either of you! I love you so very much. I just couldn’t stand the way your father thought he could change you if he could just make you miserable enough. I won’t stand for anyone to treat my babies like that.” Deb explained, pulling both her children into a hug. Letting go as soon as Ali started to tense up.

“Mom, it isn’t your fault. YOU don’t have anything to apologize for, it’s HIM. I...please...please tell me I don’t have to see him for Christmas. I don’t think I can take it.” Ali finished, her arms wrapped around herself.

“I will be calling him in a few minutes to let him know that he is no longer welcome in my home. I don’t know if I can ever forgive him for putting his hands on you like that.” Deb reassured her, fire burning in her eyes.

“Grandma Harris and Ashlyn invited the three of us to spend Christmas at their house in Satellite Beach. Can we please?” Ali asked, her voice barely audible.

“That sounds lovely. I’ll call them after I deal with Ken.” Deb replied, her head pounding from the stress, “It’s late. Why don’t you two go upstairs and try to get some sleep.”

Ali didn’t even argue that her mom had just sent her two grown children to bed like they were still little. Truth was, she was exhausted...mentally...emotionally...physically drained. Kyle helped her up the stairs. He was still seething as he watched his sister walk dejectedly into her room. Oh that man was going to pay for this! He formulated a plan and started to wait. He figured an hour ought to be long enough.

Kyle took his cell phone off the charger and tip-toed down the hall. He cracked Ali’s door open and could hear her breathing deep and even. Good, she was asleep. She was facing away from him in her bed, so her brother carefully entered her room and silently made his way to her bed. Kyle waited for his eyes to adjust and slowly...little by little...pulled the covers off her arm to expose the bruise. The camera on his iphone flashed as he took two quick pictures and fled her room.

Kyle logged onto his macbook and hooked his iphone to it, downloading the pictures of Ali’s arm. He brightened them a bit and saved them to a jump drive before he quietly left the house for the nearest Kinkos. Thankfully they were open 24 hours.

It took less than thirty minutes for Kyle to make and print a Christmas card with a picture of Ali’s bruise on the cover. It took less than five minutes for him to print his message in big scripty letters.

Dear Fucking Sperm Donor,

I can’t believe you actually hurt Alex. Sweet, kind, fierce Alex.
You are a fraud, hiding your bigotry behind some god.
Has your fear of going to hell blinded you to the fact
that you have become the Devil himself?! Go to Hell and
leave the rest of us alone. Touch my sister again, and I’ll
kill you. Merry Ho Ho Asshole!

Your son, the flaming Queen of Beverly Hills

Kyle quickly stuffed it into a beautiful Christmasy envelope and addressed it. He bought a stamp when he checked out, and dropped it into the slot of the mailbox in front of the post office on his way back to his mom’s house.

**

Ashlyn could hardly contain her excitement. It was Christmas eve and Ali was on her way up from Miami with Deb and Kyle. They had Face Timed every day, but it was never the same as occupying the same space...being able to touch...to kiss whenever they wanted. She had annoyed Grandma with her excited energy all morning until the elder Harris woman had sent her out to finish putting up the decorations with Chris. Unfortunately, they ran out of decorations before her girlfriend showed up.

Ashlyn paced in back yard like a trapped panther. She wanted nothing more than to kiss those impossibly soft lips, wrap her arms around that gorgeous woman...smell that intoxicating scent that was uniquely Alex...uniquely her Princess. Chris watched his little sister and couldn’t believe how whipped she was. This was gonna be too easy.

“Hey Ash! Come quick, the news says there was a terrible pile up on 95 north! Lots of casualties!” Chris called out, somehow keeping a straight face.

Ashlyn’s heart stopped, she swore it actually stopped beating. The blonde raced inside, nearly pulling the door off it’s hinges as she threw it open and sprinted past. Once she reached the living room, her Grandma looked up from her crocheting, startled. The tv sat in the corner, dark and definitely not showing any news program.

“Land sakes Tumble, what is wrong with you?!” Grandma asked, looking at Ashlyn as if she were crazy.

“Uh nothing, Grams. I’m just gonna go kill my brother is all.” Ashlyn growled as she saw her brother darting out the back door.

“Well when you are finished doing that, set the table.” Grandma instructed, not really sure if her granddaughter had heard her or not.

Ashlyn ran back outside and chased Chris until she could dive tackle him. They rolled around in the sand, Chris laughing and Ashlyn cussing, the blonde completely forgetting about the nice outfit she had on for Ali...the solid white dress shirt with a modified spread collar she wore underneath a solid blue jacket with a matching tie adorned with snowflakes, and solid blue slim fit slacks. As the siblings tussled in the sand, the back door opened again. Chris grinned.

“Hey Ali, nice dress!” Chris called out from under Ashlyn who had finally gained the advantage.

“Oh I’m not falling for that old trick, you jerk!” Ashlyn sneered.

“Wow Stud, you really went all out for me, didn’t you?” Ali laughed from the doorway.

Ashlyn pushed herself off of Chris and stood up, her face crimson. The blonde’s hair had been pulled out of it’s tight bun in large flyaway sections, half of her collar was pulled up, her tie had been pulled out of it’s clip to hang over one shoulder, and her shirt tails were completely pulled out of her slacks. Ali shook her head at her girlfriend covered head to toe in sand. Ashlyn quickly closed the distance between them and wrapped her arms around Ali, their lips meeting in a tender kiss. Ali pulled back and wiped the sand from Ashlyn’s lips and then her own.

“Oh sorry!” Ashlyn chuckled.

“I can’t leave you alone for a week, can I trouble maker?!” Ali playfully admonished.

“Guess not. Suppose you are just going to have to stay close to me from now on.” Ashlyn replied, kissing her again.

“GET A ROOM!” Kyle squealed as he came out the back door to say hi to the Harris siblings.

Ashlyn and Ali continued to kiss, Ali eagerly allowing Ashlyn to deepen the kiss, moaning slightly at the first contact of their tongues. Neither wanted to break the kiss, but they knew that Grandma would have dinner ready soon, and they needed to help set the table. Ali fixed Ashlyn’s clothes as best as she could, and they walked inside hand-in-hand.

**

Dinner had been pleasant, but Ashlyn was excited to open their ‘early’ gift. Every year for as long as she could remember, she and Chris got open one present after dinner on Christmas Eve. The blonde cleared the table in record time, with help from her favorite brunette. Everyone else gathered in the living room, cups of hot coco in hand. Before long, the young couple joined them. Ashlyn sat in an overstuffed chair close to the pot belly stove, and pulled Ali down in her lap. Ali curled up and they joined in the conversation and laughter.

Grandma tossed Chris the Santa hat, and allowed him to hand out the selected presents from under the tree. Ali loved the way Grandma’s living room had been transformed in her absence. There were stockings hung up on wall pegs behind the pot belly stove, each one with names hand stitched by Grandma. Ali felt so welcomed when she noticed there were three new additions...alternating between a Harris and Krieger, with Tumble and Peanut’s next to each other in the center. The small tree was decorated like the old fashioned British trees with hand made ornaments, delicately cut and constructed with care, strings of different nuts and cranberries wrapped around the tree with sweetmeats made of sugared lemons, pears, apples, sugarplums, and oranges hung from hooks. At the top was an old north star made from tin. The tree was finished with electric white candles that had flickering flames that dotted the tree.

“Ok, so who wants to start?” Grandma asked.

“I think you should start.” Deb replied, and all the children nodded in agreement.

“Probably a smart thing, at my age, no telling if I will make it to the end of this shindig.” Grandma joked as she looked at the wrapped boxes that Chris identified as hers, “And I’ll take whichever one you hand me, Rough.”

Chris handed Grandma a small box wrapped in red paper. She untied it and gently opened it. She picked up a necklace with a small push button pendent on it. Grandma leveled Chris with a glare.

“I don’t need no ‘help i’ve fallen and I can’t get back up’ necklace, boy! How old do you think I am anyways?!” Grandma muttered.

Chris smiled sweetly, “Older than dirt, Grams, which is why the lady at Costco said it would give you peace of mind.”

“I’m gonna give her a piece of my mind alright.” Grandma stated, putting the necklace back in the box, “Well, thank you...I think. It’s the thought that counts...even if your thought is that I’m an old frail woman who can’t take care of herself.”

Everyone snickered and Chris simply grinned. Grandma would slip it on when nobody was looking. It was just her way.

Kyle opened a bottle of Michael Kors cologne that was from Ali and Ashlyn. Deb got a beautiful handmade throw quilt from Grandma, and Chris got a certificate for new bed liner for Betsy from Deb. Ali chose a large sized box from Ashlyn. When she tore off the wrapping paper, she found it was a painting the blonde had made of her curled up in Ashlyn’s lap on the rooftop of their hotel at camp. Ali couldn’t believe how talented Ashlyn was, all the fine details she had included in the painting. The crinkles in the corner of her eyes...the soft wispy eyelashes with mascara clinging to them...the look of awe and love radiating from her bright chocolate colored eyes...the curve of her lips. The brunette’s eyes misted up realizing just how deeply Ashlyn had memorized every line and curve of her face...of her entire body to produce something so detailed and beautiful. Ali got choked up when she read the inscription, ‘The moment I first realized you had stolen my heart and I would do absolutely anything for you, even slide down the side of a fourteen story building to make sure you were safe. I love you, my Princess, and I’ll always be right behind you. Ash’

“Well are you gonna show the class, or do I have to get my old tired bones up off this couch to see it, Peanut?” Grandma’s voice finally broke her away from her memories of that night.

When Ali turned the painting around, Deb gasped, remembering the story Abby had told in the café. Crimson invaded Ashlyn’s cheeks and she stared at her girlfriend’s long muscular neck, wishing she could just nuzzle into it and disappear from view.

“Wow, that is amazing! Who knew my lez-in-law was so talented!” Kyle gushed.

“Where are you? I’m not sure I understand where this is supposed to be taking place.” Grandma quipped.

“Yes, tell us the story behind this gorgeous painting, Ali.” Deb prompted, hoping to hear the story first hand.

“It’s kind of a long story, mom. Can it wait until tomorrow? Ash still hasn’t opened a present, and I’m pretty worn out.” Ali put her off.

“Sure, baby girl. Tomorrow.” Deb relented.

Ashlyn chose a large gift bag from her Grandma. Both she and Ali turned red when she pulled out a pair of footie pajamas covered in monkeys. Grandma Harris just smiled innocently, and winked at the couple, insisting that Ali open her ‘bag’ too. Chris brought over her gift from Grandma and dutifully pulled out her set of footie pajamas covered in bunches of bananas.

“Oooh Grandma! You are so naughty!” Kyle squealed, getting the joke immediately.

“What’s so funny?” Deb asked.

Chris caught on and joined Kyle laughing.

“Really, what’s so funny?” Deb asked again.

“Oh my gawd, mom...think about it. What do monkeys EAT?!” Kyle gave her a big hint, causing Ashlyn and Ali to groan and Ali to hide her face in Ashlyn’s neck.

Ashlyn wadded up some wrapping paper and threw it at Kyle.

“Well on that note, I think we are going to bed.” Ali announced, grabbing a smirking Ashlyn’s hand and pulling her up onto her feet as well.

Once they reached the safety and quiet of Ashlyn’s room, Ali relaxed. She turned and kissed Ashlyn deeply.

“I love your Grandma, Ash, but oh my god!” Ali started.

“I know. She likes to tease. I guess I should have warned you.” Ashlyn replied, helping Ali out of her emerald green dress, “You looked so gorgeous tonight, Princess, I had a hard time keeping my hands to myself.”

“Thank you. I wanted to look nice for you. I missed you so much.” Ali replied, stepping closer to Ashlyn until her body rubbed against the blonde, her arms snaking around the taller woman’s neck.

“I missed you. I can’t believe how much I missed you. It’s gonna suck after camp in January when we have to go back to separate cities.” Ashlyn remarked.

“Let’s not think about that tonight. Tonight the only thing I want to think about is how good your body feels on top of mine...how good you feel inside me. Make love to me, Ashlyn. Please baby. I need you.” Ali quietly confessed.

Ashlyn scooped Ali up and carried her to the bed. She gently laid the gorgeous brunette down and stood, slowly stripping. They both shivered when Ashlyn’s flesh finally lay on top of Ali’s. The blonde took her time, starting with slow languid kisses. There was no rush, no urgency. Tonight, there was only a slow burning passion. With each move of her lips, Ashlyn conveyed all of her love to Ali. Every inch of her girlfriend was lavished with attention from the blonde’s mouth...her teeth...her tongue...her hands drawing fire across the brunette’s body. Tonight Ashlyn was a virtuoso and Ali was her Stradivarius that she was writing a symphony upon...lovingly stroking her strings….demanding and receiving beautiful music from Ali’s soul. Tonight when they came undone in each others arms, sweat covered and slick with passion...they were one soul...one heartbeat...one. Tonight when they fell asleep fingers of one hand twined and the other still buried in each other...there was no need for words...they were one mind...one breath...one.

**

Ali groaned as the sunlight reached her eyes, waking her far too soon as far as the brunette was concerned. Ashlyn kissed her.

“Merry Christmas babe!” Ashlyn exclaimed happily.

Ali opened one eye. Ashlyn looked like an kid waiting for Disneyland to open. She sighed. There was no convincing that level of excited Ashlyn to go back to sleep.

“Merry Christmas, Stud.” Ali yawned and stretched.

“Come on! We gotta put on our footie pajamas and go open the rest of our presents!” Ashlyn encouraged Ali.

“Really? The footie ones?” Ali groaned.

“Well you don’t have to...if you don’t mind Grams laying on the guilt trip pretty thick.” Ashlyn explained.

“Ok, ok...I’ll wear the bananas.” Ali relented.

Ashlyn kissed her nose, “Good choice, Princess.”

**

As they made their way down the stairs, everyone looked up and cat called, whistled, and laughed. Ali just smiled politely. Grandma beamed. She loved torturing her kids with her humor. Ali sank down onto the end of the couch next to Kyle.

“So did we miss anything good?” Ashlyn asked, as she found a seat on the floor between Ali’s legs.

“Nah, just normal stocking stuffers.” Chris replied, “But now that the gangs all here, I think we get to open everything.”

It was amazing how quickly the presents were torn open, and new treasures discovered inside. After all the gifts were open, Ali went to her purse and retrieved one last small box. She handed it to Ashlyn and chewed her lip while the blonde carefully unwrapped it.

Ashlyn’s mouth hung open in shock. She looked down into the box again. It couldn’t be. How was that even possible? She looked up into Ali’s excited eyes and megawatt smile...could she really have bought her one?

“Well, c’mon. Don’t just sit there catching flies in your mouth, Stud. Let’s go look at it!” Ali giggled, pulling Ashlyn by her hand.

A stunned Ashlyn got to her feet and everyone else followed. Ali opened the front door and there in the driveway with a huge red bow was a brand new yellow Jeep Wrangler Moab edition with every conceivable option, including a snorkel for crossing rivers.

“Oh god Alex...I can’t...how did you even…” Ashlyn tried to make coherent sentences.

“I couldn’t let you sell Desiree to join me in Germany, Ash. So I agreed to the ESPN Body Issue photoshoot to buy you this baby! Go on, it’s yours. Merry Christmas Stud!” Ali explained.

Tears rolled down Ashlyn’s cheeks. She couldn’t believe that Ali had sacrificed so much just for her. The blonde threw her arms around Ali and held her tight.

“Oh my god, Alex, I love you, woman! You are so fucking incredible!” Ashlyn managed to get around the lump in her throat.

“I love you too, baby. Now are you going to take me for a ride in that or are you going to make me beg?!” Ali prompted.

Ashlyn kissed Ali as everyone filed out of the house to look at Ashlyn’s new ride. Ashlyn took Ali’s hand and closed the distance between the front door and her new jeep. She walked around to the passenger side and opened the door, helping Ali into her seat before hurrying around and jumping into the driver’s seat.

“I promise everyone gets a ride, but the first one belongs to my amazing lady!” Ashlyn called out of the window as she revved the engine for the first time.

As they pulled out of the driveway Ashlyn turned towards Ali, “Where to, Princess?”

“Let’s go to where the road ends, and just keep on going, Stud. I want to spend some quality alone time with my baby today.” Ali remarked, placing her hand on Ashlyn’s thigh.

“You read my mind, woman.” Ashlyn smirked, knowing just the spot she wanted to show Ali.

Grandma and Deb watched them drive off .

“You know, I do believe my Tumble is going to marry your Peanut some day.” Grandma exclaimed.

“And I couldn’t ask for a better daughter-in-law.” Deb replied, putting her arm around Grandma’s shoulders and squeezing.

Chapter Text

“You know, we are gonna have to work on your definition of ‘alone’ Stud.” Ali quickly mumbled as they stood inside the doorway of a hospital not far from Grandma Harris’ house.

“I was going more for the ‘quality time’ Princess. Don’t worry, we will have plenty of ‘alone time’ later today, I promise. I have been doing this every Christmas since I was sixteen, and never taken anyone with me...not even Grams. I just...wanted to share this with you, babe.” Ashlyn explained, a very wide dimple bearing smile on her face.

“Well what exactly IS this?” Ali asked, intrigued.

“C’mon, you’ll see.” Ashlyn replied cryptically as she grabbed her embarrassed girlfriend’s hand and led them further into the building, towards the staircase, their footie pajamas sounding like maracas keeping tempo with their footsteps.

Ali’s cheeks were flushed in deep crimson. Her embarrassment worsened with each step as more people in the main lobby turned towards the sound they were making. Ali’s free hand was wrapped around Ashlyn’s bicep, and she was practically dragging the defender’s stiff body along with her.

Ali relaxed a bit as they disappeared into the stairwell. They climbed the stairs to the fourth floor, and the brunette felt self-conscious once more when they left the stairwell as Ashlyn led her down the hallway. The blonde pushed open a conference room door and they slipped inside.

Ashlyn led her across the room to where a few plastic bins were set up. The blonde rummaged through them until she found a completely ridiculous looking set of ears that she slipped onto her head. She dug deeper into the bin and pulled out an old plastic ukulele which she handed to Ali.

“What’s this for?” Ali asked, looking at the instrument like Ashlyn had just handed her a snake.

“Emergencies.” Ashlyn replied, winking.

A knock on the door startled Ali and she jumped, “Shit!”

Ashlyn smiled at her and leaned in for a kiss, “Such a potty mouth, Princess,” Ashlyn murmured against her lips.

The door opened and a nurse stuck her head in, “Hey Ash, I saw you guys come in. They are ready for you.”

“Thanks Terri. Can you take Alex and get her situated in the room for me?” Ashlyn inquired as she gently nudged Ali in the nurse’s direction.

“Sure thing. Come on, Sweetheart. Follow me.” Terri stated as she turned back down the hallway.

Terri took Ali to a large treatment room and got her a chair along the back wall. The room was full of little children who ranged in age from toddlers to twelve years old. There were kids who were bald from rounds of chemo, their faces sunken in, dark circles around their dull eyes...their little bodies skin and bones...ravaged with cancer. There were kids who had casts on broken bones...some with halos protecting their spines. Kids who were recovering from surgeries to remove enflamed appendixes. Kids in tiny wheelchairs from spinal bifida. Seeing so many hurting children attached to IVs and unable to be home for Christmas put a lump in Ali’s throat and she felt tears stinging her eyes.

Terri noticed how choked up Ali was getting and leaned over to her, “Honey, if Ash is your girlfriend, you might want to videotape this. It melts my heart every year.”

“I wish I had known, we kinda left without anything this morning.” Ali replied, saddened that she won’t get to capture this on video, her iphone back at Grandma’s still in her purse.

“Here, use mine. Give me your email address and I’ll send it to you when I get off work.” Terri offered, holding out her cell phone.

Ali smiled gratefully at the young nurse, and took the phone, “Thank you so much. You are too kind.”

Just as Ali had figured out how to put it into video mode, Ashlyn burst into the room in full on wild monkey mode. She was dragging a giant red cloth bag behind her, using a sideways shuffle, and had her arms hanging down. She let out a few monkey calls and the children all started laughing. The blonde approached the nearest child, a very sick cancer patient who was confined to her bed, and started loudly sniffing over her head.

The girl’s eyes lit up and she grabbed a handful of the unruly blonde curls, “Who are you? You aren’t Santa.”

“I’m Jango, Santa’s one and only wild monkey elf. Santa is kind of worn out today, but he sent me here because I have lots of energy to play!” Ashlyn replied in her very best monkey voice while searching for the name on the girl’s chart at the foot of her bed, “Santa wanted me to give this to you, Julie.”

Ashlyn’s torso disappeared down to the waist into the huge red bag and she made a big show of wiggling her monkey butt to show off the tail she had quickly constructed from some tubing that she wrapped in left over brown felt and taped to her pajamas. This earned her more laughter from the kids. When the blonde reappeared, she held a small box wrapped in snowman paper to the youngster. Julie’s eyes got wide and her lips spread into a big tooth bearing smile as she took the box from Ashlyn. Julie threw her tiny arms around Ashlyn’s neck and squeezed.

“Oh thank you, Jango! I didn’t think Santa would find me here.” Julie cried out.

“Santa always knows where the good little boys and girls are. Don’t you worry.” Ashlyn replied, kissing the top of Julie’s bald head before tickling her, the little girl dissolving into a giggling heap, her eyes bright for the first time in months.

Ali watched Ashlyn grab the wheelchair of a little girl who had spinal bifida, and twirl her around until they were both laughing and dizzy, the little girl squealing in joy.

“I see you have a new fancy pantsy chair this year, Emily. Jango likes it.” Ashlyn enthused as she held the girl’s hands.

“Did Santa gif you anyting fo meeee?” Emily asked, her voice tiny and unsure.

“I’m sure he did. Let me check.” Ashlyn responded, again wiggling into the bag to produce a wrapped gift for this little girl.

Once Emily got her present, Ashlyn moved on to a little boy with both legs in a cast. She already knew David was a local soccer player and retrieved the wrapped ball out of the bag for him. The blonde had gotten the ball signed by all the players of DC United and Orlando City SC. David was in shock when he unwrapped it.

“Next Christmas, we will play a pick-up game with some of the guys. They already promised.” Ashlyn whispered, “You just have to heal up and be ready, buddy.”

“I swear I will, Ashl...Jango!” David enthused, holding up his pinkie that Ashlyn gripped with her own...sealing the pinkie promise.

Ashlyn tussled David’s hair and moved on to the next child. Ali watched her girlfriend go from child to child. It was as if she were witnessing Ashlyn reveal her innermost essence, layer by layer. With each act of kindness, each silly response, each kiss, each ridiculous dance, each smile she put on a child’s face, Ali’s heart drew a new tattoo line for the blonde across its surface. By the time Ashlyn led the children in a rousing version of “Jango is Coming to Town” complete with totally nonsensical ukulele ‘music’ Ali’s heart had marked itself in big bold script as forever belonging to Ashlyn Michelle Harris.

As soon as Ashlyn led Ali back into the stairwell, the brunette slammed a surprised monkey elf against the wall, crashing their lips together in a heated kiss. Ashlyn moaned as Ali’s tongue demanded entry, and her hands roamed over the blonde’s chest...the material of the pajamas a frustrating barrier as her nipples responded immediately. Ali grabbed Ashlyn’s right hand and pulled it firmly over her already dripping core as their tongues dueled for dominance inside the blonde’s mouth. Ali’s mouth finally started to wander across Ashlyn’s jawline to her neck, nipping and licking her way down.

“God Alex, you are so wet for me, babe.” Ashlyn moaned, as her hand met the soaked material of the pajamas.

“All. For. You. Ashlyn...Only. For. You.” Ali replied, accentuating each word with a kiss, a nip, or a pinch of Ashlyn’s already rock hard nipples as she worked her way back to the blonde’s mouth.

“We should...jeep.” Ashlyn managed to get out between kisses as her mind was fogging over from Ali’s well placed kisses stoking a fire in her veins.

Ali’s hips were grinding her pajama covered core against the pressure of Ashlyn’s right hand. She needed to feel Ashlyn’s body next to hers...to feel the blonde’s long strong fingers fill her core, and to be impaled on her girlfriend’s hot hard tongue.

“I think its time this monkey ate its banana.” Ali whispered against Ashlyn’s ear, her lips ghosting over the sensitive flesh.

When Ali found the spot just behind Ashlyn’s ear where her jaw and neck met, the brunette nipped and sucked the sensitive flesh, crumbling Ashlyn’s resolve to make it out to the jeep. The blonde grabbed Ali’s hand and pulled her down the stairs to the next level. Ali giggled as she followed a determined Ashlyn...she had only seen that look on the keeper’s face when she was focused between the posts. At each room, the blonde stuck her head inside the doorway, and finally found what she was looking for...an empty bed. Ashlyn pulled Ali inside and quickly closed the door. She picked Ali up over her shoulder and carried her to the empty bed. Ali shivered, she liked this aggressively focused Ashlyn.

After she tossed Ali onto the bed, Ashlyn pulled the curtains around the bed...just in case. The blonde wasted no time in stripping off their pajamas, taking care not to rip them since they had to wear something home, and she preferred the pajamas to hospital gowns. Ali looked at the hunger housed in Ashlyn’s eyes and spread her legs wide in invitation. Ashlyn smirked as she pulled Ali’s ankles and the brunette let out a surprised squeak...dragging her to the bottom edge of the small bed. Ali wrapped her legs around the blonde and she used her strong thigh muscles to pull Ashlyn to her center, giving her a raised eyebrow and smirk of her own.

Ashlyn bent forward, capturing Ali’s lips with her own and swallowing her girlfriend’s moans as her fingers slid through the brunette’s silky wet folds. She circled Ali’s entrance with the tips of two fingers, teasing her...dipping only the tips in before withdrawing and circling the entrance again. Ali groaned against Ashlyn’s lips and her hands found the blonde’s achingly hard nipples. Each time Ashlyn teased Ali, the brunette pinched, flicked, and ghosted her fingers across the blonde’s nipples.

“Oh is that right?” Ashlyn smirked, catching onto the defender’s game.

“Damn Skippy!” Ali smirked back, pinching both nipples.

Footsteps out in the hallway caused them to freeze. When they passed the room without stopping, Ashlyn gently slipped two fingers inside Ali.

“Yesssssss! Finally!” Ali moaned approvingly.

Ashlyn kissed her way down Ali’s body, taking time to lavish her breasts with attention while she pumped slowly in and out of her girlfriend. The blonde relished the way she could make the gorgeous feisty defender tremble and writhe beneath her touch. As her tongue finally found Ali’s engorged jewel, she plunged a third finger inside...filling her completely...earning a deep guttural moan from the brunette. Ali’s hips bucked against her, willing her to go deeper.

“Oh fuck yes, Ash...right there baby.” Ali moaned as Ashlyn flicked her tongue against the brunette’s swollen clit, her fingers picking up a little speed.

Ali reached down and grabbed a handful of Ashlyn’s gentle curls, her legs wrapping around the keeper’s broad shoulders, pulling the blonde into her strong pelvic thrusts.

“Harder babe...god yes...you feel so fucking good inside me!” Ali encouraged the blonde.

Ashlyn pumped furiously into Ali’s soaked core, feeling the satin walls of her girlfriend closing around her fingers...trembling slightly...as she continued to feast.

“Oh shit baby...i’m so close...so fucking close!” Ali moaned, her thighs squeezing Ashlyn’s head, holding it firmly in place as her hips bucked wildly against her tongue and fingers.

“OH GOD AAAAAASHLYYYYYYN!”Ali’s back arched off the bed, pulling Ashlyn with her, the brunette’s toes curled, her hands clenched in fists before she fell over the edge and came completely undone...her body convulsing from the force of her strong orgasm.

Ashlyn gently withdrew and licked her fingers clean. She got some paper towels wet with hot water from the sink in the room and cleaned the passion from Ali’s nether region. The blonde wrapped her arms around Ali and kissed her deeply.

“I love you, Alex.” Ashlyn whispered, holding Ali while her breathing calmed and she came down.

“I love you too, Ash. God do I love you.” Ali panted, her heart still racing.

Once Ali recovered, Ashlyn helped her slip into her pajamas before she donned her own. The blonde wrapped all the bedding up and put it into the hamper inside the bathroom, before taking Ali’s hand and leading her back out into the hallway towards the stairwell. Ali was much too relaxed to care what anyone thought as they emerged down in the lobby. She smiled at people and wished a few Merry Christmas as they walked out the front door.

**

Ali giggled at the way people stared at them waiting to be seated in the Crowne Plaza Melbourne Oceanfront restaurant. Everyone else was dressed to impress. The maitre de smiled knowingly at the couple.

“Ah Ashlyn Harris, good to have you back with us. I see you have a plus one this year.” the handsome young man commented, “We have your table ready for you. Right this way.”

“Thank you, Steven.” Ashlyn replied, directing Ali towards the table with a gentle hand to the small of her back.

Ashlyn pulled out Ali’s chair for her and helped her to her seat before she sat across from her. Steven placed the drink menu’s in front of the pair and listed off the house specialties.

“As you know, we only serve the buffet on Christmas Day.” Steven reminded them.

Ali noticed how many people were staring and she started to feel a bit uncomfortable. Ashlyn reached across the table and placed a reassuring hand over the brunette’s.

“Don’t worry what they think. They are just jealous of our forward fashion sense, and that I have the best looking date here!” Ashlyn winked.

“Oh yes, this is not the worst outfit I’ve seen Ashlyn wear by far. I think her Grandmother lives to torture her on Christmas day. Besides, it’s nice to have some levity around here. People tend to take themselves far too seriously.” Steven laughed.

Ali relaxed again as she realized they were probably right. Once they placed their drink orders, Ashlyn led her to the buffet. It was magnificent, and included carved prime rib, leg of lamb, Polynesian grilled chicken, sesame salmon, shepherd’s pie, seafood chowder, fruit and cheese, a wide variety of sides, salad bar, and a dessert station that included a chocolate fountain.

Ashlyn pointed to the fountain and leaned over to whisper in Ali’s ear, “We need one of those in our bedroom.”

“And we would both weigh 300 pounds, Stud.” Ali giggled.

“We’d just have to make love all night...every night…to work it off.” Ashlyn reasoned.

“Looks like you might have to do that tonight as it is.” Ali pointed to the obscene mound of macaroni and cheese Ashlyn had piled on her plate.

“Well, I wouldn’t want good mac n cheese to go to waste.” Ashlyn grinned, her dimple making Ali’s heart melt, “Besides we have one last stop before we head back to Grandma’s, so eat up. You will need your strength.”

**

Ali’s megawatt smile was firmly plastered on her face as she watched Ashlyn go from room to room in the Brookdale assisted living home for people with dementia, visiting with the elderly patients that didn’t get any visitors. People who were discarded...forgotten. Ali loved the way Ashlyn would go along with whatever name and gender the person came up with for her. Watching her loving these strangers, put a lump the size of Texas in her throat.

Ashlyn knocked on the door and a frail voice asked her to come in. When she entered the room, a bedridden woman in her 90’s with gnarled joints, ravished by arthritis looked up and smiled.

“Kenneth, I thought you would come today. Come give your Granny a kiss, boy.” the woman called out to her.

Ashlyn moved quickly inside and placed a kiss on the old woman’s cheek, “Hi Granny.”

“Let me look at you. My you are thin, and all that hair! Don’t the Army make you cut that? You look like a hippie.” the woman fussed over the blonde.

“Sorry Granny. They had me doing special assignments. And I’m very sorry I took so long to get here.” Ashlyn replied, holding the woman’s hands.

“I want to go home. Will you take me?” the suddenly distraught woman blurted out.

“As soon as the doctor releases you. I’d love nothing more than to take you home, Granny.” Ashlyn reassured the woman, who calmed down immediately, “Why don’t we sing Christmas carols?”

“Oh yes!” the woman responded gleefully, pulling her hands from Ashlyn’s to clap.

Ashlyn fell in with the woman after she started the song, O Little Town of Bethlehem. When the song was over, Ashlyn placed her forehead against the woman’s and they held each other for a few moments before Ashlyn stood.

“I have to go now, Granny. I love you.” Ashlyn quietly told her.

“I love you too. You come back and see me soon.” the woman replied.

Tears welled in Ali’s eyes as she got choked up by the tenderness Ashlyn showed the woman. They continued down the hallway stopping in room after room. Each time, Ashlyn was just who the person thought she was. To one, she was the daughter that had promised to visit, to another was a lost love from high school. Ashlyn sat with them, talking, holding hands, singing Christmas carols.

As the blonde stood in the doorway of the last person on her list, the man looked up and smiled, “My angel.”

“Hi. Sorry it took me so long to get here.” Ashlyn replied, smiling at the old guy.

“Well, anything as pretty as you is worth the wait, Delores.” the man responded with a wide grin of his own.

“I’m glad you think so. You are still mighty dapper yourself.” Ashlyn said as she pulled a chair up to the edge of his bed and sat down, taking his hands.

“Do you remember when we used to go dancing? Oh the parties, weren’t they gay, Delores?” the man asked, his eyes glazed over in a memory.

“Those were fun times.” Ashlyn replied stroking his hand soothingly.

“Let’s dance, like we used to. I think I have your song over there.” the man suddenly suggested, and pointed to an old record collection and player.

“Uh, remind me again, my memory isn’t so good.” Ashlyn inquired as she walked over to the stack of records.

“Angel Eyes by the Four Freshmen. I didn’t think you’d ever forget that.” the old man reminded his ‘wife.’

Ashlyn found the record and put it on, the scratchy tune from the 1940’s filling the room. She helped the guy to his feet and he put one hand on her waist, the other held her hand reverently. They shuffled slowly in a circle, cheek to cheek, Ashlyn catching him and steadying him on his feet more than once as the horn heavy big band melody played on. When it was over, she helped him back to bed and kissed his cheek.

“Merry Christmas.” Ashlyn whispered.

“Merry Christmas, Delores.” the man replied before closing his eyes, the corners of his lips curled up in a contented smile.

Ashlyn and Ali made their way back out to the jeep where Ashlyn broke down and cried. Ali wrapped her arms around her and kissed her forehead.

“You are the most amazing person I’ve ever known.” Ali cooed, trying to soothe the blonde’s broken heart.

“I can’t believe people can just discard the people that they supposedly loved for all those years like that. Throw them away like garbage. I...god, it just crushes me.” Ashlyn replied, tears streaming down her cheeks.

“But tonight, they had their loved ones back for a few minutes. They all had smiles, they sang, they even laughed...because of you, babe. You made a difference to each and every one of them.” Ali reminded her, stroking her arm gently.

“If our kids ever dump us in a place like that, I will escape and hunt them down.” Ashlyn vowed.

Ali smiled and kissed the blonde’s lips, “I wouldn’t expect anything less, my Stud.”

**

The couple were pretty worn out when they pulled back into the driveway at Grandma’s house. When they entered the house, Chris and Kyle were sitting on the couch with their arms folded across their chests.

“And just where were you two ALL DAY LONG IN NOTHING BUT YOUR JAMMIES?!” Kyle inquired, a parental tone to his voice.

“Yeah, how many places are we banned from now, sis?” Chris joined in the interrogation.

“Oh you have no idea, Chris. Let’s just say that you better not get hungry, sick, injured, have kids, or get old in this town. But she was soooooo damned good.” Ali sassed with a wink.

“ALEX!” Ashlyn yelped, crimson invading her cheeks, “And on that note, I’m taking a shower.”

Ali and the boys laughed, Chris bumping fists with the brunette as Ashlyn retreated up the stairs. Deb came in from the kitchen, hearing the commotion. Ali headed her off.

“Can we talk mom?” Ali inquired, her eyes bright.

“Sure baby girl. Want to go to my room?” Deb suggested.

“Yes please.” Ali responded, allowing Deb to lead the way upstairs.

Once they were inside with the door closed, Ali curled up next to her mom on the bed.

“Mom, I think I’ve totally found the one. I mean...oh god, you should have seen her today! I am totally going to marry that woman some day, and have her babies.” Ali gushed.

Deb smiled and started brushing her fingers through Ali’s long chocolate colored hair, “Oooh babies! Tell me all about it, baby girl. Oh and the painting too. You promised you’d tell me what it was about today.”

“Ok mom, but you aren’t allowed to freak out, or yell, or do anything that will embarrass the shit out of me. Deal?!” Ali brokered.

“Language! And fine...it’s a deal. Now, start where ever you’d like.” Deb replied, enthusiastically.

“Let’s see...um...when I first met Ashlyn I couldn’t stand her...like not at all. She was so damned cocky! I may have also been really bitchy towards her since one look from her set my body on fire...sorry, you didn’t need to know that...um...yeah, so anyways, we were like water and oil. But one night we got trapped up on the roof of our hotel at camp.” Ali started.

Deb opened her mouth to speak but Ali quickly covered it and sent her a look. Deb closed her mouth and pretended to lock it.

“The painting is from that night. It was really uncomfortable up there. The roof was covered in little asphalt gravel and Ashlyn was so charming. She let me sit in her lap, and of course, I wasn’t prepared to be out there so she gave me her hoodie, and socks, then wrapped us up in her sleeping bag. It felt so good to be in her arms, mom...almost like I...like I belonged there, ya know?” Ali resumed her tale, and Deb nodded, “We talked for a long time until she got sleepy. After she fell asleep, I got freaked out again because...well you know how hard it is for me to feel trapped somewhere. So I found this ladder and I figured I could rescue myself. I’d just climb down the ladder.”

Deb gasped and Ali sent her a warning glance. Deb settled and held her lips closed until Ali continued.

“I was about half way down when I was startled by some stupid pigeons and looked down. That’s the first time I realized how high up I was, and I thought I was going to fall. I got really dizzy, you know...like having vertigo. So I called for her, thinking that I was about to die. I have never been that scared in my life! And mom...you should have seen her! Ashlyn just looked down at me and came right over the wall without any hesitation. Like she wasn’t scared at all. When my dizziness got worse and I thought I’d fall before she could climb down to me...that idiot put her feet on the railing and slid down to me! When she was behind me, I could feel her strength, mom. I know, it sounds silly.” Ali explained, shivering.

“Not at all, honey.” Deb started.

“Mom!” Ali held up her hand and Deb sighed.

“Ok, I’ll hold my comments until the end...but under protest!” Deb replied.

“Well, Ashlyn’s hands were all torn up from sliding down the railing, but it’s like she didn’t even feel the pain...like all that mattered was making sure I was safe. And oh god, mom, did I feel safe when I felt her behind me. She is so strong. She literally climbed down the rest of the way behind me, so if I fell back, she would be my brick wall and stop me.” Ali explained, realization dawning on her, “I suppose there is one good thing about her being a goalkeeper.”

Deb snickered and looked at Ali who shook her head, “I’m not finished yet.”

Deb’s shoulders sagged and she motioned with her hands for Ali to continue.

“I was so scared, I was frozen in place, but she talked me down. She held on to me and allowed me to go at my own pace, but she literally talked me into moving one limb at a time. With each rung that she got me down, my heart melted a bit more. Unfortunately, the ladder was short and didn’t reach all the way to the ground. We had to drop the last three stories or so.” Ali admitted and watched her mom’s eyes widen, “But it was totally fine, because Ashlyn went first and then she gave me the courage to let go. Can you imagine mom? That dork actually convinced me to let go and she caught me. I must have been as crazy as she was! I remember my first thought when I was laying on top of her was, ‘this woman is a damned superhero...a perfect, charming, sarcastic superhero and I want her to make me hers.’ Uh...well...you didn’t need to know that part, sorry.” Ali finished up, “Ok NOW you can speak.”

Deb pulled a reluctant Ali into a tight hug, “I’m so very thankful that she was there, baby girl. Ashlyn has more than proven she is not going to leave you when things get tough. I think you have found a person just as amazing as you, and I couldn’t be happier.”

“Did you bring your laptop, mom?” Ali asked, excited to show her mom the video of Ashlyn at the hospital.

Deb picked it up off the night stand and handed it to her daughter. Ali logged into her email account and downloaded the video Terri had sent her. When she cued it up, she and Deb both got choked up watching Ashlyn play with the sick kids.

“Oh Alex, you have definitely found someone worth marrying. She will be a fantastic partner to raise your babies with.” Deb exclaimed.

A knock on the door startled the two women, and Ali closed the laptop, not wanting to get caught sharing Ashlyn’s goofy tender side. Ashlyn poked her head inside the door and smiled seeing the mother and daughter together on the bed.

“I’m sorry, I just wanted to let you know I was going to bed. Take all the time you want.” Ashlyn explained, yawning.

Ali got up and kissed her mom. She walked over to Ashlyn and took her hand.

“Good night, mom. We have some unfinished monkey business to attend to tonight.” Ali stated, sparing Ashlyn a hungry look.

“I’m not getting any sleep tonight, am I?” Ashlyn replied.

“Sleep is so overrated.” Ali responded with a wink.

“And I’m still right here, and still not deaf.” Deb reminded the two, shaking her head.

Chapter Text

Ali paused as she put her car into park in front of her apartment in Georgetown, and turned off the engine. Was that Derek in front of her door? What the hell. Ali’s eyes narrowed and she whipped out her cell phone to snap a picture of him that she texted to Ashlyn.

Princess: Can you believe this?!

Ali slammed her car door shut as she made her way towards the intruder. She stormed up behind the man as he was setting a box down in front of her door.

“What in the hell do you think you are doing at MY apartment, asshole?!” Ali challenged, her voice drowning out the sound of her text alert.

Stud: Don’t get out of your car, I’m on my way!

Derek spun around, his lips curled into a smile as he saw Ali behind him, “Don’t be like that. Your dad gave me your address and some boxes to drop off on my way back to school. Wow, I can’t believe this is how you treat someone just trying to do you a favor.”

“Fine, you did your ‘favor’ now leave!” Ali tersely replied.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to bring them inside for you? One of them is pretty heavy. I think they are your college text books and magazines or something.” Derek politely offered.

Ali glared at the man. She sighed, he really was being nice, and had never really been anything other than polite to her, even after she had practically sexually assaulted him to prove a point to her father. Maybe he was just a nice college guy her father had put into the middle of their shit. Maybe he didn’t deserve all the attitude she was hurling his way because if she were being honest, it was her father that she was pissed off at.

“Look, Derek...it is Derek, right?” Ali started, and the man nodded confirmation of his name, “I’m sorry. I know my father put you up to this. It’s just...well...WEIRD to have some guy I didn’t give my address to on my doorstep leaving me packages.”

“Sooo, the mailman freaks you out...good to know.” Derek joked, trying to break the tension.

“I appreciate you bringing this stuff to me. Are there any other boxes in your car?” Ali asked.

“Yeah, I think there are two more, just a sec.” Derek replied, starting back to his black infinite.

“Just put them down next to the door, and I’ll take care of them. Thanks.” Ali instructed as she stepped up to her front door and slid the key into the lock.

Once the door was unlocked, Ali opened it and bent down to pick up the first box. As she was walking inside, Derek made it back to the door behind her.

“Really, I don’t mind bringing them in. They are quite heavy.” Derek offered again.

“You heard the lady, she said no! I’ll take those in for her.” Ashlyn growled from behind the surprised man.

Derek turned to face Ali’s perturbed girlfriend. He spared her a nervous smile and handed her the boxes. The young law student couldn’t help but notice the way the blonde’s muscles rippled as she effortlessly took the boxes from him and pushed past him into the door of Ali’s apartment.

“Well, I should be getting back on the road. I still have quite a long trip back to school. Have a nice evening, you two.” Derek affably called out as Ashlyn used her foot to close the door in his face.

Ali set the box down on her round glass table and grinned when she saw Ashlyn carrying the other two boxes towards her. The brunette opened the box she had carried in and picked up the first of the stuffed animals that Ashlyn had sent her while she had been in Frankfurt. Ali smiled and hugged the the penguin, wishing it didn’t still smell like her father’s home.

“How did you get here so fast? I thought you were at the grocery store, Stud.” Ali inquired as Ashlyn followed her down the hallway with the other two boxes, while she carried the box of stuffed animals into her bedroom and set it down on her dresser.

Ashlyn set the two boxes down next to the first one, then gently grabbed Ali’s hips and pulled her into an embrace, tenderly kissing her lips, “Mmmm. Well, I may or may not have abandoned a cart full of food in the supplements isle when I got your text.”

“Aren’t we out of protein powder and Reload? Should we go back?” Ali asked, snaking her arms around Ashlyn’s neck, secretly loving that the blonde had dropped everything to rush back and make sure she was safe.

“Well, I do have an emergency stash of single serve whey packages. I don’t have any more Reload, but I have some BCAA’s n G capsules, so it’s basically the same thing, just take pills instead of mixing the powder in our water after we work out. We don’t have to rush back to the store, but we can stop on our way back from the gym if you want.” Ashlyn replied before leaning down and capturing Ali’s lips in a kiss that quickly became heated, then murmuring against the brunette’s lips, “If we make it to the gym.”

Ali felt Ashlyn’s hands start to lift the bottom of her shirt and she stepped back, a gentle hand on Ashlyn’s chest, “Unhuh. Sorry Stud, but I can’t let you skip another workout in favor of one in the bed. You may be a keeper, but camp is coming up, and Jill will kick your ass, and mine, if we show up out of shape. Grab your gym bag and let’s go.”

Ashlyn sighed deeply, stuck out her tongue at Ali and spoke while pointing at the big blue streak across the top of it, “But babe, my tongue is turning blue.”

“That’s from the Kool-aid you drank earlier.” Ali smirked, “You will survive without tasting me for another couple of hours, I promise.”

“I don’t know. I may die if I don’t feast on you soon...without my sustenance I can’t survive...then how would you feel? Bet you’d wish you had just let me have my wicked way with you then.” Ashlyn teased back.

**

Ashlyn looked over at Ali as they continued to run on the indoor track. They had already circled the quarter mile track twenty times, and she was beyond bored. Why did cardio always have to be so damned boring?! Finally Ashlyn grabbed Ali’s arm and stopped her.

“Hey, what’s up?” Ali asked, worried that her girlfriend had pulled a muscle or something.

“If I have to run one more lap, I’m gonna go crazy! Why don’t we finish our cardio doing something fun.” Ashlyn suggested.

“And just what did you have in mind?” Ali inquired, suspecting the blonde was angling to go home and have her wicked way with the brunette again.

“Let’s play basketball. One on one. Loser makes dinner AND gives the winner a massage.” Ashlyn enthused.

“Seriously? I didn’t play in high school, did you?” Ali asked, feeling a little competitive drive as well as totally wanting a massage from the blonde to work out her sore muscles.

“I played in Jr. High.” Ashlyn replied, “So how about it? Or are you too chicken, Princess?”

“Oh, bring it, Harris!” Ali responded enthusiastically.

The two quickly ran down to the front desk to get a ball, and made their way to the empty basketball court inside the gym.

**

Sweat trickled down Ashlyn’s face as she feinted driving to her left before pulling the basketball back and driving right, Ali’s feet matching her step for step down the lane, the brunette’s hands going to her waist every few seconds. Ali prevented Ashlyn from driving to the basket and she had to turn back around at the end line, dribbling the ball while weighing her options. Ashlyn avoided a swipe from Ali and grinned at her.

“Uh Oh! Watch out, somebody thinks they’re a baller!” Ashlyn taunted the brunette who was deep in serious concentration, trying to steal the ball from the blonde.

Ashlyn’s eyes widened in surprise as Ali rubbed her hand between the blonde’s legs causing the sensitive flesh to overwhelm her brain with signals of desire. Ashlyn froze and the forgotten ball bounced away from her as a moan escaped her startled lips. As quickly as the assault on her senses had started, the firm pressure was gone as Ali spun around Ashlyn and picked up the ball, easily dribbling it in for an uncontested layup.

“Hey! That was a FOUL!” Ashlyn called after the brunette.

Ali smirked and caught the ball under the hoop to toss it back to Ashlyn, “No blood, no foul, Harris. It’s nine to eight, one more and I win.”

“Cheaters never win.” Ashlyn answered back, tossing up a shot that swished the net, “Nine to nine.”

“Oh you are so busted, Ashlyn. You DID play basketball in high school didn’t you.” Ali shook her head at the cocky blonde.

“Maybe I did, and maybe I didn’t. Who knows.” Ashlyn shrugged, getting into a defensive stance in front of Ali, “What I do know is that you aren’t scoring on me. I am the brick wall, remember?!”

Ali slowly backed Ashlyn into the lane and attempted a baby hook shot. The tall blonde easily swatted it away, and chased it down. Ashlyn attempted to drive to the hoop, but Ali blocked her angle into the lane. The feisty brunette kept a hand on the taller woman’s waist for a few seconds to feel which direction the blonde was going to go. Ali slid in front of Ashlyn as she once again attempted to drive the lane, the defender lightly touching the blonde’s hip.

“Lots of hand checkin goin on there, Krieger. We already know you can’t resist touching my gorgeous body.” Ashlyn teased as Ali touched her hip again.

“How do you fit your head through doors, Harris?!” Ali teased back, once again cutting off Ashlyn’s angle to the hoop.

The blonde suddenly pulled up and shot a fade away jump shot, Ali turning around and boxing out the taller woman. The shot ricocheted off the rim and bounced towards the opposite sideline. Both women chased after it, getting their feet tangled and landing together in a heap, laughing.

“I gotta admit, you make cardio fun.” Ashlyn stated as she tucked a wayward strand of Ali’s hair behind her ear.

“Well I know of an even funner cardio workout we could be doing right now if only you drove me home.” Ali replied, ghosting her fingers down Ashlyn’s abs to the waistband of her shorts.

“An even ‘funner’ cardio workout, Princess? Is that how they teach English over at that fancy pantsy Penn State school? Good thing you’re hot.” Ashlyn teased as she leaned in for a kiss.

Ali smacked Ashlyn’s shoulder playfully, and pretended to pout, turning her head away from the blonde so her girlfriend’s lips met cheek, “Let’s go take the ball back.”

Ashlyn allowed Ali to get the ball, and while she had her back turned, the brunette drove to the basket and scored another layup.

“I WIN!” Ali yelled, “Can’t wait for my massage.”

“You are damned sneaky, woman. Distracting me with promises of sex. That last basket shouldn’t count.” Ashlyn playfully challenged.

Ali leveled the blonde with a smoldering look as she slowly sauntered towards her, “I’m sorry you are such a horn dog that you are easily distracted by thoughts of running your hands all over my body...of how much you make my body tremble for your touch...of feeling how wet I get just for you...of how good I taste when you plunge your tongue deep inside me...when I cum all over your hot hard tongue…”

“Oh fuck it, you win!” Ashlyn agreed quickly as she grabbed Ali’s hand and pulled her towards the door.

“Our bags!” Ali giggled as a flustered Ashlyn had forgotten all about their belongings on the bleachers.

“Always details with you, woman!” Ashlyn playfully complained and re-directed them towards their gym bags.

**

As Ashlyn and Ali were about to open the door to Ali’s apartment, a Fed-Ex truck rumbled to a stop behind them. The guy got out and checked his clipboard.

“Hey, you guys apartment 1811?” the delivery man called out.

“Yeah. You have something for us?” Ali responded, intrigued.

“Yes ma’am. Didn’t want you to go inside and just have to come back to answer the door.” the man said as he carried a foot tall package to them and handed it to Ashlyn.

Ashlyn read the label while Ali signed for the package and she let out an excited, “Yesssss!”

Ali followed a practically dancing blonde inside and down the hallway to the bedroom.

“Wanna let me in on the excitement, babe?” Ali asked as Ashlyn set the package down on the night stand next to the bed.

“It’s one of your Christmas presents from me. It was on back order so I wasn’t sure when it would come. Open it!” Ashlyn replied with a big dimple-bearing grin.

Ali pulled the packing tape off the top of the box and pulled open the flaps. She reached inside and pulled up a ten inch tall metal box with a spigot near the bottom, and nob controls along the front near the top. Across the front and center in big blue scripty letters was the word, ‘thermolator.’ Ali’s brows creased and she looked up at Ashlyn in confusion.

“Okaaaaay. So what is it?” Ali asked, looking inside the metal container and seeing removable racks and a pair of long tongs.

“It’s a piece of massage equipment called a thermolator. You fill water to this line,” Ashlyn pointed inside to the fill line, “and put rolled up wash cloths in these racks.”

Ali shook her head as she still didn’t get it.

“Princess, what is it that I do after I finish giving you mind blowing orgasms?” Ashlyn hinted.

“Seriously Harris, if your head swells anymore, it will explode.” Ali giggled, “Ummm…”

“Do I lay next to you and cuddle?” Ashlyn hinted again.

“Yeah...after you get out of bed and fetch a nice hot wash cloth to clean me up with. Seriously, that is like the best feeling ever. OH!” Ali exclaimed, finally catching on.

“Exactly. Now I won’t have to get out of bed. I just roll over and pull one out with the tongs. Good to go. We just need to set up a little hamper for the used wash cloths next to the bed.” Ashlyn beamed, “And see, you set the temperature here and it keeps them that temp until you shut off the machine. You only have to check the water level every few days, and clean it once a week. You drain it with that spigot.”

“Plug it in, Stud. I’m going to get some water and wash cloths. I think I need a demonstration.” Ali purred the last sentence in the voice that always made the blonde’s jewel twinge with anticipation and shoot white hot desire through her veins.

Ashlyn plugged in the insulated machine and looked up to see Ali carrying a full gallon water jug. She leaned over and kissed the blonde soundly as she handed the jug over to her girlfriend. As soon as Ashlyn had filled the thermolator, she looked up and chuckled at Ali standing there with an arm load of wash cloths.

“Did you leave any for us to use in the shower?” Ashlyn smirked.

“I figured I could just soap you up with my hands.” Ali responded as she dumped her entire collection of wash cloths on the bed next to the blonde.

“We could test that method.” Ashlyn winked as she started helping the brunette roll wash cloths to put in the thermolator.

Once the thermolator was completely full of wash cloths and set for 101 degrees, Ashlyn joined Ali in the bathroom, the brunette already in the shower.

“Gee, I wish you were a little more excited about my gift.” Ashlyn teased.

Ali reached out of the shower and pulled a still clothed Ashlyn inside, drenching her under the warm spray, kissing her deeply.

“You were saying?” Ali sassed as she pinned the blonde against the back wall of the shower and started nipping her neck, her hands tugging at Ashlyn’s sopping wet t-shirt.

Ali sank down and began slowly kissing, licking, and nipping up Ashlyn’s well defined abs as she worked the soaked t-shirt up and over the blonde’s head, followed by her sports bra. Ali tossed the wet garments onto the bathmat. She kissed Ashlyn passionately, allowing the blonde’s tongue to plunge inside her mouth, and they moaned as their tongues slowly slid across each other, tasting the other. Ali’s hands wandered to Ashlyn’s breasts, causing the blonde’s breath to hitch as her nipples responded immediately, hardening to tight aching points under the brunette’s palms. Ali swallowed Ashlyn’s deep moan as her fingers rolled the blonde’s nipples between her fingers, gently pinching them until they were hard as pebbles. Finally they broke the kiss as their need for oxygen became too great. Ali immediately replaced her hands with her mouth, sucking and nipping Ashlyn’s breasts and nipples...working her way slowly from one to the other.

“Oh god, Alex. Damn woman you feel good.” Ashlyn uttered, her deep voice husky and face flush with desire.

Ali’s hands tugged at Ashlyn’s soaked shorts and ethika boxers until she pulled them over the swell of the blonde’s ass and they fell to pool at her ankles. Ashlyn steadied herself with hands on Ali’s shoulders as she kicked the wet clothes out of the shower...they sailed through the air and landed with a loud splat half way off the sink across from the shower...dripping water all over the bathroom floor.

Ali reached behind Ashlyn and grabbed the shower gel. She squeezed some into the palm of her hand and worked up a lather before turning Ashlyn to face away from her and the shower head spray. Ashlyn supported herself with her arms outstretched against the wall under the spray. Starting at the blonde’s neck, Ali nipped, sucked and then ran her soapy her hands achingly slow down her back, over her ass and into her crack. Ashlyn’s eyes opened wide in surprise as she felt the brunette’s sudsy fingers swirl around her sensitive button hole that involuntarily clenched at the contact.

“Relax, Stud, I just have to make sure I get everything clean.” Ali mumbled as she teased the virgin flesh for a few seconds before holding her hands up under the spray to wash them off, and turning Ashlyn so she could rinse off her backside.

Ali reapplied shower gel to her hands and began at Ashlyn’s shoulders, moving them achingly slow...drawing fire across the blonde’s flesh as her hands moved ever lower. She paused to lavish Ashlyn’s breasts with more attention, her soapy hands gliding over the sensitive flesh of her nipples. Ali felt Ashlyn’s back arch and press her breasts into the brunette’s touch as her lust darkened hazel eyes closed.

“Fuck!” Ashlyn blurted out, her body on fire...her core aching for Ali’s touch.

Ali allowed her hands to slip further south, reveling in the way they glided over the definition of Ashlyn’s taut ‘sex pack’ as she liked to call it. Ali pushed Ashlyn further under the spray so the water would cascade over the blonde’s body and wash the soap off as her hands slipped between her girlfriend’s legs. Ashlyn’s knees shook a little as she was finding it increasingly harder to focus and stand. She almost fell when the brunette sank to her knees and pressed her tongue through the blonde’s silky wet folds.

“Oh god...oh fuck...oh yes baby! Alex...baby.” Ashlyn moaned as Ali worked her clit hard with her tongue as she pressed two fingers inside the blonde’s ready core.

Ali moved back and allowed Ashlyn so slide down the shower wall before her legs stopped working completely. Once Ashlyn was safely to the bottom of the shower, the focused brunette dove back to her favorite spot and resumed her feast with passionate gusto. Ali moaned at the sweet flavor of Ashlyn’s ambrosia that bathed her tongue as she impaled the blonde with it.

Ashlyn’s hips bucked against Ali’s face, driving herself into her girlfriend’s face…riding her tongue hard.

“Fuck yes, Alex...god you feel so fucking good...I’m so close...fuck me with that tongue...yesssss!” Ashlyn moaned as her body started trembling, her orgasm building.

Ali plunged her fingers deep inside Ashlyn as she flicked her tongue rapidly across the blonde’s engorged jewel. She felt Ashlyn’s muscles contracting and pulsing around her fingers, the blonde’s hands tightening up into fists.

“AAAALEEEEEEX!” Ashlyn cried out as her orgasm ripped through her, flooding Ali’s face with her passion, the brunette greedily licking her clean.

Ali climbed her way up Ashlyn’s body and kissed her tenderly, the blonde still trying to come down from her high. Suddenly they both screamed as the tepid water rapidly grew cold. Ali hastily reached up to turn the water off.

“Don’t you think it’s time we moved this party to our bed, Princess?” Ashlyn suggested, still panting a bit from the combination of her hard orgasm and the shock of the cold water.

“I thought you’d never ask.” Ali replied, carefully getting to her feet and helping Ashlyn up as well.

**

“Oh fuck...fuck...FUCK AAAAASHLYN! YESSSSSSSS!” Ali screamed as she came undone once more and spilled out over Ashlyn’s tongue.

Ashlyn wearily rolled over and used the tongs to pluck another wash cloth out of the thermolator. She turned back to Ali and gently cupped her still throbbing core. Ali closed her eyes letting out a contented sigh at the feeling of the hot cloth soothing her most intimate flesh.

“Mmmm. Best. Present. EVER!” Ali enthused as Ashlyn tossed the cooling cloth over her shoulder.

“I love you, Princess.” A very drained Ashlyn whispered.

“I love you too, Stud.” Ali replied, pulling Ashlyn’s limp right hand to her lips and kissing each fingertip.

“I think we are out of wash cloths, babe.” Ashlyn mumbled, too fatigued to keep her eyes open .

“I think we are going to Bed, Bath, and Beyond tomorrow then!” Ali grinned lasciviously at her girlfriend.

“Are you trying to kill me?” Ashlyn playfully grumbled, her head resting on Ali’s stomach, too spent to even crawl up next to her.

“Are you complaining that you can’t keep up with me? What happened to all that supposed stamina you claim goalkeepers have?” Ali teased, running her hands through Ashlyn’s hair.

“I’d throw the towel in except you’d probably put that into the thermolator next! If I admit that you have more stamina than me...for the love of all that is good Alex...will you please let me go to sleep?!” Ashlyn begged.

Ali grinned and was about to close her eyes as well when she caught a glimpse of a wash cloth hanging off one of the ceiling fan paddles above the bed.

“Uh, how did that get up there, babe?” Ali giggled.

“Don’t blame me, that’s all you. I told you not to throw it like a soccer ball, Princess.” Ashlyn replied with the last of her strength before sleep claimed her.

**

Ashlyn opened her eyes. At some point during the night she had managed to work her way back up to the head of the bed. Ali was still sleeping, tucked into the crook of her shoulder, the brunette’s face nuzzled against her neck, and her arms wrapped around the defender’s waist. Ashlyn’s tongue was sore and felt swollen. She tried to open her mouth to yawn, and instantly felt the pain of overworked jaw muscles. Oh yeah...it had been quite a long time since she had serviced someone that much in one night. For the first time since living in Germany, the normal early bird was ready to sleep in, and Ashlyn closed her eyes again her lips curled into a contented smile.

**

They had slept in until noon when the urge to pee could no longer be ignored. After a quick shower and a big breakfast, Ashlyn helped Ali do the dishes before they started to unpack the boxes Derek had dropped off the day before.

Ashlyn was setting up Ali’s bookcase and filling the shelves, grouping the books by genre and then in alphabetical order while Ali was busy arranging all of the stuffed animals Ashlyn had sent her on her dresser and bed.

“Camp is coming up soon.” Ashlyn commented, breaking the silence.

“Mmhm.” Ali acknowledged, wondering where her girlfriend’s head was at.

“I was just wondering um...how you wanted to handle this...you know...with the team and everything?” Ashlyn tried to get her question across.

Ali paused for a moment to consider it all. Would it be a distraction? Would their friends and teammates welcome them as a couple, or would it stress them out wondering what would happen if they broke up? Was it even anybody’s business?

“I don’t know, Ash. I hadn’t really thought about it. I mean...our families know. Pretty sure some of them either have suspicions or have figured it out. We tweet pics of us together constantly, and you tweeted that pic from Christmas Day with both our families together, and us in our matching jammies. Is there anybody left who doesn’t know?” Ali reasoned, as she leaned the large stuffed sea turtle she named Donatello against her pillows.

“Touche. I suppose I just wanted to know if I was asked point blank, what you want me to tell them.” Ashlyn further explained her question, setting a heavy marketing textbook on the shelf.

“I’m not ashamed of you, babe. I just don’t want there to be any distractions. We need to win the World Cup.” Ali replied.

“So is that a ‘tell them’ or a ‘be on the down low’ Princess, because I failed mind reading 101.” Ashlyn asked, still not sure what Ali was getting at.

“I guess we better tell them. I don’t want there to be a distraction of ‘are they or aren’t they.’ God knows Pinhead would be like a dog with a bone. She’d never let it go! Let’s just get them all together in one of our rooms and rip the band aide off first thing.” Ali suggested as she went over to help Ashlyn finish up the bookcase.

“You know, I would say that there is nothing about being with you that is painful Princess, but with the things I went through to win a date from you, that would be a bald faced lie. I was kind of wondering if I would survive long enough to get that first kiss.” Ashlyn chuckled at the memories.

“Aww, my poor Stud. You did manage to get a few owies during that camp, didn’t you?” Ali giggled, leaning up and kissing Ashlyn.

“Yep. Being around you is dangerous, woman! Worth it...but damned dangerous.” Ashlyn teased, as she ran her fingers through Ali’s silky sable hair and tucked her bangs behind an ear.

“When you looked over the side of the hotel and saw me in trouble, were you scared to come get me?” Ali wondered aloud as Ashlyn wrapped her arms around her waist.

“I was scared to lose you. I was scared I’d be too slow and you’d fall before I reached you. I was scared I’d never get a chance to know how good we could be together, but I was NOT scared to come out on that ladder and get you! That was one of the easiest decisions I ever made. It was a no brainer really.” Ashlyn admitted, tightening her grip on the brunette in her arms just a bit.

“Tobin is right you know. You are brain damaged.” Ali giggled nuzzling into the blonde’s neck, relishing the sanctuary of Ashlyn’s arms.

“Ever since I met you.” Ashlyn tipped Ali’s face up to kiss her.

As Ashlyn turned Ali’s face towards her, and their lips were nearly joined, her cell phone started playing the death march. Ashlyn’s shoulders slumped.

“And her bad timing continues.” Ashlyn muttered as she pulled her cell phone out of her pocket answering it on speaker so she could set it on the bookshelf and free her hands to hold her girlfriend, “Hello.”

“Hi Harris, it’s Coach Ellis.” Jill started.

“Hi Coach.” Ashlyn replied, watching Ali suppress a giggle as she realized who the blonde had assigned that ringtone to.

“Just wanted to let you know that I’m bringing another goalkeeper to camp. After last camp, I’m not convinced I can trust your health. There will be four of you, but as you know, I can only take three to the World Cup. Prove to me that you are serious, committed, and healthy. Prove to me you are better than at least one of the others, and I’ll put your name on that roster. BUT, show me all you know how to do is joke around, not take anything seriously, break curfew, come to practice hung over, get hurt...and I’ll cut you without question. Am I clear?” Jill relayed, all business.

“Yes ma’am. Crystal.” Ashlyn replied as Ali’s face paled.

**

Chapter Text

Hot water cascaded down Ali’s tired body and she hung her head forward so the hard spray could beat on her sore neck. She chewed on her lower lip as her thoughts turned to Kyle once again. It had been three weeks. THREE WEEKS! He had missed all of their pre-arranged Face Time sessions, hadn’t answered his cell phone OR home phone, he hadn’t returned her calls, and nobody was home when she and Ashlyn stopped by on their way to camp. The brunette was scared, and now that camp had started, she couldn’t go out and search LA for him, either. Ali turned her face towards the spray and let the water wash away her worried tears. Ali jumped as the door cracked open, but relaxed as Ashlyn’s head poked in.

“Everybody is here. Just waiting on you, Princess.” Ashlyn gently reminded her, knowing how some of their teammates were not the most patient of people.

“I’ll be right out. Tell them I’m sorry I took so long, but…” A fresh wave of worry and tears choked off her words, and Ashlyn slipped inside, pulling the door shut behind her.

Ashlyn reached into the shower and wrapped her arms around Ali, the defender sinking into the sanctuary of the blonde’s strong arms, her body shaking from the sobs that finally come unchecked. Ashlyn carefully helped her out of the shower. The blonde walked them slowly over to the wall, and snagged a towel off the rack which she wrapped around Ali, kissing her tear stained cheeks.

“Its ok, babe. Kyle is going to be fine. You wait and see. He probably just found himself a good man, and they are off galavanting around Mexico or something and forgot his phone.” Ashlyn tried to supply a plausible explanation for Kyle being MIA that didn’t include a slip up in his sobriety or lying in a hospital in a coma near death.

“Do you promise?” Ali’s frightened voice broke Ashlyn’s heart.

“I promise you I will find him, no matter what.” Ashlyn vowed, wishing more than anything that she could take the brunette’s pain for her.

Ali shook her head, “No! Ashlyn, I know you, and you better not sneak away from the hotel to go looking for my brother. You heard Jill. I couldn’t bear it if I was the reason you didn’t make the team. I NEED you to go to Canada with me. Swear to me you won’t look until AFTER camp is over.” Ali demanded, her voice stronger than Ashlyn had heard in days.

“Alex, I can’t just…” Ashlyn started before Ali pushed herself out of the blonde’s arms.

“NO! I can’t be that girlfriend, Ashlyn. Don’t put me in that position.” Ali cut her off.

“Ok, ok.” Ashlyn put her hands up in surrender, “I swear to you I won’t go searching LA for your brother.”

Ali sank back into Ashlyn’s arms, and nuzzled against her chest, “Thank you. I just couldn’t live with myself if I caused you to do something crazy.”

Ashlyn chuckled and kissed the top of Ali’s wet hair, “Oh, I don’t need you for that. I’m kind of a legend in crazy town.”

“Now that is a complete shocker, Stud.” Ali replied, her voice tired but stronger.

“You ok? I should probably get back out there before…” Ashlyn was cut off by a loud pounding on the door.

“Did you get lost in there?!” Abby’s irritated voice rang out through the closed door.

“...that happens.” Ashlyn finished.

Ali leaned up and kissed Ashlyn tenderly, “Thank you. I...well, you know. Go on, I’m ok.”

“You’re ok...but I have to go explain why I’m wet with your naked body’s outline.” Ashlyn teased.

“Rip the band aide off, remember? Just wait until I get there, please.” Ali reminded her girlfriend as she started toweling herself dry.

Ali listened to the catcalls and teasing as Ashlyn slipped back into the other room with wet clothes and a sheepish grin. She hurried to pull on some sweats and join them.

“What the hell happened to you, Dude?” Tobin teased and Ashlyn put a hand behind her neck.

“Well, um...I was just...she was…”Ashlyn stuttered, trying to think of something to say that wasn’t exactly a lie, but wouldn’t break Ali’s confidence either.

Just then the door to the bathroom opened, and Ali walked into the room, sparing Ashlyn. She padded over to Ashlyn and slipped her arms around the keeper’s neck and captured the stunned woman’s lips in a kiss that rapidly grew hungry and possessive. Half of the room looked on in shock while the other half grinned knowingly. When the need for oxygen became too great to ignore, Ali pulled away and turned to her teammates.

“Any questions?” Ali stated, her eyebrows arched in challenge.

“Fucking finally!” Pinoe shouted, fist pumping the air.

Ashlyn stepped up behind her girlfriend and wrapped her arms around Ali. She pressed against the brunette’s back and leaned down and kissed her temple.

“Well that’s one way to tell them, Princess.” Ashlyn whispered in her ear.

“I don’t feel much like talking.” Ali replied, Ashlyn catching the worry in her voice.

“It's ok, I got this.” Ashlyn promised, and Ali leaned back into the warmth and comfort of her girlfriend.

“Congratulations guys. Really. I’m happy for you.” Whit was the first to speak up after Pinoe’s outburst.

Abby leaned over and whispered into Ashlyn’s ear, “Please be careful. We have really great team chemistry that doesn’t need to get fucked up by dating drama.”

Ashlyn nodded, “I would never hurt her.”

“I’m right here, guys, and for the record, I have exceptional hearing.” Ali remarked, a little perturbed that they were talking about her as if she weren’t present.

Abby stood back and smiled at both of them, “Sorry, Kriegie, I just had to play Captain for a moment there. Really, I’m happy if you guys are.”

Ali nodded, “We are. Very.”

“Hey guys, Ali is kinda worn out from our flight. I’m volunteering my room for movie night, if you guys are interested. It’s 412.” Ashlyn held up the card key to her room.

Pinoe swiped the key out of Ashlyn’s hand, “Who wants to see A Perfect Ending?!”

“Are you still pushing those lesbian movies for movie night, Pinhead?” ARod exclaimed, shaking her head.

“What? You might learn something.” Pinoe stated, wagging her eyebrows.

Ashlyn and Ali stood by the door and allowed all of their teammates to hug them and say a few words to them on their way out. Tobin and Alex hung back to the very end.

“Sooo, can we hang here too, or do you need the room to yourselves, roommie?” Tobin asked Ali.

“I’m not going to kick you out of the room, Tobes. It’s yours too. Just know I’m not real good company at the moment.” Ali confessed.

“That’s alright, Alex is.” Tobin replied, as she put her arms around Alex and kissed her tenderly.

Ali’s eyes widened until she remembered that Ashlyn had told her that they were together nearly a year ago. Tobin and Alex giggled at Ali’s shock.

“Dude, seriously? You didn’t know?” Tobin exclaimed.

“Ash, you need to work on your woman’s gaydar.” Alex teased.

“Whoa there. I think her gaydar is just fine. She doesn’t need any other women when she has all this.” Ashlyn replied, her hand sweeping from her head down.

Ali rolled her eyes at all of them and climbed into bed, holding the covers up for Ashlyn to join her. The blonde took the hint and slid in behind her girlfriend, slipping an arm around her waist. It always amazed the defender just how perfectly their bodies fit together when they cuddled. It was like Ashlyn had been made just for her. That thought always brought her comfort, but the comfort was short lived as her thoughts turned to her missing brother.

“You up for Monop Deal, Tobie?” Alex inquired as she rummaged through Tobin’s back pack for the deck of cards.

“I thought you’d never ask.” Tobin replied, fluffing the pillows and getting them ready so they could sit up in bed together.

“You are soooo going down!” Alex exclaimed as she jumped onto the bed opposite her girlfriend.

“If you’re lucky.” Tobin winked.

“Ugh, make the disgusting sweetness stop!” Ali mumbled as she rolled over in Ashlyn’s arms and buried her face in the blonde’s chest, “Oh god, is that what we sound like to our friends, Stud?”

Ashlyn chuckled, “Yep. Pretty much, Princess.”

Ali had finally fallen asleep after a couple of hours and Ashlyn was trying very hard to both ignore the make out fest in the next bed over while trying to figure out a way to slip out from under Ali without waking her. The brunette was practically melted into Ashlyn, one arm curled across her girlfriend’s chest, her hand wrapped in blonde curls, one leg thrown across the keeper’s pelvis, and her face nuzzled into Ashlyn’s neck. At the slightest movement, Ali reacted like an anaconda in her sleep, her grip tightening and her barely audible voice mumbling ‘no,’ ‘not yet,’ or ‘nother minute.’ Ashlyn kissed Ali’s forehead. She really had to be going. Curfew was only a few minutes away. She’d hate to get tossed off the team before their first practice.

“Sorry Princess, I’m out of minutes to give you. I gotta go to get to my room by curfew.” Ashlyn murmured in her ear.

Ali sighed dramatically, and lifted her arm and leg so Ashlyn could scoot out from underneath the unhappy brunette. After untangling herself, the blonde leaned over and kissed Ali tenderly.

“I love you, Alex.” Ashlyn whispered.

“Mmm. I love you too. Ugh. I hate not being able to sleep with you.” Ali pouted.

“Maybe you should do something naughty at practice tomorrow so you can get put into the ‘trouble makers’ room.” Ashlyn teased as she stole one last kiss.

Ashlyn paused at the door, “Hey Baby Horse, you got about five minutes to get to your room before curfew.”

Alex raised her thumb above her head, her lips not leaving Tobin’s as their tongues slowly danced with each other. Tobin’s hands inside Alex’s shorts roaming over the muscular ass cheeks of her girlfriend under the covers.

Ali blew Ashlyn a kiss and she caught it, pressing it to her breast as she winked. The blonde ducked out the door to avoid the pillow that Ali threw.

Tomorrow morning they had team breakfast and their first team meeting of camp. Ashlyn figured if she were really quiet, she could make some phone calls in the bathroom and not disturb whoever was her roommate. The blonde had promised Ali that she wouldn’t sneak out and search LA for Kyle, but that didn’t mean that she couldn’t call in a few favors. Ashlyn knocked quietly on her door and waited for Pinoe to open it. Ashlyn’s jaw slacked in surprise as the door opened wide.

“Harris, come in. We’ve been waiting for you.” Jill instructed.

Chapter Text

Ashlyn walked into the room and noticed one of the beds occupied by a quite young looking woman with long auburn hair that she had never seen before. Jill motioned for her to take a seat and the blonde sank down onto the end of the unoccupied bed.

“Ashlyn this is Daniella Hearst. As I’m sure you are aware, this is her first camp. I am counting on you to show her the ropes, and keep her out of trouble. Consider her your shadow for the next three weeks.” Jill stated with finality.

Ashlyn fought the urge to roll her eyes at her coach. She looked over at the youngster, who honestly looked like she was about to pee her pants from excitement, and internally groaned. Now she not only had to make the team and figure out a way to find Kyle on the sly, but do it while babysitting some overly eager...KID...who was there to steal her spot on the roster. Ugh. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

“Did you hear me, Harris?!” Jill’s sharp tone brought Ashlyn out of her thoughts.

“Uh yes ma’am. Sorry.” Ashlyn replied, and she could swear she heard Daniellika...Danjella...Danwhoever let out an excited squeak...like a chew toy.

Ashlyn caught movement out of the corner of her eye and before she knew it, the other woman was standing in front of her with her hand outstretched, a large goofy grin on her face.

“You can call me, Danni...all my friends do.” Daniella gushed.

Ashlyn stuck her hand out with a slightly icy tone, “Well Hearst, you can call me, Harris.”

Jill raised an eyebrow at Ashlyn who got the message and quickly added, “Welcome to camp, kid.”

“Well, I’ll let you two ladies get settled in now. Glad to see you made it back to your room a whole three seconds before curfew, Harris.” Jill stated, her voice dripping with sarcasm before she turned towards Daniella, “Oh, and Danni, just follow Ashlyn wherever she goes. She will show you around and how to navigate camp.”

As the door closed behind Jill, Ashlyn was already typing out a text to Ali.

Stud: OMFG Jill gave me a brat to babysit during camp!

Ashlyn laid on her bed and rolled away from Daniella as her phone dinged to alert her to an incoming text.

Princess: WTF?!

Ali quickly read the reply from Ashlyn.

Stud: She expects me to show my new competition ‘the ropes.’

Trying to figure out Jill’s motive and put a positive spin on it for Ashlyn’s sake, Ali typed a quick response.

Princess: That is totally not fair. Then again, maybe coach is just trying to get under your skin and light a fire in you.

The reply from Ashlyn was so quick Ali knew her girlfriend was pissed off before she even read it.

Stud: Mission accomplished!

Ali wished she could be there to help soothe Ashlyn’s nerves.

Princess: On the other hand, maybe coach is trying to see how you do in a leadership role. Try to play nice. Just remember, I love you.

Ashlyn sighed. There was only one thing she wanted right then...and it was impossible.

Stud: I love you too. Wish I was in your bed wrapped around you right now. I miss holding you already.

Ali closed her eyes and pictured Ashlyn’s arms around her, feeling the heat and love radiating off of her girlfriend. She wished more than anything that they could be laying in the same bed. Ali knew that without the blonde to distract her, she would be laying awake trying not to think about Kyle, but totally unable to stop.

Princess: You have no idea how good that sounds to me! ;)

Ashlyn didn’t want to go to bed, but she knew that they both needed to rest for their first practice tomorrow.

Stud: It’s late. We have a big day tomorrow, get some sleep. Sweet dreams, Princess. Of me. :P

Ali smiled, Ashlyn was such a goof.

Princess: Lay that swollen head of yours down on a pillow before you damage the room, Harris!

“Sexting your boyfriend?” Daniella asked, closely watching the blonde’s expression as she sent and received text messages.

“What? Ugh, no.” Ashlyn replied a bit tersely before hitting the send button.

Stud: G’nite my gorgeous Princess.

Ali sent her final message and snuggled into the stuffed penguin she had brought with her. It smelled like Ashlyn...it smelled like home.

Princess: Nite nite my beautiful Stud.

Ashlyn got up and padded to her still packed suitcase. She rummaged around and found her favorite UNC Soccer sweats. The blonde took the sweats along with a clean t-shirt and her toiletries bag into the bathroom with her.

Ashlyn sighed as the hot spray helped dissolve her stress. Halfway through conditioning her hair, she had a flash of brilliance. What if Kyle was purposefully dodging his sister? The keeper knew he didn’t have her friends’ numbers. Ashlyn smiled as she rinsed out her hair and quickly finished up her shower. She had a plan.

“Oh Jesus!” Ashlyn yelped in surprise as she nearly ran into Daniella when she exited the shower.

The youngster raked her eyes over Ashlyn’s naked muscular body, her tongue unconsciously licking her bottom lip. Ashlyn quickly grabbed a towel off the rack and wrapped it around her waist. She looked expectantly at the younger woman.

“What did you need, kid?” Ashlyn inquired, not at all happy with the woman’s intrusion.

Her cheeks blushed furiously as Daniella realized what she was doing, and quickly covered her eyes with one hand while the other hand jerked upwards towards Ashlyn. The slim iphone she was extending to the blonde slipped from her fingers and crashed to the floor, the screen shattering.

“Fuck! Was that my phone?!” Ashlyn roared, sinking to the floor to pick up the destroyed cell phone.

“I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean for that to happen.” Daniella apologized, shame and regret housed in her deep brown eyes.

“Why the hell did you have my phone, anyway?!” Ashlyn challenged, her voice harsher than she had planned, but she was too tired to filter her emotions.

“You had a text come in and I...I thought you’d want to see it since it was from...well...I kinda thought it was from your boyfriend.” Daniella quietly explained, looking down at her hands that she was nervously twisting.

“What did you say?” Ashlyn perked up.

“You know, it was from a guy. Uh, Kirk...Kevin…” Daniella tried to remember the name.

“Kyle?” Ashlyn supplied.

Daniella brightened and smiled at Ashlyn, “Yes! Kyle. That was the name.”

Ashlyn flung her useless phone across the bathroom and it further broke against the wall. She dropped her face into her hands.

“I’m sorry about your phone. You can use mine if you want.” Daniella offered as she held out her phone towards Ashlyn, hoping to make up for her mistake.

Ashlyn took the cell phone from Daniella and quickly dialed one of only three numbers she had memorized. She hoped Ali would pick up the call from a strange number.

“Hello?” Ali’s tired voice was music to Ashlyn’s ears.

“Babe, Kyle texted me!” Ashlyn blurted out, excitedly.

“What?! Where is he? Is he ok? Why the hell hasn’t he called me? What is wrong with him? Oh my god, is he in the hospital?!” Ali peppered questions at the blonde.

“Whoa! Hold on a second. He texted me, but my phone was dropped on the tile in the bathroom, and the screen shattered so I have no idea what he sent me.” Ashlyn replied, wishing that she could provide the answers her girlfriend so desperately needed.

“Oh god, Ashlyn. Seriously?! Fuck! What...what am I supposed to do now?!” Ali replied as questions swirled in her head.

“At least we know he is alive.” Ashlyn quietly responded.

“Do we? What if it wasn’t even him? What if it was somebody using his phone to tell us to hurry to the hospital because he is on his death bed!” Ali fumed, the stress finally causing her to lash out.

Ashlyn cringed. Maybe she should have waited until she had more information before telling Ali. No. That would have only made it worse. She sighed. Until they found him, it was a no-win situation.

“Call your mom. If it was a message like that, surely the hospital would call her.” Ashlyn reasoned.

Ali blew out a breath. Ashlyn was right. She was letting her emotions get the best of her, and taking it out on the blonde when all she was doing was trying to help.

“Yeah, you’re right. I’m sorry babe. I’m just...ugh. This is driving me crazy!” Ali admitted, unaware that Tobin had slipped out of her bed.

“I know, Princess. We will find him. I swear to you, we will find him. Call mom so you can get some sleep.” Ashlyn suggested again.

“I will. Thanks for letting me know. I really appreciate all you are doing for me, Ash. Really...even when I lash out at you and act like a bitch. I just...” Ali started to apologize before the tears took over.

Ali looked up gratefully as Tobin wrapped her in a hug.

“I should let you get some sleep.” Ali finished, “I love you.”

“I love you too. We will figure it out.” Ashlyn promised.

Ali allowed herself to sink into Tobin’s arms. She still didn’t like hugs, but at the moment, she was grateful for her friend.

“What is going on, Ali?” Tobin gently inquired, rubbing Ali’s back.

“My brother has been missing for three weeks. Ashlyn said he just texted her, but she dropped the phone and it shattered before she could read the message.” Ali confided in her friend.

“That’s harsh, dude. I’m here for you, ya know. Alex too. We love you, Kriegie.” Tobin reminded the defender.

Tobin allowed Ali to cry herself to sleep in her arms before she untangled herself and tucked her distraught friend into bed. She tip-toed to the night stand to retrieve her card key before she slipped out of the room.

Chapter Text

“Nice ink.” Daniella commented warmly as she intently watched Ashlyn get dressed.

“Thanks.” Ashlyn mumbled as she quickly pulled her USWNT t-shirt over her head and covered herself.

It was kind of creeping the blonde out how often she caught the chew toy staring at her. Ashlyn turned around and rolled her eyes as the kid was sitting on the end of her bed leering at her. For fuck’s sake, she didn’t even try to hide it.

“Let’s go. We have breakfast with the team in a half hour.” Ashlyn stated, her tone a little less than friendly.

Daniella jumped up and smiled like a kid on Christmas morning. She would follow Ashlyn Harris anywhere. Ashlyn groaned when they got to the end of the hallway and Daniella was still following her instead of waiting for the elevator.

“So I heard you surf. That’s so cool. I’ve always wanted to learn.” Daniella mentioned hopefully.

“Most surf shops sell lessons.” Ashlyn replied, glancing at her watch, “You can take the elevator down, you know. I’m sure you can manage to find the first floor without my help.”

“Probably, but Coach said you were supposed to show me around, sooooo...lead on!” Daniella replied, not accepting the obvious brush off.

Ashlyn tuned out the chatter from the chew toy as she navigated her way to Ali’s room with the kid openly admiring the blonde’s ass while walking a step behind her. Ashlyn felt the woman’s eyes devouring her and she turned her head, catching the young keeper’s gaze. When she reached Ali’s room, the blonde couldn’t stand it any longer, and she turned towards the youngster.

“Look, you might live longer if you stop staring at my ass.” Ashlyn warned the woman as she knocked on Ali’s door.

“There’s no law against looking, besides, it’s not my fault you are so fucking dreamy.” Daniella wagged her eyebrows at Ashlyn.

Just as Ashlyn opened her mouth to reply, the door next to her opened, and Ali flashed her a smile that made the blonde’s heart melt. Ashlyn quickly entered the room and shut the door in Daniella’s face before the youngster could follow her in. The blonde wrapped her arms around Ali’s waist and kissed her tenderly. Ali jumped as a loud knock on the door next to them startled her.

“Don’t open the door, babe.” Ashlyn mumbled against her lips, wanting to deepen the kiss.

Ali gently pushed against Ashlyn’s chest as she took a step back, breaking the kiss. The blonde groaned at the loss of contact. Ali raised an eyebrow at her girlfriend.

“Did you just close the door in someone’s face?” Ali inquired pointedly.

“Maybe.” Ashlyn muttered.

“Ashlyn Michelle Harris!” Ali chided as she pushed Ashlyn aside and opened the door, ignoring the blonde’s pleas not to.

“Uh hi. I’m Daniella Hearst, but you can call me Dani...all my friends do!” Daniella enthused as she stuck her hand out towards Ali.

Ali shook her hand and then moved aside to give the youngster access to her room, “I’m Ali. Come on in. I gotta finish up one little thing before we go down to breakfast.”

Daniella practically bounced into the room. Her eyes tracked Ashlyn as the blonde followed Ali into the bathroom. Ashlyn stood behind Ali and slipped her arms around the brunette’s waist. She watched Ali apply a light coating of mascara and a bit of concealer under her tired eyes. The stress from Kyle was already taking a toll on her girlfriend, and camp wouldn’t even officially begin for another twenty minutes.

“You need to try a little harder to play nice, Stud. If Jill is testing you, you can’t let that woman get under your skin like that.” Ali began, turning in Ashlyn’s arms to face her.

“Easy for you to say, you don’t have some newbie practically raping you with her eyes twenty four hours a day.” Ashlyn groused.

“Not this year.” Ali baited the blonde with a smirk, closing the distance and easing the sting with a kiss.

Ashlyn pulled back from the kiss and playfully protested, “The difference being we were both single aaaand you were interested.”

“Says you. I finally just got tired of fighting you off with a stick so I gave in. Lucky for you I’m too tired to pick up that stick again.” Ali teased, snaking her hands around Ashlyn’s neck, and burying her fingers deep into thick curly blonde silk.

Ali silenced Ashlyn’s next protest with a slow, deep, open mouthed kiss, and the keeper was just happy that her girlfriend showed some of her normal sassy personality again. The brunette had gotten so sullen since Kyle had dropped off the planet, the blonde would willingly suffer any indignity to see a glimpse of feisty Ali at this point.

Ali and Ashlyn jumped away from each other as the door to the bathroom opened suddenly. Ashlyn was about to rip into the chew toy when she saw Tobin hold up her hand, and her reprimand died on her lips.

“Sorry guys, didn’t mean to intrude, but Coach wants to see Ali in the lobby...like now.” Tobin relayed the message.

Ali’s chest tightened and she squeezed Ashlyn’s hand. She looked up at Ashlyn and the blonde could see the fear in her eyes.

“I’m right behind you babe. Let’s go see what she wants.” Ashlyn gently prompted Ali into motion.

Tobin grabbed the back of Daniella’s shirt collar preventing her from following the couple out of the room, “Give them some privacy, dude. I’ll take you to the breakfast. Come on.”

Daniella sighed dejectedly, accepting her fate as Tobin redirected her towards the elevator when they left the room. She watched wistfully as Ashlyn and Ali disappeared into the stairwell together. Tobin recognized that look instantly and she stepped into Daniella’s view.

“You are waaaaaay late to the dock. That ship sailed about a year ago.” Tobin said firmly.

Daniella’s shoulders sagged momentarily. She looked down into Tobin’s serious expression and felt the unspoken warning housed there. Daniella turned away from Tobin. She smirked...well, ships may be out to sea, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still be boarded by pirates. Ashlyn Harris was one fine ship that she was going to enjoy taking over...no matter what. Nobody ever said no to pirate Dani.

 

**

As the couple made their way down the stairs, Ali’s heart was beating so fast and hard she was afraid she was about to have another heart attack. What if Kyle had been in a horrible accident and they had notified Jill? Why did it seem like she was a condemned prisoner being escorted to her doom? It was getting harder and harder to breathe...her feet felt heavy and sluggish. Ashlyn noticed the hesitancy in Ali as they approached the door to the lobby, and she pulled her girlfriend into a warm embrace, kissing her tenderly. The blonde used her lips to convey how much she loved Ali, and the brunette melted into the kiss.

“You ready, babe?” Ashlyn gently prompted.

Ali took a deep breath and nodded. She felt Ashlyn’s hand on the small of her back, and the tender touch of her girlfriend gave the defender a quiet strength, knowing that the blonde was behind her. It didn’t take long to cross the lobby to where Jill stood with her clipboard.

“You wanted to see me, Coach?” Ali asked, a smile on her face that didn’t quite reach her eyes.

Jill looked from Ali to Ashlyn and back again before responding, “Yes. I need you to stay after practice tomorrow and shoot some pk’s against our new keeper, Hearst. I know it isn’t fair to ask you to stay longer, but I am going to be rotating players for this all camp long. I think all of our keepers need a little extra practice in pk defense judging by our last World Cup results, don’t you?”

Ashlyn bit the inside of her cheek to keep from telling Jill just exactly what she thought of that. The blonde continued to smile politely at her coach.

“Sure. You know me, Coach, I’ll do anything for the good of the team.” Ali quickly responded, knowing how much her girlfriend had to be fuming behind her.

“That’s what I like to hear, Krieger. Why don’t you two go get some breakfast. I trust Daniella didn’t get lost somewhere.” Jill looked pointedly at Ashlyn.

“Tobin wanted to take her down. I think she was eager to get to know the new kid. Fresh blood for Monop Deal or something.” Ashlyn replied, smile still on her face.

“Good, good. I’ll see you two on the pitch for baseline fitness testing later.” Jill absently responded, her focus already back on the player reports on her clipboard.

Ashlyn and Ali quickly grabbed some breakfast off the buffet line and found seats at a table with Abby, Pinoe, Hope, and KO. Before they had a chance to settle in, Ali noticed Daniella making a bee line for their table, and Ashlyn. She almost felt sorry for the youngster...almost.

“Hi everyone! I’m Daniella Hearst, but you can call me Danni...all my friends do!” Daniella introduced herself, not seeing Ashlyn make a sarcastic face and lip synch along with her before the blonde turned her attention to Abby.

Ali noticed the way Daniella’s eyes were raking down Ashlyn, and she covered the blonde’s hand possessively, twining their fingers. She watched as the young keeper’s eyes traveled down Ashlyn’s arm and then shot up to lock with her own when the woman saw them holding hands. Ali raised an eyebrow at the youngster as she brought Ashlyn’s hand up and tenderly kissed it. Daniella shrugged before wandering off back to her seat at the other table.

“You could try peeing on Ash next time.” Pinoe laughed at the exchange, and Ali smirked back.

“What did I miss?” Ashlyn asked, having been talking with Abby and ignoring the chew toy.

“Your woman basically marked her territory when the new kid was eating you up with her eyes.” KO explained.

“I just gave her a little public service announcement. This is MY Stud, and I don’t share.” Ali responded matter-of-factly.

Ashlyn spared Ali a dimple bearing grin, “Mmm. That’s my girl. I damn sure hope it worked because I’m getting tired of rooming with chester the molester.”

 

**

It had been a very long day of fitness testing, and Ashlyn was more than ready to cuddle with Ali and watch a movie. She had figured out the chew toy was taking a shower in the locker room, so the blonde had grabbed her gear and fled to her hotel room.

Ashlyn heard a light knock on the door and she finished slipping into her comfy UNC sweats before padding over to the door and opening it. Her lips curled into a dimple-bearing wide grin as Ali stood in the hallway sporting her banana footie pjs, Ashlyn’s matching monkey covered ones in her hand.

“Don’t you look good enough to eat.” Ashlyn cheesed as she held the door open for her girlfriend.

“I need to cuddle with my favorite monkey tonight. Is that ok?” Ali petitioned.

Ashlyn gripped Ali’s hips and drew her into a kiss, “That’s perfect. What movie are we watching?”

Ali handed the pjs to the blonde, “Momma Mia.”

“And you are going to sing along to every song. Oh my poor, poor abused ears.” Ashlyn teased as she quickly undressed.

Once Ashlyn had donned her footie pjs, and grabbed her MacBook, she slipped into bed next to Ali. They cued the movie on Netflix and Ali melted into the blonde. This was home. It didn’t matter what part of the world they were in or what kind of walls surrounded them...home would always be inside the sanctuary of Ashlyn’s arms.

Neither woman noticed when Daniella entered the room and climbed into her bed, watching them intently as they slowly kissed, their tongues dancing together. The outside world didn’t exist, the only thing that existed was each other. Ali moaned as Ashlyn’s teeth trapped her lower lip and sucked it into her mouth. She desperately needed to forget the stress of her brother, and her girlfriend was providing the perfect distraction. Ashlyn moaned as Ali deepened the kiss as soon as she released her control over the brunette’s lower lip.

A small cough startled the couple. Ashlyn glared at Daniella who innocently turned on the television. Ali released a large sigh as she nuzzled deeper into Ashlyn’s neck. She couldn’t believe they had allowed themselves to get that carried away. At least she had worked out a schedule with Tobin for each couple to have alternating ‘alone time’ in their shared room. As they lay in companionable silence, Ali’s mind began to wander.

“I can’t believe Kyle has been missing for three weeks. Seriously, Ash, do you think he is alright?” Ali inquired, almost afraid of the answer.

“Mmm. I think if he were in a hospital or something, you would have been notified by now.” Ashlyn responded, her voice strong with conviction, “Also, I know your brother would want you to focus on having a fabulous camp and kicking major ass. You know he is quite proud of you, Alex.”

“Yeah, I suppose so.” Ali agreed.

Ashlyn kissed Ali’s temple, “Want to take a nap? I can set the alarm clock.”

“That would be perfect, babe.” Ali responded, her body exhausted from pushing her limits all day and the emotional stress she was under.

Ashlyn set the alarm to give them a half hour to wake up, and for the blonde to walk Ali back to her room before curfew. She wished more than anything that she could find Kyle and ease the brunette’s troubled mind. Ali enjoyed the comfort of Ashlyn absently stroking her arm. It wasn’t long before they both drifted off to sleep. Neither one woke up as Daniella changed the alarm setting to from ‘pm’ to ‘am.’

Chapter Text

The loud ringing of the phone on the nightstand next to her head startled Ashlyn awake. Ali nuzzled further into her neck, mumbling incoherently. As the sleep fog lifted from the blonde, she quickly picked up the receiver, and noticed that the blackout curtains had been closed...an ominous glow around the edges let her know it was daylight outside.

“Hello?” Ashlyn’s deep gravelly voice betrayed her.

“Dude! You just woke up?! I hope to hell Ali is with you, cause she didn’t come back to the room last night. Everyone is already going out to the vans. I told them I had to pee. I can make one van wait for like five minutes tops. Get your asses down here! Tell Kriegs I grabbed her bag outta the room earlier when I thought I’d see you two at breakfast.” Tobin explained, her very untypical urgency causing Ashlyn to push the rest of her sleep fog from her brain.

“Shit! We are on our way! Thanks Tobes, you are a lifesaver!” Ashlyn replied before slamming the receiver back on its cradle.

Ashlyn had no time to be gentle with Ali, and sat her girlfriend up while jostling her awake, “Wake up, babe! We are late! We gotta get down to the van in a hot five minutes!”

Ashlyn untangled herself from Ali , slipped out of bed, and started stripping. She dug through her suitcase for Ali’s ‘overflow’ clothes and found a pair of shorts, t-shirt, long football socks, and sports bra as the brunette sat up and looked at her confused.

“What? I thought you set the alarm?” Ali mumbled, sleepily.

Ashlyn threw the clean clothes at her girlfriend, and Ali yelped as they hit her in the face, “Hey!”

“Get dressed, Alex. We gotta go, NOW!” Ashlyn commanded as she slipped into a clean pair of Ethica boxers.

Ashlyn finished dressing and tossed a protein meal replacement shake for each of them into her soccer bag along with tooth brushes and toothpaste while Ali got dressed. Ashlyn threw her USA Soccer bag over one shoulder and grabbed Ali’s hand, tugging her out the door and down the hallway. Just as they were about to pass the elevator, it stopped on their floor, and Ashlyn pushed a surprised Ali on just behind the business man who had called it.

Ali’s eyes went wide then shut tight, and she started visibly shaking, her heart pounding in her chest. Ali backed herself into the corner and her hands balled into fists, her breath becoming ragged. She was too hot. Everything was moving too fast for the defender, and not fast enough. Tears slipped from the corners of her eyes and wet her cheeks. Ashlyn tipped her chin up, but Ali’s eyes were screwed shut. She gently stroked some loose strands of the brunette’s hair out of her face.

“Look at me, Alex. I’m right here. You aren’t alone, open your eyes and be with me.” Ashlyn cooed, trying to break through her girlfriend’s panic, “Look at me, babe.”

Ali’s eyes fluttered, but screwed shut again as she cried, “I...I can’t!”

Ashlyn leaned in and kissed the tears from Ali’s cheeks, not giving a shit that the man in the elevator was staring at the two. She worked her way down the brunette’s cheeks and then tenderly kissed her lips. Ali’s stiff body finally started to relax as the keeper’s soft lips caressed her own. Slowly the brunette’s body responded to the blonde. As the kiss deepened, Ali’s body melted into Ashlyn. Ali’s eyes fluttered open when the kiss ended, and focused on the loving hazel ones in front of her.

“There you are.” Ashlyn quietly stated, sparing a small smile for her girlfriend.

Ali lost herself in those orbs of warm green splashed with whiskey flecks. She nuzzled into the strong hand that Ashlyn cupped around her cheek, and the barest hint of a smile teased her slightly quivering freshly kissed lips. The defender’s fingers dug into the blonde’s shoulders when the elevator stopped abruptly, bumping loudly before settling on the first floor.

Ashlyn didn’t know who wanted out of that elevator worse...her frightened girlfriend, or the embarrassed business man...but as the doors slid open, they both bolted for freedom with the blonde hot on their heels. Ali and Ashlyn sprinted across the lobby and out the front doors. They ran after the van as it was pulling away from the circle, and the keeper was grateful when she saw brake lights come on and the van stop suddenly. The side door slid open and Tobin stuck her head and shoulders out, waving frantically for them to hurry. Ashlyn helped Ali into the van before leaping in after her favorite defender. They had barely made the last shuttle van to practice.

**

Ali noticed Ashlyn’s expression too late when the blonde keeper’s eyes found Daniella getting dressed in the locker room among the rest of the team. The defender tried in vain to stop her girlfriend, but the blonde rushed the youngster before Ali had a chance to stop her. All conversation and activity stopped in the locker room when Ashlyn slammed Daniella up against the row of lockers hard enough for the young keeper’s body to leave an indentation in the door to her locker. The youngster’s eyes widened in shock and fear at the sight of an enraged Ashlyn Harris inches from her face, her forearm across the woman’s throat, pinning her to the locker.

“You mess with me that’s one thing, but you fuck with Alex and I. Will. End. You!” Ashlyn growled before Abby and Tobin pulled her off.

“I don’t know what you are talking about!” Daniella protested her innocence as she rubbed her neck, looking every bit the scared victim.

“We are taking a walk, Harris, NOW!” Abby ordered as she and Tobin continued to pull the blonde towards the door.

Before Daniella could turn around, Ali was in front of her, “Look, I don’t know what is going on between you and my girlfriend, but it takes more than being skilled at football to make this team. One of the most important things is team chemistry. You aren’t doing so well in that category.”

“What was she so pissed about?!” Daniella inquired, feeling the bruises that were starting to form on her body from the blonde’s rage-fueled assault.

“Did you, or did you not close the black out curtain in the room last night?” Ali stated, her voice barely concealing her contempt.

Daniella looked directly into Ali’s anger darkened eyes, “I did. I couldn’t sleep because the lights from the parking lot were shining in my face.”

Ali’s features softened. Had it all been a big misunderstanding? Did they leap to conclusions? Had the youngster really tried to get Ashlyn in trouble by making her late to practice, or were they wrong about everything?

“Why didn’t you wake us when you left the room then?” Ali asked, her voice less sure.

Daniella noticed the entire team staring at her and she shifted, uncomfortable under the weight of their judgement, “I left early so I could go to the mall when it opened so I could buy Ashlyn an iPhone to replace the one I dropped and broke. It was an accident! I was going to give it to her after practice. It’s right here.”

Daniella opened her locker and took out a box containing a brand new gold iPhone 6S. Ali glanced at the box and then up into the youngster’s eyes. She looked like a hurt puppy.

“Maybe you should give it to her. She probably hates me now.” Daniella suggested, her voice laced with sadness as she pushed the box into Ali’s hands.

Ali blew out a breath. It certainly seemed like they had jumped to conclusions. The defender read the box and could tell that Daniella had gone all out, getting Ashlyn the top of the line iPhone to replace the one she had accidentally broke.

“You risked being caught out of the room during curfew to go buy Ash a new cell phone? Oh god, I’m so sorry, Dani. We were so wrong about you. I hope you can forgive us.” Ali replied, totally embarrassed by her actions.

Daniella’s face lit up like a Christmas tree, “Of course! No worries. I can see how you might have thought that.”

Everyone in the locker room resumed getting ready now that the show was over, and Ali hugged Daniella, “Thank you, and thank you for getting Ash a new phone. That was very sweet of you. I’m going to go find my girlfriend and let her know what a lunkhead she is. See you out on the pitch.”

Daniella turned around, stuck her head into her locker and smirked...like taking candy from a baby.

**

Daniella looked up as Ashlyn reached the goal line where all the keepers were gathered with Graeme. The blonde walked over to the young keeper and glanced over her shoulder to where Ali stood watching her before she extended her fist towards Daniella, a pained expression on her face. The chew toy didn’t seem to notice as she eagerly bumped the offered fist and smiled. Ashlyn sighed, she couldn’t wait for this practice to end and it hadn’t even started yet.
The first part of practice for the keepers included catching balls that Graeme kicked at their midsections from five feet away. Daniella had some trouble keeping the ball tucked in her midsection. It would usually bounce off her stomach and head back towards the coach. Ashlyn could see the frustration in the chew toy’s face, and she fought the urge to smirk as she caught another ball off Graeme’s foot with ease. It wasn’t simply that the kid was kinda creepy...well, ok it was MOSTLY because the kid was creeping her out with her open leering...but the blonde also knew she had to beat somebody out to make the team. So if the kid was struggling, all the better as far as she was concerned. Ashlyn looked across the pitch and found Ali running drills of her own. The blonde smiled, she would never get tired of watching that woman move, she was definitely poetry in motion.

**

It seemed like practice had dragged on forever, especially since she had so little contact with Ali and so much with the chew toy. Ashlyn met Ali at the center circle. The brunette’s face looked a little sunken in, and her eyes were tired. Ashlyn could tell even her color was a bit off. Damn that Kyle, the woman she loved was suffering because of him, and she couldn’t even go look for him.

“You alright, Princess? You look tired.” Ashlyn gently inquired.

“Gee, thanks. Isn’t ‘you look tired’ code for ‘you look like shit’ ?” Ali replied, falling into step with her keeper.

“Not in my book. You never look like shit...even when you are hung over and puking all over my floor.” Ashlyn tried to smooth it over.

“Liar, I definitely look like shit then!” Ali giggled, even her voice betrayed how exhausted she was, “I have to shoot some pks at Dani, but I should be back to the hotel within the next hour. My key is in the front pocket of my bag. Why don’t you go wait for me in my room? I can’t wait to slip into the sheets and feel you next to me.”

Ashlyn grinned, “Me either. It’s been a long ass day.”

They walked together until they reached the top of the penalty box. Ashlyn smirked at the chew toy before she turned and winked at Ali.

“Kick her ass, Princess.” Ashlyn enthused before she jogged off towards the tunnel, wishing she could lean in and kiss her cheek.

Ashlyn sat on the bench in front of her locker and held the new cell phone in her hands. She had been charging it all day while they practiced. If only she had her contact list! She sighed heavily. Well, there were only two people besides Ali whose number she had memorized. If only she hadn’t promised Ali, she could do this herself! The blonde was willing to do anything to make Ali feel better...even make this awkward phone call...the one she had promised herself long ago she would never make. Taking a deep breath, she punched in the numbers and hit the green call button.

**

Daniella set herself in the middle of the posts. She put her game face on and looked up at Ali, willing the brunette to meet her stare. Ali placed the ball on the penalty spot and smirked at the young keeper. If she thought she stood a chance of stopping the ball off her foot, the kid was delusional. Ali’s first kick was her go to...lower left corner. Dani completely guessed wrong and dove the other way. She pounded the ground with her fist before she got up and repositioned herself midway between the posts.

“You won’t be so lucky this time.” Daniella called out, her voice pure cockiness.

Ali stared her down as she put the next ball on the penalty spot. Jill and Graeme wrote notes on the keeper as they watched intently. Again Ali sent the ball low left, and again Daniella dove right, thinking that Ali would change it up. The defender smirked at Daniella and quirked an eyebrow. This was actually pretty fun.

After a quick reset, Ali again blasted the ball into the lower left corner. This time, past a left diving Daniella. Her frustration growing, the youngster glared hard at Ali.

“That won’t happen again.” Daniella growled.

Ali shot Daniella a look that told the young keeper she was not impressed as she reset the ball on the penalty spot. This time Daniella dove left and Ali put it right in the spot she had vacated. Jill watched another eight penalty shots hit the back of the net before she walked off. Graeme continued to watch, and after a dozen attempts, Daniella finally managed to deflect one.

“That’s enough for today. Hit the showers you two.” Graeme called out, wanting the young keeper to end on a success.

Ali helped Daniella collect the balls before she hurried to the locker room. She had just finished putting her gear into her bag when the brunette keeper came in.

“Look, you didn’t do so bad out there. Keep your chin up.” Ali said, trying to be a good teammate.

“Yeah, right. I sucked ass, and in front of Coach too.” Daniella grumbled as the self-doubt creeped in.

Ali stood and put a hand on the youngster’s shoulder, “You can only control two things in life, your attitude, and your work ethic. Trust me, pks are hard for any keeper to stop, and Coach knows that.”

Daniella looked up into Ali’s bright honey colored eyes and nodded. She wished the defender wasn’t so nice. It made taking her girlfriend away from her even harder.

**

Ali yawned as she slipped under Ashlyn’s arm. She had set the alarm this time, and her body needed rest. She was sore, exhausted, and the stress from not knowing if she was ever going to see her brother again was starting to make her sick. The defender never slept well without being in Ashlyn’s arms anymore, and that scared her if she were being completely honest. She loved the warmth and safety of Ashlyn’s arms, and the comfort of hearing the blonde’s strong heartbeat as she nuzzled her chest.

“Do you…”Ali started.

“Yes. I think you will see him again, babe. I don’t know how or when, but I do think you will see him again.” Ashlyn replied with conviction.

“I keep hoping. I suppose that’s all I have left. I’m sorry I’m such a pain in the ass about him.” Ali stated, tears threatening to spill from the corners of her eyes.

“Shh. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that to sound so bitchy. I just mean that I really, really do think you will see your brother again. I may have to kill him for putting you through this...but you will see him again.” Ashlyn gently teased.

“I may let you kill him.” Ali responded, her voice tired.

Ashlyn kissed Ali’s forehead and gently massaged her back with strong fingers. She prayed that Kyle would show up soon. The blonde didn’t like the changes she saw in Ali. The brunette had even thrown up her dinner that evening. This was the worst stress she had ever seen Ali under, and it broke her heart that she was helpless to do anything about it. Fuck. If only she could bare the brunt of this torture for the woman she loved, she would gladly do so. They finally drifted off to sleep in each other’s arms.

**

Daniella opened her computer and logged into the dashboard of her spyware app. It had only taken her two minutes to upload on the phone she had bought for Ashlyn. The youngster smiled as she found it was working perfectly. She listened to the phone call Ashlyn had made earlier in the day, apparently to her Grandma. Then she brought up a few text messages the blonde and Ali had sent each other. Ugh. Those words should be meant for HER, not the old ass defender. Daniella checked the GPS tracker and saw that Ashlyn’s phone, and therefore Ashlyn was still in the hotel...most likely HER room. She rolled her eyes. One way to find out for sure. She activated Ashlyn’s iPhone and listened. Her lips curled ferally...so, Ali’s brother was missing. Hmm. That could be useful.

**

Ali grinned as she opened the door the next morning to find Ashlyn standing there.

“Good morning, Stud. Did you make it back to your room on time?” Ali asked as she turned and walked back to the bathroom to finish getting ready, Ashlyn following close behind.

“Yes I did, Princess. How could I not when you practically kicked me out of your bed last night?!” Ashlyn replied, remembering how close she came to falling on the floor when Ali refused to allow her to tap the ‘sleep’ button and had shoved her to the edge of the bed to get her going.

“I wouldn’t have had to do that if a certain somebody wasn’t acting like a toddler who refused to get up.” Ali teased as she applied a light coating of mascara to her eyelashes.

Ashlyn slipped her arms around Ali’s waist and rested her chin on the brunette’s shoulder, watching her finish up her make-up application. She wished more than anything that Ali’s eyes didn’t look so sunken and her face so sallow. Ali turned around in Ashlyn’s arms and kissed her tenderly as she pushed the blonde back towards the room. Ashlyn only tightening her grip on the brunette.

“I need to finish packing my bag for practice, babe.” Ali reminded the blonde whose thoughts were still on kissing.

Ashlyn sighed and relented, dropping her arms and allowing Ali to walk out. She watched as the brunette started putting her gear into her bag, and she wished that Ali could have more energy. She wasn’t sure how long the defender would be able to keep up with the physical demands of national team practice while not sleeping well. A knock on the door interrupted Ashlyn’s thoughts.

“I got it, babe. You finish packing.” Ashlyn offered while she padded over to the door.

Ashlyn opened the door to Ali’s room and her face broke out into a surprised smile at Grandma Harris and Chris standing there.

“Grams! Asshole! What are you guys doing here?!” Ashlyn asked as she moved aside to allow them to enter the room.

“Special delivery for the Peanut...one Waldo coming up.” Grams replied, reaching behind her to pull a certain brunette male forward by his ear.

“Ow! Alright, alright, you don’t have to squeeze the Charmin!” Kyle protested as he moved front and center.

Ali looked up from her practice bag she was packing and saw him. She let go of her bag and sprinted across the room, launching herself into her brother’s arms, nearly knocking him over from the force of her leap. Kyle grimaced but laughed as Ali hugged him fiercely.

“Are you ok?! Where the fuck have you been?! God you scared the shit out of me!” Ali admonished as she held on for dear life, tears wetting her cheeks.

“Geez, can’t a guy get laid without you siccing the Grandmanator on him?” Kyle teased.

Ali finally slid out of the embrace and glared at her brother, “Getting laid?! THAT’S where you were?! I have been worried sick! I nearly called MOM, Kyle. I was about to call the police and file a missing person’s report on you.”

Kyle giggled at his sister. Ali’s eyes narrowed and she smacked him hard.

“Ow! Damn girl.” Kyle yelped, grimacing and rubbing his shoulder, “You may have just bruised the sexy!”

“This isn’t funny! Why didn’t you return my calls? Send me a damned text or something?” Ali pressed, her fear turning to anger.

Kyle looked sheepishly at Ashlyn for confirmation, “I was in Mexico and my cell phone got stolen. I sent Ashy a text from my friend’s phone. I wasn’t in the mood for an ass chewing from anybody but Sergio. Didn’t she tell you?”

Ali’s face softened a bit, “Yes, but you didn’t send the text until a few nights ago.”

“I’m sorry, Alex, but when you see Sergio you will understand!” Kyle gushed, a huge megawatt smile on his face.

Ali whacked Kyle on his chest causing him to suck in a quick breath, “Swear to me you won’t ever do that to me again! It’s not funny. I seriously thought you were on your death bed in some hospital.”

“Yeah, and she yelled at me.” Ashlyn added as she reached over and drew Kyle into a hug, feeling him tense slightly at the pressure.

Ashlyn’s head tilted to the side and she looked at him questioningly.

“Sorry Ashy. Didn’t mean to get my favorite lez-in-law in troubles.” Kyle apologized, his eyes begging the blonde to stay silent.

Ali couldn’t believe Kyle was here! She looked at Grandma Harris and felt her emotions overwhelm her. When the elderly woman opened up her arms, Ali gladly melted into the embrace.

“How did you find him?” Ali wondered aloud.

“Well Peanut, we flew into town yesterday and before we left I had Chris here make a hair appointment for first thing this morning. When we showed up, we kidnapped...I mean ‘convinced’ him to come with us. I’m so sorry he had you so worked up over nothing.” Grandma explained, enjoying the warm love-filled hug from Ali.

“But how did you...I mean...those tickets aren’t cheap.” Ali tried to understand.

“Oh hush. I’m an old woman, don’t you think I have more than a couple dollars squirreled away under my mattress? The best thing I can spend them on is making my grandkids happy, Peanut.” Grandma explained.

“Thank you, Grams. I don’t have words to express what this means to me.” Ali mumbled around the huge lump in her throat.

“Hey, and what am I, chopped liver over here? I came too, and I made the appointment!” Chris teasingly groused.

Ali smiled at the huge man who so closely resembled her love. The brunette allowed him to wrap her up in a hug and squeaked when he lifted her off her feet.

“Play nice, Rough. Don’t hurt Peanut before her practice.” Grandma reminded her oversized grandson.

“I hope you are staying until Sunday. I really would love to spend our day off with you guys.” Ali stated as Chris set her back on her feet.

Ashlyn took the opportunity to examine Kyle closely, and her eyes narrowed in concentration. She gasped as she barely made out the faded yellow finger shaped bruises on the man’s neck. Kyle started walking towards the bathroom. As the blonde reached out to stop him, Kyle flinched. He quickly looked over at his sister who was still talking with Grandma Harris and Chris, before leveling Ashlyn with pleading eyes.

“Don’t say anything to her, Ash. I can’t put her in the middle of my shit storm. It was my fault, I paid the price, and it’s all over now. I’m safe. Really.” Kyle begged, wanting nothing more than to get away from his sister and go home.

“Don’t lie to her, Kyle, and don’t you dare ask me to lie to her either. I can’t believe you’d still defend that man after everything he has done to you.” Ashlyn angrily spat out, assuming it was Ken.

“It wasn’t my dad, Ashlyn. I got jumped coming out of the Abby. I knew better than to walk to my car alone.” Kyle lied to the blonde.

He had opened his front door, he remembered that. Something hit him…and then...yelling? The image of a face, purple with rage...eyes wild and murderous...hovered above him as his vision dimmed from being choked unconscious played over and over in Kyle’s mind. He still didn’t know what had caused...his father?...to stop choking him, but he thought maybe Luna had come through the doggie door to his rescue. She had been licking his face when he regained consciousness...the man...his father?...gone. When he sat up, he noticed the ‘Christmas card’ he sent the raging lunatic had been pinned into his chest with a safety pin...so who could it be other than his father? Kyle shuddered at the memories. He had to find a way to stop seeing them or else Ali would certainly notice something was off. He wouldn’t take her focus off the upcoming World Cup. That wouldn’t be fair to his sister. If only Grandma Harris hadn’t found him for another day or two, the bruises would have been gone and he could have reached out to Ali and taken his lumps for ‘disappearing’. Ashlyn’s voice interrupted his thoughts and he looked up at her.

“Oh god, Kyle, I’m an asshole. I shouldn’t have assumed it was Ken.” Ashlyn apologized, embarrassed that she had rushed to judgement because of her feelings for the man who had caused her girlfriend so much pain.

Ashlyn glanced over at Ali, and as if she felt the blonde’s gaze, Ali looked up in that moment...their eyes finding each other. Ashlyn’s lips curled into a wide dimple-bearing grin as she noticed the life sparkling in the brunette’s eyes once again, and the megawatt smile plastered on her beautiful face. Today was going to be a great day.

Chapter Text

Ashlyn picked herself up off the ground after what felt like her millionth flying ninja save and spared a smile and quick thumbs up for Ali to let her girlfriend know she was alright. In reality, this scrimmage was getting worse and worse for the back-up keepers. If only the brunette was HER right back instead of Sonnet, and Kling was HER left back instead of Hinkle, she wouldn’t have to make all these saves in the first place. But the baby back line kept getting nutmegged, faked out of their boots, and just plain beaten, which left Ashlyn to be the brick wall and prevent the best strikers in the world from finding the back of the net. She barked orders and directed traffic, but the babies still couldn’t figure it out.

Ali watched helplessly as a pass was played into Tobin’s feet and she faked out Sonnet so well the young redheaded defender fell trying to change directions. Tobin easily sidestepped Sonnet and sent a cross in to a crashing Abby leaving the keeper one option...to charge the play. The blonde goalkeeper leaped to punch to the ball away at the same time Abby tried to head a shot resulting in a fierce mid-air collision. Abby’s knee connecting with Ashlyn’s ribcage with a sickening thud. Pain exploded in her side and tears blurred her sight as she made contact with the ball, altering its course and sending it wide of the goal. When the whistle ended play, Ali ran over to Ashlyn as Abby tried to help the blonde to her feet.

Ashlyn looked over to the sideline as she regained her feet. Jill was smiling and writing something down on her clipboard. The blonde smiled through the pain and straightened up, ignoring the burning pain in her side that squeezed the breath from her. She felt a hesitant hand on her shoulder and turned to find Ali studying her.

“You’re hurt, aren’t you?” Ali stated matter-of-factly, noticing the way the blonde’s jaws clenched slightly when she took in a breath.

“I’m fine, Alex. Don’t do this here. Not in front of coach.” Ashlyn snapped as Graeme called out for her to switch with the chew toy for the second half.

“After practice, we are going to talk.” Ali replied before turning and jogging back to her defensive line to reset for the next half, feeling the sting from Ashlyn’s dismissal.

If Ashlyn had been able to take in a deeper breath, she would have sighed...Ali was pissed. It was never a good day when she managed to anger the brunette.

 

**

Ashlyn stripped down to her sports bra and compression shorts before she sank down into the ice bath. God she hated the cold, but the blonde knew the best way to keep her ribs from bruising as badly was to suck it up and sit in that damned frigid water. It was almost as cold as Ali had been when she had offered the defender her water bottle during a hydration break. Ashlyn leaned back against the edge and closed her eyes, her head lolling slightly forward. She hadn’t meant to snap at her girlfriend...she just couldn’t afford to show Jill any weakness, nor that creepy baby keeper.

Ashlyn felt hands on her shoulders that started tenderly kneading her tired neck muscles, and a moan escaped her lips. She relaxed into the touch and enjoyed the sensation of the strong hands working the knots out of her muscles, her eyes closed.

“God Alex, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to…” Ashlyn started, but felt fingertips brush across her lips to silence her, and she kissed them.

The blonde felt her bun being shaken out. She moaned again as she felt the nimble fingers working on her neck once more. Ashlyn heard the door to the treatment room open. Before she could open her eyes, the keeper felt her head being pushed under the water. The shock of the cold water surrounding her face nearly made Ashlyn suck in breath. Suddenly the force on the back of her head was gone and she surfaced, trying to get air past the wet hair that clung to her face. The blonde swiped her long wet locks out of the way and panted, ignoring the pain in her bruised side.

Ashlyn quickly got out of the ice bath on shaky legs and looked around, her heart pounding in her chest. She looked up and saw Ali walking towards her. If Ali was just getting to the room, who…? Ashlyn’s eyes narrowed and she stalked towards the entrance to the locker room.

“Where are you going?! Are you seriously walking away from me right now, Ashlyn Michelle Harris?!” Ali called out, the irritation clear in her tone.

Ashlyn stopped and turned towards her upset girlfriend, “Did you see somebody in the room with me when you walked in?”

“No. Just you standing beside the ice bath. Why?” Ali replied a bit tersely.

Ashlyn turned back around and entered the locker room, looking all around. It appeared empty. Ali walked behind her, her irritation growing with each step. The blonde looked under the bathroom stall doors for feet, and poked her head into the open bay that housed fourteen shower heads...empty. Finally Ali reached out and grabbed Ashlyn’s arm, stopping her.

“What the hell, Ash?! If you don’t want to talk to me, just say so.” Ali spat out before turning on her heels to walk out.

Ashlyn hurried to catch Ali, and turned the brunette around to face her.

“I’m sorry, Alex. I...I could’ve sworn...I mean...I was in the ice bath with my eyes closed and felt you start massaging my neck. Then...then the door opened and I was shoved under the water. But when I surfaced you were walking in, and nobody was in the treatment room. I...I don’t know what happened, or who it was.” Ashlyn tried to explain.

Ali’s face softened. She had never seen Ashlyn this freaked out before.

“Are you sure it was real and not just a dream? That you slipped under the water in your sleep, and that woke you up?” Ali gently inquired.

“No. I’m not sure of anything right now.” Ashlyn responded ruefully, shivering as much from her nerves as from the cold settling into her body from being wet.

“Come on, let’s get you into a nice hot shower before you catch a cold.” Ali tenderly suggested.

Ashlyn reached out and cupped Ali’s face, “Before I get into the shower, I want you to know how sorry I am for biting your head off earlier. I...I was just so worried that coach was gonna see.”

Ali nodded. She knew Jill had put an awful lot of stress on Ashlyn this camp. The brunette understood how much stress could affect the way you think and feel.

“I’m sorry too. It’s hard to see the one you love hurt, and not be able to help them.” Ali replied.

Ashlyn saw the image of Ali laying on the pitch in Germany with blood gushing from her head, “Isn’t that the truth!”

“Come on, Stud. I want to get you naked and into some steamy water.” Ali winked.

“Sounds like heaven. I’ll be right behind you.” Ashlyn quickly agreed, following Ali back towards the showers, only pausing at her locker long enough to grab her shower supplies.

Ali gently helped Ashlyn remove her sports bra, and she winced when she noticed the softball sized bruise starting to form over her girlfriend’s ribcage. If only it had been on the other side, her tattoo would have helped conceal it. Ali slowly leaned in and tenderly kissed the injured flesh, noticing the way Ashlyn’s breath hitched at the contact and her nipples tightened from the feeling of the brunette’s soft lips on her skin. It had been nearly three weeks since they had been intimate, and Ali knew it felt like an eternity for both of them. She had appreciated the way Ashlyn had been so patient and understanding when it came to her lack of libido while Kyle had been missing. The blonde never tried to pressure her for anything more than simply holding her...making the brunette feel safe and loved. The defender felt her desire stir as she realized all the different ways her keeper showed her love.

Ali kissed her way across Ashlyn’s chest, up her neck, and finally caressed her lips against the blonde’s. Ashlyn felt her nipples harden to aching points as Ali melted into her. The brunette swallowed Ashlyn’s surprised yelp as she reached back and turned the water on, the cold spray hitting them both. The blonde was lost in sensation as the cold spray contrasted with Ali’s hot mouth and tongue that slid along her own. Ashlyn moaned as Ali’s hands ghosted over her chest and teased her already aching nipples as the water turned pleasantly warm. Suddenly, the blonde’s eyes opened and she pulled back.

“What are you doing, Alex?! Anybody could walk in here.” Ashlyn panted out, her desire already weakening her protest.

Ali gazed deeply into Ashlyn’s lust darkened hazel eyes, “Let me take care of you, Ash. Let me show you how much you mean to me, baby.”

Ashlyn’s reserve melted away as she saw the love...the want...the need...housed in Ali’s eyes, “Show me.”

Ali slowly peeled her clothes off, not allowing Ashlyn to help. The blonde raked in Ali’s gorgeous body. She was absolutely perfect...from her long chocolate colored hair and her megawatt smile to her painted toe nails...from the crinkles in the corners of her eyes and mouth to the scar on her right knee that silently told the story of the defender’s courage and tenacity. Ashlyn would never get enough of this woman because simply put, Alexandra Blaire Krieger was perfectly imperfect...and perfectly hers.

Finally divested of all her wet clothes, Ali slid her naked flesh against Ashlyn’s and the blonde moaned, her hands finding the brunette’s hips and pulling her girlfriend firmly to her. The brunette leaned up and kissed Ashlyn hungrily, her tongue demanding entry to the blonde’s mouth. Ashlyn loved when her Princess got aggressive, and reveled in the feel of Ali’s tongue in her mouth. As the kiss deepened and became more passionate, Ali’s hands wandered over the blonde’s breasts, pinching and teasing her already erect nipples. The brunette trailed kisses down Ashlyn’s neck and nipped at the sensitive spot at the nape of her neck and sucking gently. Ashlyn’s heart was beating hard and fast as she gave herself over to the sensations Ali was creating. The blonde’s head fell back into the warm spray and water cascaded over her face, shoulders, and down her body as her girlfriend followed the torrent with her tongue until she was flicking it across Ashlyn’s rock hard nipples. Settling on the right one, Ali sucked it into her mouth and gently trapped it between her teeth, carefully nibbling on the tip. Ashlyn’s body arched into the contact, the brunette’s delicious torture causing her core to ache...to scream...for Ali’s touch. Ashlyn groaned as her hips began to grind into Ali, searching for some sort of relief. Finally Ali trailed her tongue and hands down the blonde’s torso, gliding over her taut abs, as she sank to her knees. The defender ran her hands up the back side of Ashlyn’s legs, causing the blonde’s flesh to break out in goosebumps. The brunette slowly slid her girlfriend’s compression shorts and boxers down off her hips, and her fingertips grazed the blonde’s thighs as she continued to slide them lower. Even through the torrent of shower water, Ashlyn could feel her desire dripping down the inside of her thighs as Ali nipped at her hip.

“God Alex, you feel so damned good, baby.” Ashlyn moaned out when she felt her girlfriend’s talented tongue slide easily through her soaked folds to tease her entrance.

“Mmmm, God you taste good, baby.” Ali mumbled against Ashlyn’s wet center as the taste of her girlfriend’s passion hit her tongue.

Ashlyn strained to stay standing, her leg muscles shaking with the effort as Ali feasted, driving the blonde closer to the edge with each stroke of her hot, hard tongue. Ashlyn groaned and felt herself slipping, Ali catching her just in the nick of time...to both of their surprise. The brunette helped Ashlyn to the floor, and she spread her legs to make room. Ashlyn nearly came undone at the predatory gleam that flashed in Ali’s eyes as she unconsciously licked her lips at the sight of the blonde’s glistening jewel waiting for her. She doesn’t think anyone has ever looked at her with such want, and a moan escapes Ashlyn’s lips. Ali finds her spot and resumes teasing Ashlyn’s entrance with her tongue before she lavishes attention on her swollen jewel.

“Alex...babe...I’m so close...I need...ugh...please...need you” Ashlyn managed to get out as her breath became ragged.

Ali slipped first one and then two fingers inside her girlfriend, and Ashlyn’s hips picked up her steady rhythm, matching her strokes. The blonde reached down gripped Ali’s left hand, watching the brunette.

“Harder babe...god yes! I’m so...so fucking...close!” Ashlyn panted...trying hard not to close her eyes as the sensations wash over her body in crashing waves.

“Cum for me, Ashlyn. Cum all over my face.” Ali husks against her overly sensitive bud.

When Ali squeezes and rolls her clit back and forth between her upper lip and tongue while curling her fingers and hitting just the right spot, Ashlyn’s muscles tighten and she feels herself lose control of her body...her toes curl...her legs quake...her jaw clenches...and her body arches off the floor. Ali feels Ashlyn’s satin walls tighten around her fingers and then she comes completely undone...covering Ali’s face in a flood of passion as she rides out the biggest orgasm of her life.

“Oh god I love you, Ashlyn.” Ali confessed, gently withdrawing.

“You are my world, Alexandra Blaire Krieger, and I fucking love you more than you could ever know.” Ashlyn responded, her body still quaking.

Ali crawled up and melted into her girlfriend’s embrace. Satiated for now, they lay in each other’s arms while Ashlyn recovered. The blonde’s eyes widened and Ali squealed when the water suddenly turned cold. Ali reached up and quickly shut it off, both of them laughing.

“Guess we better get out of here before the cleaning staff comes in.” Ali suggested as she got to her feet.

“Uh...Alex? I...uh...I can’t move.” Ashlyn admitted, somewhat chagrined, trying in vain to get her still shaking limbs to cooperate.

“Here, let me help.” Ali cooed as she started massaging Ashlyn’s legs, getting the circulation back to the muscles.

“I sure hope this works because I do NOT want to explain this one to coach!” Ashlyn teased as Ali worked on her thighs.

“Me either!” Ali giggled.

**

After a long practice avoiding the chew toy and Ali giving her a mind blowing, coordination-stealing orgasm...Ashlyn was ready for movie night. She had left Ali to get ready once they had gotten back to the hotel, and was hoping they would be on the same page. If not, it wasn’t the worst thing her teammates had ever seen her wear. Ashlyn grinned and knocked on the door.

“Dude, you look absolutely...ridiculous! But now I get Ali’s wardrobe choice.” Tobin exclaimed as she opened the door for Ashlyn before turning and calling out to her roommate, “Ali, your date is here!”

Ashlyn, sporting her monkey covered footie pajamas, padded into the room and spared her buddy a wink. Ali finished applying her make-up and walked out of the bathroom wearing her banana covered footie pajamas, greeting her girlfriend with a tender kiss.

“Aww, don’t you two look sweet?” Alex commented from Tobin’s bed, making room for the lanky brunette.

“Yeah, they are sweet...sweet mental cases.” Pinoe added, as Ashlyn extended her middle finger towards the mid-fielder, not breaking the kiss.

“I thought you were trying to avoid attracting the baby keeper Ash, that outfit won’t help.” Hope commented, her voice so serious that everyone in the room busted up laughing.

“I think she looks rather charming.” Ali defended her favorite blonde, tucking a loose strand of blonde silk behind her girlfriend’s ear.

“That’s because you’re bananas.” Kelley replied, causing another round of laughter, Ali joining in much to Ashlyn’s consternation.

“Wait, wait, wait...how is ‘that’s because you’re bananas’ is funny and ‘you aren’t such a tough nut to crack’ isn’t?!” Ashlyn playfully groused, putting air quotes around the two phrases.

Ali patted Ashlyn’s chest, “My poor little monkey is confused. It’s a good thing you’re hot, Stud.”

Ashlyn slipped past Ali and laid down on Tobin’s bed next to Hope and Kelley, wiggling in for a little more space since the queen bed now housed six women. She looked up at Ali, crossed her arms and stuck out her tongue.

“So you are staying there, and pouting then?” Ali asked, one eyebrow raised.

“Mmhm. Looks that way, Banana Princess.” Ashlyn playfully replied, the laughter in the room nearly drowning out a quiet knock on the door.

“Ok, suit yourself.” Ali commented as she went to answer the door.

Ali was a bit surprised when she opened the door to find the smallest woman on the team standing there. She smiled at the nervous expression on Meghan’s face.

“Uh...is this the...uh…” Meghan started then dropped her voice to a whisper, “special movie room?”

Pinoe grinned wickedly, “Come on in, Kling! This is the lezfest! We have lots to choose from. I got A Perfect Ending, Desert Hearts, D.E.B.S., Saving Face, It’s in the Water, and a special one for Ali...But I’m a Cheerleader!”

“That was so last year, Pin Head.” Ali sassed as she flipped off Pinoe before turning back to Meghan, “Come on in.”

“Oh yeah...everybody wants a piece of Pinoe...that’s why they keep trying to seduce me by showing me their sexy lady-time fingers.” Pinoe cheesed as she sat at the end of Tobin’s bed and ‘chair danced.’

Pillows whacked the platinum blonde from all sides, and she laughed. Nothing in the world compared to being around these women...her teammates...her sisters.

“Is it cool if I...uh...brought a date?” Meghan asked, reaching out to the side to pull on somebody’s hand.

Pinoe rolled her eyes, “Am I like the only one without a date to the prom? Where’s Abby?!”

“Sure, just know that Pin Head will probably be watching the action in the room as much as she does on the screen.” Ali teased, moving aside so Meghan could enter, pulling a shy Morgan Brian behind her.

“What the?! I thought you had a boyfriend, Moe.” Pinoe blurted out.

“HAD being the operative word, Pin Head.” Meghan responded as crimson invaded Morgan’s cheeks.

“Yeah, well how do we know you two are really team lesbos? I mean, maybe you are spying for Coach. I don’t know if we should let you stay.” Pinoe teased.

Meghan pulled a surprised Morgan into her. The diminutive defender crashed their lips together in a searing kiss that earned applause and cat calls from the others in the room when she caused Morgan to moan from the deep sensual kiss.

“Well alrighty then. Welcome to team lesbos. You can most definitely stay.” Pinoe playfully leered, wagging her eyebrows at the couple.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Ali deadpanned to the couple as she shut the door behind them.

Ali dug into her suitcase and pulled out a small jar of Nutella and a spoon before she laid down on her own bed. Ashlyn’s bottom lip stuck out in a huge pout as she intently watched Ali unscrew the lid, dip the spoon in and slowly swirl it around. Her mouth watered as she watched Ali’s tongue dip into the chocolate hazelnut goodness and disappear behind her lips.

“You haz Nutella?” Ashlyn stated in a small child-like voice, shooting Ali big puppy dog eyes.

“Yup.” Ali smirked, licking the spoon again and adding a little moan to rub it in, “Mmm...so good. You know, it’s really too bad that you want to lay over there and pout, I had planned on feeding this to you...but you know.”

The women in the room laughed at Ali’s playful torture of her girlfriend.

“You are eeeeeeevil woman! Eeeeeeevil.” Ashlyn jokingly replied.

“If I was evil I wouldn’t give you a second chance and tell you that you have ten seconds to get your ass over here before I change my mind.” Ali stated matter-of-factly.

Ashlyn jumped up and dove over Meghan and Morgan to land on her left side in the middle of the bed next to Ali, “Hi babe!”

Ali giggled and dipped the spoon into the jar again, scooping out a decent sized bite for the blonde.

“So which one are we going to watch?” Morgan asked.

“Has anyone not already seen them all?” Hope inquired.

“I haven’t seen...um...any of them.” Morgan hesitantly answered.

“Dear lord, we have a virgin!” Pinoe shouted.

“Alright Moe, you choose.” Alex encouraged the shy youngster.

“Ummm...Saving Water?” Morgan stated, and the room burst into laughter again, nobody noticing the crimson creeping up Ashlyn’s neck except Ali who winked at her.

Pinoe grabbed the two movies and put them behind her back, “Left or right hand?”

“Left is best, baby!” Morgan enthused, earning her a kiss on the cheek from her left back.

Pinoe held up her left hand, and announced the winner, “It’s in the Water for the win!”

All the couples snuggled up as Pinoe cued the dvd player she had brought with her. She turned around and looked at both beds full with two couples each. She chose the bottom of Tobin’s bed and spun around on all fours like a dog before curling up on the foot of the bed.

Ashlyn smiled as Ali fed her another spoon full of her favorite sweet treat. She had her woman in her arms, her friends all around, a hilarious movie playing, and the chew toy was nowhere in sight...life was fan-freaking-tastic.

Chapter Text

Daniella heard the shower start up and she jumped off her bed. She had been around the gorgeous blonde long enough to know that most of her showers lasted fifteen to twenty minutes, so she had plenty of time. The youngster opened up the top drawer on the dresser that Ashlyn was using and started looking through her collection of boxers. Finding a pair she really liked, Daniella took them out and slipped them on. It felt like she had the blonde between her legs and the youngster felt herself getting aroused. She laid down on Ashlyn’s bed and slipped her hand down the front of the shark covered boxers. She was quickly working herself up to an orgasm thinking about the blonde fucking her when she heard Ashlyn’s voice singing out from the shower.

“I like Aliiiii’s butt and I can not lie…you other ladies can’t deny...that when she walks past...with her itty bitty titties and round muscular ass...your tongue...gets...SPRUNG. Because that’s the way uh huh uh huh...I like it...uh huh uh huh…Ali’s ass all in my face!” Ashlyn mashed songs with her own made up lyrics, still in a great mood from the day before.

Daniella groaned, she was saying the wrong name...again! Fuck. It was like yesterday in the showers when she had been on the other side of the wall. Just as she was about to cum, the bitch’s name came out of HER Ashlyn’s mouth. Daniella removed her hand from the soaked boxers and hit the pillow next to her head in frustration...she wouldn’t be getting off this morning either. The youngster stood up and slipped Ashlyn’s shark covered ethika boxers off. She hid them in a zippered pouch inside her soccer bag. They were hers now...and soon Ashlyn would be as well.

**

Ali sat on the counter in her sports bra and shorts while Ashlyn finished washing and drying her feet. She held a roll of athletic tape for Ashlyn as the keeper misted her ankles with Mueller M Tac spray. The brunette’s toes and feet jerked slightly from the cold spray hitting the sensitive flesh on the bottom of her feet. She enjoyed the quiet time they spent together in the small supply office just prior to practice. It had quickly become a habit for them to arrive early so Ashlyn could wrap Ali’s ankles.

“I have to take pks after practice today, Princess.” Ashlyn reminded Ali as she expertly wrapped the soft spongy pre-wrap around the brunette’s left ankle and foot, taking care to make certain it didn’t bunch up, before repeating the process on her right side.

“Ok. Well, Kyle’s picking me up after practice to go shopping anyway, so that works out great. I’ll just meet you at your room later on then, because it’s Tobes and Baby Horse’s turn to have the room this evening.” Ali replied, exchanging the roll of pre-wrap for the roll of athletic tape.

“And just what kind of shopping are you doing today?” Ashlyn teased, knowing full well their first anniversary was coming up in a few days.

“Nice try, Harris, but I think you know EXACTLY what kind of shopping I’m doing, and if not then I’m sure it will be the LAST shopping of this kind that I do.” Ali sassed while watching Ashlyn wrap the athletic tape strips around her feet and ankles.

“Well, I may have gotten you a little something.” Ashlyn conceded with a wink as she finished up with the left foot.

Ali loved that Ashlyn always kissed her toes ‘for luck’ before helping her into her socks. The love and concern that the blonde showed her in little everyday ways never ceased to amaze the defender. Of all the people she had ever been with, nobody had ever treated her as good as Ashlyn Michelle Harris. Watching her girlfriend slip her cleats on her feet and tie them for her, Ali realized it was both comforting and terrifying. She had found her person...the other half of her soul.

“All done, Cinderella.” Ashlyn teased.

“My Stud Charming.” Ali sighed dramatically, loving the dimpled smirk she received in reply.

Once Ashlyn had Ali all ready to go, she slipped in between Ali’s legs and tipped the brunette’s chin upwards, “Have a good practice, babe.”

Ashlyn sweetly kissed Ali’s lips as the door opened, “Get a room!”

Ashlyn kissed the tip of Ali’s nose before she took a step back and grinned, “In case you missed it, this IS a room, Whit.”

“Well, I will leave you two to argue over the merits of this being a room or not. I need to finish dressing and go stretch,” Ali commented as she hopped off the counter, “Thanks for the superb wrap job, Stud.”

“Anytime, Princess.” Ashlyn replied.

Ashlyn waited until Ali had plenty of time to make it back into the locker room before she turned to her best friend who was busy taping her own ankle.

“So?” Ashlyn prompted.

“I found a place and put in the order, but maybe you should sit down before you look at the bill.” Whitney replied.

“I don’t care what it costs, Whit, she is priceless.” Ashlyn replied, her face softening just thinking about Ali.

“Ok, well, don’t say I didn’t warn ya. Oh, and everybody is in, well...except…”Whitney started.

“I know who. I don’t even want to hear her name.” Ashlyn brusquely interrupted, “Did you find a babysitter?”

“Yeah, Cap said she would keep her out of your hair.” Whitney replied, “Everything else is good to go.”

“I just don’t want that creepy little fucker to mess up our anniversary. I mean, Jesus Whit, everybody knows that Alex is end game for me. As long as Alexandra Blaire Krieger is in my life, nobody else even exists. I just wish that creeper keeper could understand and respect that.” Ashlyn grumbled as she taped her hands.

“Gee thanks.” Whitney shoved Ashlyn’s shoulder playfully.

“You know what I mean.” Ashlyn replied, throwing her arm over her best friend’s shoulder.

“Yeah, I do. It means you are one super whipped Stud.” Whitney teased as they left the supply office, neither one of them noticing the young keeper ducking into the corner, her eyes narrowing.

**

“Watch right...watch right!” Ashlyn yelled to Sonnet, the youngster once again getting faked out and exposing the goal.

Ashlyn slid into position to cut off a kick on goal. Just as the ball came bending towards the upper right corner, the athletic blonde keeper jumped up and punched it over the crossbar, conceding a corner kick. Pinoe jogged over to set the ball for the corner, and the two sides started lining up in the box.

“Somebody mark Krieger...get Kriegs...good Whit.” Ashlyn directed just before the ball came flying across.

Several players went up after the ball and it ping-ponged off heads and shoulders before being cleared by Whitney. Ashlyn blew out a breath as her team quickly mounted a counter attack. Of course the chew toy’s back line had gotten back into position without giving up a break away, and even though they were on opposite sides this scrimmage, the blonde keeper was proud of how well Ali played. Ashlyn crept up to the top of the box, watching the developing play when she saw what was about to happen, and broke into a sprint. She was going to kill the chew toy.

Sonnet delivered a cross to Press who was being marked by Ali. They both jumped up for the ball. Ali never saw it coming, and crumpled to the ground as Daniella’s elbow connected with the back of her head as the young keeper plowed over her to make a play on the ball. Ali lay motionless on the pitch while Ashlyn sprinted towards her, and the blonde felt like a hand was squeezing her heart preventing it from beating.

It all seemed to be happening in slow motion to Ashlyn. The sound of the whistle, Abby and Tobin on their knees next to Ali checking her out, Daniella bending over Ali with a...smirk? ...on her face, Abby signaling for the trainer, and Daniella’s expression changing to surprise just before the blonde’s body connected with the young keeper, both of them crashing to the ground.

The force of Ashlyn’s flying tackle sent both women tumbling over one another, ending with Ashlyn on top. Daniella couldn’t believe how enraged the blonde was, and she could barely make out what Ashlyn was screaming.

“Don’t you ever pull a dirty stunt like that again, you fucking creepy ass…” Ashlyn yelled as she raised her fist, not hearing the whistle blowing over and over again.

Before she could pound Daniella, Ashlyn was tackled to the ground by Abby and Tobin. She struggled against her two teammates, blind with rage. Daniella scrambled to her feet and away from Ashlyn, fear in her eyes.

“Ashlyn Michelle Harris!” Ali’s voice was the only thing penetrating her enraged brain causing the blonde to freeze.

Ashlyn blinked, her breath still ragged. She finally grasped the situation and hung her head, “Oh fuck.”

“Harris, Hearst, Krieger...my office NOW!” Jill’s voice boomed over the pitch.

Abby and Tobin pulled Ashlyn to her feet, and she in turn held out her hand to Ali who glared at her as she allowed the blonde to help her up.

“We WILL talk later.” Ali tersely remarked before turning towards the tunnel.

“Oh you really fucked it up this time, Harris.” Ashlyn muttered to herself as she followed behind Ali, feeling like she was marching off to her own execution.

**

The three players sat in chairs, Jill standing above them, her arms crossed in annoyance.

“I have NEVER in my coaching career seen such a complete lack of discipline, control, and professionalism as I just witnessed out there. Let me tell you something, ladies. Ali I need, but you two, I have Hope Solo so explain to me how I even need either of you?!” Jill started.

Daniella opened her mouth to speak before Jill held up her hand and shot her a withering glare.

“That was rhetorical, Hearst. I don’t know how much money your family paid the president of FIFA to get you this tryout, but you can’t buy your way onto this team...you have to EARN it,” Jill cut Daniella off before turning towards Ashlyn, “And you. I expected so much more from you. This is NOT leadership. I have half a mind to put you both on busses home tonight.”

“I’m sorry Coach. It was my fault.” Daniella interrupted Jill, surprising everyone in the room, “I was trying too hard to impress you, and I ended up hurting my own defender.”

Ashlyn’s jaw clenched. The little creep was bald faced lying.

“Care to explain why you attacked Daniella, Harris?” Jill turned her attention back to Ashlyn.

Ashlyn squirmed in her chair a bit. She looked over at Ali who closed her eyes. Just as Ashlyn was about to lie, she saw Ali’s head nod slightly.

“Ali is my girlfriend, Coach. I saw her go down from a careless play, and I lost it. I knew she had suffered a concussion a few months ago...and well...with the World Cup a few months away, it scared me. I’m sorry, and it won’t happen again.” Ashlyn confessed, Ali reaching out to squeeze her hand.

Jill’s eyebrows shot up. This was certainly not what she expected. In fact, wasn’t Krieger straight?

“I see. Well, this certainly needs to be addressed as it appears to be...difficult...for you to handle. You two stay put. Hearst, you are dismissed, but know this, ONE more incident, and you are out of here. Am I clear?!”

“Yes ma’am. I’m so sorry.” Daniella replied before standing up and slipping out the door.

Jill sat on the edge of her desk and looked at the two. She took a deep breath and shook her head.

“What am I going to do with you two? Seriously. THAT can never happen again.” Jill stated, jerking her thumb towards the pitch.

“I know Ashlyn overreacted, and I’m not trying to excuse her behavior, but I know Ash. I know she is dedicated, intelligent, competitive, and a beast between the posts. I have absolute faith in three things, Coach...that Ashlyn Harris loves this team...that she is one of the best goalkeepers in the world...and that this type of incident won’t ever happen again because she loves me.” Ali listed, counting off her fingers.

Ashlyn felt her eyes misting over. Nobody had ever stood up for her like that, especially not someone like Ali Krieger.

Jill studied Ashlyn for a few tense moments. She sighed. As much as the blonde drove her crazy, she still understood her. Ashlyn was a passionate person. Her passions drove her.

“Ashlyn, I am giving you one. last. chance. Don’t make me regret it.” Jill remarked flatly.

“I won’t coach, I swear! Thank you so much.” Ashlyn blurted out.

“Fine. Get out of here before I change my mind.” Jill dismissed them with a flick of her wrist.

Ashlyn and Ali quickly fled the room. Once they were alone in the hallway Ashlyn drew Ali to her, and leaned in for a kiss when Ali’s hand pushed against her chest, stopping her. The blonde released Ali immediately and she looked at the floor trying to hide her pain from the pissed off defender.

“You want to talk about your little double standards, Ashlyn? I mean, yesterday you ripped my head off, in front of the entire team I might add, for merely checking on you. Today you are dive tackling Dani and ready to pound her face in because she knocked me over getting to a ball. Am I missing something here?” Ali stated, the ice in her voice quite apparent.

“That I’m an idiot who doesn’t deserve you.” Ashlyn earnestly replied.

“Ugh. I didn’t say that, and I damn sure don’t think it. You drive me crazy sometimes, Ash. Look, I love that you want to protect me. I do. It makes me feel...special...cared for...and...loved. But dear God woman, you can’t go around punching people out on the pitch because we knock heads going up for a ball, or something!” Ali explained her frustration.

“It was intentional, Al.” Ashlyn replied.

“What? What are you saying?” Ali inquired, searching Ashlyn’s eyes.

“I’m saying the little fucking creep intentionally bashed you in the back of the head with her elbow...I saw it happen...it wasn’t a head to head collision. That’s why I lost it.” Ashlyn explained.

Ali’s eyes widened as Ashlyn’s words sunk in. Daniella had intentionally tried to hurt her...to take her out. Ashlyn wrapped her arms around Ali’s waist as she saw the anger flash in her eyes.

“And Al, I’d do it again because I love you. I won’t ever let anybody hurt you. I hope you understand that even if it cost me my position on the team, and I never wore another National Team kit, to me it would be worth it because you are my world and nothing means more to me than you do.” Ashlyn confessed.

Ali pushed up on her tip toes and crashed their lips together in a hungry kiss. Ashlyn had worked her entire life to be on the national team, and the magnitude of her words were not lost on the defender.

“Let’s just make sure that doesn’t happen, ok, Stud? I don’t want to go to Canada without the other half of my soul.” Ali softly declared.

“Ditto.” Ashlyn replied, giving the brunette a quick kiss before Jill came out of her office.

**
Ashlyn silently got on the elevator and mashed the button for the eighth floor. She closed her eyes and leaned against the back wall as the doors slid shut. The blonde was bone tired and she needed a nap in the worst way. She hoped to god that the chew toy was anywhere but their room. Ashlyn wasn’t in the mood for the lecherous creep.

When Ashlyn got off on her floor, she groaned as she glanced at her watch as she made her way to her room. Ali wouldn’t be back for hours, in fact, she probably wouldn’t get back much before curfew knowing the way that woman loved to shop and spend time with her brother. Well, only one way to find out if the creep was there. Ashlyn took a deep breath and plunged the card key into the reader.

Ashlyn pushed the door open and grinned. She mouthed ‘thank you god’ as she entered the empty room. It didn’t take the exhausted blonde long to get undressed and put on a pair of sweats and a t-shirt. After brushing her teeth, Ashlyn slipped between the sheets and moaned softly. Nothing felt quite as good as a comfortable bed after a hard day...well...except having Ali nestled in her arms.

Ashlyn plugged her iphone into its charger and quickly typed out a message.

Stud: Don’t rush back. I know you want to spend time with Kyle. I’m going to bed. I love you.

Princess: Aw. You are the sweetest. I love you too. See you for breakfast. ☺

Ashlyn pressed a kiss to the picture of Ali she had set as the wallpaper on her iphone and turned off the light. Only a few more days and she would be able to celebrate with the woman that she loved. Ashlyn smiled as she drifted off to sleep.

**

Ashlyn’s eyes fluttered as she woke, but she felt Ali’s warm body curled into her side with a hand over her breast, and the blonde’s eyes stayed shut as she wrapped her arms around her girlfriend a little tighter...except she didn’t fit quite right. Ashlyn’s eyes flew open and she saw Daniella asleep on her chest.

“What the fuck?!” Ashlyn screamed as she untangled herself from the young auburn haired woman, and fell over the side of the bed onto the floor in her haste to get away from the youngster.

Ashlyn jumped up and back peddled away from her bed, her eyes wide. Daniella yawned and blinked sleepily.

“What the hell do you think you are doing IN MY BED?! That is not ok...fuck...creepy little…” Ashlyn yelled as she shivered with revulsion, fighting the urge to pummel the little shit.

Daniella looked up at her with a confused expression, “How did I get here?”

“You fucking tell me. I went to bed ALONE. I never, EVER gave you permission to come into my bed. What the fuck is wrong with you? Are you crazy?!” Ashlyn angrily blurted out, not feeling safe in her own hotel room for the first time in her life.

“I must have laid down here by mistake after I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I’m so sorry, Ashlyn.” Daniella apologized as she moved over to her bed.

“You just stay the fuck away from me, Dani. I mean it. Anything else weird happens, and I’m going to coach, understand?!” Ashlyn threatened as she backed into the bathroom and locked the door.

Ashlyn waited until she heard Daniella’s breathing even out before she cautiously opened the door. Seeing the woman asleep, she grabbed her pillow and blankets off the bed and returned to the bathroom, making certain the door was locked behind her. Ashlyn laid one of the blankets on the bottom of the tub and wrapped up in the other one as she leaned back with the pillow under her head. It wasn’t a warm comfy bed, but at least the locked door would keep her from any more surprise visitors in the middle of the night...and honestly, it wasn’t as bad as the roof had been the year before. It took quite a long time for her to calm down enough to sleep, but eventually Ashlyn drifted off into a dreamless slumber.

Chapter Text

Ashlyn woke up with a start. Her entire body was sore and screaming at her from sleeping in the cold hard bathtub. Remembering what had happened earlier in the night, the blonde felt her anger start to boil in her veins. Fuck that little sex predator! Ashlyn wasn’t going to hide in a bathroom, or anywhere else for that matter. If the chew toy made it a necessity to pound her face into next week and she got kicked off the team for it...then so be it!

Ashlyn groaned as she sat up. No matter what time of night it was, it was time she called an emergency meeting of team lesbos in Ali and Tobin’s room. The blonde opened the door and found Daniella asleep, of course in her bed...again! Seriously, hasn’t anyone ever told the kid no in her life? Set boundaries? Anything?! She gathered up her iphone, soccer bag, and toiletries before ducking out of the room. The blonde did not even want to see the chew toy until practice.

**

Ali opened the door and Ashlyn had to stifle a chuckle. The defender’s hair was half in an ultra messy bun, and the rest was a jumbled mess that stuck out every which way, including covering half of her face. She was wearing her banana footie pajamas, and carrying the glow worm her grandma had gifted her when she was a baby as a nightlight.

“Mmmybabycomeintobed.” Ali’s sleepy mumble was always the hardest to understand.

“Poor sleepy Princess. No time to snuggle right now. We need to call an emergency team lesbos meeting...and you aren’t gonna like why.” Ashlyn announced, and Ali blinked trying to make sense of it.

**

It was 5:00 am and every single known lesbian or bi woman on the team was gathered in Ali and Tobin’s room. Ashlyn had two large pots of coffee delivered by room service, and though everyone was tired and grumpy, hot coffee helped. Abby was the last to arrive, and the grumpiest of all. One never woke a sleeping Abby Wambach in the middle of the night unless it were a true emergency, so her presence alone caused the others to take this impromptu meeting seriously.

“Ok look, I’m sorry I had to wake everyone up, but I can’t take it anymore. Everybody knows that little creep Daniella has been openly leering me, and when I change she just sits on the bed staring at me. That I can handle. It’s not the most comfortable, but hey, what are ya gonna do, ya know?” Ashlyn started.

“Ashlyn get to the fucking point. I am not going to miss sleep to hear you ramble in the fucking middle of the night.” Abby interrupted.

“Sorry. Yeah. So...um...did any of you see her intentionally throw an elbow at the back of Ali’s head yesterday in the scrimmage?” Ashlyn inquired.

“I thought I saw that, but then I thought I had to be imagining it. I mean, who would do that to their own right back?” Morgan spoke up.

“Exactly. I saw it from the other side of the pitch.” Ashlyn replied, putting her arms protectively around her girlfriend and kissing her temple.

“That’s why you went after her.” Abby uttered, finally understanding.

Ashlyn nodded, “Well tonight, I woke up and the fucking creeper was in my bed with me...and she had her head on my chest and hand on my breast!”

Everyone in the room started talking at once as Ali pushed away from Ashlyn, crimson invading her face as her blood pressure spiked, “What the fuck did you just say?!”

Ashlyn held her girlfriend tighter to keep her from doing something she would regret, “It’s ok, babe. Team lesbos has this. She isn’t worth getting kicked off the team for, remember we are on notice from coach, they aren’t.”

“Oh that little bitch is done.” Hope responded, her voice deadly serious.

“Fuck her. Nobody messes with Kriegy and Ash!” Tobin blurted out.

“Yeah, we can’t let her get away with that shit.” Pinoe added.

“I’ll teach that sleezeball you don’t mess with Princess and her Stud.”Alex threatened.

“When I get done with that fucking piece of shit, she is gonna wish she had never laid eyes on Ali and Ash.” Kelley piped in.

Abby stood up and whistled, cutting off everyone’s chatter.

“I suggest that team lesbos gives the baby keeper a proper welcome to the big leagues. She wanted a try-out, let’s give her one.” Abby explained her plan.

“Damn right! Let’s make her pray for an ice bath!” Meghan growls, smacking her right fist into the palm of her left hand.

The room erupted in laughter, and Abby patted Meghan on the head, “Sorry Klingy, but you remind me more of a chihuahua than a pitbull.”

Morgan quickly kissed her girlfriend, taking some of the sting away, “Hey, just remember it’s the ankle biters you have to watch out for, guys.”

**

Abby came back to the center circle after quickly speaking with Jill. She motioned for everyone to gather around. Everyone huddled up around Abby, except for the goalkeepers who were already doing their separate practice.

“Ok guys, I told Coach we really felt like we needed a good scrimmage today, and she has agreed to let us do that.” Abby explained, “Let’s play...hard...ladies!”

“Hell yeah!” Pinoe exclaimed, more than ready to add a few bruises to the young keeper.

Jill blew the whistle and barked out teams. She put Daniella in goal with Sonnet, Rampone, Chalupny, and Hinkle as her back line. Hope stood in the opposite goal, and Daniella could swear she saw the woman give her a death glare from across the pitch. Ashlyn positioned herself behind Daniella’s goal to watch.

Pinoe tapped the pass off to Tobin who one touched it off to Ali. Hinkle tried to stop the attacking defender, but she nutmegged the kid and then pushed the ball forward. Daniella came off her line to challenge Ali, but she crossed the ball into a crashing Abby who Daniella saw too late. The forward collided with the goalkeeper, sending her flying backwards as she redirected the ball with her head into the back of the net. Abby walked over to the youngster and grinned down at her. The powerful forward offered Daniella her hand and she pulled the youngster to her feet.

Before the keeper could squirm away, Abby tightened her strong grip, leaned in, and stated directly into the young woman’s ear, “Welcome to the big leagues, kid. Leave Ali and Ash alone, or your life is gonna be hell.”

Daniella’s face registered the shock she was feeling from the comment. Ashlyn smirked at the kid’s obvious discomfort. This was going to be fun.

On the reset, Ali stole a pass along the right side and fed it to Kelley. As Chalupny closed on her, Kelley spun and passed it back to a charging Ali. Hinkle fouled Ali with a late diving tackle and Ali set up for a free kick five yards outside of the box. She blasted a ball into the middle that found Kelley jumping up against Daniella and Rampone. At the height of the jump, Kelley’s elbow found Daniella’s diaphragm, knocking the keeper’s wind out of her and causing her to fall back into a ducking Pinoe which undercut her legs from her. The youngster landed in a heap, and Kelley landed knee first into her pelvic bone.

“That’s for Ash, just wait until you pay for what you did to Ali, you fucker.” Kelley growled, pleased to see a little fear along with the pain housed in the keeper’s eyes as the woman cupped herself in agony.

“Keep your hands to yourself, fuckwad, and that doesn’t happen.” Pinoe added as she pushed down on the keeper’s shoulder to stand, driving the young woman back into the grass.

Ashlyn felt her spirits lift when she saw the effect the rough play was having on her tormentor. It was about time that the kid felt some pain and fear.

Jill watched from the sideline, very intrigued by the intensity of the scrimmage. Not that these players held back much anyway...their competitive drives were too strong, which was a big reason why they were at this level. However, it looked like Daniella was starting to show a little more hesitancy with each physical encounter. The one thing this team didn’t need was a tentative keeper.

Hope easily caught an errant cross from Sonnet after the next reset, and boomed the ball to Pinoe at mid-pitch. They quickly had numbers on a counter attack, and Pinoe easily got the ball into a slashing Tobin. Daniella was now the only thing between Tobin and the goal. In a brilliant display of footwork skills, Tobin danced with the ball, playing ‘keep away’ with the young keeper. After making the woman look like an awkward 10 year old between the posts, the lanky mid-fielder finally nutmegged Daniella to score.

“This is the big leagues, kid. I’m not impressed. Pretty sure Coach wasn’t either.” Tobin mocked, seeing Daniella’s shoulders slump.

Pinoe and Abby fist bumped Tobin before they got ready for the next reset. They knew they couldn’t make it too obvious, or Jill would catch on. After a few good defensive stops on both sides, Daniella once again found herself the target of a mid-air manufactured collision, being viciously sandwiched between Abby and Kelly. On the way up, the keeper felt Abby’s knee drive into her back over her right kidney causing her searing pain. At the height of the challenge, Kelley’s forearm found Daniella’s mouth, her bottom lip splitting. The young keeper crumpled to the ground in obvious distress, a hand over her right kidney area. To everyone along the sidelines, it looked like Abby and Kelley were crouched next to their fallen teammate checking on her, and lending their comfort. In reality both women were pressing the keeper to the ground.

“That was for Ali. Don’t even think about doing anything else, or next time you lose teeth.” Kelley threatened, glaring at the woman.

“This is your only warning. Next time we won’t play so nice.” Abby agreed, boring holes through the young keeper.

While Daniella was being held on the ground, Meghan walked up and ‘accidentally’ stepped on the keeper’s outstretched left hand causing her to yelp in pain as the cleats dug into the back of her hand through her glove.

“Touch Ash or Ali again, and I’ll break it.” Meghan said in her most intimidating voice.

Jill blew the whistle. She had seen enough, and frankly was a little concerned for the youngest goalkeeper.

“Hit the showers, Hearst. Ashlyn you’re in for Hearst, and Alyssa take over for Hope.” Jill directed with her megaphone.

Daniella slowly made her way off the pitch. Her whole body hurt, and she was pissed. Who did they think they were dealing with?! Nobody...I mean nobody ever told her no! Ashlyn was going pay for today, and her whore would too. She had the perfect retaliation, and all it would take is a couple of mouse clicks, and a phone call. After all, their family owned half of ESPN and a stake in Nike among many other holdings. If she couldn’t have Ashlyn, the whore certainly wouldn’t be able to either...without losing millions in endorsements. Yes, Ali Krieger’s pending Nike endorsement deal needed a little something added...a morality clause that precluded her from engaging in homosexual relationships without penalty. Daniella’s face cracked into a cruel grin. It would be the perfect punishment.

**

Daniella was sitting in front of her locker with her laptop when the players started trickling in from practice. Ashlyn had to stay after and take more pks in Daniella’s place. The young brunette keeper was intently working on a project and didn’t look up as the locker room filled. Sonnet’s towel accidentally caught on Daniella’s headphone cord and pulled it out of her laptop. Suddenly sounds from her computer filled the locker room.

“...God yes, Ashlyn. Fuck me with that hot, hard tongue. You fuck me so good, baby.” Ali’s moans echoed through the locker room.

Tobin grabbed a surprised Daniella, preventing her from escaping while Meghan scrambled for her laptop.

“Mmm...you taste so good, babe.” Ashlyn moaned back before the diminutive defender could silence it.

You could hear a pin drop in the locker room as players parted like the red sea, leaving an open path from one embarrassed and pissed off Alexandra Krieger to Daniella. Ali purposefully strode over to the young woman and stood before her, glaring at her in disgust. The defender raised her open hand and brought it across Daniella’s face with all her might, and the sound of the colliding flesh echoed through the locker room. Ali’s forceful slap left the young keeper’s face red, stinging, with a perfect handprint already starting to form on the youngster’s cheek.

“How dare you! That was in my room, and we were alone! How the hell did you record that?!” Ali spat out, her anger boiling over.

“Fuck you. I don’t have to tell you anything, whore!” Daniella responded, earning herself another slap from Ali, and a matching handprint bruise rising on the other cheek.

“Wrong answer. Try one more time.” Ali growled.

“Oh my god.” Meghan blurted out, the tech geek of the team finding Daniella’s secret, “She has spyware installed on Ash’s cell phone. She can remotely control it, turn it on, take pictures, video. Hell, she can listen in to conversations, send text messages, read them...you name it!”

“Oh you are fucking dead!” Kelley bellowed, and Abby had to restrain the midfielder from attacking the young keeper.

“That’s enough!” Abby yelled, and the locker room quieted down once more, “Pinoe, go get Coach. The rest of you, sit down and zip it. Kriegs, I’m so sorry we all heard that, but we will make certain she doesn’t get away with it.”

 

“Do you want us to give you guys some privacy when coach gets here?” Syd asked Ali.

After thinking it over, knowing how humiliating it would be a second time around, but how much weight it would be having the team there to all be witnesses to the incident should Jill want to question them, Ali shook her head, “No. I need you guys. You have already heard it. You all know that Ashlyn and I love each other, so we have nothing to hide, and Jill might have some questions for you.”

“Yeah, we heard you two were ‘gal pals’ from the media.” Pinoe joked to ease the mood.

Ali grimaced but appreciated her efforts to break the tension while they waited for their coach to arrive.

**

Daniella stopped struggling against Tobin, Abby, and Kelley once Jill arrived. She glared at all of the women, refusing to speak.

“What is going on?!” Jill bellowed.

“This is Daniella’s laptop. When her headphones were accidentally unplugged, this is what we heard.” Meghan explained as she pressed the play button.

“Mm...you taste so good, babe.” Ashlyn moaned.

“Yes, just like that. I...I need your fingers inside me, Ash. Please. Fill me up.” Ali begged.

Jill’s eyes widened and her face reddened, “Shut it off! I’ve heard quite enough!”

Meghan stopped the recording and showed Jill the spyware program she had found. Jill felt ill. She had always prided herself on building a team of the utmost professionals. This was like a slap in the face to everything she held dear. Jill turned towards Ali.

“What do you want to do with her? Press charges or send her home?” Jill inquired.

“Can I have a few minutes and a quiet room to play this for Ash? I think she deserves to be a part of this decision as well.” Ali replied.

“Certainly. We can all stay here. Why don’t you use my office and then come back here with your decision.” Jill offered, upset that she had been forced to take this mentally unstable woman to their LA camp.

Meghan handed Ali the laptop. Ali jogged out to the pitch with it, and sent everyone else to the locker room, but Ashlyn. Once they were alone, there was no need to put it off any longer. Ali pushed play and watched as Ashlyn’s face turned red, her eyes screwing shut, and hands balled into fists. The blonde opened up her mouth and screamed at the top of her lungs, releasing all the pent up frustration from the last twelve days. She kicked balls all over the pitch as her frustration gave way to anger. Finally, Ashlyn collapsed into Ali’s arms and she cried.

“Shhh. It is going to be alright, Ash. It’s not like the whole team isn’t already aware that we are together.” Ali cooed, trying to comfort her distraught girlfriend.

“Alex, what we share between us is sacred, and I can’t believe our whole team heard it. I...I can’t believe that little fucker recorded it! It was the one thing we gave each other that nobody else was privy to.” Ashlyn explained.

“It’s still sacred, Ash. My heart, my soul, and my body belong to you...and you alone. Just because some of our closest friends...sisters really...heard a few seconds of our passion doesn’t change that. And just because some sick twisted fuck taped it, doesn’t mean we have lost anything. She will never have what we share, no matter how badly she wants it.” Ali replied.

Ali was right. Daniella hadn’t taken jack shit from them. The only way she could was if they allowed it, and Ashlyn was way past allowing Daniella anything.

“We need to give Jill an answer soon. She wants to know if we want to press charges or simply send the bitch home on a bus.” Ali explained.

“What do want to do?” Ashlyn asked, trying to maintain control over the rage that was threatening to bubble up again.

“I don’t want to waste another second thinking about that woman. I am taking away all her power to hurt us by simply erasing her from my thoughts. I vote she just goes away!” Ali stated with a quiet strength that Ashlyn found incredibly sexy.

“I like the sound of that. She has no power but what we give her, and we ain’t giving her shit!” Ashlyn enthused.

Their decision made, Ashlyn wrapped her larger hand around Ali’s and they walked back to the locker room hand-in-hand.

Daniella glared at Ali as the two entered the locker room and Ashlyn pulled the smaller woman to her, wrapping her strong arms protectively around the brunette’s waist.

“Send her home. We are done. We won’t ever think about her again, and hope none of you will either.” Ashlyn declared.

Jill nodded and turned towards Daniella, “You will be escorted by all the coaches to your hotel room where you will have five minutes to pack. Then we are taking you to the bus station and sending you home. You don’t deserve a plane ticket. Don’t even think of contacting a member of this team again, as I will be filing a restraining order against you. Clean out your locker.”

The entire team watched in silence as Daniella quickly threw all of her possessions into her soccer bag. Jill sent a couple of text messages to the coaching staff while she waited for Daniella to finish up. Once she had all of her things stuffed into her soccer bag, Jill and Dawn started escorting her to the doorway where the other coaches were waiting. Suddenly Daniella turned around and glared hard at Ashlyn.

“I may be off the team, but that doesn’t mean I’m gone. Nobody says no to a Hearst.” Daniella threatened, before being shoved towards the door by Jill and Dawn.

“Bye Felicia!” Pinoe shouted as they disappeared through the doorway.

Pinoe looked at her teammates who were shaking their heads, “What? Somebody had to say it.”

Chapter Text

Ali looked at the clock on the wall and groaned. It was already after three, which meant no matter which way they drove back to the hotel, they were going to be stuck in L.A. rush hour traffic. Why of all days did her agent need her to sign her Nike endorsement deal on her first anniversary?! Kyle’s phone buzzed again, and Ali rolled her eyes. It seemed as if everything was annoying her at the moment. She just wished she could click her heels together three times and be in Ashlyn’s arms...be home.

Kyle read the text message and typed out a quick reply. He looked up and found Ali glaring at him. His face split into a super Krieger megawatt smile and he poked Ali’s side.

“Who’s a big grumpy butt?” Kyle teased in a sing-song voice.

“I don’t know. Who’s gonna get his finger ripped off if he pokes me again?” Ali replied in a mocking sing-song, her patience way past gone.

Kyle laughed as he typed out another quick message and pushed the send button, his iphone making the clickity clack and shwoop noises that were grating on Ali’s nerves, “There, don’t say I never did anything for you.”

“What are you talking about?” Ali grumbled irritated because Kyle was in far too good a mood.

“I just sent Ash a message that she should take a nap because you seriously need to get laid...like all night long. You are welcome!” Kyle replied smugly.

“KYLE!” Ali yelped, embarrassed by her brother’s bluntness in front of others in the firm’s reception area.

Before Kyle could torture her any further, the reception door opened and Rick, Ali’s agent, poked his head out. His face lit up into a smile as soon as he saw Ali sitting across the room.

“Hey, how’s my favorite female footballer doing?” Rick asked as he motioned for her to follow him.

“In a bit of a hurry, actually.” Ali replied as she rose and followed him back, Kyle right behind her.

“Sorry, I know you are busy with national team camp. This won’t take that long.” Rick replied as he showed Ali into an office.

Ali sank down into the supple leather of the high backed office chair opposite Rick. Kyle fidgeted behind her, the text alert on his phone going off multiple times before the defender turned and glared at him.

“I’ll put it on vibrate, geez Louise. So, are we almost done yet?” Kyle asked.

“Kyle, just sit down already. You are making me nervous.” Ali mumbled, before turning back to the stack of papers Rick put on the desk in front of her.

Ali picked up the thick stack and started reading the first page. After reading the whole page, the brunette initialed the bottom, and moved on to the next page. After twenty minutes of Ali carefully going over each page while Kyle’s phone practically blew up with texts, he turned towards his sister.

“Good god, Alex. Can you hurry up? You are going to miss the World Cup at this rate!” Kyle grumbled, tapping his finger on his watch.

“I have to know what I’m signing, Mr. Impatient.” Ali replied, a little chill in her voice.

Kyle turned towards Rick, “Ok super agent, what’s the bottom line on all these pages? Is there anything in here that would hurt my sissyfriss?”

Rick smiled at the two siblings, “No, of course not. I wouldn’t negotiate something that would hurt her. It’s a standard endorsement contract. Nike is going to pay you $250,000 per year for the next five years to wear, use, and endorse their brand. If you win the World Cup, they will pay you a million dollar bonus as long as you contribute significant minutes on the pitch…”

Kyle dropped his phone and it clacked loudly off the desk onto the floor as his mouth hung open. He nudged Ali.

“You are gonna be my sugar momma!” Kyle gleefully interrupted before he scooped his phone off the floor.

Ali flipped through the pages and stopped at one with the heading, ‘morality clause.’ She held it up towards Rick.

“What is this?” Ali inquired, more than a little put off by the title.

“Oh that’s just standard protection for the company against the black eye they would receive if while representing them you were to do things like get arrested for DUI, domestic violence, rape, animal cruelty, texting pictures of your penis to a young intern, you know...stuff like that...”

“Oooh, something you forgot to tell me, Princess?” Kyle teased wagging his eyebrows, and Ali smacked him on the arm and mouthed ‘behave’ at him.

“Sorry Rick, continue.” Ali apologized, really starting to regret not taking a cab to the meeting.

“No worries. As I was saying...unfortunately, there have been too many ‘bad boys’ in sports and entertainment that have made this kind of protection necessary in the first place. You don’t have anything to worry about, Ali, you are one of the most responsible athletes I know.” Rick explained, smiling warmly at Ali.

Ali signed the bottom of the page and went back to the where she had left off, adding her initials or signature to each page, depending on which was necessary. Kyle was being a pain in the ass, but she really did want to get back to Ashlyn, and she didn’t have any reason not to trust Rick. Once she finished signing the last page, Rick extended his hand out to the newest Nike athlete.

“Congratulations, Ali! Go win that World Cup and let’s get you that bonus.” Rick enthused, wrapping his hand firmly around Ali’s.

“Thank you for everything, Rick. I still can’t believe this is my life. It’s pretty amazing.” Ali confessed as they shook hands.

**

By the time Kyle had gotten them back to the hotel, Ali was beyond pissed. It would be sunset in less than fifteen minutes, and she hadn’t gotten to spend any of the day with Ashlyn yet. The brunette would hurry back to her room, change into the beautiful dress she had picked out, refresh her make-up, and hopefully make it in time for the dinner reservations she was sure her favorite blonde had made somewhere swanky.

Ali pushed open the door to the stairwell and froze, her mouth hanging open in shock. Tobin jumped up from the folding chair she had been sitting in and reached out to grasp Ali’s hands, gently pulling her all the way inside. Ali stared at the stairs, covered in a mixture of fire and ice, and red rose petals, spilling from the landing above all the way down each stair to the door. The railings were wrapped in small white strands of christmas lights, and each stair was flanked on both sides with a small tea light. Ali’s hand moved up to cover her mouth, and her eyes misted up from the emotion welling up inside the brunette.

“Here. Ashlyn wants you to push play when you get to the landing. You are supposed to listen to this on your way up.” Tobin explained as she handed Ali the blonde’s old ipod and wireless headphones.

Ali quickly hugged Tobin, “Thank you, Tobes. You are the best.”

Ali slipped the headphones on and made her way up to the first landing where Alex leaned against the railing facing the back wall so Ali would be the only one to see the painting she held in her hands. The brunette blushed a little at the scene that Ashlyn had captured so well. It was literally the moment they first met, the viewer seeing things through the talented blonde’s eyes, looking down at Ali’s face nuzzled into her chest when they had collided in the locker room doorway. Ashlyn’s love was evident in each brush stroke...in the way Ali’s cinnamon colored eyes glowed...in the way every small detail of her face had been memorized by the blonde, and recreated on the canvass. Not too many people noticed that her left eye set a little higher, was a tiny bit bigger and rounder than her right, but Ashlyn had nailed it. Ali was so enthralled by the painting that she forgot to press play until Alex motioned with her head.

George Michael's hauntingly beautiful voice started crooning in Ali's ears.

The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and endless skies, my love
To the dark and empty skies

The lyrics of the song Ashlyn had picked out, combined with the beauty of the painting in front of her overloaded Ali’s senses, and tears started to leak from her eyes. Nobody had ever been this thoughtful...this observant...this loving...this...perfect…before Ashlyn. Ali started up the rose petal covered stairs to the next landing. The brunette took in a deep breath, the scent of the roses were released with each step, filling the air with their sweet and slightly musky smell.

The first time ever I kissed your mouth
I felt the earth move in my hands
Like the trembling heart of a captive bird
That was there at my command, my love
That was there at my command

Meghan was the one leaning against the railing holding up the second painting. Ali loved this one. Ashlyn had painted their first kiss inside the hotel bathroom when the blonde had been in the bathtub and Ali had taken care of her. Their lips locked in a passionate kiss, both of them looked hungry for the other...even with their eyes closed. Ali didn’t know how Ashlyn managed to capture the moment so perfectly. She hated to move on so quickly, but Ali needed to keep moving for fear she would dissolve into a puddle of emotion before she found Ashlyn.

The first time I ever lay with you
And felt your heart so close to mine
And I knew our joy would fill the world
And would last till the end of time, my love
It would last till the end of time
The first time ever I saw your face
Your face, your face

The painting on the third landing was gorgeous. Ali’s eyes teared up again as she saw how beautiful she looked through Ashlyn’s eyes. Her facial features were softened in sleep, her head resting on the blonde’s chest, silky chocolate colored hair tucked behind her ear, and Ashlyn’s maroon silk tie wrapped possessively around her hand that was curled up next to her kiss-swollen lips. Moonlight from the window was illuminating her face, and Ashlyn had painted translucent angel wings extending out of her shoulder blades to wrap around their sleeping bodies...like a set of ethereal arms. She had titled the piece, Sleeping with an Angel. Ali didn’t think anybody had ever thought she was an angel before.

Ali continued to follow the fragrant rose path up the stair well. Every landing brought a new moment of their last year together, captured in perfect detail, and displayed for her by the living easel of a teammate. Some were paintings, some charcoal drawings, still others done in colored pencils.

Ali giggled seeing herself through Ashlyn’s eyes barely visible blasting a pk; the animated soccer ball nearly took up the entire canvass with wide tear filled eyes and mouth silently screaming as pieces of grass blew off of it giving it the appearance of zooming towards the viewer. Ali holding the lost little girl in her lap, the child’s fingers in her hair. Ali in that gorgeous dress from the night they went out dancing with Ashlyn’s UNC hoodie on, twirling, the bottom of the dress extended outward. Ali snuggled in Ashlyn’s arms, floating together on her surfboard, wet hair gently blowing in the breeze. Ali biting her bottom lip, a sheepish look on her face holding the pan containing their dinner she had burned. The brunette laughing from the doorway of her Grandma’s house when she had caught Ashlyn fighting with Chris. Ali and Grams sitting on the sofa looking through Ashlyn’s baby pictures. The brunette sitting on her bathroom floor covered in sweat, her hair in a messy bun, face pale from the flu she had caught while nursing Ashlyn back to health. Ali in a beautiful black dress leaning towards the mirror applying her mascara. Ali sitting inside Ashlyn’s new jeep, singing into a hairbrush with her head cocked to the side. Finally, Ali sitting in Ashlyn’s lap wearing her banana footie pajamas on Christmas eve while both families opened presents in the background.

Kelley greeted Ali at the door that led to the roof. She smiled warmly at the emotional brunette.

“I have the dress you had set out on your bed to wear tonight, your strappy heels, and your make-up bag. Let’s get you changed and ready for your Stud.” Kelley remarked.

“God you are a life saver, Kells!” Ali replied, dabbing at her eyes that she knew most likely resembled a raccoon with all of the tears she had shed on the way up.

Ali quickly took off her leggings, faded denim button down, and white t-shirt. She handed each to Kelley who folded them and put them into Ali’s soccer bag that she had brought up with her.

“I can’t believe Ashlyn did all this. I mean, did you see those pictures?! She is ridiculously talented.” Ali gushed.

“Actually, we were threatened within an inch of our lives if we looked at them before you.” Kelley laughed, helping Ali into her shimmering black dress.

Ali shot Kelley a knowing look, “So which was your favorite?”

“They were all beautiful, but I think I liked the one with angel wings, and you holding the child. Oh, and of course, the screaming pk.” Kelley finally admitted, handing Ali a make-up remover cloth.

“I knew it! You are such a rebel.” Ali teased.

“Hey, just don’t go telling your woman, I don’t need a pissed off Stud hunting me down.” Kelley replied.

“Your secret is safe with me, Peachy.” Ali giggled.

“Whah thank yeeewwww, sugah.” Kelley exaggerated her Georgia drawl, and Ali playfully swatted her arm.

Ali wiped her face, removing all traces of the make-up that had been on her face all day. She exchanged the dirty cloth for a jar of face cream that Kelley had been holding and dabbed a bit on her cheeks, under her eyes, and eyelids, and forehead before rubbing it all in, making certain to use the circular motions her mom had taught her as a teenager.

“Do you think this stuff actually does anything other than make the Oil of Olay owners rich?” Ali inquired.

“Of course. It makes you gorgeous...and the owners rich.” Kelley responded with a smirk.

It didn’t take long for Ali to re-apply her make-up with Kelley holding a mirror for her. The brunette finally let her hair down and brushed it out. Ali pulled it and allowed it to cascade over her right shoulder and then took a deep breath. She didn’t want to admit it out loud, but the closer she got to going back out onto the roof, the more the pit of her stomach ached. It didn’t matter how nervous she got, Ali would do anything for the blonde woman on the other side of that door.

“Ready?” Kelley asked softly, noticing the slight tremble in her best friend’s hands.

Ali smiled warmly and nodded, “I can’t wait to see her. I’ve been wanting this all day long.”

Kelley knocked on the door three times and counted to twenty before she pushed it open, signaling and giving Ashlyn the time she needed to get herself set up. Ali’s breath hitched and she stood for a few heartbeats simply taking it all in. Ashlyn, dressed in an all black suit accented by a baby blue tie and hankerchief, stood next to a table for two in the middle of several small eight to ten foot tall palm trees that were wrapped in sparkling strands of white christmas lights. She held two short stemmed roses in her hand.

“Happy anniversary, Princess.” Ashlyn greeted her love.

Ali stepped out of the stairwell into a dream. She slowly made her way to the woman who had stolen her heart on this very rooftop, and reached up to cup a dimpled cheek. The brunette leaned up and tenderly kissed the soft lips that she had craved all day. Ashlyn wrapped her arms around Ali’s waist and drew her closer, their slow languid kiss full of emotion. When the kiss finally ended, they stood, foreheads resting against one another, sharing the same breath.

“Happy anniversary, Stud. You are amazing, baby...simply amazing.” Ali whispered.

“This one is for you, ” Ashlyn said, handing Ali one of the roses before tucking the other into her jacket pocket with a wink, “And this one is for later.”

Ali blushed remembering the way the blonde had used the rose a year ago, a definite heat starting deep in her core at the memory. Ashlyn wrapped her hand around Ali’s and led her over to the table. She pulled out the chair and held it for the brunette, helping her into her seat. The table was covered with a pearl white table cloth, two fine china place settings, and a bottle of champaign was chilling in an ice tub off to the side.

“Everything is gorgeous, Ash. Wow. How did you even…” Ali complimented, her words trailing off as she got lost in the warm hazel eyes across the table from her.

“I begged the hotel manager to let us use the stairwell and rooftop. I may also have had to score him some tickets to the World Cup, and a UFC ringside seat. I hired a company who does set decorations to come and transform it to the tranquil beauty you see. They asked me what I wanted, and I described it to them, and they did the rest. The bonus is they also come and tear it back down.” Ashlyn explained, pleased with how much Ali loved the ambiance she had created.

Ali’s smile fell suddenly and she looked pointedly at her girlfriend, “Wait, you still own your jeep, right?!”

“Yes, Princess, but the condo that I bought for my cheating ex finally sold.” Ashlyn replied, snapping her fingers.

Ali giggled as Kelley, Hope, and Whitney appeared around the table in high end white and gold waiter jackets, white gloves, and black slacks.

Hope popped open the champaign bottle and poured them each a half flute, while Kelley placed a white and gold cloth napkin in Ali’s lap, and Whitney did the same for Ashlyn. Ali chewed her bottom lip to keep from completely cracking up as her friends each brought a platter of hot food to serve, she could only imagine what Ashlyn had done to get them to agree to this. Hope used a service spatula to set a beautiful wood grilled salmon fillet on first Ali’s plate, then Ashlyn’s. Kelley followed her girlfriend with a baked sweet potato, and Whitney added a scoop of warm wilted baby spinach with mushrooms. After filling the couple’s plates, the three ‘waiters’ retreated to stand along the wall.

“Can you believe a year ago we were trapped out here?” Ashlyn broke the silence as they ate.

“I had tried so hard to avoid you, and then BAM! Sorry, you are now trapped with her.” Ali replied, taking a sip of the champaign, “Ooh, that is good.”

Ashlyn flashed Ali a dimpled grin, “Thanks, I had Whitney out searching for it last week. So why were you avoiding me?”

“I was...confused. You were so damned hot, but so damned cocky! And I was straight...or at least I hadn’t ever been so turned on by another woman before. But up here, you were such a gentleman...er woman...and when you suffered to make sure I was comfortable, I melted. Of course...then you had to go and be all heroic on top of that soooooo...yeah, I was a total goner. Didn’t stand a chance against your charm.” Ali confessed.

Ashlyn reached across the table and twined her fingers with Ali’s, “You had me at strip search.”

“You are such a dork.” Ali laughed and shook her head.

“Honestly, I have never been happier than I am when I’m with you.” Ashlyn admitted, bending forward and kissing Ali’s hand.

“Me either.” Ali agreed.

Ashlyn stood and walked to Ali’s side of the table where she extended her hand, “Will you dance with me, Gorgeous?”

“But there isn’t any music.” Ali lightly protested.

“Here...” Ashlyn quietly stated as she placed Ali’s hand over her chest, “feel the way my heart is pounding like a drum? It does that every time I see you. Now if that isn’t music, I don’t know what is.”

Ali’s features softened and she took Ashlyn’s hand, allowing the blonde to help her to her feet, unable to talk past the lump in her throat. Ali melted into Ashlyn and laid her head against the blonde’s chest, hearing the thumping of the keeper’s heartbeat as they swayed together...feeling safe and loved inside Ashlyn’s strong arms. Ali closed her eyes, her lips curled in a contented smile. This was what she had longed for all day long...simply being near her best friend...her lover...her home.

“So, I was thinking that I need to re-negotiate the terms of the girlfriend contract.” Ashlyn stated, kissing Ali’s temple.

“Why is that?” Ali replied.

“Because I want an extension.” Ashlyn remarked, gazing deeply into Ali’s eyes.

“What?” Ali asked, confused.

Ashlyn gently kissed the brunette and took both of her hands. Ali’s breath caught in her chest as she watched the blonde sink to one knee, never breaking eye contact. Ashlyn’s heart started beating wildly in her chest. She had never been this nervous before...ever.

“I have loved you almost from the moment I met you. You changed my life. You made me a better person. You are the very air I breathe and the heart that beats life in me. I can’t imagine my life without you in it. I want to explore the world with you, have children with you...grow old with you by my side. Alexandra Blaire Krieger, will you do me the greatest of honor by becoming my wife?” Ashlyn petitioned, her emotions overflowing and tears leaked out of the corners of her eyes as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a gorgeous princess cut diamond solitaire set in a white gold band.

Tears slid down Ali’s cheeks. She couldn’t find her voice, her throat was so tight from emotional overload. Finally, the brunette nodded.

“I’m going to take that as a yes.” Ashlyn stated, pushing the ring onto Ali’s left ring finger, and kissing her hand before standing.

“Yes...yes...YES! A million lifetimes of yes!” Ali enthused as she finally was able to push air past her tight vocal chords

Ali launched herself into Ashlyn’s arms, wrapping her legs around the blonde’s waist and crashed their lips together. Neither one noticed as Kelley opened the door to the stairwell announcing Ali’s acceptance. Nor did they see the entire team rush out onto the rooftop with them. It wasn’t until bottles of shaken up champaign started raining over them that their focus widened to anything but the taste of each other’s mouths.

“You had to go and invite the whole team. What were you thinking?!” Ali playfully grumbled, already drenched in the bubbly alcohol.

“Just think of it as great practice for when we win the World Cup.” Ashlyn teased, kissing Ali’s nose.

“Oh no! I’ve just won something far better.” Ali replied, pulling Ashlyn by the collar into another deep hungry kiss.

Chapter Text

“Where’s my cell phone?!” Ali blurted out to the crowd of teammates that surrounded them.

Kelley handed the defender her gold iphone, and shushed the raucous team. Ashlyn stood behind Ali and wrapped her arms around the brunette’s waist, knowing exactly who she wanted to share this moment with. Tears of joy streamed down Ali’s face as an older version of herself came into view on the screen.

“Mommy!” Ali managed to get out around the tightness in her throat, her emotions once again getting the best of the brunette.

“Hi baby girl. What’s going on?” Deb asked, seeing her drenched daughter in tears.

Ali opened her mouth to speak, but couldn’t get any words to come out. She was totally overwhelmed by her emotions, and in that moment, Ashlyn became her voice, “Hey Deb, I think Alex needs a hug from her mommy.”

Ali looked over her shoulder at Ashlyn, her confusion evident. The blonde kissed her tenderly, and pointed up at the door to the stairwell. Ali’s eyes followed to where her fiancee was pointing, and her teammates parted, giving her an unobstructed view of the door to the stairwell opening. Deb and Kyle walked out to join everyone on the roof.

“I just figured no matter what your answer was, you would need your mom tonight, Princess. So I flew her out here.” Ashlyn explained.

“Oh Ash...I...god…too much.” Ali choked out between sobs.

“Go on, I’ll be right behind you.” Ashlyn encouraged her love, releasing her waist.

Ali quickly closed the distance, and melted into her mom’s embrace. Kyle sandwiched his sister in a tight family hug. For the first time in her life, Ali actually enjoyed having both of their arms around her...until it got to be a bit much.

“Uh, Kyle...please…” Ali mumbled.

Kyle laughed and hugged a bit tighter until Deb cleared her throat and he dropped his arms, “Party pooper! Fine. You are making me smell like I fell off the wagon anyway. Show me the rock, bb!”

“How do you know?” Ali asked as she raised her left hand for both of them to admire her ring.

“Oh please. Who do you think was keeping an eye on you and texting updates to Ashlyn while all of this magic was being created?! You aren’t the only sneaky Kriegy around here.” Kyle replied smugly.

“Hmm. That sounds interesting. What is this ‘sneaky Kriegy’ stuff?” Deb stated with an arched eyebrow, watching both of her children squirm.

“Nothing mom!” the siblings replied in unison, flashing Deb innocent smiles.

“Mmhm. Don’t think I’m that easy to...” Deb started to reply when Kyle grabbed Ali’s left hand and shoved it closer to her face.

“Look at the shiny ring, mommy!” Kyle quickly re-directed her focus.

Deb’s face lit up as Kyle twisted Ali’s hand back and forth so the ring would catch the light from the Christmas lights and sparkle.

“Oh my, that is GORGEOUS, baby girl!” Deb gushed, “I’m so happy for you.”

“I can’t believe it. She totally surprised me. I thought this was all for our anniversary and then, WHAMMO! Ash got down on one knee, and I couldn’t breathe. I think my heart stopped for a few seconds before it started trying to beat out of my chest. She just never ceases to amaze me.” Ali explained, and Kyle wiped tears from the corner of his eyes while Deb sniffled.

Ashlyn walked up behind Ali and flashed a brilliant dimple bearing smile at her future in-laws.

“Wow. Don’t you look drippingly dapper.” Kyle commented.

“Yeah, emphasis on the drippingly.” Ashlyn ruefully replied.

“Dapper.” Ali, Kyle, and Deb stated in unison.

“Hey, you guys are great for my ego. I think I’m gonna keep you around awhile.” Ashlyn teased with a wink before turning her attention to Ali, “I was thinking maybe you’d want to go change into something a little less sticky and a little more comfy since the night is young, Princess.”

“Now that sounds like a fabulous idea.” Ali agreed.

“I was hoping I could tag along and you could tell me about the paintings, baby girl. Is that ok with you?” Deb asked.

“Oh hell yeah! I can’t wait to show them off. Ash is an amazing artist, as you already know.” Ali enthused, her nose crinkling smile making Ashlyn’s heart skip a beat.

“Language!” Deb admonished chuckling and shaking her head.

“They should already be in your room. Tobin was in charge of moving them after you came up. I think she got everyone to pitch in.” Ashlyn supplied.

“You really do think of everything, don’t you, Stud?” Ali gushed at her thoughtful finacee.

“I try, babe. I try.” Ashlyn responded before stealing a quick kiss, “Now get cleaned up, we have a full house out here ready to celebrate!”

**

Ali showered quickly and slipped into a pair of skinny jeans with a soft pink sweater that hugged her in all the right places to show off her assets. Once she applied a light bit of make-up, Ali joined her mom and Kyle in her room where the two were busy checking out Ashlyn’s artwork.

Deb looked up and smiled, “These are incredible, baby girl.”

“I know. I can actually see Ash being an artist once her football career is over.” Ali replied, joining her mom.

“I don’t know why she is wasting her talent on THIS subject when she could be painting men with large packages. Now THAT would make her perfect.” Kyle taunted his sister.

“I’ll see what I can do to get her to paint you one. Geez, never knew you were such a size queen.” Ali teased back.

“SO which one is your favorite?!” Deb interjected, trying to steer the conversation away from her children’s sex lives.

Ali’s face lit up when her eyes reached the Sleeping with an Angel painting her mom was holding, “That one. They are all beautiful, but that one just makes my heart melt. I’ve never known anyone who saw me in a more beautiful way than that.”

“I agree, baby girl. It’s my favorite too. It really shows her depth of love for you. Not only that you are an angel, but that she is in heaven when you are in her arms.” Deb explained, her eyes misting up as she drew Ali in for a side hug, “Honestly, I have never known the love of somebody like that. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and quite frankly I’m little jealous, but mostly so very happy for you both.”

Deb placed a kiss on her daughter’s head as Ali leaned her head on her mom’s shoulder.

“Ugh, you two are disgusting. Everybody knows it. Mom is just trying to make you feel better because of how utterly gross these paintings are.” Kyle sniffles and turns away.

“Do you remember the first weekend in January when you called and told me that Ashlyn had taken off to check on Grandma Harris, and you were worried that she was sick?” Deb said more as a statement than a question.

“Yeah. Ashlyn had insisted that she needed to go alone. I was kinda peeved at her for it. I wanted to help take care of Grams. Why?” Ali asked, her confusion evident.

Deb took Ali by the hand and led her to the bed. She sat down and patted the space next to her. Ali sank down next to her mom, and Kyle decided to join them.

“I want to tell you what Ashlyn did because I think it’s important for you to know what kind of person you are going to marry. It’s also one of the many reasons why I don’t think you could have found anyone better.” Deb explained.

“Oh goody, story time, bb!” Kyle enthused.

“It was just after lunch on the fourth when the doorbell rang. I was so surprised when I opened the front door and…”

~ January 3rd, Miami ~

Deb opened the door to find Ashlyn standing there in a very nice dark grey suit. She looked past the blonde for her daughter when Ashlyn stepped in front of her field of vision.

“Uh, ma’am...Ms. Christopher...uh...Debbie...I uh...I was wondering if I could talk with you. Please?” Ashlyn nervously stammered.

“Why sure, sweetie. Come on in. Is everything ok? Is Alex ok?!” Deb asked stepping aside to make room for Ashlyn to pass and thinking something must have happened to her daughter for the blonde to be standing on her doorstep looking like she was about to pass out or throw up.

“No. I mean, yes...uh...Alex is fine. Um, can we...can we sit down?” Ashlyn chuckled, “I was so much smoother in my head on the way over here.”

“Would you care for something to drink?” Deb asked as she led Ashlyn into the living room.

“No thank you. I’d probably just choke to death on it.” Ashlyn joked.

Deb sat down on the sofa, the blonde choosing to sit right next to her. She watched as her daughter’s girlfriend wiped her palms on her slacks nervously. Ashlyn took a deep breath and looked Deb in the eye. The blonde smiled, they were so similar to Ali’s, and held such kindness. Her heart was pounding and she felt like she might throw up, but it was now or never. Ashlyn’s eyes closed as she concentrated on repeating what her heart was saying.

“Ma’am, I can’t tell you how much I love your daughter, because there hasn’t been a word invented yet that covers it. I come from poor people. We never had anything growing up, not even full bellies most of the time, but the one thing we had was love. I will probably never be able to buy Alex a mansion, but what I can promise you is that I would go hungry to feed her. I would go thirsty so she could have her fill. I would swim any ocean, climb over Everest on broken limbs, drag myself across burning sands just to fight all the demons of hell and the devil himself until my last breath for her. I will willingly die to save her. She is my everything, and there isn’t a single thing I wouldn’t do to protect her, and make her happy. I will always be right behind her, no matter what. Ms. Christopher, I would be the most grateful woman in the world if I could have your blessing to ask Alexandra to spend her life with me by my side as my wife.” Ashlyn petitioned from the heart, her strong voice masking the raw nerves that were eating up her insides.

Ashlyn opened her eyes to see tears leaking from Deb’s eyes. She reached out and tenderly wiped them away with her thumbs.

“Oh my god, Ashlyn, I couldn’t ask for a better soul to love and care for my baby girl. If she says yes, I am the one who is honored to have you by my daughter’s side, caring for her, loving her, protecting her.” Deb replied, her voice thick with emotion.

 

~ January 25th, L.A. ~

“...and I meant every word of it because I know Ashlyn did too.” Deb finished, hugging Ali tight.

“Have you ever met someone who makes you feel like you are literally the most important thing in the world? It’s how she makes me feel, most every day.” Ali confessed, tears messing up her mascara.

“Oh now look what you went and did, mom. Sheesh, we won’t ever get her back to her Stud Charming at this rate! C’mon bb, gotta get that fixed. Can’t have you walking around with raccoon eyes!” Kyle pulled an emotional Ali to her feet and into the bathroom.

**

Kelley stopped Ali, Deb, and Kyle on the landing at the top of the stairwell, “Sorry I gotta announce you so Ash can get ready.”

“Oh god, you mean there’s more?! I don’t think my heart can take all this romance.” Ali blurted out.

“Trust me, Hope has been bitching all night long about how high your Stud just set the bar.” Kelley hinted, “Now wait here.”

Kelley disappeared through the doorway and Ali heard her call out, “Hey everyone, make way for Alexandra Krieger, Princess Warrior of the pitch.”

Ali held her breath as the door swung open, revealing a smiling Ashlyn dressed in black skinny jeans and a black button up shirt. She had left her freshly washed hair down, and looked stunning as far as Ali was concerned.

Ali took the arm that Ashlyn offered her, and when she stepped out of Ali’s line of sight, the brunette’s eyes widened in shock. She looked back up at her fiancee.

“How did you get all of that here in the time I was gone?! Do you have some magic fairies on your payroll, Harris?” Ali asked shaking her head at the transformed rooftop.

The intimate table for two was gone, replaced by a portable fire pit full of caribbean blue fire crystals surrounded by padded folding chairs, and several eight foot tall portable Lava Heaters all tucked inside an expanded area with a few more potted palm trees all lit up in clear Christmas lights. Teammates were sitting around in small groups drinking and casually chatting.

“Well Princess, all this stuff was back behind the other side of the stairwell cap. My fairies are back there too. They waited until I sent for them to do the quick ‘set change.’ Now they are back there waiting to tear it down.” Ashlyn explained, “Come on, there’s somebody over here that wants to say hi to you.”

As they got closer to the fire pit, Ali noticed the elderly Harris woman sitting close to one of the heaters soaking up the warmth and watching all of the young women. The old woman smiled when she noticed the group making their way over to her, and she got on her feet, holding out her arms towards the brunette.

“Grams! I didn’t know you were here?! I’m so happy to see you!” Ali enthusiastically greeted the elderly woman as she sank into her embrace.

“Well you think I’d miss this shin dig, Peanut?! Nothing could stop me from being here, celebrating with you two. I’m so happy Tumble finally got the nerve to ask you. Lord knows you two belong together.” Grandma replied, enjoying the warmth of her future granddaughter-in-law.

Ali kissed her cheek and pulled back so her mom and Kyle could say hi.

“Oh look at this, your mom is here, and even Waldo showed up!” Grandma teased.

Kyle’s shoulders dropped and he rolled his eyes, “Oh hell no! This calling me Waldo is NOT an actual thing. It was a couple of weeks people, get over it!”

Grandma extended her arms out to Kyle. He looked at her for a few seconds before sighing and going in for a hug. Just as Grandma finished hugging the young man, she reached up and grabbed a hold of his ear, giving it a mockingly stern tug.

“Nice try, Waldo. Better luck next time.” Grandma replied with a wink, causing everyone in earshot to laugh, “Now be a good boy and go keep Rough out of trouble.”

Ali took Ashlyn’s hand and pulled her away from the group as Deb settled in next to Grandma Harris. They walked over close to the edge of the rooftop and looked out at the LA skyline all lit up. Ali finally turned and melted into Ashlyn’s chest, the blonde wrapping her arms around the brunette’s waist.

“My god, Ashlyn, you are amazing. I have no words for how special you made me feel today, baby...how special you make me feel every day. I just hope I make you feel the same way because...WOW.” Ali complimented.

“You make me feel invincible, Alex. As long as we have each other, nothing can stop us!” Ashlyn replied, tipping Ali’s face up and capturing her lips in a loving kiss.

“I know the feeling. Just do me a favor.” Ali said, cupping Ashlyn’s face.

“Name it and it’s yours.” Ashlyn eagerly responded, leaning into Ali’s touch.

“Don’t get too drunk, I need my wild monkey tonight...all night.” Ali purred, “And would you consider wearing this for me, please? It reminds me of the best night of my life...before tonight.”

Ali pulled Ashlyn’s maroon tie from where she had it secreted in her front pocket, and held it out to the blonde with a shy smile.

“So that’s where it went.” Ashlyn chuckled as she flipped her collar up, “But you better put it on me.”

Ali slowly reached around Ashlyn’s muscular neck, and passed one end of the tie to her other hand. She purposefully wound the tie around itself, up, over and through as Ashlyn tilted her head back to give the brunette better access. Ali straightened the knot and smoothed the tie down across Ashlyn’s chest, the blonde’s nipples tightening at the familiar touch.

“Perfect.” Ali remarked, and reeled Ashlyn in for a searing kiss that left them both breathless.

“Damn, it’s gonna be a long evening ‘til the booze runs out.” Ashlyn grumbled, the kiss leaving the blonde aching.

“I suppose we should get back since somebody I know decided it would be a great idea to share this night with practically EVERYONE we know!” Ali teased.

“Well why did we listen to that idiot?” Ashlyn joked as she allowed Ali to lead her back towards their family.

**

Ashlyn’s eyes fluttered open. Her heart swelled at the sight of Ali...her angel...her fiancee...the other half of her soul...asleep in her arms with her maroon silk tie wrapped possessively around the hand that the brunette had curled up next to her slightly parted lips. It was nearly identical to the first time she had woke with Ali in her arms. Ashlyn swallowed a lump that formed in her throat. Alexandra Blaire Krieger...the most gorgeous woman in the world...the fiercest right back in all of women’s football...the smartest, kindest woman she had ever met...had actually agreed to be her wife. The blonde had a difficult time wrapping her head around it. Wow.

Ali started to stir and Ashlyn brushed a few silky stray hairs out of her face before leaning down to place a tender kiss to the brunette’s forehead. Just as she had started to straighten up, the blonde felt herself being pulled back down by the neck. Her gaze was met by bright honey colored eyes.

“And just where do you think you are taking that mouth?” Ali sensuously purred, giving Ashlyn’s tie another gentle tug.

“Uh...to brush my teeth?” Ashlyn replied, her mouth going dry as it seemed all of her bodily fluids started to pool between her legs at the commanding tone of her fiancee’s voice and touch.

“Wrong answer, Stud.” Ali admonished, pulling Ashlyn back down for a hungry kiss that quickly ended, “Ew, right answer, Stud.”

Ashlyn chuckled as Ali practically pushed her out of the bed towards the bathroom, “I tried to warn you. Between the champaign and last night’s passion...this monkey has dragon breath.”

“Yeah, that good morning kiss was a lot sexier in my head.” Ali agreed as she got up to join the blonde in the bathroom.

Ashlyn moved over and allowed Ali to share the sink with her. The blonde started making faces at Ali in the mirror. With each goofy face that the brunette didn’t laugh at, Ashlyn took it a step further with the next one. Catching on to the unspoken challenge, the defender refused to give in and laugh. Finally, Ali leaned over and spit into the sink. When she straightened up, Ashlyn had toothpaste foam running out of her nose and mouth, her tongue hanging out one side and eyes glazed over.

“What the fuck is that?!” Ali giggled at the blonde’s antics, unable to stop herself.

“One of your Walking Dead Forensic Files zombies that you like to watch right before we go to bed.” Ashlyn replied cheekily, spiting and wiping the toothpaste foam from her nose with the back of her hand.

“Ew, I don’t even wanna know how you managed to make that come out of your nose, and I hate to break it to you, but those are two different shows, Stud.” Ali commented, trying to stifle her giggle fit.

“Yeah, but I got you to laugh, now didn’t I?! I win...I always win.” Ashlyn smugly shot back as she washed her hands.

“Oh yeah? Bet you can’t do that with your mouthwash.” Ali challenged.

“Ha! Piece of cake, Princess, watch this.” Ashlyn replied eagerly grabbing the bottle of Listerine.

Ali watched in fascination as the blonde took a large swig of the mouth wash. Ashlyn’s eyes widened in pain as a steady stream of mouth wash started running from her nose. The blonde’s eyes screwed shut, tears streaming down her cheeks as she ignored the obvious intense burning to finish emptying as much of the mouthwash as possible out of her mouth through her nose. Once her mouth and nose were empty, Ashlyn started frantically fanning her face and jumping around in pain.

“Ow...ow...ow...ow...ow...OW!” Ashlyn screamed as she continued to try and put out the fire in her nostrils while Ali nearly busted a gut laughing, “Why would you do this to me?!”

“I wanted to see just how competitive you really are.” Ali shrugged, still laughing.

“So what’s the verdict? Ow...god it burns so bad.” Ashlyn squeaked out in a nasal tone as she pinched her nostrils and cradled her nose in her right hand.

“I am extremely competitive, but babe, you are STUPID competitive...although you do have some amazing focus.” Ali remarked, patting the blonde patronizingly on her shoulder, “And you better not teach our kids how to do that.”

“I wouldn’t do that to our kids, because I’m not a big meanie butt like some people.” Ashlyn playfully groused.

Ali pushed up onto her tiptoes and pressed a kiss onto Ashlyn’s cheek, “I love you, you big dork.”

“Love you too, Princess.” Ashlyn replied, finally letting go of her nose, “Forever.”

Ashlyn leaned down and kissed her fiancee, allowing her lips to convey the love she felt. Ali moaned at the feeling of the blonde’s tongue ghosting against her own, and the way those strong arms effortlessly picked her up. The brunette wrapped her legs around Ashlyn and allowed her to carry her into the other room before depositing her gently onto the bed, never breaking the kiss. A frantic pounding on the door startled the two.

“Ashlyn Harris...STOP BONING MY BABY SISTER AND ANSWER THE DAMNED DOOR!” Kyle shrieked from the other side of the door.

Chapter Text

The loud banging on the door continued and Ashlyn groaned. Ali kissed the blonde sweetly.

“We may as well get dressed. Kyle won’t give up until we answer the door.” Ali remarked wistfully, thinking about the morning sexy time spent in bed with her favorite blonde that wasn’t going to happen now.

Ashlyn growled and rolled off of Ali, “He better hope it’s a matter of life and death...if not, it will be for him!”

“Aw, don’t kill my brother, Stud. We may need him some day. Besides, he amuses you remember?” Ali reminded Ashlyn as the blonde quickly stood up and threw on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.

“Well the amusement has worn off.” Ashlyn grumbled as she waited by the door for Ali to finish putting on her clothes.

As soon as Ali pulled up her skinny jeans from the night before and was fully covered, Ashlyn opened the door, glaring hard at her future brother-in-law before noticing the men with cameras right behind him.

“What the hell?” Ashlyn exclaimed in shock.

“Apparently these gentlemen are from Nike and need to take some shots of the Princess this morning for a pre-World Cup campaign, which you both would already know about if you hadn’t shut your cell phones off last night. Rick got desperate when he wasn’t able to get a hold of Alex, and called me. I was trying to get you to answer the door before they got up here because I know how easily you get embarrassed, Studmuffin.” Kyle explained.

“What are you even talking about?” Ashlyn uttered, trying to make sense of everything the flamboyant man had just told her.

Kyle pointed to the door and Ashlyn opened it wider. Deep crimson invaded Ashlyn’s flesh from her neck all the way to her ears as she saw her door covered in the ‘do not disturb’ signs from every team member’s shared room. Handwritten messages were also taped up all over the door encouraging the sex that they ‘knew’ was taking place inside. The door handle was covered by a long soccer sock with a sports bra hanging over it...the universal signal from their college soccer days not to walk in because the occupant was busy ‘getting some.’

“Shit.” Ali stated under her breath as she had made it to Ashlyn’s side and saw the door, her face also turning red.

Kyle smirked at the couple and their awkward situation. Ali vaguely heard the clicking of a camera as she fished the red sports bra off the sock on the door handle. The defender inspected the back of the bra and noticed “MP 15” written in blue. Ali glanced up at Ashlyn and nodded towards the bra, the blonde rolling her eyes.

“Pinoe.” they stated in unison.

Ashlyn noticed the camera men already snapping photos and she stepped in front of Ali, opening the door as wide as it would go to give them the worst angle of the door, “Excuse me guys, but Ali wasn’t prepared for you to show up. Please go wait in the lobby and give her ten minutes to get ready.”

“Yeah, sure thing, but we are on a deadline here.” the older photographer replied, nudging the other man into motion towards the elevators.

Ashlyn glared at Kyle as the photographers walked to the elevator, “Care to explain just how those guys knew where to find Alex?!”

Kyle smiled sheepishly and looked down at his naked wrist, “Would you look at the time? I have a client coming. So sorry I have to dash off like this, but I love you my lezzes!”

As soon as he noticed Ashlyn’s jaw muscles tensing, Kyle took off sprinting towards the safety of the elevator, his giggles echoing down the hallway.

**

Ali looked over the several rows of seats to where Ashlyn sat patiently waiting for her to be finished with the photoshoot. They had practice later and both hoped they could spend a little alone time together before it started. The blonde was the sweetest most supportive person she had ever met. Perhaps it came from her pain. Perhaps it was just in her DNA. Whatever the reason, Ali couldn’t imagine a life without Ashlyn at her side. It was weird how things had so drastically changed for her in the past twelve months. Twelve months ago she had been single and focused on football, but maybe a little lonely if she were being completely honest. Today she was engaged to the kindest, hottest, cockiest...WOMAN...in the world. Not only that, but Nike had just paid her a quarter MILLION dollars for her to let them take pictures of her wearing their stuff. It was downright crazy!

Ashlyn smiled as she lifted her eyes and her gaze locked with Ali’s. She wasn’t sure what she had ever done so right to have the heavens grant her the sweetest, fiercest, most gorgeous woman in the world to be her future wife, but the blonde was not about to start asking questions...just in case it was all a mistake. She only knew she would spend a lifetime doing everything she possibly could to put that megawatt smile on Ali’s face every day...that smile that lit up her world and made her heart skip beats.

A shadow falling over her face startled Ashlyn out of her thoughts, and she looked up to see Hope settling in next to her. Hope dropped her bag at her feet and watched Ali.

“You’re an asshole. You know that, right Harris.” Hope quietly stated, not looking at the blonde.

“So I’ve been told once or twice.” Ashlyn replied, “But why are you telling me?”

“Seriously?! Your proposal is like ALL Kelley talks about.” Hope started and then did her best Kelley impression, “Oooh can you believe how perfect Ashlyn’s proposal was? Ooooh if someone did that for me I think I would faint. Ooooh Ashlyn’s proposal was so sweet and romantic, I can’t picture anything more perfect. Oooooh Ashlyn’s a stud...Oooooh did you see the ring Ashlyn gave Ali? Oooooh I can’t believe Ashlyn painted all those from memory, she must really pay attention to every little detail about Ali. Oooooh…”

Ashlyn’s face reddened and she finally shouldered Hope, “Alright, I get it...I get it. Shut up.”

“So yeah asshole, you made it impossible for the rest of us. I mean, how are we supposed to match that?!” Hope asked.

Ashlyn looked at Hope. The other keeper refused to meet her gaze.

“Wait, are you seriously going to ask her? What about…” Ashlyn started.

“Well I WAS, but fuck, I certainly can’t NOW!” Hope replied on the verge of blowing up.

Hope reached into her bag and took out a piece of paper. She thrust it into Ashlyn’s hands. The blonde’s eyebrows shot up as she read the official decree from the courts granting Hope a divorce.

“Holy shit. I’m sorry, Hope. I had no idea. But look, I’ll help you come up with something if you want.” Ashlyn suggested.

“It’s ok. I decided to wait until after the World Cup. I gotta put some distance between the proposal of the century and mine. You know what would be cool though? Having a team lesbos house party on our last night. We should totally rent a condo or something on the beach.” Hope suggested.

“Hell yeah, sounds like a blast! I’ll check out air b n b and see if we can find anything.” Ashlyn enthused, shooting Hope a dimple bearing grin.

“Ok stop with the damned dimple. I already forgave you for being a fucking overachieving asshole.” Hope playfully groused as she raised her hand to block Ashlyn’s face from her view.

Graeme walked out onto the field and looked up at the two goalkeepers in the stands, “Are you two planning on joining us for practice?! Get your asses moving!”

Ashlyn and Hope made their way down to the wall. The blonde paused at the steps that led down to the field, and looked over at Ali once more.

“Come on, Romeo. Duty calls.” Hope stated, tugging on Ashlyn’s t-shirt.

**

Ashlyn polished off her beer while she flipped the burgers and brats on the grill. She still couldn’t believe they had found this house right on the Strand in Manhattan Beach on such short notice. She and Ali had rented the house and a passenger van, enlisting Kling as the designated driver to shuttle team lesbos between the hotel and house. Of course, with six bedrooms there would be plenty of space for everyone to pass out if they needed to. Everyone had already packed so as soon as Jill had finished their last meeting, they had hurried to the house to enjoy the afternoon on the beach.

Ali slipped her arms around Ashlyn’s waist and she kissed the blonde’s shoulder tasting the salt water that still clung to her body from the afternoon spent surfing, “Can you believe another camp is over?”

“You’re sad, aren’t you, Princess.” Ashlyn replied, enjoying the feel of Ali’s body pressed up against her back.

“Maybe a little. I love everyone so much. I mean, they are our family.” Ali replied, nuzzling against Ashlyn breathing in her scent.

“Yes they are. Even if some of them ride the crazy train.” Ashlyn chuckled watching Pinoe make silly faces as she animatedly told a story to Tobin and Alex a little ways down on the beach.

“Do you need a platter, babe?” Ali asked, not really ready to let go but not wanting to choke down a burned hamburger either.

“Nope, what I need is one of these.” Ashlyn replied, turning in Ali’s arms, tipping her chin, and placing a very emotion filled kiss on the brunette’s lips.

“Mmm.” Ali sighed as her lips curled into a smile at the feeling of Ashlyn’s soft lips rubbing against them.

“You better not be burning my dinner because you are too busy sucking Ali’s face, Harris!” Abby growled as she came out onto the deck carrying a platter.

“Aw, you’re just sore ‘cause your woman is in Oregon.” Ashlyn playfully mocked, earning her a swat on the hip from Ali.

“Be nice!” Ali blurted out taking the platter from Abby and shoving it into Ashlyn’s hands, “Sorry Abs. We ALL miss Sarah.”

While Ashlyn pulled all of the meat off of the grill, Pinoe walked through the back gate to the deck from the Strand. The keeper looked up at the diminutive mid-fielder.

“Hey Pinhead, go tell everyone that’s still on the beach that dinner is ready.” Ashlyn instructed as she continued to fill the platter.

Pinoe turned back towards the beach, put her hands around her mouth, took a deep breath and yelled, “COME IN! GRUBS ON, BITCHES!!!”

“I could have done that.” Ashlyn muttered, rolling her eyes.

**

Pinoe belched loudly and rubbed her stomach, “Mm. Damn that was good.”

“Aight, I grilled the meat and Ali prepared the sides, so YOU GUYS can clean up.” Ashlyn announced as everyone finished eating.

“Who’s up for some bodyshots?!” Pinoe yelled enthusiastically, wagging her eyebrows up and down.

“Not happening, Pinhead.” Ali laughed.

“You people are no fun. And to think I was gonna share my super special tequila with you. Hummph.” Pinoe announced, cradling her bottle of Partida Elegante Tequila.

“Didn’t you drop like four hundred dollars or something equally ridiculous on it?” Kelley asked, curious as to how the tequila actually tasted.

“Well, it IS one of the top ten tequilas in the world.” Pinoe shrugged.

A loud pounding on the door interrupted their laughter. Ashlyn got up and shushed everyone.

“Good grief, the neighbors couldn’t have called the cops on us YET. Hell, we haven’t even been loud...much.” Ashlyn exclaimed as she headed to the front door.

Ashlyn opened the door and looked into the unamused eyes of Carli Lloyd, Julie Johnston, Sydney LaRoux, Whitney Engen, and Becky Sauerbrunn who stood on the porch with their arms folded across their chests.

“Uh...hi?” Ashlyn managed to squeak out.

“Oh don’t you even ‘uh hi’ me, Ashlyn Harris!” Sydney sassed.

“Yeah, didn’t you guys think that maybe we’d like to come party with you? I mean, we aren’t Team Sapphic Dream or whatever you guys call it, but we still love to party with ya!” Becky added.

“It’s uh...Team Lesbos, but I kind of like Team Sapphic Dream...and we would totally love for you to crash the party since we were douchecanoes and didn’t invite ya.” Ashlyn said as she moved aside to allow the women past.

“Well, look what showed up on our doorstep!” Abby commented as the women walked into the living room.

“No thanks to any of you.” Sydney stressed looking at them pointedly.

“We’re sorry. It’s not that we didn’t want to party with you, we just thought you guys would be out at some night club hunting guys.” Kelley replied while others nodded their head in agreement.

Ali and Tobin went to the kitchen to bring out glasses for everyone, and Hope played bartender filling them with top shelf mixed drinks of their choice. Ali sat on Ashlyn’s lap, and Tobin pulled Alex onto hers to make some extra space for the women to sit.

“So who is up for I Never?” a grinning Heather asked.

“Oh brother, I think they are trying to get us drunk so we will forget we are mad at them for not inviting us.” Whitney observed as she sat down next to Ali and Ashlyn on the love seat.

“I’ll start.” Sydney smirked and team Lesbos groaned knowing they were going to be drinking, “Never have I ever had my tongue inside another woman.”

“Well, I’m glad we didn’t start with something embarrassing.” Ashlyn teased before downing a gulp as everyone but Carli, Sydney, Julie, Whitney, and Becky drank.

“Fine Harris, your turn.” Carli stated.

“Never have I ever had a dick in my mouth.” Ashlyn smirked at Sydney before Ali rolled her eyes at the blonde and had to drink again, “Oops. Sorry, babe.”

“You will be if I keep having to drink each time. This game is so unfair to those of us who have...played for more than one team.” Ali chose her words carefully since she hated to label herself, while Carli, Sydney, Julie, Whitney, Becky, and Heather had to drink along with Ali.

“Ok, you go.” Ashlyn smiled, trying to get herself back into the brunette’s good graces as the brunette swallowed another mouthful of Kraken and coke.

“Hmm. Never have I ever...never have I ever…had sex in a movie theater.” Ali finally stated, and watched with satisfaction as Ashlyn along with Abby, Pinoe, Sydney, Julie, Carli, Kling, and Heather all drank.

“Never have I ever kissed another woman.” Julie sang out.

“A real kiss, or just a friendship smoochie?” Sydney asked for clarification.

“A real kiss.” Julie replied, and watched while all the women on team Lesbos plus Whitney and Becky drank.

“Really guys?!” Julie blurted out as she saw Whitney and Becky drink.

“What? I went to college. I had my fair share of shenanigans, geez.” Becky replied nonchalantly.

“Yeah, and I roomed with Ashlyn in college.” Whitney stated as if that should explain it all.

Ali’s head whipped around and she looked questioningly at the blonde.

“What?! I was drunk and it was dark in the room. I thought she was the girl who had come home with me from the bar.” Ashlyn confessed before she realized that didn’t sound any better and shrugged her shoulders sheepishly.

“Actually you passed out on her and she took off. When I came back from locking the door, you pulled me on top of you and shoved your tongue in my mouth. Trust me, you can have her, Ali.” Whitney laughed at the awkward memory, trying to defuse the tiny flare of jealousy she saw flash in the defender’s narrowed eyes.

“Never have I ever wanted to kiss another woman.” Pinoe shouted out, before taking a big swig and watching team Lesbos plus Becky drink, while Carli tried to take one on the sly.

“What the hell, Pin Head?!” Abby growled at having to drink a couple of times in a row.

“I was thirsty.” Pinoe shrugged.

“I think we have had enough of this game. Let’s play truth or dare.” Tobin suggested, totally catching Carli drinking on the last declaration.

“Oh yeah! Now we are talking!” Pinoe licked her lips.

“Truth or dare Pin Head, not seven minutes in heaven.” Sydney teased.

“Why not both?!” Pinoe wagged her eyebrows.

“Because you couldn’t handle all this...and I wouldn’t want to handle that.” Sydney sassed back.

The room erupted into laughter and Tobin watched Carli steal a glance to the blonde on her right side.

“Carli, truth or dare?” Tobin called out, wanting to find out if her hunch was correct.

“Um...truth.” Carli weighed her options before responding.

“Lame-o! Fine. Who was the woman you wanted to kiss?” Tobin inquired.

Carli shut her eyes. This could end badly. What if she wasn’t interested, or was weirded out?

“Uh, can I change my mind?” Carli squeaked out, her eyes pleading with Tobin.

“Nope.” Tobin replied.

Carli sighed heavily, she could hear her heart thumping in her ears and felt the crimson that invaded her cheeks, “JJ.”

The room grew quiet and everyone looked at the blonde defender. She glanced over at Carli who looked like she was about to throw up. Julie placed a hand on Carli’s thigh and smiled.

“I’m flattered.” Julie responded, and Carli let out the breath she didn’t know she had been holding.

Carli looked around the room and grinned at Sydney, “Truth or dare, Syd?”

“Truth, I’m waiting until all of the horrendous dares are done already.” Sydney winked.

“Ok. If you had to choose somebody from this room as your boo, who would it be and why?” Carli inquired.

“Technically that’s two truths, but I’ll let it slide this time.” Sydney started as she looked around the room finally looking back at Carli, “I’m gonna say, Ashlyn…because in case you haven’t been paying attention, the Stud knows how to treat a lady like a princess.”

“Yes she does.” Ali wholeheartedly agreed, earning chuckles from the others in the room.

Sydney looked around the room, “Ok Abby, what’s your pleasure?”

“Sarah.” Abby deadpanned causing another round of laughter.

“I’m going to ignore that. Truth or dare?” Sydney clarified.

“Dare. Somebody needs to step it up around here!” Abby replied, taking a long drink from her bottle of Sam Adams Stony Brook Red.

“I dare you to kiss the hottest woman here.” Sydney stated, eager to make the tall woman squirm knowing that all the gay women on her team were already coupled up except for Pinoe.

Abby got up and made a bee line for Sydney, whose eyes got big as saucers as the power forward pulled her to her feet and then dipped her...kissing her soundly as the room filled with cat calls. Sydney blushed as Abby returned her to her full upright position.

“Now you have to drink if the ‘I have never ever kissed another woman’ declaration gets played in I Never.” Abby smirked and Pinoe high fived her.

Sydney shook her head, she had walked right into that one, “Well played, Abs, well played.”

“Alright Pin Head, truth or dare.” Abby rolled her eyes, knowing how eager the spiky haired blonde was to get to do something outrageous.

“Dare baby! Make it good.” Pinoe replied, downing another large swig of tequila and wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.

“I dare you to go up to the next couple that walks by on the Strand and act like their long lost toddler.” Abby challenged.

Pinoe’s eyes sparkled mischievously and she rubbed her hands together. Everyone went out onto the deck to watch the woman work. Pinoe exited the gate and it wasn’t long before a young couple walked by hand-in-hand.

“Mommy! Daddy! Pick me up!” Pinoe called out as she headed towards them with her arms wide open for a hug.

The couple looked at her first in shock and then annoyance as they started to hurry away from the crying blonde.

“But Mommy! You said Daddy would never find out I wasn’t his! Come back! I NEED TO BREAST FEED!” Pinoe screamed, continuing to run at them.

At Pinoe’s last sentence, the woman’s face contorted in horror and she started sprinting. Everyone on the deck laughed while Abby tried to rein in the blonde, “Come back to the party, Pin Head. Dare accomplished with Pinoe panache! C’mon...stop accosting the nice couple.”

Pinoe jogged back to the deck and entered the gate, a huge smile on her face, “Oh man, that was fucking fun!”

Before anyone could head inside, Pinoe grabbed Julie.

“Truth or dare, blondie?” Pinoe challenged.

“Dare.” Julie replied without hesitation.

“Oooh, we have a live one here!” Ashlyn commented.

“I double dog dare you to let Carli take a body shot off of you.” Pinoe stated, wagging her eyebrows at Julie.

Julie replied by pulling her shirt over her head and handing it to Pinoe, “Don’t want that to get wet.”

“Come on, I’ll help you get ready so the lil letch doesn’t.” Ali giggled, leading Julie away from Pinoe over to the picnic table beside the grill.

Julie laid down on the table and Ali sent Ashlyn into the kitchen for the salt shaker and a lime wedge, and Pinoe went to retrieve her bottle of tequila. The brunette leaned down so she could whisper into Julie’s ear.

“If you need to clean out your bellybutton, now would be the time.” Ali suggested, standing up and blocking everyone’s view.

“I’m good. I took a shower right before I came over here, and I don’t think any lint bunnies hopped in there between then and now.” Julie joked, her nerves starting to kick up the longer it took Ashlyn to get back with the supplies from the kitchen.

As soon as Ashlyn got back, Ali placed the lime wedge between Julie’s teeth, and swiped the bottle of tequila from Pinoe. She carefully poured the liquid into the blonde defender’s bellybutton. Carli felt her mouth go dry as she was pushed forward. Ali pointed to Julie.

“Lick, so I can pour you a line of salt.” Ali instructed.

“Where?” Carli managed to get the word past her lips...barely.

Julie caught Carli’s gaze and quietly husked out, “Anywhere you want.”

Carli leaned down and pushed Julie’s right bra strap off her shoulder before she ran the tip of her tongue over the swell of the blonde’s breast that had been exposed. Julie’s breath hitched and she felt her nipple tighten. Ali sprinkled a line of salt that tickled her flesh. Julie watched as Carli went to the end of the table by her feet, and slowly crawled up on it, continuing over her body like a panther stalking its prey. She dipped her tongue hungrily into the blonde’s bellybutton, drawing out the smooth shot of liquid fire while holding Julie’s gaze with equally hungry eyes. The strong mid-fielder moved up to Julie’s breast where she sucked the salt line, her tongue working under the bra to ghost across Julie’s aching nipple, a moan escaping the blonde’s lips. Finally, Carli lowered her mouth over the lime wedge, teeth crushing the pulp and releasing the juice as her lips slowly moved against Julie’s.

Lost in their kiss, Carli and Julie didn’t notice the cat calls and whistles until the need for air forced them apart. Carli jumped down first and offered her hand to help Julie sit up. They both blushed as the women held up their hands rating the hotness of the action. Everyone but Sydney held up between eight to ten fingers, while Sydney looked at the fingernails of one hand with a bored expression while holding up the five fingers of her other hand.

“Oh hell, Syd, that was fucking hawt! You just have no taste.” Pinoe teased.

“Add some cock and then it would be hot.” Sydney stated dismissively, taking a drink of her rum and coke.

“Oh there is plenty of cock in this house, you just have to know where it’s packed.” Ali retorted, and Sydney spewed the contents of her drink all over Pinoe.

“Hey! I already took a shower!” Pinoe complained.

Laughter erupted on the deck and Ashlyn turned a bit red as Hope patted her shoulder.

“Maybe we should go back inside before those nice people Pinoe accosted call the cops.” Ashlyn muttered, trying to get everyone’s mind off her sex life with Ali.

“Good idea, dude. I don’t want coach to hear we were being Team Chester the Molesters. Besides, I want to dance with my lady.” Tobin added, grinning at Alex.

Ashlyn put on some love songs and most of the couples took up the space in the living room for a make-shift dance floor. The tall blonde looked questioningly at Ali who smiled and nodded. Ashlyn made her way over to the couch where Sydney was sitting with Becky and Abby. She stood in front of Sydney and flashed her a warm dimpled smile.

“Could I please have the honor of this dance with you, my lady?” Ashlyn asked, extending her right hand out towards her friend.

Sydney’s face split into a wide tooth bearing grin as she daintily placed her smaller hand inside Ashlyn’s and allowed the blonde to help her to her feet.

“See, Stud totally knows how to treat a lady. The rest of you should be taking notes.” Sydney commented as Ashlyn pulled the forward up into her arms and swept her across the floor.

Tobin held Alex reverently as they swayed to the music. Alex ran her fingers through Tobin’s long light brown hair as they gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes.

“Do you know how much I love you, Tobs?” Alex quietly asked.

“Why don’t you tell me...in case I’m wrong.” Tobin replied, searching Alex’s eyes for the love she knew would be reflecting back at her.

“Because I’d rather show you.” Alex responded, leaning forward and pressing her lips against Tobin’s.

Alex loved kissing Tobin’s full lips. It felt like sliding her lips along two satin pillows...both comforting and exciting. The forward moaned when she opened her mouth and she felt Tobin’s tongue take possession of it. Alex pressed against Tobin, trying to find more contact, more pressure to ease the ache that was building in her core. Reading her girlfriend well, Tobin placed a sinewy thigh between Alex’s legs and the forward started slowly grinding down on it, but it only satisfied the ache for a few moments before her core demanded more.

“Damn it Tobin, I need you.” Alex husked into her girlfriend’s ear.

“I think it’s time we claim a bedroom, babe.” Tobin whispered back, nipping Alex’s earlobe, sending a fresh wave of desire through her.

Alex grabbed Tobin’s hand and led her to the stairs. They ignored the cat calls and hurried upwards, taking the steps two at a time.

“Oh my god, this party has turned into a lez-fest.” Sydney commented as she looked around the room at Hope and Kelley making out on the couch not far from Meghan and Morgan who were also lost in a deep passionate kiss.

“What did you expect from crashing a Team Sapphic Dream party?” Ashlyn asked pointedly, loving how the new term for their group rolled off her tongue.

Ali sauntered over to where Sydney and Ashlyn were dancing and politely tapped Sydney on the shoulder, “Would you mind if I stole my fiancee from you, Syd?”

“Not at all, honey. You take her, I’m going to go try to find some food to dilute all this rum and tequila I’ve been drinking all night.” Sydney replied.

“Check the ‘fridge. We had plenty of left over hamburgers, and there should be potato salad and Ali’s killer mac n cheese...but save me some of that.” Ashlyn suggested as Ali and Sydney switched places, the defender melting into Ashlyn’s arms.

“So what do you make of Carli and JJ?” Ali asked as they moved together as one to the slow music.

“It’s not a total shock. I mean, I’ve seen them flirt a little on the pitch before.” Ashlyn shrugged.

“There’s flirting a little and then there’s that body shot. I mean, whoa! Talk about hot stuff!” Ali commented, enjoying the feel of Ashlyn wrapped around her, “I’d love to see how you would take a body shot off of me sometime.”

Ashlyn grinned, loving how Ali always dipped her head shyly when she would talk about things that turned the brunette on, but knowing that her shy display didn’t always match up with her finacee’s willingness to explore sexually. Alexandra Blaire Krieger was a literal dream come true...she was the epitome of the ‘lady in the streets but a freak in the sheets’ that was so highly sought after. Ashlyn leaned down and kissed Ali hungrily. It was time to get Ali to unleash her freak.

Ashlyn continued to kiss Ali, their tongues dancing together, as she walked the shorter woman backwards. The blonde continued guiding them down the hallway until they reached the door to the master bedroom. Ashlyn reached behind Ali and turned the knob, pushing the door open and walking Ali backwards into the room. Suddenly she froze, her hazel eyes going wide. Julie was on the bed with Carli’s head between her thighs. The blonde had a handful of Carli’s hair in one hand and sheets twisted up into a bunch in her other hand.

Ashlyn quickly re-directed Ali back towards the hallway, the brunette opening her eyes and getting an eye full of Carli feasting on her fellow defender while pumping in and out of her furiously. Soft moans came from Julie’s barely parted lips, spurring the mid-fielder on. Ali felt more of her passion soaking her panties, and she closed her eyes again, concentrating on the feel of Ashlyn’s muscles rippling against her as they walked back down the hallway as one.

Sydney turned towards the sound of something banging into the wall behind her and she rolled her eyes as Ashlyn had Ali pinned against the wall while in the midst of a passionate kiss.

“Good lord, get a room!” Sydney chastised as she tried to ignore the moans coming from them both.

“Tried. Our room was stolen by...OW!” Ashlyn replied before being silenced by a pinch of an already hard nipple and a serious looking right back.

Ali pushed against Ashlyn’s chest and she stepped back. The defender nodded her head to the prep island in the middle of the kitchen. Ashlyn grinned and swiped it clean of paper plates, napkins, and red solo cups while Ali shimmied out of her dress. Sydney worked as fast as she could to pile food on her plate. She checked the microwave to see how much longer her huge bag of popcorn had left while Ashlyn picked up Ali and gently deposited her on the top of the island, divesting the brunette of her panties.

“Seriously you two?!” Sydney squealed.

“You know what they say Syd, if you can’t stand the HEAT…” Ali slightly slurred, sitting up and allowing Ashlyn to unclasp her bra.

“Fine! I’m going...just can you wait until my popcorn is ready?!” Sydney pleaded, noticing the microwave still had a minute left to go.

Ashlyn ghosted her hands up Ali’s sides and leaned down to kiss her as Sydney grabbed the bag of popcorn out of the microwave and opened it, spilling its contents into a large mixing bowl. Grabbing her grub, the forward hurried towards the living room, pausing at the doorway.

“Leave it on!” Ashlyn commanded when Sydney paused at the light switch.

As soon as Sydney heard the words leave Ashlyn’s mouth, she ran out of the kitchen, leaving the two alone at last. Ali grinned at Ashlyn.

“Do you think she knew we were bluffing about getting it on in front of her?” Ali quietly giggled.

“Who was bluffing?” Ashlyn smirked, running a hand down Ali’s body causing the brunette’s breathing to hitch, “Besides, didn’t you want to see me take a shot?”

**

Sydney carried her food over to the couch and sat down next to Becky and Whitney. Pinoe joined them a moment later, dragging a chair over close to the bowl of popcorn Sydney deposited on the coffee table. The four of them ate in silence, listening to the moans that filled the house.

“Was that...Carli?” Sydney asked.

“Maybe, but I think it sounds more like Kelley...maybe Moe.” Whitney replied.

“Could be Hope.” Becky added, popping a handful of popcorn in her mouth and chewing.

“Nah, Hope is deeper.” Pinoe replied, dipping a red solo cup into the popcorn and propping her feet up on the coffee table.

“Do you think it worked?” Becky asked as she grabbed another handful of popcorn.

“I think so. I mean, I haven’t seen either one of them since the body shot.” Sydney replied, taking a bite of her hamburger.

“Think anyone caught onto us?” Whitney inquired before taking a sip of her bourbon.

“Nah. They didn’t even ask how you guys knew where the party was.” Pinoe replied around a mouthful of popcorn.

Another loud moan filled the house and Becky grinned, “Ali?”

“No, Ali is louder.” Whitney responded.

“Thanks for your help, Pinoe. We knew those two would never figure it out without a little push.” Sydney commented, popping a cherry tomato into her mouth.

**

Ashlyn quickly headed to the counter and grabbed a dish towel, Pinoe’s bottle of expensive tequila, a lime wedge, and the salt shaker. Ashlyn kissed Ali tenderly as she tucked the folded towel under Ali’s head for the brunette to use as a pillow. The blonde stood and cocked her head to the side, taking in the vision in front of her...her mind capturing the details for a future canvas. Ali licked her lips as she watched Ashlyn’s eyes rake in her naked body.

“God Alex, I could never get tired of seeing you like this.” Ashlyn husked as she decided on how she was going to take her body shot.

Ashlyn leaned down and took Ali’s right breast into her mouth, sucking and nibbling on the brunette’s taut nipple. She loved the way it hardened on her tongue.

“Mmm...damn your mouth feels good on me, Ash.” Ali quietly moaned, knowing that her teammates were in the other room.

Ashlyn worked her way over to the other breast and lavished it with attention as well before standing and pouring salt over each of Ali’s nipples.

“I like your plan so far, Stud.” Ali complimented as the salt tickled her already hard nipples.

Ashlyn grabbed the bottle of tequila and filled Ali’s bellybutton, licking up the overflow. Ali’s eyes widened when instead of placing the lime wedge into her mouth as she expected, Ashlyn squeezed the juice over her already aching clit with a smirk the brunette found positively sexy.

Ali watched enthralled as Ashlyn dipped her tongue into the tequila, and she lapped it down...Ali’s body responding with a flood between her legs as she imagined Ashlyn’s tongue doing the same a little further south. Instead, Ashlyn nipped her way up Ali’s torso to her salt covered nipples, first sucking one and then the other. The blonde started working down the other side and Ali smirked as Ashlyn stopped to reverently kiss her tattoo.

“Can’t forget to give Nittany a little love.” Ashlyn murmured against Ali’s inked skin.

The blonde cut off any smart ass reply from Ali by running her tongue through the brunette’s soaked folds and over her engorged nub, releasing a fresh wave of passion that bathed her tongue in Ali’s sweet nectar.

“Fuck yes, Ash! Right there, babe.” Ali moaned, her hips starting to grind her aching core against Ashlyn’s tongue.

Ashlyn teased Ali’s opening with her fingers, getting them covered in her lover’s passion. Slowly she pressed two fingers all the way inside the brunette’s silky core. Ashlyn moaned at the feeling of Ali surrounding her, the vibrations traveling along her tongue to elicit a moan from the brunette as well. Ashlyn began to move her fingers slowly in and out of Ali to match the pace set by Ali’s hips.

“Please Ash...please...more...I need...more!” Ali panted out, needing to feel completely filled by the blonde.

Ashlyn withdrew her fingers and tucked the tip of her ring finger to the tip of her index finger before gently allowing all three to slip inside Ali. The blonde continued to feast as she drew out a flood around her three fingers. Replacing the thumb of her left hand for her tongue, Ashlyn covered it in Ali’s nectar as well.

“God you are the most beautiful woman in the world, Alex. I can’t believe you’re mine.” Ashlyn’s heartfelt confession tumbled from her lips as she continued to pump inside Ali.

“All...yours...forever.” Ali panted a response as she felt the orgasm building, “God...so...close.”

Ashlyn removed her thumb, and replaced it with her tongue again, moving her thumb to the sensitive button of Ali’s ass. She slowly worked it inside, allowing Ali to get used to the sensation before dipping in further.

“OH MY GOD! FUCK YES!” Ali moaned loudly, the teammates in the other room forgotten as the sensation of being completely filled by Ashlyn overwhelmed her senses and pushed her over the edge.

Ali’s toes curled...her fingers curled into fists...her back arched...her eyes screwed shut...her head pushed back into the dish towel...and her thighs squeezed together as the most powerful orgasm of her life built up quickly from the new sensations. A sweet flood of Ali’s ambrosia drenched Ashlyn’s tongue and hit the back of her throat with some force, as her body convulsed.

“Sweet fucking Jesus what have you done to me, Ash?! FUCK!” Ali’s words fell from her lips as she collapsed into a breathless heap...her heart still pounding in her chest...her core still pulsing greedily around Ashlyn’s fingers, unwilling to give them up.

**

“Now THAT was Ali.” Whitney giggled as she took another sip.

“Yeah, you might want to delete those text messages so there is no chance that Carli and Julie ever find out what really happened tonight.” Becky reasoned.

“Yep. What happens at the Team Sapphic Dream party stays at the Team Sapphic Dream party. I do love that name you guys came up with. I think we may need to re-brand.” Pinoe replied.

A cascading wail drifted through the house and the four women in the living room howled with laughter.

“I have no idea who that was...but damn girl!” Sydney giggled.

“It’s like a sex symphony up in this house! It’s damned near impossible to distinguish between the violins.” Pinoe replied.

“GOD YES CARLI!” Julie’s voice echoed down the hallway to the living room.

“Well, look what a little double dog dare will get ya.” Pinoe pumped her fist in the air, “Get it Carli!”

“I think I can safely declare operation double dog dare a success, ladies.” Sydney asserted.

“Welcome to Team Sapphic Dream, Carli and Julie.” Pinoe grinned.

Chapter Text

Ali smiled as Ashlyn held her arm up so the brunette had access to her fiancee’s chest. She leaned over and laid her head on the blonde, an inked arm snaking around her torso, pulling her closer. Ali loved being wrapped in Ashlyn’s embrace. It made her feel safe, even when she was trapped inside a metal tube hurling through the air at over five hundred miles per hour. There were times when flying didn’t feel any different than being stuck in an elevator.

“Better?” Ashlyn inquired, kissing Ali’s temple.

“Much.” Ali replied, nuzzling into Ashlyn, her trembling body relaxing just a bit.

“Can I tell you a story, Princess?” Ashlyn asked, leaning her cheek against the crown of Ali’s head.

“Does it involve drinking too much and having mind blowing sex in the kitchen of some stranger’s house while your friends are in the next room, then sneaking past them and stealing one of them’s room and having even more sex until you pass out from exhaustion only to wake up a couple of hours later and have to fly to Bum fuck Oregon for some stupid meeting?” Ali rambled, the scent of her favorite person calming her nerves.

“No, but your story sounds much more interesting. Does it involve a very talented, hot, strong Stud with super stamina?” Ashlyn teased.

“Oh my god, seriously Harris, how did you get your head onto the plane through such a tiny door?” Ali teased back, rolling her eyes.

“Hey, it’s a burden being this awesome.” Ashlyn replied, earning herself a playful smack on the shoulder.

“Soooo...getting back to your story before you get sidetracked by all of your awesomeness…” Ali prompted.

“Oh yeah. So once upon a time, there was this little cool kick ass girl...” Ashlyn started.

“Who had long flowing hair the color of chocolate, and wore lots of pink and a tiara.” Ali interrupted with a smirk.

“No...no...no. THIS cool kick ass kid had blonde hair and smacked boys across the face with dead fish when they tried to tease her.” Ashlyn corrected.

“Oh my god, did you really?!” Ali blurted out, unable to stop the fit of giggles at the image of a young Ashlyn Harris whacking some boy across the face with a smelly dead fish.

“Damn right I did! Little jerk deserved it too.” Ashlyn replied with a wry grin that displayed her dimple, “Well, anyhow, this cool kick ass kid was always a little out of place. She always played sports with the boys and never got into playing with dolls or playing house...none of that sort of thing. As she grew up, she realized that she was...different...from all the other kids. When all the other little girls were crushing on the boys, she was crushing the boys...and crushing on the other little girls. This led to some...problems...in the social area of her life. Because of that, this cool kick ass kid never dreamed of getting married or what her wedding would look like.”

Ali’s smile fell. How awful it must have been for Ashlyn growing up, feeling like such an outsider. She started tracing the intricate tattoo lines down the blonde’s left forearm until she met the clean skin of Ashlyn’s left hand. Ali’s hand smoothed over the top of it, and she twined their fingers. Ali brought Ashlyn’s strong hand to her lips and reverently kissed her fiancee’s palm.

Ashlyn’s eyes misted with unshed tears as emotions welled up inside her. How had she managed to win the love of this beautiful woman in her arms? This fierce, caring, sensitive woman who could have anyone she wanted had picked her...Ashlyn Harris...and she was going to make damned sure this Princess Warrior got everything her heart desired. Ashlyn cleared the lump from her throat to continue.

“Meanwhile, in a kingdom far far away, a beautiful princess with long flowing hair the color of chocolate was growing up. She played dolls with her brother, and house with all of her little friends. She was smart, funny, athletic, and dreamed of the day her Stud Charming would sweep her off of her feet and marry her. She often dreamed of a wedding in…” Ashlyn paused and waited.

“A castle.” Ali finally supplied her childhood fantasy location, crimson invading her cheeks at how silly it sounded now.

“...a castle because she was a true princess. This raven haired beauty loved the color of pepto bismol but would never consider torturing her Stud Charming by including that color in the wedding, instead she wanted a wedding full of…” Ashlyn again paused.

“Fuchsia.” Ali replied immediately.

“That’s still pink.” Ashlyn playfully grumbled.

“It’s not pink, it’s fuchsia, and it’s my favorite color. Fuchsia has a bit more purple in it.” Ali tried to get Ashlyn to understand the difference.

Ashlyn shook her head, “Soooo...the Princess, knowing how allergic her Stud Charming is to the color pink decided she wanted a wedding full of…” Ashlyn tried again.

“Fuchsia, and because her Stud Charming loves the princess so very much she will wear the color that brings the princess so much joy with a glad heart.” Ali teased, feeling Ashlyn momentarily tense at the mention of the color that the blonde considered way too girly.

“...Even though the Stud Charming was saving the Princess from all of the toads who had bombarded the Princess with gross dick pics after she appeared in the Royal Body Issue, the Princess insisted on a wedding full of an evil shade of pink which the Stud was still allergic to. Since Stud Charming loved the Princess so very much, they got married sometime after the World Cup and before the Olympics in a castle full of pepto bismol bouquets, so the guests were all nauseated by the time the ceremony was over which allowed the couple to save thousands in royal catering fees. They had lots of gorgeous children who constantly wore Carolina blue and played football, mostly between the posts, and they all lived happily ever after. The end.” Ashlyn finished up, kissing the crown of Ali’s head.

Ali nuzzled further into Ashlyn and laughed, “Remind me never to let you tell our kids bedtime stories! Carolina blue, as if...you are seriously twisted, Stud.”

“And you love every minute of it.” Ashlyn smirked.

“Yes I do.” Ali confessed, placing a tender kiss on Ashlyn’s dimple.

**

Ashlyn grabbed Ali’s large roller bag off of the carousel. The blonde winced in pain and cursed under her breath when the wheel banged into her shin as she pivoted to set the heavy bag down next to hers. Ali grinned at her sheepishly, tucking a strand of silky chocolate colored hair behind her ear. Ashlyn blew out a breath. She couldn’t even manage to get frustrated at her beautiful fiancee for over-packing any more because it happened every single time they traveled.

Ashlyn opened her mouth to speak, but Ali cut her off slipping into her best Ashlyn impression, “Do you think next time you could leave the dead body at home, Alex?”

Ashlyn smirked, two could play at this game and she replied in her best pouty Ali voice, “What? I had to live for three weeks out of that suitcase, Stud...THREE WHOLE WEEKS!”

Ashlyn picked up Ali’s purse and started to sashay away, her hips exaggeratedly swaying back and forth.

“Ashlyn!” Ali called out, and Ashlyn turned around, flipping her hair off one shoulder.

“What? You wanted to be Ashlyn, remember? That means you get the bags, Stud.” Ashlyn teased, batting her eyelashes at Ali and blowing her a kiss.

Ali reached down and grabbed the handles of the suitcases. The brunette started pulling them towards Ashlyn. She didn’t remember the bags being so heavy. Though to be honest, Ashlyn had been taking care of her bag since they had started dating.

“And I don’t walk like that!” Ali playfully grumbled.

“Oh you totally do, but whatever helps you sleep at night.” Ashlyn teased.

Ashlyn finally stopped and turned back. She shooed Ali’s hands off the baggage handles. The blonde couldn’t help herself. It went against her nature to have a lady schlep the bags...especially HER lady.

“I’ll get them, Alex. Here I’ll trade ya.” Ashlyn chuckled, holding Ali’s purse out towards her.

Ali feigned indifference but reached out for her purse. Next trip she would try to reign herself in a bit when she packed, for Ashlyn’s sake. Ali loved how the blonde was what she called, ‘an Old Southern Gentlewoman.’ Ashlyn grabbed the bags and fell in step next to Ali.

Ali saw Rick standing next to a black Lincoln town car a ways down the curb as they stepped outside of the terminal.

“There he is, Ash.” Ali pointed him out.

“Ah, so that is the genius agent who is taking such good care of my Princess.” Ashlyn commented as they started walking towards him.

“C’mon, I’ll introduce you before you take off.” Ali suggested, noting that the taxi stand was just a little further down the curb from Rick.

“Thanks babe, but are you sure you don’t want me to come to the meeting with you?” Ashlyn double checked, wanting to give Ali one last chance to change her mind.

“You’re sweet, Ash, but we both know you drank more than me last night, and you need a nap because I fully intend on using your ‘Stud services’ later. I’ll just meet you back at the hotel room.” Ali winked.

“Oh my god, it’s happened. I’ve totally corrupted you...YEEEEEESSSSSSS!” Ashlyn exclaimed, extending her arm, closing her fist, and driving her elbow back towards her hip in celebration.

“You are such a dork, Ashlyn Harris.” Ali giggled, leading the blonde to her agent.

Rick smiled at Ali as they walked up. Neither noticed that he was talking into his bluetooth. Ashlyn stepped forward to meet him and extended her hand.

“Put them in the trunk, thanks.” Rick directed as he pressed several bills into Ashlyn’s hand before turning back to the car and climbing in.

Ali tried to suppress her laughter, which made her snort. Ashlyn turned her hand over and noticed around twenty dollars in mixed bills in her hand. She shrugged her shoulders and stuffed them into her pocket.

“Hey, it’s the first time anybody has paid me to lug your bags around, I’m not complaining.” Ashlyn winked.

“Alright, Ms. Skycap, I’ll see you in a few hours. I love you.” Ali commented as she allowed Ashlyn to help her into the car.

“Love you too.” Ashlyn replied before closing the door, and shutting the empty trunk.

**

The drive from Portland to Beaverton was pleasant, and gave Ali a chance to collect her thoughts. The last week had been such a whirlwind. For the first time in her life, her future off the pitch wasn’t some murky undefined shadow. She saw it clearly as the images flashed in her head...how gorgeous Ashlyn would be standing next to her in her tux at their wedding...a house on some sunny beach after they retired from football...how her pregnant belly would swell and Ashlyn would insist on waiting on her hand and foot...how her heart would melt the instant she saw Ashlyn cradling each newborn in her arms...how Ashlyn would teach them all to ride the waves and try to corrupt them into being goalkeepers who wore Carolina blue...how they would raise their children surrounded by the love and support of their family and friends. Ali’s smile suddenly fell. It wasn’t fair. How could her daddy...no, her FATHER...rip her heart out like this? And how, after all he had done to hurt them, could she feel his absence as a big gaping hole in her beautiful future with the absolute love of her life? Ali quickly wiped away a tear that had found its way past her lashes.

The brunette absently twisted the deep pink princess cut diamond solitaire around her left ring finger as she thought about how different her father was from the loving man who had been her hero growing up. Sunlight glinted off of the large gem and caught her eye. Ali studied the gorgeous treasure. Leave it to Ashlyn to find a diamond so close to her favorite color. The blonde had shown her over and over again how deeply she was loved and adored. This ring felt like a constant kiss from Ashlyn wrapped around her finger. Ali’s lips curled in a contented smile...not even her father could take that away. She took out her iphone and sent out a quick tweet.

**

As the car pulled up into the Nike world headquarters complex, Ali’s mouth dropped open. There were fourteen buildings up to five stories tall that surrounded a private lake. She saw a full sized football field and an outdoor running track that was identical in markings to any track you would find at an Olympic track and field competition. Everywhere she looked it was a celebration of athletics and the swoosh.

“Amazing isn’t it.” Rick broke the silence.

“I’ll say. There was no penny pinching going on when they built this place!” Ali commented, her voice full of awe.

“Oh you haven’t seen anything yet. They have an Olympic sized indoor pool that overlooks a couple of soccer pitches, a beach volleyball court, and a track. They have several indoor and outdoor gym areas full of both free weights and machines. A hitting range to work on your golf swing, hell, they even have a skate park.” Rick explained.

Ali shook her head, “This is like a dream come true. Who wouldn’t want to work for a company that provided so much for them?! Wow.”

**

As Ali and Rick entered the lobby, they were greeted by a large reception desk with sleek lines and an illuminated swoosh across the front. The receptionist, a very fit looking young woman smiled at Rick and called up the executive for them. She set the receiver back onto the cradle.

“They are ready for you, Mr. Carlton. Do you still know your way to the conference room?” the receptionist asked.

“Yes ma’am I do. Thanks.” Rick stated with a wink.

“Welcome to team Nike, Ms. Krieger.” the receptionist called out to Ali as she followed Rick.

“Thank you.” Ali smiled warmly as she acknowledged the receptionist.

Ali loved how the hallway resembled a running track. One of the walls they passed was a huge quote by Bill Bowerman, one of Nike’s two founders, ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only soft people.’ Ali smiled thinking of all the training she did, and matches she played, in the rain and snow. She already adored the culture here.

The conference room was large and a huge rugby ball shaped table dominated the central space. At the far end of the table was one high backed chair that was facing away from the table so Ali couldn’t see who was sitting in it, but a man in a suit with a Nike swoosh tie tack was standing next to it facing her. The room was surrounded ten large screen monitors that each had a different game in a different sport playing. On the wall nearest Ali, another quote from Bill Bowerman was prominently displayed next to his likeness that read, ‘If you have a body, you are an athlete.’ Ali smiled as she sank into a chair...Nike was a perfect fit.

Before Ali could register what was happening, the monitors changed one by one...flashing pictures of she and Ashlyn together...images of tweets sent out announcing dates, their love and adoration for each other, dreams of a future together...their engagement...even the last tweet that Ali had sent out in the car only minutes before about how wearing Ashlyn’s engagement ring made her feel special and incredibly loved.

“What the fuck is going on?” Ali mumbled in shock as the images kept flashing.

She looked over at Rick and noticed how his face had drained of all color. What the hell was going on?!

“Oh god Ali, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know.” Rick murmured, his face falling into his hands.

“What?!” Ali asked, needing the man to explain.

The man at the head of the room cleared his throat and Ali’s attention shifted from her agent to the chair he was swiveling around to face them. The color drained from the brunette’s face as she saw the large monitor sitting in the chair was dominated by a very familiar face with a very familiar smirk.

“Hello, Ali. What, surprised to see me? Well since I can’t play soccer anymore, I had to do something...and luckily daddy let me take over athlete endorsements for this tiny holding of ours. Oh yes, that makes me your boss here.” Daniela explained, hatred evident in her narrowed eyes.

Ali had seen enough. She stood up, but Rick quickly grabbed her arm.

“SIT DOWN!” Daniela ordered, and Ali reluctantly complied, “Good girl. Now, as you can see on the monitors, you have been a very naughty little athlete. I hope you brought your piggy bank with you because according to my calculations, you owe Nike one hundred and twenty thousand dollars in fines.”

“What the actual fuck are you talking about, Dani?!” Ali spat out, trying to maintain her composure, her stomach threatening to lose its contents.

“Are you telling me that you didn’t read your contract before signing it? Tsk, tsk. For someone who prides herself on being so well prepared, I must say, I am shocked.” Daniela mocked the brunette, “Well, good thing for you that I gave Nike’s lead attorney Steven here a copy of the morality clause for you to peruse.”

Ali’s gut clenched even tighter as the man in the suit handed her the two page document in question, her signature and date clearly evident along the bottom of each page. She read the document until she came to the well buried paragraph that made her blood run cold. Her eyes widened in shock, then turned to disgust. Daniela’s lips curled into a feral grin.

“I see you have found it. Please, read it aloud for the class, Ali.” Dani ordered.

Ali’s jaw clenched. In that instant, if Dani had been standing in front of her, she would have probably choked the youngster to death...fuck the consequences.

“Go on. READ IT.” Daniela demanded, her voice turning cold.

“As a representative of Nike and role model for young children, any homosexual conduct is expressly forbidden. Any proof of such illicit activity will be punished with a fine of $10,000 US dollars for each occurrence to include, but not limited to, pictures, tweets, facebook postings, instagram messages, and any other public media source, especially live television broadcasts. In the event you decide to enter into a homosexual marriage, you will be fined $1 MILLION US DOLLARS. In the event your fines total more than your pay, you will be subject to forfeiture of all your assets to include but not limited to your bank accounts, joint bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, cars, houses, bare land, jewelry, and other real property. You are further not allowed to discuss the terms of this contract with anyone other than your agent and lawyer, any such breach of this term will be punished by a fine of $5 MILLION US DOLLARS.” Ali read, her shoulders sagging before she looked up at Daniela and shook her head, “YOU are gay, Dani. How the hell can you live with yourself?!”

“Well, since I’m single and can’t have the woman I want, neither will you.” Daniela stated smugly.

“Fucking coward! Come in here and discuss this with me face to face!” Ali screamed as she suddenly snapped, ready to slap that smirk off of the young woman’s face.

Daniela laughed and wagged her finger at the camera, “Sorry, but coach had a restraining order placed on me. I’m not allowed within 500 feet of any of you. So until that little nasty business goes away, skype meetings will have to suffice.” Daniela explained to Ali, loving every second of her revenge.

“Why don’t you just declare that I’ve broken the contract and take your money back.” Ali tried one last suggestion.

Daniela’s face hardened, she resembled the living embodiment of pure evil as far as Ali was concerned.

“Because for the next five years I OWN YOU. You think that ring marks you as Ashlyn’s? For the next five years you will wear MY MARK. Every time you put on a bra, every time you put on a jersey, every time you put on your boots it will be there to remind you that you belong to ME! That swoosh is MY mark. And you will peddle my goods to the world. Pictures of you wearing MY MARK will be up all over the world. Everyone will know that Alexandra Krieger is owned by Nike...and you will help me get richer because of it. No Ali, there will be no breach of contract for you.” Daniela taunted Ali, “You can make out your check to Daniela Hearst.”

The brunette got to her feet. Ali’s face burned as she took out her check book from her purse and wrote out a check for nearly half of her year’s salary from Nike...all with Daniela’s laughter ringing in her ears. When she finished, she ripped it out of the book and slammed it down on the table. Ali’s eyes narrowed as she glared at Daniela over the monitor.

“Fuck you, Dani.” Ali spat out and then turned toward Rick, “You are fired. I don’t ever want to hear from you again.”

With that, Ali stormed out, her mind not even registering what Daniela was saying as she left the conference room. Once she was safely in the hallway, away from Daniela’s prying eyes, Ali broke into a run. She ran out of the building and didn’t stop until she had cleared the massive complex. Finally alone, Ali crumpled against a tree and allowed the tears to fall.

Chapter Text

Ashlyn finally heard the lock on the door to their hotel room activate, and she slipped a Listerine strip into her mouth. Ali opened the door and walked in. She saw Ashlyn waiting for her on the bed dressed in simple blue Ethika boxers and a white button up shirt that hung open, revealing the brunette’s favorite silky maroon tie splitting the blonde’s small breasts to lay against toned abs. Ashlyn’s smirk fell and she jumped off the bed to rush over to Ali as she saw the brunette’s tear stained cheeks and red swollen eyes that burned with an intensity Ashlyn had only ever seen out on the pitch.

“What’s wrong, babe?” Ashlyn asked as she wrapped her arms around Ali’s waist.

Ali took a deep breath to calm herself. She had allowed tears to fall after running away from the Nike compound, but somewhere during her taxi ride from Beaverton back to Portland her shock and despair had turned to rage. Ali looked into her favorite face, and knew that her fiancee was confused. Words...Ashlyn needed words...needed an explanation...but she found the lump in her throat too large to get her words past. Ali grabbed Ashlyn’s tie and pulled the blonde to her, crashing their lips together. The angry brunette’s tongue pushed against Ashlyn’s lips demanding entry, and she moaned at the clean taste of the blonde’s mouth as the kiss deepened. There was no way she was going to allow a piss ant like Daniela Hearst to dictate who she could love...or when and where she could get married. What she needed was Ashlyn.

When the need for oxygen forced them apart, Ashlyn gazed deeply into Ali’s passion and rage darkened eyes. She knew that there were times when the brunette enjoyed sex a little on the rougher side, but the angry hunger she saw housed in Ali’s eyes right now eclipsed anything Ashlyn had ever seen before from her fiancee. She opened her mouth to speak, but before she could get a single word out, Ali had taken possession of her mouth again.

Ali walked Ashlyn backwards until the back of her legs bumped into the edge of the bed. With an urgent push from the brunette, Ashlyn landed on her back with her lower legs dangling off the bed. The blonde watched as Ali flung her purse across the room and it smashed into the wall, contents spilling out. Ashlyn swallowed hard as she watched Ali’s inner war flashing in her eyes as she slowly approached the bed. She didn’t know what had Ali so upset, but she could read what the other half of her soul needed. Even though she would be lying if she said it didn’t scare her just the tiniest bit, deep down Ashlyn trusted Ali with every fiber of her being.

“It’s ok, Alex. Take what you need. I love you, babe...I love ALL of you...even the darkest parts.” Ashlyn gave her permission, noting the momentary flash of relief and love in Ali’s eyes.

Ashlyn’s breathing hitched as she felt Ali’s hands roughly grab fists of the waist band of her boxers. The blonde lifted her hips up, allowing her fiancee to jerk her boxers over her ass and brusquely tug them off. Ali brought the boxers up and buried her face in them, deeply inhaling the clean unique muskiness of her lover, feeding her hunger before casting them aside.

A shiver ran down Ashlyn’s spine as Ali suddenly grabbed her legs and easily pulled her to the edge of the bed...people seriously underestimated her woman’s strength. Ashlyn spread herself for Ali, and took a deep breath. Ali stepped between the blonde’s legs and reached for her center. Just before her hand made contact, Ali froze. She pulled her hand away as if she had been burned, and tears welled up in her eyes.

“Oh god, Ash...I almost touched you out of anger. I...I...don’t ever want to do that. What the fuck is happening to me?!” Ali blurted out, feeling nauseated.

Ashlyn quickly sat up and wrapped strong arms around Ali’s waist, “Shhh...it’s ok.”

Ali’s knees felt weak and she allowed Ashlyn to guide her onto the blonde’s lap. The brunette nuzzled into Ashlyn’s neck and took several deep calming breaths as the blonde held her tightly. Ashlyn’s protective arms made Ali feel even more guilty. Ashlyn deserved the truth, consequences be damned.

“I’m so sorry, Ash. I…” Ali started, her breath hitching, “I...I had to fire Rick.”

Ashlyn’s brows scrunched in confusion. She tenderly caressed Ali’s back, soothingly.

“What happened, Alex? You adored Rick.” Ashlyn asked, really confused by the change between the Ali she had seen off at the airport, and the Ali who had shown up at their hotel room.

“I need you to do something for me first...” Ali whispered, biting her lower lip.

 

**

They had just sat down with their iced lattes when Ashlyn whipped out her iphone and snapped a quick selfie of the two of them sucking up their first sips through straws, tweeting it with the caption, ‘Coffee date with the one and only Miss Krieger. We out here exploring Hipster City; eatin what we like and takin in the scene. #SeetSeets #WorthIt.’ Ali laughed as she pictured how angry Daniela would be when she saw that tweet.

Ashlyn winked at Ali and slipped her hand over the brunette’s smaller one, both of them feeling the tingle at the contact. Ali smiled shyly...it never got old having Ashlyn Harris touch her. Ashlyn flashed Ali a dimpled grin. She was so glad that the brunette’s mood had vastly improved...but then their talk probably had something to do with that.

“So I was thinking we could check out the park across the street after we finish these and maybe squeeze in a quick run before we head back to the hotel room.” Ali suggested, smiling sweetly when Ashlyn groaned.

Ashlyn took a teeny tiny sip and set her latte down. Ali arched an eyebrow at the blonde whose eyes widened and she shrugged challengingly.

“Don’t dawdle. I know how quickly you drink your coffee, remember, Stud?!” Ali chided.

“I’m not ‘dawdling’...I’m saaaavoring.” Ashlyn corrected, once again taking a miniscule sip and swishing it around her mouth before swallowing it with an exaggerated ‘ahhhh.’

“You’re not savoring. You’re procraaaaaastinating. You have five minutes to finish up, and then we are going on our run...whether or not you have finished your latte.” Ali replied, her look daring Ashlyn to make another comment.

Ashlyn’s mouth opened and then she thought better of it, bringing the straw to her lips snapping her mouth closed around it, and sucking down a good portion of what was left in her cup. Ali smirked triumphantly and Ashlyn rolled her eyes. True to her word, five minutes later Ali slipped off of her stool and grabbed a handful of Ashlyn’s grey sweatshirt, pulling the blonde off her stool as well.

“Hey! Easy with the merchandise, lady. You break it, you bought it!” Ashlyn playfully grumbled as she stumbled to her feet, awkwardly catching her balance.

“Oh I already own that sweet ass, so get it moving.” Ali sassed, swatting the blonde across her asscheeks as she trudged past.

**

It had been a great run. Ali had needed a bit of sweat therapy after her meeting at Nike, and as she peeled off her layers of sweat drenched clothes, she felt the weight of that meeting leaving her. Ashlyn stood behind Ali and slipped her arms around the defender’s waist, kissing the back of her shoulder. As the blonde nipped and sucked her way to the nape of Ali’s neck, she pressed her naked body against Ali’s.

“Ew Ash, I’m all sweaty.” Ali protested as Ashlyn continued to lick and nip her neck.

“Mmm...I know. Just need to pour some butter on you and you’d taste just like popcorn.” Ashlyn murmured against her neck.

Ali pulled away from Ashlyn and patted her face, “Babe, remember earlier when we talked about over sharing?”

Ashlyn smirked at Ali as she followed the defender into the shower, “Sometimes you just have to have the hard conversations, and you taste like...”

Ali carefully pushed up on her toes and kissed Ashlyn mumbling against her lips, “Sometimes you just need to know when to shut up and kiss the girl.”

Hot water cascaded over their bodies as they continued to kiss. When they needed air, Ashlyn reached behind Ali and scooped up her bottle of shampoo. She squeezed some out into her palm and slowly worked it through Ali’s hair, taking her time to really massage the brunette’s scalp. Ali melted into Ashlyn’s touch, her head lolling back and eyes drifting shut while a soft contented moan escaped her lips. Once that task was completed, Ashlyn used her hands to massage shower gel over Ali’s body, lingering over her shoulders, breasts, and ass. The blonde shot Ali a hungry look as she closed the tiny distance and pressed her body into the brunette’s soapy flesh.

“I’d really like to go dancing tonight.” Ali managed to get out between kisses.

Ashlyn tore herself away from the lips that always intoxicated her, and leaned her forehead against Ali’s, her chest heaving as she caught her breath. Ali’s lips bunched up into a pout.

“I didn’t say you had to stop.” Ali pointed out with an edge of whine in her tone.

“Oh but Princess, if you want to go out dancing we most definitely have to stop. If we don’t stop now, I’m afraid you won’t be leaving this hotel room until the taxi comes to take us to the airport tomorrow.” Ashlyn explained.

“Then let’s get going. Just don’t drink too much because I’m going to hold you to that once we get back.” Ali replied, as she allowed her hands to brush across the blonde’s toned abs.

“Yes my Queen.” Ashlyn replied with a wolfish grin.

“Oh I do plan on Queening tonight.” Ali smirked and then leaned back to put her head under the spray.

**

Ali loved feeling Ashlyn’s hand on the small of her back when they navigated a new dance club. It was comforting and territorial at the same time. They had managed to snag a booth when the occupants decided they were going to go get a bite to eat next door. A cute cocktail blonde waitress in a short skirt came around to get their order, and winked at Ali as she took off to fetch their order.

“Oooh, she is into you, Princess, should I be worried?” Ashlyn teased.

“Totally not my type.” Ali responded, “Clearly we’d be fighting over the same strappy heels.”

“So what do you think of Holocene?” Ashlyn asked, looking around at the locals.

“I think we should test out that dance floor once we get a drink in us.” Ali replied, longingly watching the people moving to the sick music the local DJ was spinning.

Ashlyn took a quick picture of Ali while she was looking around and tweeted, ‘We out here at Holocene kickin it like a local.’

It didn’t take the waitress long to return with their drinks. As she set the drinks down, she also slid a ‘reserved’ tag onto the table.

“In case you want to show me your moves, later.” the waitress said with a flirty laugh.

“Thank you. That’s very kind of you, isn’t it, babe?” Ali demurred, leaning her head on Ashlyn’s shoulder.

“Yes it is. Too kind.” Ashlyn replied, snaking an inked arm around Ali’s shoulders, pulling her in closer.

“Let me know if there is anything I can do for either of you...or both.” the waitress husked, undeterred.

Ashlyn chuckled at Ali who was shooting daggers with her eyes at the retreating woman, “Easy there, tiger. I’d hate to see what you’d do if she made a serious pass.”

Ali took a long sip of her vodka cranberry. The alcohol burn felt good in her throat. Ashlyn tipped her glass of whiskey in salute to her lady and took a satisfying sip. It didn’t take long for them to drain their drinks. Ashlyn stood up and held her hand out to Ali to help her up. She led the gorgeous brunette out to the dance floor, noticing how many eyes they already had on them.

Ali and Ashlyn moved like no one else in the world existed. Ali loved how Ashlyn looked in her classic white button down with the sleeves rolled to mid forearm tucked inside dark grey twill slacks that were held up by leather suspenders, and she had to concede that the bow tie was sexy as hell. Ashlyn reached out and placed a hand on Ali’s hip, drawing the woman closer. She loved the feeling of Ali’s silky black dress, and couldn’t wait to slip her hands underneath it.

When a slow song finally came on, Ali chewed her bottom lip and looked up at Ashlyn. Without saying a word, Ashlyn wrapped her arms around the brunette and swayed their bodies together along the edge of the dance floor. Ali snaked her arms around the taller woman’s neck. She adored how perfectly their bodies fit together when they danced.

“What’s going on in that beautiful mind of yours, Princess?” Ashlyn asked, her lips brushing Ali’s ear, causing her to shiver.

“Just thinking how lucky I am that you are all mine. I sometimes look at you and can’t quite believe it.” Ali confessed.

“Oh babe, I’m the lucky one. I can tell you right now that there are at least twenty people in here all trying to figure out how to get rid of me.” Ashlyn chuckled.

When the song was over, Ali pulled Ashlyn back to their booth. She was thirsty and knew that after nearly an hour on the dance floor, Ashlyn would appreciate the break. Even though she was fit, the blonde was still a goalkeeper, and cardio was not her favorite. As they sat together in the booth, Ashlyn took out her iphone and snapped a selfie of them cuddling in the booth. She tweeted it along with the message, ‘Errybody hatin on me for having the most gorgeous dance partner here. #SorryNotSorryPortland’

“Did you just send out another tweet?” Ali asked arching an eyebrow at Ashlyn.

“Maybe.” Ashlyn replied then laughed, “Guilty. I couldn’t help it, you are absolutely stunning.”

Ashlyn noticed two men who were paying particularly close attention to them as Ali leaned in and placed a kiss on her cheek. Ali noticed Ashlyn concentrating and followed her gaze. She gasped. She had seen both of them at Nike headquarters. Her eyes narrowed as she noticed one of them holding an iphone up in their direction, taking video, or possibly facetiming.

“Those guys are from Nike. I think they were sent here to spy on me. But how the hell would they know we were here?” Ali wondered aloud.

Ashlyn grimaced, “Uh, I might have tweeted a pic of you when we first got here saying that we were checking out Holocene.”

Ali sighed. She loved Ashlyn, she really did, but sometimes the blonde was just too enthusiastic for her own good. Well, at least she knew that Daniela had most probably seen the tweets if those two Nike goons were there...and it had gotten to her. Ali smiled. That little bitch was NOT going to ruin her night...but maybe they could ruin hers.

Ali leaned up and let her lips brush against Ashlyn’s ear, “I think we should give them something to report.”

Ashlyn swallowed hard as she felt the thigh muscles under her hand ripple when Ali spread her legs wider under the table. It wasn’t like anyone could see what was happening underneath the table, but it still felt dangerous and exciting to the blonde as she allowed her hand to slip up the inside of Ali’s thigh until she met the lacy barrier of Ali’s thong.

“Are you sure about this, Alex?” Ashlyn husked, quickly feeling her boxers become damp.

Ali reached a hand under the table and guided Ashlyn’s hand under her thong, “Very.”

Ali stared defiantly at the phone in the man’s hand and licked her lips as Ashlyn’s fingers slid through her wet folds, teasing her entrance. She had never had sex in public, but she was sending that bitch a message. Nobody would tell Alexandra Blaire Krieger who she could love. Ashlyn moaned at the wetness she found, and coated her fingers before gently slipping two fingers inside Ali.

Ali moaned, her face contorting in pleasure, noting with satisfaction that the men seemed particularly embarrassed. Ashlyn found a slow steady rhythm and worked her fingers in and out of Ali’s core, matching the hip thrusts of the brunette.

“God you are so wet for me, babe.” Ashlyn husked into Ali’s ear.

Ashlyn increased her pace as Ali’s hips thrust faster against her long fingers. She wanted a quick release, and Ashlyn was determined to give it to her. When the blonde used her thumb to stroke circles on her sensitive clit, Ali bit her bottom lip to keep from crying out. Once Ashlyn curled her fingers and each stroke hit Ali’s g-spot, she could feel the orgasm building.

“God, so close.” Ali quietly moaned, “Don’t you dare fucking stop.”

Ashlyn plunged in and out furiously, a sheen of sweat covering her flesh. With one final deep thrust, Ali’s body shook as she came undone.

“NOOOOOOOO!!!” Daniela screamed from her office as she watched Ali’s body shake from an obvious orgasm.

Daniela threw her cell phone against the wall in disgust when she saw Ashlyn licking her fingers clean, and it shattered. She let loose a blood curdling scream of frustration. If Ali wanted to play, she was going to make damned certain it cost her...dearly. Nobody crossed a Hearst...nobody. Ali's message had been received, loud and clear.

Chapter Text

Ashlyn heaved a heavy sigh from deep in her chest. She really hated having to be a part of the dog and pony show to promote women’s football...especially when it seemed that all anyone cared about was how good looking their team was, not how well they played. Ali reached over and squeezed the blonde’s hand as they sat next to each other in matching “director’s chairs” along the out of bounds area of the pitch where the photoshoot would take place getting their make-up done by the professional make-up artists the US Soccer Federation had hired. She knew exactly what was going through her fiancee’s mind.

“Looking good ladies.” Chris stated as he walked past lugging a large case of photo equipment.

Ashlyn glowered at the oblivious photographer. Ali ran her thumb soothingly over the back of the blonde’s hand.

“He doesn’t know any better, Ash.” Ali reminded her frustrated fiancee.

“Yeah, that’s the problem. Why can’t we just be respected for our prowess on the pitch instead of what we look like?” Ashlyn lamented causing Ali to giggle.

“I know, right?! I mean from day one my keeper only noticed my prowess...not my assets.” Ali smirked.

“God woman, I hate it when you remind me what a hypocritical McJerky face I am.” Ashlyn jokingly grumbled.

“That’s a Jerky Jerk McJerk face, Stud.” Ali corrected, earning her a playful eye roll from the blonde, “And just think, because of this photoshoot we get an extra day to see our friends and hang out after all this hoopla and the team meeting is over.”

“Yeah, I do like that we get to see everyone when we normally wouldn’t.” Ashlyn reluctantly admitted, “But it doesn’t mean I have to like being a glorified performing monkey.”

Ali giggled and Ashlyn’s eyes narrowed as she pouted. The brunette brought Ashlyn’s hand over onto her thigh and slid it up into dangerous territory.

“Funny, I kind of like your wild monkey performances.” Ali stated with a lascivious grin.

“Check please!” Ashlyn blurted out, raising a finger.

Ali laughed, “You are just gonna have to slow your roll there, King Kong. Pictures first, Animal Planet afterwards.”

“See?! There is always a catch with you, woman.” Ashlyn playfully grumbled, grateful that her fiancee had once again managed to pull her out of her funk.

As soon as they had their make-up finished, Chris was done setting up his equipment, and he had the two go through a series of still poses before they moved onto ‘action’ poses. The final shot series had Ashlyn going up against Ali and Alex for a ball, the lanky blonde keeper beating the other two to the ball to grab it out of midair. Once they were finished, Ashlyn made a bee line to the locker room to wash the excess make-up off of her face. The blonde preferred much lighter and more natural looking make-up.

Ali walked up to the sink next to Ashlyn and started removing the layers of ‘pancake face’ make-up the professionals liked to apply. The blonde looked at herself in the mirror and grimaced.

“God, they always gotta make us look like prostitutes.” Ashlyn complained as she swiped at her face with a washcloth, hating everything about the photoshoot.

“Damn, we aren’t very good at it either. I mean, I didn’t get paid, did you?” Ali replied, winking.

“Uh oh, does that mean we are gonna have to hide from our pimp again?” Ashlyn played along.

“Not so sure it would help, Jill still has access to the locker room, Stud.” Ali reasoned as she reapplied her mascara.

Ashlyn finished washing her face and left just a touch of mascara before she slipped into her USWNT blue warm-up jacket with the red stripe down the sleeves. Ali smiled at her in the mirror. She loved how gorgeous and strong Ashlyn looked when she wore it. The blonde gave her a quick kiss on the temple as she walked past to the lockers, and sank down on the bench to wait for her fiancee.

“I was thinking maybe we should start talking about the logistics of our wedding, Princess.” Ashlyn commented, as she nervously twisted her shark head ring around her finger.

“Can we wait until after the team meeting please?” Ali deflected.

“Sure. Did you ever hear back from Frankfurt?” Ashlyn asked, dreading the answer.

“Not yet. I’m sure I’ll find out any day now. Either way, we will be fine. It’s not like we haven’t had to play in different countries before.” Ali replied, hating the words even as they slipped past her lips.

“That’s right. And even if you do have to go back for a few months...think of the intense reunion sex!” Ashlyn enthused as she wagged her eyebrows suggestively at the brunette, knowing she had to be strong for her fiancee.

“That is always the best part, Stud.” Ali agreed, trying to keep the sadness out of her voice as she smiled at Ashlyn in the mirror, wanting to be equally as strong.

Ali finished with her make-up and pulled out her iphone to check her email while she walked over to where Ashlyn was waiting. Her eyebrows knitted together as she read the contents sent from Nike. Ali shook her head...there was no way in hell she was going to pay a fine for Ashlyn’s Portland tweets without a fight. She looked up and noticed that Ashlyn had stood up and was holding her jacket for her, looking a bit confused. Ali exited out of her email and forced her lips to curl into a smile for the blonde as she allowed Ashlyn to help her into her jacket and zip it up.

“Something you want to share, Alex?” Ashlyn asked, knowing damn good and well that was the brunette’s fake smile.

“It’s a secret.” Ali replied, a touch of sarcasm in her voice.

“Even better. Here, let me take a picture of you telling it to me...our kids should know that we don’t keep things from each other.” Ashlyn joked as she took out her phone and got it ready to take a selfie, “Ok...go!”

Ali leaned over to Ashlyn, used her hand to cup her jaw and nose to the blonde’s ear and whispered, “Daniela Hearst is a cunt,” just as the blonde’s thumb pressed the button to take the picture, capturing her surprised and amused expression.

“Ooooh! Do you kiss your mother with that mouth, Princess?!” Ashlyn blurted out.

“Not as much as I do yours.” Ali sassed as she walked over to the door, “Come on, we have a hot ten minutes before the team meeting.”

Ashlyn looked at the photo and grinned. It was perfect. She quickly typed out, ‘The mac to my cheese…’ and posted the photo on instagram as they walked down the hall. Ali looked over at Ashlyn’s smirk and groaned.

“Did you just post that picture, Stud?” Ali inquired, almost hearing an audible ‘cha-ching’ from Nike trying to assess her another fine.

 

**

Ashlyn swallowed the last bite of her salmon that Ali had ordered for her, and washed it down with lemon water. It was not nearly as satisfying as the corn dogs and macaroni and cheese would have been that the blonde had tried to order, but she also wouldn’t have to pay nearly as much for it later in the gym. Ashlyn gazed at her fiancee across the booth from her. Ali looked stressed as she mostly shoved food around her plate, the trick not fooling her concerned keeper. They were supposed to be eating before the rest of their teammates showed up to grab a couple of drinks. Ashlyn reached for the sullen brunette’s hand and she wrapped her larger one comfortingly around it.

“What’s wrong, Alex?” Ashlyn asked, concern and love reflecting from her compassionate soft hazel eyes.

Ali sighed. She knew deep down that the blonde would always be able to see right through her walls, but it didn’t make her confession any easier.

“I...I don’t have anyone to give me away at our wedding.” Ali mumbled, confused that she even cared that her father would be absent.

Hearing her normally strong, tenacious, and confident princess warrior sounding like a lost child broke Ashlyn’s heart. It was her fault that Ali’s father wouldn’t be there...her fault that her soulmate wouldn’t get the wedding of her dreams.

“The hell you don’t!” Abby’s strong voice rang out behind them as the rest of their teammates walked up to join them, “It would be my honor.”

“Oh hell no. I will be giving the Princess away.” Hope countered as she hip checked Abby and slid into the booth next to her favorite right back.

Whitney slid in next to Ashlyn and stole her water, just as amused by her teammates as her best friend was.

“In your dreams, Han. I’ll be giving her away.” Tobin argued as she flashed Ali a bright smile.

“No...just nooooo Tobes. This whole ‘Han Solo’ nickname you are trying to get started is NOT going to be a thing!” Hope groused as the keeper sent Tobin a death glare that the laid back middie promptly ignored as she swatted Pinoe’s hand away from the bread on Ali’s plate.

“Fuck all you. I’ll cut a bitch. I’M the only one gonna give her away!” Pinoe practically shouted, garnering the attention of most everyone in the hotel’s restaurant and bar.

Ali giggled watching Tobin and Pinoe as they had a slap fight over her plate before she turned towards Ashlyn, “Should I be worried that they are all so eager to give me away?!”

Sydney wrapped her arms around Ali from the booth behind the brunette and then pointed over her shoulder to Ashlyn, “Considering they are all eager to give you away to THAT one? Yes...you should be VERY worried, hun.”

“Hey, watch it!” Ashlyn playfully grumbled before her face broke out into a dimple bearing smirk, “I thought I was your boo.”

“Well, you just don’t have the right equipment or stamina to satisfy a girl like me, Stud. Sorry.” Sydney sassed as she nonchalantly reached over Ali and plucked a cherry tomato off the amused brunette’s salad while Tobin and Pinoe continued their slap fight over it.

Ali reached up and pulled Sydney down to where she could whisper in her ear as the striker popped the pilfered tomato in her mouth. Sydney’s eyes widened in shock and she pulled back, looking at Ali in disbelief.

“Really?! That big?! C’mon.” Sydney stated skeptically, crimson invading Ashlyn’s face from the comment.

“NO! No...no...no! See, this is NOT allowed!” Ashlyn tried to interrupt the two women gossiping about her sexual prowess.

Ali pulled the inked striker down again and whispered furiously into her ear, Sydney’s eyes flashing a bit of envy as she looked at Ali again, “Seriously? That long?!”

Ali smirked as she nodded her head in satisfaction, “Oh yeah. She may be a goalkeeper, but my Stud actually does have quite a bit of stamina.”

“Damn Stud, I’m impressed. I retract my statement. You are most definitely my boo, just don’t forget your add on!” Sydney teased, flashing the blonde a flirty smile.

“STRAP-ON!” Ali, Kelley, Abby, Pinoe, Hope, and Tobin corrected nearly at the same time, bright crimson invading Ashlyn’s face.

“I hate you. I hate ALL of you!” Ashlyn playfully grumbled, just glad that the sparkle had returned to Ali’s eyes.

Whitney patted Ashlyn’s shoulder, “It’s ok, Stud. I still love you. I would never tell your embarrassing secrets...like the time in college where you got so drunk you puked when that rugby winger pushed you down and sat on your face in the kitchen. That was quite the party, but your secret is safe with me.”

“I HAD THE FLU!” Ashlyn insisted as laughter erupted all around her.

“Yeah, the deadly Beer Pong Flu you caught from the rugby team.” Tobin added, creating another wave of laughter from her teammates.

“I hate you most of all, Whit.” Ashlyn commented, hanging her head in her hands as she surrendered herself to the fact that it was now a team mission to see just how horribly they could embarrass her.

Ashlyn peeked through her fingers at Ali while her teammates all laughed at her expense, watching as the beautiful brunette’s nose crinkled as she laughed hard...pure joy reflected in her eyes. Ashlyn smiled as she held her head in her hands. The blonde would gladly suffer any amount of embarrassment to see that nose crinkling smile back on her love’s face.

**

Pinoe took a large swig of her tequila heavy Mayan Mule, and a little sloshed out as she set it down harder than she had intended. The diminutive midfielder smiled and lazily pointed at Ashlyn. The blonde had drawn the short straw earlier and was on ‘Pinhead drunk and disorderly’ babysitting duty while the rest of the team conversed not far away.

“It’s all your fault you know.” Pinoe’s words came out slightly slurred.

Ashlyn chuckled at her quite buzzed friend, “Yeah, what’s all my fault, Pinhead?”

“We gots exiled from all da pretties.” Pinoe replied, a wistful stress on the word ‘pretties.’

Ashlyn looked over her shoulder to the tall windows that looked into the hotel bar. Inside, several good looking women were milling about with drinks in their hands. The blonde turned her attention back to Pinoe.

“You know what, I’m fairly certain it was YOU that got us eighty sixed from in there tonight. Something about being too drunk to respect proper boundaries...but hey, at least they let us use the pool area and gave us our very own cocktail waitress, so tonight isn’t a total bust.” Ashlyn patted Pinoe’s shoulder, patronizingly.

“But you gonna getsslaid by a pretty tonight.” Pinoe complained, her words slurring a bit more with each sentence as the alcohol in her system started hitting her...hard.

“The guilt trip won’t work, Pinhead. Besides, what do you want with a woman? You are far too drunk to do anything if you GOT one.” Ashlyn teased her friend.

Pinoe released a heavy sigh, “I know. I’s juss lonely, Asshhh. Real lonely.”

Ashyln put her arm around Pinoe’s shoulder and squeezed her into a side hug, “Yeah, being single sure can suck sometimes, alright.”

Pinoe laid her head on Ashlyn’s shoulder, “Yesh, shingle and lonely.”

Ashlyn sighed. She felt bad for her long time friend and teammate. It didn’t happen often, but occasionally the midfielder got into a funk about her single status and would seek solace in the bottom of a bottle of tequila. Once that happened, it was a crap shoot which Pinoe you ended up with...goofy Pinoe...depressed Pinoe...horny Pinoe...or angry and ready to start a fight with the whole world Pinoe. It was always best if she had her very own DAS...designated adult supervision. Ashlyn rubbed Pinoe’s arm up and down trying to sooth her buddy.

“Would it be cool if I practiced a bit in here? I don’t want to disturb you and your friends, but I have a gig in a little bit and could use the warm up.” An unfamiliar voice next to them startled the duo, and Pinoe quickly sat up, causing her head to spin a bit.

Once Pinoe’s eyes could focus, she grinned widely at the petite woman holding a guitar as she pushed Ashlyn away with both hands. Ashlyn chuckled, resisting the urge to push her back, knowing that the midfielder would fall over if she did.

“Shure honey...you can sssit right here.” Pinoe slurred as she tapped her mouth with her pointer finger, “We can both practish.”

Ashlyn quickly clapped a large hand over Pinoe’s mouth and looked up at the woman apologetically, “I’m so sorry. My buddy here has had way more than one too many shots of tequila tonight. As for disturbing us, hell, we’d love to hear you play. Most of us are really into music.”

“Right on! I’m Sera.” Sera replied, extending a hand towards Ashlyn, only to be intercepted by Pinoe eagerly thrusting her hand out.

“I’m Ashlyn, and this here drunk ass is Megan Rapinoe, but we call her Pinhead mostly.” Ashlyn stated while prying Sera’s hand out of Pinoe’s tight grip, “I’m sure you can figure out why.”

“Noooo! I wannaaa hold da pretty’s hannn!” Pinoe slurred her loud protest as Ashlyn finally free’d Sera’s hand from the drunk woman’s grip.

Pinoe’s bottom lip curled over exaggeratedly in a huge pout. Ashlyn felt bad for her buddy, she was definitely going to be embarrassed if she remembered this in the morning.

“Is she normally this…” Sera tried to find the right word.

“Nah. She has just been single a really long time and was feeling extra lonely tonight. Normally she is funny as hell. She keeps us all entertained that’s for sure.” Ashlyn explained, not wanting the woman to judge her friend too harshly.

“Aw, poor thing. I know how that can be. I’ve been single going on three years myself.” Sera replied, “It’s really nice that she has a good friend like you to take care of her.”

Sera turned her attention to Pinoe and smiled at the drunk midfielder. Pinoe froze as she gazed into beautiful compassionate eyes the color of brandy. Sera tucked a strand of her shoulder length sandy brown hair behind her ear and smiled at the drunk woman gazing up at her in awe. Before she could help herself, Sera leaned down and kissed Pinoe on the cheek.

“Being lonely sucks, but don’t give yourself away too cheaply. I can tell you are destined for greatness.” Sera softly told the midfielder before she stood back up.

As Sera walked off to find a quiet corner to practice, Pinoe turned toward Ashlyn and covered her cheek with a hand, “I’m gonna marrrrry that woman ssssomeday.”

“You better sober up first, Pinhead. I’d hate for you to pass out on your bride at the alter.” Ashlyn gently teased as the first chords of guitar music drifted over to them on the night breeze.

Ashlyn shook her head, by the wistful look in Pinoe’s eyes, the drunk midfielder hadn’t even heard her. While Pinoe zoned out on the music Sera was making in the corner, Ashlyn looked over at the group of her friends. Grandma Harris had often teased her that she and ‘Peanut’ were connected by invisible heart strings, but the blonde had to admit it was uncanny how they always managed to find each other...even across a crowded room...or pool patio in this case. As soon as Ashlyn found Ali, the brunette looked up and their gazes locked onto one another. Ashlyn’s heartbeat increased as she watched Ali’s lips curl into a coy smile. The brunette brought her left hand up, then dipped her head to place a reverent kiss on her engagement ring, never breaking eye contact.

“Good god woman, the things you do to me without even trying.” A misty-eyed Ashlyn confessed under her breath as she tapped her right hand over her heart, Ali’s face breaking into a megawatt smile from the gesture.

Ali loved to watch Ashlyn take care of others. Seeing it made her heart swell with love for the blonde, which usually led to daydreams of raising their future children together. One thing about it...the brunette found Ashlyn’s compassion very sexy. She felt like the luckiest woman on the planet that she had the love of her extrodinary Stud. Ali fully intended on showing Ashlyn just exactly how much she was loved and desired as soon as Pinoe was put to bed.

**

It was after two when Ashlyn finally slipped the card key into the lock on her hotel room. She tried to open the door as quietly as possible in case Ali was sleeping. As the blonde crept into the room, she could just make out Ali’s sillouette laying on the far side of the bed. Ashlyn padded quietly into the bathroom to get cleaned up, brush her teeth, and get ready for bed.

Ashlyn’s mouth went dry as she opened the door to the bedroom and saw the surprise the gorgeous brunette had planned for her. Ali stood next to the bed with the reading lamp adjusted on her like a spotlight. Silky dark chocolate colored hair cascaded over her shoulders, and her tan skin was covered in a black lacey neglige from Agent Provocateur that deliciously hugged every curve.

Ashlyn’s eyes wolfishly raked up Ali’s body. Her muscular legs were covered in black silk stockings that showed off the curves of her calves and strong thighs. They were held up by a built-in garter belt which blended in with the black straps that dramatically criss-crossed up the lace covered teddy. Three black straps wrapped around Ali’s neck in a figure eight, and fanned out where they attached to the teddy along the outside of her breasts. Ashlyn’s tongue ran over her lower lip as she gazed at ruby red glossed lips that begged to be kissed.

“Holy fuck Alex.” Ashlyn managed to get past her lips, feeling her own passion begin to soak her boxers.

Ali slowly brought her hand up, her forefinger pointing at Ashlyn before she turned her wrist over and deliberately hooked her finger over and over again, wordlessly beconing the blonde to her. Ashlyn’s legs purposefully closed the distance, allowing her a few precious heartbeats more to devour her fiancee with lust darkened eyes before they met in a hungry kiss...arms tangling around one another...pulling each other close. Ashlyn sucked on Ali’s lower lip, catching it between her teeth and giving it a gentle tug, earning her a soft moan from the brunette.

Ali’s hands gripped the bottom of Ashlyn’s tank top and pulled it up. The blonde released her hold on Ali’s lips long enough for the brunette to finish slipping it over her head. Ali cast the tank top aside as their lips met again in a passion filled kiss. When they had to come up for air, the sexy brunette dropped to her knees and tugged Ashlyn’s black ethika boxers down, allowing them to pool at the blonde’s feet. She ghosted her fingernails up the outside of Ashlyn’s legs as she worked her way upward, causing the blonde’s flesh to erupt in goosebumps, and another wave of passion to soak her core. Ali kissed and nipped her way up Ashlyn’s body, leaving tiny marks of passion along the way. Ashlyn’s body was on fire, and by the time the brunette had nibbled her way up her neck, the blonde’s knees felt weak.

“I need you, babe. I need to feel you on my skin like a tattoo. Take me to bed, Ashlyn, and fuck me until I don’t even remember my own name…” Ali’s lips ghost across Ashlyn’s ear, and her commanding whisper makes the blonde growl in feral hunger.

Ashlyn sweeps Ali up into her arms and carries her the five feet to the bed where she gently deposits her, feeling her heart soar as she sees Ali spread her legs. No matter how many times they make love, seeing the brunette submit...watching her spread herself open in invitation to touch and taste her most intimate flesh...thrills the blonde and fills her with awe that this fierce, intelligent, beautiful woman continues to pick her...and only her. She swears that no matter what...she will do whatever it takes to make Ali happy, to keep her safe, and to be worthy of her gift.

Ashlyn crawled up from the foot of the bed until she reached Ali’s silk stocking covered feet. The blonde picked up Ali’s right foot and began her slow...deliberate...oral worship of every inch of the brunette’s body. Ashlyn’s hands slid up Ali’s muscular leg, creating a path for her mouth to follow...nibbling...licking...nipping...as she worked her way to the clasp at mid-thigh. Ali’s deep moans spurring her on. With each lick...each nip...each nibble...Ali’s core aches for sweet friction...for sweet slow torture.

As Ashlyn reached the source of Ali’s ache, she paused to take a deep breath, the scent of Ali’s desire intoxicating the blonde. Before Ashlyn can continue her slow torturous climb upward, Ali grabs fists full of her long blonde locks and holds her while she wrapped her legs around the keeper’s shoulders, holding her firmly in place.

“Please Ash, I need you baby. I can’t wait any longer.” Ali’s lust filled pleas change Ashlyn’s plans, and she snaps open the brunette’s lingere panties.

Ashlyn slides her tongue through soaked folds to find the entrance to Ali’s temple. She circles it a few times, and dips in and out shallowly before plunging her tongue inside as far as it will go. Ali’s breath catches, and Ashlyn moans as Ali’s satin walls release sweet ambrosia that floods her tongue as it continues to thrust in and out.

“God yes, Ashlyn...fuck me with that hot tongue baby!” Ali moans out as her hips start bucking to meet Ashlyn’s tongue thrusts.

Ali watches Ashlyn’s eyes close, the blonde focusing solely on her pleasure, and she has to choke back her tears. In the morning she will tell Ashlyn about the email from her team in Frankfurt ordering her back within the next three days...but tonight is all about their love...their connection...feeling the blonde inside her...touching her very soul.

Ashlyn moves her attention to Ali’s glistening jewel. Each flick of her powerful tongue filled with the love she holds inside for the brunette. The blonde can feel Ali’s hip thrusts becoming more desperate as she nears the edge. Ashlyn slips two fingers into Ali’s soaked core, curling them to hit the brunette’s most sensitive spot, buried deep within her satin walls.

“Oh god Ash! Yes! Right there...so close baby...so close!” Ali pants out as she tries to prolong her pleasure as long as possible.

Ali’s body quakes as she falls over the edge and comes undone, spilling out over Ashlyn’s hand and face, the blonde’s name tumbling from her lips. Ashlyn stills her hand and allows Ali to come down slowly before she gently withdraws her fingers.

Ali pulls Ashlyn up, and curls into her, needing to feel the sanctuary of the blonde’s arms around her. Ashlyn kisses the crown of her head and holds the brunette close.

“I love you so very much, Ashlyn Michelle Harris.” Ali confesses, soothed by the sound of Ashlyn’s strong steady heart beating beneath her head.

“I love you more than anything in this world, Alex...even more than macaroni and cheese.” Ashlyn replied, and smiled when she heard Ali giggle.

Ali stayed awake nearly all night, reveling in the feel of Ashlyn’s arms keeping her safe and warm, dreading the conversation they would have once the sun came up. Ali sighed, if Ashlyn hated the dog and pony show from the US Soccer Federation, she was going to loathe the puppet show...especially since the Germans were the ones pulling their strings.

**

Chapter Text

“What the fuck are you doing, Ashlyn? This probably isn’t the smartest idea you’ve ever had.” Ashlyn muttered to herself as she put her jeep into park and took a deep breath, steeling herself.

Before she could change her mind, Ashlyn opened the door and stepped out. Her feet crunched through the fresh ice and snow that covered the short walkway to the front steps of Ali’s childhood home. The blonde jammed her hands into her pockets to protect them from the biting cold of the late February winter storm that had blown in not long after Ali had left for Germany and settled over the area, turning the sky an angry gun metal grey. This was probably a bad omen, but Ali really wanted her father to give her away at their wedding...and Ashlyn was willing to go through hell and back to try and make that happen for her.

A coyote’s lonely yip broke the winter silence as soon as Ashlyn’s foot hit the first step of the front porch, causing her to nearly jump out of her skin. She shook her head and continued to climb the stairs, every step bringing her closer to the man that hated her for loving his daughter. The hairs on the back of Ashlyn’s neck stood up as a chill ran down her spine. When the blonde reached the front door, she heard flapping wings close behind her, and she glanced over her shoulder to see several crows landing on the porch railing, their heads twisting as their inquisitive eyes watched her every move.

“What are you guys looking at? This is NOT a Stephen King novel!” Ashlyn grumbled at her feathered audience as she knocked on the door, a barn owl choosing that moment to let out a screech that sounded like a young child screaming in pain, “Or maybe it is.”

Ashlyn looked over at the railing full of crows and past them into the snow covered field beside the house. Barren trees dotted the landscape and she shook her head. It reminded her of where a bad horror movie would take place.

“You guys will let me know if somebody is sneaking up on me with an axe, right?” Ashlyn jokingly tried to recruit the row of birds, but they grew bored of her and flew off, “Thanks a lot, cowards!”

The door finally opened, and Ashlyn’s head snapped back around to face a surprised Ken Krieger. His eyes narrowed and his face flushed with anger in the instant when recognition of the tall blonde woman on his porch managed to work into his alcohol drenched brain cells.

“YOU! What the hell are you doing on my porch you fucking dyke?!” Ken yelled as he threw open the door and staggered towards Ashlyn.

“Sir, if you will just let me explain…” Ashlyn started as she took a couple of steps back, not wanting a repeat of their last encounter.

“You ruined my daughter’s life, and she is going to burn in hell because of you!” Ken bellowed as he lunged towards Ashlyn.

Ashlyn side-stepped Ken’s attack, and watched in horror as the man stumbled forward to the edge of the porch. Time slowed to a crawl as the blonde’s desperate grab for Ali’s father missed, his shirt barely touching her fingertips. Ken slipped and his body ricocheted off each of the front steps...his head landing with a sick thud at the bottom. Ashlyn’s hands flew to her mouth and her eyes widened in shock at the blood soaking the snow covered walkway underneath Ken’s head, greedily expanding and staining fresh snow at a very rapid pace...Ali’s father lying motionless.

“Oh my god...I’ve killed Ken!” Ashlyn blurted out.

**

“Sorry I missed you again. Please call me when you get a chance, ok, Stud? I miss you. I love you more than you know...and I...I need to hear your voice.” Ali confessed to Ashlyn’s voicemail before hanging up, a defeated sigh escaping her lips.

Ali pulled the hood of her winter coat over her head and buried the lower half of her face behind a scarf that Grandma Harris had made for her before she left for Frankfurt. The defender trudged towards the parking lot. One more practice down. One more day closer to home...Ashlyn’s arms. The talented defender thought about her fiancee the entire drive home.

Ali couldn’t stop thinking about Ashlyn even as she prepared her dinner. She hadn’t been able to reach her in days. If the blonde wasn’t home and wasn’t answering her cell phone...where WAS she?! Surely if she had been in a car accident or something, somebody from the family would have called...right? So if she wasn’t injured why was she avoiding calls and not returning them? Ali shook her head, no. No. NO! She refused to allow her self doubts to creep in with images of Ashlyn cheating. Ashlyn Harris may be a lot of things, but a cheater wasn’t one of them...except maybe on her diet when mac and cheese was on the menu.

Ali sighed. She hated the distance. She hated the not knowing. She hated the sudden silence from her soulmate...but worst of all, she hated doubting Ashlyn.

Ali tried to eat her salmon salad, but her stomach felt like the salmon was trying to swim upstream. The brunette got up from the table and dumped her food into the trash. She padded into her bedroom and opened her macbook...maybe the blonde had sent her an email. Ali smiled as saw the notification and unread message from Ashlyn. She quickly clicked on the message.

Hey Princess,

I know I haven’t been around much, but I’m really
busy. I’ve been working on a surprise for you. No,
you can’t bug me and find out what it is. Let’s just
say that if it all works out, you won’t believe it even
when you see it with your own eyes.

God I miss you, babe. I miss you more
than you will ever know. It’s hard when
the other half of your soul is so far away
from you! Geez, I even miss you making
me run, so yeah, now you know I’ve got
it bad! ;)

I was thinking maybe we could set up a
facetime date this weekend if you have
some time. Let me know when, and I’ll
be here! I think about you every single
day, and everything I do is for you. Just
know that.

My arms ache to hold you, Alex. I love
you so very much!
Forever yours,
Stud

Ali ran her fingers over the screen. If only she could reach through the computer and touch the woman whom she loved more than life itself. A tear ran unchecked down her face, and Ali sniffled through her sad smile. Sometimes being in love hurt, but Ashlyn Harris was always worth the pain.

**

Ashlyn kissed her fingers and touched the screen of her laptop before she hit the send button. She padded over to the stove. The blonde ladled some chicken bone broth and noodles into a soup cup. She rummaged through the cabinets and found a glass that would hold about twelve ounces. Ashlyn set it on the counter and opened a Corona. She picked up the glass and tipped it at an angle, then slowly poured the entire beer into the glass adjusting the angle as she poured. The blonde placed the full beer on the tray with the soup cup and made her way out of the kitchen and up the stairs, taking care not to spill the contents of the tray.

When Ashlyn reached the master bedroom, she paused and took a deep breath and blew it out...for Ali. The blonde pushed open the door that was already slightly ajar with her hip. Ken lay in the bed, his casted broken right arm on a pillow. It appeared as if his broken left leg had fallen off the extra pillow while he was sleeping, knocking the pillow on the floor. Ashlyn set the tray down on the dresser and cautiously approached the bed. She picked the pillow up off of the floor and moved the covers so she could re-position the pillow. The blonde held her breath as she gently picked up Ken’s heavy casted leg, and placed it on top of the pillow. At least his sprained right ankle was still elevated on its small throw pillow.

Ashlyn prepared herself as she noticed Ken’s eyes fluttering. Well, the pain meds had to wear off sooner or later. The blonde retreated to an over stuffed chair she had moved into his room while he slept off the drugs the medical staff at the ER had given him, and sank into its comfort. Ashlyn picked up a soccer magazine, and flipped through the pages while she waited for the explosion she knew was coming.

Ken moaned as his eyes finally opened, and his brain caught up with the pain signals assaulting it. His entire body hurt and he felt nauseated. His head was pounding, and he felt shaky. Ken automatically reached his right hand out to the nightstand for his bottle of vodka, and yelped in surprised pain from the movement. As his vision cleared, he brought his right arm up in front of his face and took note of the cast. How had he broken his arm? Movement off to his left caught his eye, and Ken’s head turned.

“What the fuck are you doing in my house?!” Ken bellowed.

“What does it look like, Mr. Krieger? I’m nursing you back to health.” Ashlyn stated evenly, pointing at the tray on the dresser.

“The hell you are! I’ll have you arrested for kidnapping!” Ken threatened, as he sat up in the bed.

“I didn’t kidnap you. You are in your own bed, sir.” Ashlyn replied, and turned the page.

“Then I’ll have you arrested for...for breaking and entering!” Ken changed his threat, a little less sure of himself.

“The phone is over there. Knock yourself out...oh! You already did that.” Ashlyn mocked, pointing across the room before she turned her attention back to the magazine in her hands.

Ken eyed the phone and finally threw back the covers. He whimpered in pain as he moved his legs, instantly becoming aware of the extent of his injuries. Ken narrowed his eyes at Ashlyn.

“You did this to me! You are just god damned lucky I can’t stand right now or I’d kick your sorry dyke ass!” Ken screamed his empty threat as he reached for the covers.

Ashlyn quickly got to her feet and closed the distance between them, only stopping when her face was inches from a surprised Ken. She glared hard at him, her patience wearing thin with his repeated verbal abuse.

“Here I am. Hit me. Hit me, big man. C’mon...let’s see what you got! Hit me as hard as you can.” Ashlyn taunted.

Ken finally lashed out in rage and swung, his left fist connecting solidly with Ashlyn’s jaw. She looked down at him, her lips curling into a grin before splitting and laughter rumbling out. Ken’s face screwed even tighter in anger as the blonde laughed at him.

“Seriously? That’s all you got? Your daughter hits harder than that and she’s just playing with me.” Ashlyn remarked, waiting for him to hit her again.

Ashlyn watched as the dam finally broke in Ken, and he started pelting her over and over again with his left fist as he screamed at her, “I hate you! I hate you! I wish you would just fucking die!”

As he begins to tire, he forgets his injury just long enough to throw a punch with his right hand. The blow lands hard against Ashlyn’s nose, and it takes all of her well-honed focus to keep from backing away from the surprising casted strike.

Ashlyn dabs at a bit of blood that is trickling from her nostril with her fingertips and looks Ken in the eye, “You can hate me. You can loathe me, and you can wish I was fucking dead until the cows come home...but right now...you’ve been such a complete and utter fucking jackass that I’m the ONLY help you’ve got! Nobody else can stand to be around you. So go ahead and be a giant asshole. I’m NOT going anywhere. And without me...neither are you. So if you are done throwing your little toddler tantrum, here is something to eat.”

Ashlyn pads over to the dresser and retrieves the cup of soup she made for Ken. He glares up at her, not moving to take the cup. Finally, Ashlyn sets it on the nightstand next to his bed, and starts back towards the dresser. Just as her hand closes around the glass of beer, she feels liquid splatter across her back, and hears the clatter of the soup cup hitting the floor behind her. She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath.

Instead of taking the beer over to Ken, she turns around and takes a sip in front of him. His eyes widen as he notices the beer for the first time, his tongue unconsciously licking his lips.

“Mmm. Corona.” Ashlyn purred as she took another large drink, Ken watching helplessly, “Oh, do I have your attention now? Good. The rule is, if you eat all of your food, you get the glass of beer. If you don’t, I drink it.”

Ken crossed his arms across his chest. He wasn’t going to give in to that woman no matter what. It didn’t matter how bad his withdrawl got, he wouldn’t give her the satisfaction. Ashlyn noticed the sweat popping out on his forehead. It wouldn’t be long before the shakes. His head had to be pounding by now, and he probably was a bit nauseated. At least, that’s how it had been for Chris. She tipped the glass back and drank down the rest of the beer, setting the empty glass on the dresser as a reminder. She would give him a few minutes to think it over before she tried again with a fresh cup of soup and another beer.

Ashlyn scooped up the soup cup and tray on her way out. Once the door was closed, the blonde hung her head. It was a good damned thing Ali couldn’t see her father like this. She knew that once he was mobile enough to reach the phone, he could call the police on her and possibly have her arrested, but she also knew that right now he had a chance to get sober with some tough love. She had helped Chris, perhaps she could help Ken as well...and maybe, just maybe when he was healed enough to reach the phone...he wouldn’t want to use it. Sometimes, no matter how much healing hurt, it was worth the pain.

Ashlyn sighed as she looked at the door to Ali’s childhood bedroom, “I’ll be right behind you Alex...even when you don’t know it.”

Chapter Text

Morning sunlight glinted off the frost covered window as Ashlyn filled up Ken’s kitchen sink with water and poured a cap full of PineSol into it. The blonde’s thoughts turned to Ali as she plunged a scrubber sponge into the water, and mindlessly started wiping down all the neglected counter tops. It had been hard on them before when Ali was in Germany and she was stuck stateside...to the point she had sold her solitary prized possession...but somehow this was worse. She missed the incredible brunette woman who had stolen her heart with every fiber of her being. To make matters worse, Ken was still being an obstinate jackwagon, barely eating and pitching a fit about using the urinal the hospital gave her. The blonde sincerely wanted to help Ali’s father move past his addiction. She was certain that there was a loving man underneath all of his alcohol-fueled rage...the loving man that had been her soulmate’s hero once upon a time. Ashlyn wanted nothing more than for Ali to have her hero back.

Once the kitchen was clean, Ashlyn picked up all the empty vodka bottles laying around the house, avoiding Ken’s bedroom. He had finally gone back to sleep, and Ashlyn didn’t want to provoke the man any more than was necessary. She knew he was hurting...mind, body, and soul. Shaking the addiction monkey off your back was not for the weak, that was for damned sure! The blonde stuffed all the bottles into large trash bags and slipped her heavy coat on, noticing the snow had started falling again. She lugged them out to the bin. Not entirely certain when trash collection day was for the area, once the bin was full, she wrangled it to the roadside through the fresh snow covered driveway.

Trudging back down the driveway, Ashlyn spotted a cord of uncut firewood and an axe sticking out of a stump, gathering snow. She hadn’t seen any wood inside. Fires were always a nice homey touch. The blonde smiled. Maybe Ken would feel more at ease if she could build him a fire in his master bedroom fireplace. Besides, she would enjoy a fire in the living room.

Ken startled awake. His eyes darted around the room until he remembered his injuries and...his eyes narrowed...and that damned dyke who was holding him hostage. THWACK. Ken groaned at the sound of an axe splitting wood. THWACK. But who...THWACK. Ken sat up and looked out his west facing window at his back yard. What the hell was that idiot woman doing out in the cold splitting wood? She didn’t even have gloves on.

“Catch her death of cold is what she’s gonna do.” Ken muttered to himself as he watched her.

Ken noticed a glass full of beer had been left for him on the nightstand and he eagerly picked it up, draining it in a few seconds while he continued to watch Ashlyn split wood. The amber liquid would ease the pounding in his head and his shaking body. If only it didn’t take twenty minutes! Ken carefully slid back down in the bed and pulled up the covers around him. Watching the blonde outside in the elements had made him feel the chill in the air. She was probably going to enjoy a nice fire downstairs while he froze in his room.

“Damned selfish dyke.” Ken spat out as he closed his eyes again and tried to escape back into his dreamland where his daughter was married to Derek and pregnant with his fourth grandchild.

Ashlyn wiped the sweat off her brow with the back of her hand. She was definitely not feeling the cold now. Hard work could make anybody nice and toasty. The blonde pushed up the sleeve of her coat far enough to read her watch. She had just enough time to lug the split wood to the porch and stack it before her friend got there. She reached into her pocket and sent a quick text before dropping the phone back into her coat. Ashlyn sighed as she picked up an armload of wood, she hoped that Ali would love her surprise.

**

Ken blinked as the fog of sleep lifted. A soft crackling reached his ears and he looked over to the fireplace. His lips curled up into a small smile as flames danced on the wood and reached towards the top of the chimney. How nice of the blonde to make a fire for him. He noticed his next glass of beer on the nightstand and greedily downed it. Before long, he was feeling a bit better. Just then, Ken heard two women’s voices giggling coming from downstairs.

“Alex?!” Ken called out, his heart thumping wildly in his chest...he didn’t really want his daughter to see him like this, but he missed her terribly.

“Uh...no, sir. Alex isn’t here. It’s a friend of mine. She brought us some supplies.” Ashlyn called back from the bottom of the stairs.

Ken’s face turned a deep crimson as his blood pressure spiked. How dare that fucking dyke cheat on his daughter in HIS HOUSE! As soon as he could walk, he was going to call Alex and let her know. Surely then she would see that being with another woman brought nothing but pain.

“You better get that other damned carpet muncher out of my house! I can’t believe you would cheat on Alex...and HERE of all places!” Ken bellowed.

Ken heard two sets of feet rapidly climbing the stairs. His lips turned up in a satisfied smirk as the door pushed open and an obviously angry Ashlyn walked through. His face fell seconds later as she was followed by a woman just slightly taller than the blonde who was wearing a simple black pencil skirt and black frock with a clergy collar. Ashlyn stood at the foot of the bed and crossed her arms, her eyes narrowed as she glared at Ken.

“THIS is my friend from college, Pastor Jeanette Dawson. She played volleyball for UNC. I don’t know who you think I am, sir, but you obviously thought WRONG. Jeanette came over...through the snow storm I might add...to bring me a bible since I couldn’t find yours when I cleaned your house. I thought you might want me to read it to you to pass the time.” Ashlyn stated pointedly, her aggravation plainly evident in her voice.

Jeanette stepped forward and reached out her hand to Ken, “Hi Mr. Krieger, it’s a pleasure. Ash here tells me that you took quite a nasty spill down your front steps. I thought I’d stop in and see if I could do anything for you, and offer to lead you in a prayer for healing.”

Ken looked ashamed as he reached out his uninjured left hand and Jeanette grasped it firmly, but not aggressively. Big green eyes housed nothing but compassionate love for the man as the strawberry blonde pastor held Ken’s hand for a few moments longer...waiting for the shock to wear off.

“I...I’m sorry. I...I didn’t know.” Ken mumbled.

Jeanette placed a comforting hand on Ken’s shoulder, “Would you like to pray?”

Ken nodded, “I’d like that.”

Jeanette took hold of Ken’s uninjured left hand while Ashlyn made her way up the other side of the bed. She reached across and slipped her hand around Jeanette’s right hand, and reached out for Ken’s right hand. Ken searched her eyes for any sign of insincerity, and after finding none...tentatively placed his casted hand inside Ashlyn’s palm.

“Dear Heavenly Father, please extend Your healing touch to our brother in Christ, Kenneth Krieger. He is hurting and needs the relief only You can provide. Help him, oh Lord, to cast away his demons and give him the shelter of Your arms as he fights to regain his life. Please heal not only his broken body and his broken spirit, but also his broken relationships with his family. Ease his pain and fear. Please give him Your mercy and love, dear Lord. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.” Jeanette quietly petitioned.

As the prayer circle broke and hands were released, Ken felt hot tears staining his cheeks. Before he realized what was happening, Ashlyn reached out and tenderly wiped them away with her thumbs. He looked up at the woman he hated in confusion. Ashlyn pulled her hands back and jammed them into her pants pockets.

“Well, I’ll leave you two to get acquainted. I’ve got to get dinner into the crock pot. Are you staying, J?” Ashlyn asked, trying to get out of the room before things got even more awkward.

“Dinner sounds awesome, Ash. I’ll call Michael and tell him not to expect me until later. You go on and do what you need to, we will be fine up here this afternoon.” Jeanette replied.

“Ok, thanks, J. Holler if you guys need anything.” Ashlyn replied, already walking towards the door.

Ken watched as Ashlyn retreated and the pastor pulled the chair up to his bedside. What the hell was going on? Did he wake up in some weird alternate universe...or maybe this was a trick from the Devil.

“Now, I heard you might have some questions for me.” Jeanette prompted as she settled in, holding up her bible, “I have some answers for you.”

**

After Ashlyn cut up potatoes, onion, celery, and carrots she stuffed the vegetables around the seasoned tri-tip roast inside a large crock pot. She covered it with beef bone broth, chopped fresh garlic and a couple of bay leaves. The blonde turned the pot on low, set the timer for six hours, and made sure the lid was on tight before she headed into the living room. Ashlyn was too full of nervous energy to sit, so she dusted the living room while she waited. Finally the blonde heard a car pulling into the driveway, and she pulled on her coat to help her buddy unload the supplies she would need.

Everything was brought inside in one trip, and Ashlyn took the special skin soap into the bathroom while Lisa got set up. Once her skin was disinfected well, the blonde nearly bounced into the chair and eagerly grinned up at her long time friend.

“Ok, so I’m going to size it now, and if it looks good, I’ll apply the transfer. You ready for this, Ash?” Lisa inquired, giving Ashlyn one last chance to back out.

“Hell yeah, Lis! I have never felt more sure about anything in my life...well, except for asking Ali to marry me, of course.” Ashlyn responded, a dimple bearing grin plastered on her face as Lisa applied the transfer of the design she had described to the artist.

“Works for me.” Lisa chuckled, “Who would have thought that Ashlyn Harris would be settling down.”

“Oh come on...I wasn’t THAT much of a player!” Ashlyn quipped, “Besides, I need to feel her in my skin every day.”

Ashlyn relaxed as soon as she heard the buzz of the needle, and felt its first bite. A small sigh escaped her lips and her eyes lulled closed. The more the needle left its mark deep in her flesh, the closer to Ali she felt. God, she couldn’t wait to see the look on Ali’s face when she showed it to her fiancee on their face time date.

One hour later, Ashlyn had tears in her eyes as she gazed for the first time at her left ring finger. Two solid lines wrapped around the finger between her first knuckle and where the finger inserted into her hand to create the illusion of a ring, while scripty cursive letters formed the ring’s design between the lines. On the top was a large capitol A connected to lower case lexandr with the same capitol letter A finishing the eternity design. Alexandra. Her beginning and ending. The love of her life.

“Oh god, Lisa...I love it. It’s simply beautiful...just like Alex.” Ashlyn managed to get out around the rather large lump in her throat.

Ashlyn stared at the ink that forever marked her as belonging to Alexandra Blaire Krieger. Rings were beautiful too, but rings could be easily shed...this was for eternity. Lisa smiled as she watched the blonde place a reverent kiss on the new ink.

“I love you forever, Alex. You have me mind, body, and soul.” Ashlyn whispered, wondering what the other half of her soul was doing at that moment.

**

Ali dropped her keys and mail on her table beside her laptop as she raced into the bathroom for a quick shower. She had already laid out the dress and heels she wanted to wear for her ‘date’ with Ashlyn. The brunette couldn’t believe how much she missed her Stud. Tonight, she wanted to remind the blonde what was coming home to her in a few months...and truth be told, she was hoping Ashlyn would want to ravish her over face time. Just the thought of the blonde’s husky deep voice moaning out what she was doing to the brunette while watching Ali touch herself had the defender soaked already. With the week she had just finished, Ali needed to feel their special connection. It didn’t take her long to wash and get out of the shower.

After applying a perfect amount of make-up, Ali quickly donned her black shimmering dress. It wrapped around the back of her neck and plunged in the front to her waist. Ashlyn was going to love it.

Ali padded over to the table and signed into face time, waiting for Ashlyn’s call. She opened a bill and placed it into the ‘to be paid’ pile. Next she grabbed the large manila folder and opened it. A letter fell out with several pictures. Ali picked up the letter and unfolded it.

Ms. Krieger,

I want to let you know that I have been agonizing over this.
Also, I didn’t know Ashlyn wasn’t single when we met at
the wet t-shirt contest. We flirted, she was shooting water
on everything with tits, we drank too much, and then we
fucked in the bathroom, the back of her jeep, and then I
took her home where we fucked for the rest of the night.
She seduced me with those gorgeous tattoos. I loved
running my tongue over her ‘secret garden’ and brother’s
name. I just thought since you are supposed to get married,
you had a right to know.

For what it’s worth, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for my part in this.
I just hope you two can figure things out.

Christy

Ali shook as her hands picked up the pictures. Tears made it hard to see the pictures, but she saw them clear enough. Ashlyn with a large water gun dumping water on different women, staring at their breasts. Ashlyn with women hanging on her...one sandy blonde in particular. Ali dropped the pictures when she reached the picture of Ashlyn with her tongue down that woman’s throat, her left hand plainly underneath the woman’s wet t-shirt over her breast, her right hand down the front of the woman's pants.

“WHY?!!! I LOVED YOU! I loved you. I…” Ali screamed.

Ali ran into the bedroom and threw the picture of the moment Ashlyn proposed against the wall, the glass frame exploding, sending shards of glass over the floor. The shattered brunette collapsed on the bed and sobbed...her whole world upended. How could Ashlyn betray her like this?! How? How could she lie. Had everything been a lie?! Had she ever been faithful? Women were constantly throwing themselves at her...what a fool she had been to believe the blonde only had eyes for her! Ali wiped her face with the back of her hand, and felt the engagement ring. She looked at it and the once symbol of her undying love now disgusted her and turned her stomach. Ali pulled the ring off and chucked it across the room...hearing it clatter against the dresser and ricochet to parts unknown gave her a bit of satisfaction.

Ali finally picked herself up off the bed. She went to the bathroom and washed her face, reapplying her make-up with a shaky hand. The brunette walked over to her table and grabbed her purse, ignoring the signal from face time of the incoming call. Ali closed and locked the door behind her. She went down to the street where she could catch a taxi to the club.

“Fuck you, Ashlyn Harris. See how you like it.” Ali mumbled as she climbed into the back of the mercedes taxi, “I hate you.”

Chapter Text

“STOP!” Ali screamed, startling the driver and nearly causing him to drive into the curb.

Once the car came to a screeching halt, Ali reached into her clutch purse and tossed twenty euros over the seat into the front passenger seat for the driver with a litany of apologies. The brunette quickly got out of the taxi and shivered as the cold Frankfurt air hit her skin. Now that she had calmed down, Ali actually felt the temperature, fully aware that she had forgotten her coat when she stormed out earlier.

The sullen brunette wrapped her arms around herself trying to protect her core from the biting cold. Her head hung low as she walked to the door of the apartment building in front of her. She bypassed the elevator and headed straight for the stairwell to climb the four flights.

Unshed tears blurred Ali’s vision as she knocked and waited at the door. Nothing made any sense except the pain. The brunette looked up into confused eyes the color of the whisky Ali had downed earlier.

“Ali...was ist los?!” Nadine blurted out, her concern evident as she had never seen her friend appear this upset before.

“Oh Nadine...I fucked up...really bad.” Ali replied before breaking down completely.

Nadine pulled Ali into her chest as the smaller brunette broke down sobbing. She ran her hands in soothing circles on Ali’s back.

“How?” Nadine quietly prompted, needing details in order to help her friend.

“I...I was so mad...I...I cheated on Ashlyn.” Ali shamefully admitted between heaving sobs.

**

Ashlyn tried to connect with Ali five times for their face time date before she finally gave up. She sighed. The blonde had really wanted her fiancee to be the first one to see her ‘ring’. Perhaps Ali was exhausted from practice and had slept through the alerts. Ashlyn looked up at the clock. It would be far too late to try again today. She closed her laptop and joined Jeanette in the kitchen to help her clean up the dinner dishes.

“Hey there long face. I’m guessing she didn’t answer?” Jeanette prompted.

Ashlyn slid in beside her friend at the sink and grabbed a towel to dry the dishes as Jeanette finished washing and rinsing them, “No. I don’t get it, she seemed so excited before.”

“Don’t read too much into it, Ash. She probably just overexerted herself at practice, or something really important came up that she couldn’t get out of. You’ll hear from her soon.” Jeanette stated, knowing her friend too well.

“You know...Alex wants her dad to give her away...but I just don’t know if he is ever going to forgive me for not having a penis.” Ashlyn confided, needing to get that off her chest.

Jeanette stopped washing dishes and turned towards her old friend, “I think Ken is confused and scared. He asked me several questions about homosexuals and what God thinks. I don’t know what church that man attends, but I do know it is some sort of fire and brimstone preaching evangelical church. I had to remind him of God’s love and mercy.”

“Oh geez. I figured as much.” Ashlyn shook her head.

“The other thing is the alcohol. You and I both know how badly that affects his judgement. I can see his thought processes changing the more sober he becomes. Just give him some time. You know what my boss says.” Jeanette opines.

Ashlyn rolls her eyes, “What’s that?”

“Love conquers all...or kill ‘em with kindness...or kindness matters...or love can move mountains...or something like that.” Jeanette winked.

Ashlyn smiled sadly as she stared out the window over the sink. She really hoped that Ken would see the love she had for his daughter and realize that she was a good enough person to keep Ali safe and take good care of the princess for the rest of their lives. A loud thud followed by a pain filled howl ripped Ashlyn from her thoughts. Fuck, what had he gone and done now?! The blonde ran out of the kitchen and raced up the stairs, taking them two and three at a time. She cautiously pushed the door open and stuck her head inside. Seeing Ken helpless on the floor without anything to hurl at her, Ashlyn pushed the door all the way open and quickly made her way across the room.

Ken looked up at Ashlyn and tears streaked down his face. He lay on his left side, and pushed himself up onto his uninjured left arm.

“Please...please don’t make me use that thing.” Ken begged, his voice sounding tiny and broken.

Ashlyn looked at the bedpan Ken had tossed across the room and back to the broken man on the floor, “Honestly, I thought you would have relished the chance to make me clean up your shit.”

Ken looked up at Ashlyn and sniffled, the corners of his mouth twitching before turning up into a small grin and a slow staccato chuckle rumbled from his chest. Ashlyn sank down next to Ali’s father and they looked each other up and down before they both broke out into laughter that echoed through the room. The blonde saw a tiny chance to finally score a truce with the man...but it was going to be extremely awkward.

“Ok, let’s try to figure this out. If we can manage to get you on the toilet without killing you and without making me bleach my eyes, I’ll take the bedpan away. Oh, and NOBODY finds out about this!” Ashlyn stipulated.

“Thank you. That damned thing is just...ugh.” Ken quietly expressed his revulsion.

Once they figured out the logistics, Ashlyn scooped Ken up in her arms from his right side, one arm around his back under his arms, and the other under his knees. The blonde carefully supported his left leg since the cast prevented him from bending that knee. While Ashlyn carried Ken like a bride, he managed to pull the back of his sweat pants down just enough so his ass was hanging out. To be honest, he was impressed by the blonde’s strength.

Ashlyn gingerly set Ken down on the toilet and turned her back to him, “So...um...you positioned to take care of business, sir?”

“Yes. Thank you. I...uh...I’ll call you when I need...um…” Ken replied, embarrassed beyond anything he had ever experienced before.

“Very good. I’ll wait in there.” Ashlyn replied as she made a hasty exit, calling over her shoulder, “And no my services don’t include wiping. You better learn to use good ol’ lefty!”

“Is everything alright in there, Ash? Do you need my help with anything?” Jeanette offered through the door.

“NO! I mean...we are all good. Thanks, J. I...uh...I’ll be down in a few minutes to help you finish up.” Ashlyn blurted out, trying to keep Jeanette from opening the door.

“Ok. Well, I’ll go look in my car, I think I have a deck of cards or some games. I usually keep them for when I visit sick church members in the hospital.” Jeanette replied, turning away from the door.

“That would be great.” Ashlyn replied, wondering if Ken had fallen in.

**

Nadine eased Ali away from her chest so she could see into the defender’s eyes, “What did you do...and with who?!”

Ali chewed her bottom lip. It was horrible. She was horrible. How could she have done it?

“I...I got so angry...I went out to La Gata...and started drinking whiskey.” Ali started, another round of sobs making her mumble incoherent.

“Mumbles...speak clearly.” Nadine gently reminded her friend.

“I...I started thinking about which woman I wanted to...to…” Ali’s voice drops to a whisper, “fuck.”

Nadine tsks her tongue at the inconsolable drunk woman in her grasp, “Ali...did you touch another woman?”

Ali shakes her head, tears streaming down her face.

“Did you kiss another woman?” Nadine inquired, looking deeply into tear-filled eyes.

Ali shakes her head, sniffling.

“Did you let another woman touch you?” Nadine asked, getting more confused with each question.

Ali shakes her head again, biting her lower lip.

“Did another woman kiss you without permission?” Nadine tried again, quickly running out of scenarios in which Ali could have conceivably cheated on her fiancee.

Ali once again shakes her head no, wiping snot on the back of her hand.

Nadine pales, “Did you let a MAN touch you?!”

“NO!” Ali replies, angrily, before the sobs take over again.

Nadine finally understands, “Liebling, do you think you cheated because you thought about being with someone else?”

Ali’s head hangs low and she nods, tears dripping off her chin.

Nadine pulls the brunette back to her chest and holds her close, “Oh Ali, if thinking about something made you guilty of it, we would all be locked up for murder. You didn’t cheat.”

Ali sniffles against Nadine’s chest, “Honest? I didn’t?”

Nadine kisses the top of her friend’s head, “Honest. You didn’t. Now why were you so angry with your glucksbringer you thought about cheating?”

Fresh tears streak down Ali’s face, “Because she...she...she cheated on me.”

Ali’s legs give out, and Nadine catches her. She helps her friend over to the couch and sets her down before the drunk brunette falls down. She thinks a moment about what Ali has told her, and she shakes her head vehemently.

“No. I do not believe that. How could YOU believe it when she does so many things for you out of love?! Ashlyn has the biggest heart, and it beats for YOU.” Nadine confidently shares her opinion with the teary eyed woman in her arms.

“I wouldn’t have ever believed it either...but...I...I saw it with my own eyes! There were...all these...pictures….horrible...horrible pictures!” Ali managed to get out between sobs as her mind saw Ashlyn’s hands all over that Christy woman once again.

“No. I refuse to believe it until you show me these ‘pictures.’ Come. I will drive you.” Nadine insisted, helping Ali to her feet.

**

Ashlyn gently knocked on the door before she entered Ken’s room. Jeanette looked up at the blonde and smiled warmly.

“Hey Ash. Wanna join? I can deal you in.” Jeanette invited, Ken nodding despite the slightly apprehensive look on his face.

“Why Pastah, I can’t believe you are playin pokah! Whatevah would your boss say?!” Ashlyn teased in her best southern belle accent, pretending to be scandalized.

“He’d say, ‘whatever gets them to pray is ok with me’ Ms. Smartass.” Jeanette sassed back, drawing a confused but amused look from Ken, “Besides it’s not poker.”

Ashlyn silently handed Ken his dose of beer and sank down onto the floor next to the bed and Jeanette. He shot her a grateful look as he drank it down, setting the empty glass on his nightstand. She looked up at the two of them expectantly.

“Soooo….what ARE we playing?” Ashlyn prompted.

“Slap Jack.” Ken uttered, holding up his casted right hand.

“Oooh, Mr. Kriegs haz jokes, huh. Just remember that next time you want a refill.” Ashlyn winked while Jeanette shuffled the cards, Ken chuckling at her expression.

Ken and Jeanette exchanged a look, Ashlyn catching the tail end of their exchange. Jeanette clears her throat.

“Ashlyn, Ken would like to ask you some questions. Would you be alright with that?” Jeanette mentioned almost casually.

“Uh...I guess so.” Ashlyn replied, caught off guard.

Ken sets his cards down on the bed and tilts his head as he watches the blonde squirm, “Do you love my daughter?”

“God yes!” Ashlyn responds immediately then grins, her dimple finally on display, “And here I thought they were gonna be tough questions.”

Laughter fills the room as Ashlyn lays down her discards and Jeanette deals her draw to replace them.

“Would you die for Alex?” Ken asked as he discards his unwanted cards.

Ashlyn locks gazes with Ken before she swears, “Sir, I would gladly go hungry to feed her, naked to clothe her, thirsty to make sure she had enough. I would die to save her, I would kill to protect her, and I would do anything...suffer any embarrassment to put a smile on her face every single day. I will never...EVER...knowingly hurt her. I will ALWAYS be right behind her every step of the way, until my heart stops beating.”

Ken tries to swallow the large lump that has formed in his throat. Had he so seriously misjudged this woman?

“Now, read ‘em and weep.” Ashlyn smirks as she turns over her cards, showing a bunch of junk, her high card being the Jack of diamonds.

Another round of laughter filling the air. Ashlyn got up and put another log on the fire. She grinned as an idea popped into her head.

“Anybody want s’mores?!” Ashlyn suggested, remembering the supplies she had asked Jeanette to bring with her.

**

Ali points to the pile of pictures, not wanting to see them again. Nadine takes a deep breath and picks them up. They are shocking images to be sure, but the more the fellow goal keeper stares at them, the more she is convinced something isn’t adding up. Finally she realizes what it is.

“Ali, when you and Ashlyn got together, how many tattoos did she have on her arm?” Nadine inquired, staring at one of the incriminating pictures.

Ali thinks back through her alcohol haze, “She had...um...her full sleeve was done. Why?”

Nadine smiles warmly, “I don’t know why someone would put you through this. Sick joke or something, but look at her arm in these pictures.”

Ali really doesn’t want to look at them ever again, but the encouragement she gets from Nadine changes her mind. She takes a deep breath and holds out her hand. Nadine hands the pictures over. Ali really looks close and gasps.

“Oh my god. She only had her Athena, and the dream catcher with the feather. These are really old pictures!” Ali finally makes the connection, “Ashlyn didn’t cheat on me!”

Nadine watches as Ali’s face lights up, and she looks like the world has been lifted off of her shoulders.

“She didn’t cheat! Oh thank god...I thought...OH FUCK!” Ali blurted out as she notices her empty left ring finger, “MY RING! Oh god...I threw my ring. You have to help me find it! Please Nadine.”

Nadine puts her hands on Ali’s shoulders to calm her, “Shhh. We will find it. It can’t have grown legs and walked off by itself, ja?!”

Ali leaned into her friend, “Ja. Danke mein freundin.”

“Jederzeit.” Nadine replied, “Now show me where you threw it, and we will get it back on your finger so you can call your keeper.”

Ali nodded and looked back down at the picture. Who would...Ali’s face hardened. That bitch! It was the only answer that made sense. Daniela would pay for this!

“I love you, Ashlyn Harris. God I’m so sorry I lost my faith in you. I should have known better. I will never doubt you again, and I’m going to make damed sure that fucking bitch gets what she deserves.” Ali vowed to the image of her love before leading Nadine to her bedroom.

**

Chapter Text

Ali’s heart counted the seconds tick by as she waited for Ashlyn to answer the face time alert. She was a bit hung over, but the inter-squad scrimmage had forced her to sweat the remaining alcohol out of her system. The defender had wanted to be alone for the chat, but the coach had kept them over unhappy with some sloppy play by the middies, so she decided to go ahead and call from the locker room. A few of her German teammates gathered around to say hello to their friend as the alert continued to ring.

“Happy Sunday Funday, Princess!” Ashlyn’s voice rang out as she answered the face time wearing nothing but whipped cream on her breasts with cherries covering her nipples.

Crimson invaded Ali’s cheeks as she quickly covered the picture on her cell phone with her empty hand, “Ashlyn Michelle Harris!”

“Hallo, Glucksbringer!” Nadine chuckled, “Ich liebe kirschen und schlagsahne.”

“Ich wurde knabbern kirsche brustwarzen!” a voice behind Ali called out.

“Hey, watch what you say about my fiancee’s cherry nipples!” Ali blurted out as her eyes got wide.

“Und ich wurde die crème lecken!” another voice purred.

“Nobody is licking the cream off those breasts but me!” Ali playfully growled, her teammates teasing putting her into a much better mood, and Ashlyn’s laughter music to her ears.

“Sorry babe, I thought we were going to be alone.” Ashlyn chuckled.

“Yeah, yeah...I know...you just wanted an excuse to eat whipped cream and cherries.” Ali razzed her favorite blonde.

“Hey, I have some chocolate sauce here for you too!” Ashlyn replied, her voice low and sensuous, “I know how much you love chocolate covered cherries ala Stud.”

“You are so mean! God I miss chocolate covered cherries ala Stud. My favorite dish.” Ali whined as she made her way out of the locker room and down the hallway towards the parking lot.

“Aww, poor Princess.” Ashlyn teased.

Ali finally uncovered the screen on her iphone just in time to watch as the whipped cream melted a little, and the cherry slid off Ashlyn’s right nipple. The brunette unconsciously tucked her bottom lip over her teeth with the tip of her tongue...she could practically taste the cream and feel the blonde’s nipple harden against her tongue. Fuck! Why did they have to be so far away?! Distance was never easy. Ali chewed on her lip as she made her way to her car while watching her fiancee swipe a finger through the whipped cream and clean it off with her tongue. She really needed to talk to Ashlyn, but didn’t want to ruin the blonde’s obvious good mood.

Ashlyn smirked, she could see the desire in Ali’s eyes. Her smirk faded into a concerned scowl...there was also a certain...sadness?...regret?...anger?...in those darkening pools of topaz.

“What’s wrong, Alex?” Ashlyn asked, sitting up and picking up her laptop so just the blonde’s face was visible...the mood broken.

Ali opened her car door and slid into the driver’s seat. Once in the privacy of her BMW, the brunette let out a heavy sigh. Even though she had this conversation repeatedly in her head all night long and through most of practice drills, it still didn’t make saying the words any easier. How do you tell the love of your life that you even for one second doubted them? Would that doubt ruin everything? Tears born of fear blurred Ali’s vision.

“Ok baby, you are officially scaring me. What is going on?! Do I need to come over there and kick some German ass?!” Ashlyn growled, feeling both protective and helpless.

“I...oh fuck...baby, I love you so much. I am so...so…sorry…I...” Ali started and Ashlyn’s eyes widened.

“Did you cheat on me?!” Ashlyn angrily spat out, flashbacks of the conversation she had with her last ex playing on a loop in her head...taunting her.

“NO! No...I mean...I couldn’t get ahold of you for days and then I got this letter. It basically said that you had cheated on me. With it there were all these horrible pictures…” Ali tried again.

“Baby, I would never cheat on you! You are my entire world! I swear...you can ask your Dad! I’ve been here the whole time…” Ashlyn blurted out as soon as she had heard ‘you had cheated on me’ while Ali finished her sentence.

“...pictures with your hands all over...wait...what?” Ali’s brows scrunched in confusion.

“Huh?” Ashlyn uttered while her brain screamed ‘fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck fuck’ realizing that she had probably ruined her surprise.

“I swear you just said I could ask my dad. Where the hell are you, Ashlyn?” Ali stated, searching the blonde’s eyes.

“Uh nope. Must be the face time connection. I said you can ask Euradan. He’s this guy I met at the gym and have been working out with since I don’t have my normal workout partner. He’s been very good at getting me to run frequently and lift heavier than I normally do. He’s just visiting some relatives so I don’t know how long I’ll have him, but...yeah. So you want to talk to him? I can call you back when I meet him at the gym later.” Ashlyn fibbed to cover her outburst, praying that Ali would drop it to keep her surprise in tact.

“Oh, it mustbewishfulthinkingonmypart.” Ali mumbled, a sudden sadness gripping her chest at the flicker of hope that had just been quashed.

“Hey, I’m sure your dad will come around, Princess. Who could stay out of your life for too long?” Ashlyn cooed, feeling guilty as she tried to soothe her fiancee’s hurt.

“Ash, I know you told me that you had an ex who cheated on you. What was her name?” Ali needed to know if her hunch was correct.

Ashlyn tilted her head, definitely feeling this question had come out of left field, “Christy Elwin. Why do you bring her up? That is one woman I’d like to forget exists.”

Ali’s eyes widened and her free hand flew up to cover her mouth in surprise, “Oh my god, Ash. That letter...those pictures...they were sent by a ‘Christy.’ But...how? Why?”

“Pictures? What...oh fuck. Were they pictures of me and lots of women getting drunk and drenching each other with water guns?” Ashlyn asked, the contempt in her voice very evident.

Ali nodded, “That’s why I thought you had cheated. I saw...I saw you kissing this blonde woman and you had your hands...oh babe, I was so shocked I didn’t even notice you only had a couple of tattoos on your arm until Nadine pointed it out to me.”

It was Ashlyn’s turn to feel pain as Ali’s words bit soul deep. Not only had Ali seen the pictures of the night when alcohol and Christy’s taunts had made her act so out of character, but Ali had actually believed that she was that woman...that player. Everyone always assumed by the blonde’s looks that she was a womanizer, so why should her fiancee be any different? Ashlyn would always be just the girl from the wrong side of the tracks...the dirt poor woman with no class that everyone wanted to fuck and sneak out on in the middle of the night...like she had no worth...no feelings. Goddamnit, wouldn’t those pictures ever stop haunting her?!

“Talk to me, Ash. Please baby.” Ali begged, seeing the tears in Ashlyn’s eyes, knowing her insecurities had put them there.

Ashlyn’s head hung down and she found it hard to breathe. She could handle the whole world thinking she was a worthless piece of white trash...but not her Alex...not her Princess. Maybe she deserved it after all. Anyone would tell her that Alexandra Blaire Krieger was way out of her league. Why had she thought that Ali would see anything different?

“I hope you know I would die before I’d ever cheat on you!” Ashlyn commented, her emotions swirling between anger and dejection.

“I don’t deserve you.” Ashlyn and Ali uttered at the same time.

Ali watched as Ashlyn picked her head up and they silently studied each other. The corner of Ashlyn’s mouth twitched and curled up as the brunette’s expression softened. They had done it again. Distance had once again made their insecurities blossom. The last time they were separated by an ocean, they had discovered how the seeds of baseless insecurity could grow into a huge doubt monster that had only been slain once they each found the courage to voice them.

“Jinx! Pinch, poke, you owe me a coke...preferably with some rum in it.” Ali sing songed, breaking the tension causing Ashlyn to chuckle.

“I could use a bottle of whiskey right about now myself.” Ashlyn replied, swiping her face with the back of her hand.

“Don’t forget to use your shot glass, baby.” Ali purred, patting her shirt over bellybutton.

“My favorite shot glass!” Ashlyn agreed, wiggling her eyebrows causing Ali to softly giggle.

“I’m so sorry, Ash. I just...ugh. I let my fear get the best of me. I always think that you are going to get tired of ‘teaching me the ropes’ and find yourself a woman who is...well...always been...you know.” Ali confessed, her eyes still watery.

“Never! I love you, Alex. Don’t you understand my life didn’t begin until I met you. I wouldn’t even want to know what life without you is like...it would be too bleak.” Ashlyn replied, wishing more than anything that she could wrap her arms around Ali and feel the brunette’s warmth against her skin, “And I’m sorry that I can’t let go of how people labeled me.”

Ali reached out towards the screen wanting to cup her fiancee’s face...to give her a measure of comfort, “Oh Ash, I love you so much! I hope you know I have never thought of you like that. Those things people call you...I’ve never once believed that.”

Ashlyn raised her eyebrow at the brunette and crossed her arms.

“Well, ok...not after you saved me from the rooftop and I got to know you anyway.” Ali amended as a blush crept into her cheeks.

“I’m glad to hear you say that, Princess, because otherwise I’d feel pretty foolish right about now.” Ashlyn grinned and Ali’s heart fluttered at the sight of the blonde’s dimple.

“Why, Stud?” Ali inquired, her soul feeling lighter than it had in weeks.

“Because I’d hate to have to explain this to my therapist.” Ashlyn replied as she held up her left ring finger to the camera for Ali to see her newest ink.

Ali’s breath caught in her chest as she laid eyes on the beautiful artwork her name had been transformed into. As the blonde twirled her finger around so Ali could see the whole tattoo, all the small lingering doubts she had evaporated. The brunette’s eyes filled with tears once again.

“Oh my god, Ashlyn...oh babe...I love you! I...it’s so...wow.” Ali struggled to find adequate words to express the love she felt in that moment.

“Yeah well, I uh...I just needed to feel you in my skin, Alex...always. I’m yours forever, baby, and I want the whole world to know it. I don’t want you to ever doubt that again.” Ashlyn quietly laid her soul bare.

“Damn it! I want to kiss you so bad right now...I want to feel you on me...in me…all around me...and then I want to taste you...to feel you on my tongue.” Ali blurted out.

“Oh fuck Alex!” Ashlyn moaned, her body responding to Ali’s voice...to the images of the brunette’s gorgeous face between her legs...feasting...as she plunged two strong fingers in and out of the blonde’s core.

Ashlyn carefully set her laptop down so Ali could see her entire body, and she slowly spread herself open to Ali who moaned loudly.

“Fuck me, Alex...love me until I can’t breathe without you.” Ashlyn begged, her right hand slowly sliding down her body and through her soaked satiny folds.

“Mmm. God you are so wet for me, Stud.” Ali moaned as she slipped her hand into her shorts, pushing two fingers deep into her own core.

“Yes baby...wet for you...only you.” Ashlyn panted as she continued to stroke herself.

“Can you feel me inside you?” Ali asked, watching as Ashlyn plunged deeper into herself.

“Oh god yes, Alex...yes! I feel you baby!” Ashlyn moaned as her hips started grinding down on her fingers.

“That’s it babe...feel me...feel me fucking you…” Ali encouraged as her own fingers wet with passion started rubbing firm circles on her sensitive clit.

“I love you fucking me, Alex…oh so good baby!” Ashlyn growled...her primal need growing.

“I am so deep in you...you are so hot...wet...I’m curling my fingers to hit your secret spot...can you feel it?” Ali instructed as she increased the pace of her own fingers.

“Mmmm...fuck!” Ashlyn panted, not able to form sentences any longer...her hips driving up into her fingers.

Ashlyn felt herself reaching the crest of her passion wave and as Ali told her how good her hot wet center felt around her fingers, the blonde came completely undone...her passion spilling over her own fingers followed in heartbeats by Ali as she shuddered her release...both of them panting and spent.

Ashlyn moaned as she watched Ali suck the passion from her own fingers, “God woman...you are the sexiest creature alive!”

“I think that title belongs to you, my Stud.” Ali protested, “I love you, Ashlyn Michelle Harris...so very, very much.”

“Love you more.” Ashlyn grinned.

“Love you most.” Ali giggled.

“Love you mostest.” Ashlyn replied, her dimple on full display.

“Love you mostest times infinity. Ha! I win.” Ali smirked as she noticed a few teammates walking past her car, thankful of the fogged up windshield.

“God...how many more weeks?!” Ashlyn complained as she felt her heart rate slowly returning to normal.

“Three down, three to go.” Ali replied, wishing more than anything that she could curl up in Ashlyn’s arms.

Chapter Text

The soft sugar colored sand warmed Ali’s towel beneath her, and she sighed in contentment...her olive skin glistening from sweat and suntan oil expertly applied by her favorite blonde’s adoring hands. Speaking of...Ali lifted her head and looked around the beach, spotting Ashlyn with a teenager and two young children chasing her around trying to dispossess her of her soccer ball. The brunette smiled at the sound of the children’s laughter and shook her head...Ashlyn had always been a kid magnet. Well who could blame them...the blonde was just an overgrown kid most times herself. Ali’s heart swelled as she watched Ashlyn play with the children, her wild blonde mane whipping around in the gentle ocean breeze. Suddenly, the keeper kicked the ball in her direction and it landed near her, sending a wave of sand over her legs...Ali squealed at all of them running in her direction. Ugh. Now her legs were covered in oil and grit. 

 

“Hey Princess, come play with us! You need to wash that gunk off your legs anyway.” Ashlyn chuckled as she extended a hand.

 

Ali looked at the four of them warily. The smallest child had long wavy dark hair, and her smile showed off one prominent dimple. The other child could have been her twin except that her hair was a very dirty blonde, and her dimple was on the other cheek. Both of them had eyes like shining topaz jewels. The teenager was the odd one. She had very short, spiky, red hair, and her fair complexion was dotted with dark freckles. 

 

“Pwwwease Mommy! You gots gunk!” the littlest ragamuffin begged as she sat down hard on Ali’s stomach, adding more sand to the brunette’s body from the bottom of her swimsuit and tiny hands as she patted the brunette’s chest just above her bikini top.

 

“Yeah Mommy, it’s my birthday. I want you to join us please. Momma is cheating again and we need you to kick her...” the teenager piled on the guilt, her emerald green eyes pleading while Ashlyn’s large hand covered her mouth and muffled the end of the girl’s sentence, “ass.”

 

“So what do you say, Alex? We need an answer. Alex. Answer. Answer. Answer. Alex!” Ashlyn’s voice stated over and over again as her voice slowly got overtaken by music.

     

Ali’s eyes flew open as the familiar musical ringtone of her iphone ripped her out of her dream. The brunette fumbled her cell phone, finally managing to slide the answer button across the screen.

 

“Hello?” Ali mumbled, her brain still flashing images of three children on a beach calling her mommy, and not yet in sync with the mild chaos of the Frankfurt Airport. 

 

“Hi Alexandra. This is Riley Scott. I have that information you were looking for.” Riley clicked on the send button to shoot Ali the email containing her findings as she spoke.

 

Ali sat up and rubbed the sleep from her eyes, the call from the private investigator she had hired a welcomed surprise, “Yes. Please, what did you uncover?”

 

“It appears you have good instincts, your hunch was spot on. I just sent you an email with all of the evidence I was able to track down on the matter. Let me know if you need anything else.” Riley replied, eager to close out this case, get paid, and move on to her next assignment.

 

“I will, thank you so much for your help! I can’t believe how quickly you solved that.” Ali freely complimented the investigator.

 

“Thank you, ma’am, but really, Ms. Hearst didn’t cover her tracks at all. It’s almost as if she didn’t care that anyone found out. She must think she is untouchable...or you are really stupid. One or the other.” Riley opined.

 

“I see. Well, thank you again. I appreciate your efforts just the same. I’ll put a check in the mail as soon as I get back to the states later today.” Ali replied.

 

“Very good. It was nice doing business with you, Ms. Krieger.” Riley responded before hanging up, thrilled at the ease of the case.

 

Ali’s eyes narrowed. Daniella Hearst may think she was invincible, but Alexandra Blaire Krieger was a force to be reckoned with...especially when you fucked with her love life. The pissed off brunette scrolled through her contacts and hit the call button.

 

“Hello?” a tired Christine answered.

 

“Hey Cap, you got a minute?” Ali asked, knowing this was going to be a job for the whole team...and she had just enough time to make the calls before she needed to board for her flight home to Ashlyn’s arms.

 

**

 

Ashlyn knocked on Ken’s door again. He had promised he’d be ready and waiting for her. Ashlyn sighed. She hoped he hadn’t come all this way to make a slip up on today of all days. She looked at her watch and banged with more urgency.

 

“Come on, Ken! We gotta go! I can’t be late to pick up my Princess.” Ashlyn called out, getting more worried with each passing tick of the clock.  

 

Finally she heard the deadbolt slide back and the door opened. Ashlyn smiled. Ken looked really nice in a flag blue polo shirt, khaki pants, and Doc Martins with his short salt and pepper hair slicked back. His freshly shaved face accentuated his chiseled jaw, and he looked ready to...puke? Faint? 

 

“Sorry...I uh...was in the bathroom.” Ken muttered, not able to look Ashlyn in the eyes.

 

“Hey, Ken, it’s just me. Same old ‘damned dyke’ that carried your broken ass to the toilet a month ago. What’s going on in your head?” Ashlyn asked, ducking her head down so she could look him in the eye.

 

Ken winced when he heard the horrible term he used to call Ashlyn tumble from her lips so casually. He had really made a mess of things, and the blonde in front of him had ignored it all. She had dove in with him when he was drowning in an ocean of alcohol and religion, allowing him to nearly pull her down with him in his attempt to breathe...allowing him to abuse her in the name of healing. Ken closed his eyes and swallowed down the lump in his throat. He finally gave in to the blonde’s insistent fingers and allowed her to pull his chin up, their gazes meeting, and the proud man had to fight back tears as the compassion and kindness reflected in those soft hazel orbs only added more guilt to his heavy load.

 

“I am so very sorry I ever called you that. I...I was such an asshole.” Ken started, “I don’t know how you managed to save a drowning drunk like me, but I never deserved such kindness from you.”

 

“Well, we really didn’t meet under ideal circumstances.” Ashlyn started.

 

“To say the least.” Ken replied, trying to banish the picture of his naked princess lying in a very mussed bed and her half naked girlfriend answering her door from his mind.

 

“Look Ken, you fucked up big time. We all do at some point. Should we throw away people when they make a mistake, are mentally broken, or have a disease? You are an alcoholic. It doesn’t excuse your behavior, but it makes it understandable. I grew up in a house with a dysfunctional family full of alcoholics and drug addicts. Soccer saved my life...that and my Grams. When I was old enough, I helped my brother get off the alcohol and drugs. We all deserve a second chance. I just hope you make the most of yours.” Ashlyn softly answered his questions.

 

Ken reached out and pulled Ashlyn to him, wrapping his arms around her in a tight embrace, “Thank you seems so inadequate, but it’s all I’ve got.”

 

“It’s all I need...well, that and your promise to never treat your children that shitty again.” Ashlyn replied, returning the man’s hug, “Now let’s get going before our Princess kills us both!”

 

Before Ashlyn could step completely away from Ken, he reached out and grabbed her shoulder. She looked back at him.

 

“I was wrong about you, and I need you to know that I’m honored my Alex found herself someone as upstanding as you to love and protect her.” Ken confessed, and extended his hand out towards the blonde.

 

“I’m the one who is honored, sir. I’m honored that she loves me...but if we don’t get our asses to the airport she may just  change her mind!” Ashlyn responded as she grabbed his hand and shook it firmly before gesturing for Ken to start walking towards the waiting limo with her, “And we’re walking...and we’re walking.”   

 

Ken and Ashlyn shared a chuckle walking to the limo. As Ken reached the door to the limo he stopped, his feet frozen to the ground. He looked at Ashlyn with panic in his eyes.

 

“Alex is going to hate me! I can’t go. I...I can’t take it if she hates me. I’ll want to dive into the bottom of another bottle.” Ken’s fears tumbled from his lips.

 

Ashlyn placed a gentle hand on his shoulder, “I can’t guarantee you that she won’t be pissed off at you, but Ken, Alex doesn’t hate you. She loves you. She misses you, but she was also very hurt. Alex deserves to hear you tell her how sorry you are, and how you intend to make amends. Remember, if you need help dealing with your emotions, Jeanette is always willing to come out and sit with you. I’m rooting for you, because I love your daughter, and she needs her daddy back.”

 

Ken nodded. He took a deep breath, steeling himself and climbed into the back of the limo. He would show Ali just how much he loved her, just how sorry he was...and no matter what it took…he was going to make it right between them, between all of them. 

 

**

 

After what seemed like an eternity in customs, Ali hurried into the bathroom just before the big doors to the waiting area. She quickly plugged in her travel curling iron to get hot, and changed into a simple simple black cocktail dress that hit her just above the knee. Next Ali washed her face, and applied some Oil of Olay cream before a light coat of foundation, blush, eye concealer, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, and a red tinted lip gloss. Once her face was done, the excited brunette released her hair from its messy bun and brushed it through. After a light spritz of water followed by hair spray, she curled some bounce into her long chocolate locks. Ali pulled her hair over, her soft curls cascading down her left shoulder...she wanted to look perfect for her Stud. Before the brunette could pack everything up, her cell phone buzzed. She opened the new text message.

 

Stud: Baby come out already, you look gorgeous! 

 

Ali sprayed a bit of Ashlyn’s favorite perfume on before she quickly tapped out a reply.

 

Princess: I have to look extra good for my Stud. ;)

 

Stud: I swear Princess, I’m just going to end up kissing off that lip gunk anyway.

 

Princess: You hope…

 

Stud: No, me Ashlyn…

 

Princess: Dork ;)

 

Ali checked the temperature of her curling iron. It was cool enough to pack up, so she tossed it into her travel toiletries bag and stuck the bag inside her carry-on. Once everything was packed up, the roller bag was balanced on top of the progressively larger suitcases forming a pyramid on the luggage cart. With one last look to double check everything was in its place, the brunette hustled out of the bathroom and through the huge glass doors, managing somehow to wrangle her luggage cart around the crowd of people filing out to meet their loved ones without running anyone over. 

 

Ali’s lips curled and split into a mega watt smile as she finally laid eyes on Ashlyn. The brunette’s heart beat faster at the sight of the blonde, whose long hair had been pulled back into a tight bun and slicked down with hair product, as she stood in a black button down with a matching black tie and gold tie clip tucked into slate grey slacks, and covered by a matching grey suit jacket. Ashlyn held a bouquet with a single red rose in the center surrounded by fuchsia colored peonies, sweat peas, nerine lilies, and tea roses framed with babies breath. It was wrapped in plain brown paper, and tied with simple string. Ali felt tears spring to her eyes as she noticed the blonde, who absolutely loathed pink in all its forms, had even worn a fuchsia peony boutonniere in her honor.       

       

Ashlyn’s breath caught as she took in the stunning vision standing in front of her that was her fiancee. She unconsciously licked her lips as her eyes traveled from the cascade of long dark curls, past lust darkened topaz eyes and glistening ruby red lips that begged to be kissed...down the neck that the blonde longed to nip and lick...past the pulse point where she would sink her teeth and claim the deep gutteral moan from the brunette...over the thick strap of the dress that turned into a plunging v neck revealing her muscular chest and small cleavage…

 

Ashlyn barely had time to react as Ali launched herself into the blonde’s arms, crashing their lips together, and wrapping her legs securely around her fiancee’s waist...the forgotten bouquet dropping to the floor.  Both women moaned at the feeling of their tongues meeting inside Ali’s mouth...sliding against each other...tasting...conveying the message of their love...desperately needing the physical connection that their souls craved. Ashlyn cradled Ali’s ass with her hands and pulled her impossibly closer. Ali’s hips began to gently rock as their kiss ignited an inferno inside each of them, the outside world fading away until the only thing that registered was each other...the familiar scent...the familiar taste...the familiar way their bodies fit together so perfectly. When the need for oxygen forced them apart, they rested their foreheads together...sharing the same breath and shy smiles. 

 

“Oh my god, I missed you!” Ali confessed, still breathless as Ashlyn kissed her way to the brunette’s right ear.

 

“You have no idea how much I missed you, Princess.” Ashlyn replied, her lips ghosting over the sensitive flesh of Ali’s ear causing her to break out in goosebumps.

 

Ali closed her eyes and nuzzled Ashlyn’s neck, deeply breathing in her scent. She was finally home. Ali’s eyes flew open when she heard a familiar voice behind her, and she squirmed out of Ashlyn’s arms, turning to face the unwelcome intruder. 

 

“I think you might have dropped these.” Ken quietly commented as he scooped up the forgotten bouquet and held it out towards his daughter.

 

Ali placed herself between her father and finacee, her face hardening.

 

“What the fuck do you think you are doing here?! I don’t know how the hell you found out when I was coming home, but I won’t allow you to say ugly and hurtful things to me and my future wife! Now piss the fuck off before I kick your ass!” Ali growled, her loud warning drawing the attention of everyone in the vicinity.    

 

Ashlyn wrapped her arms around Ali’s waist, holding her back from advancing on her father, “Whoa, easy there, tiger! It’s cool.”

 

Ali glared over her shoulder at Ashlyn, “No it isn’t ‘cool.’ That asshole thinks you are...”

 

“An amazing woman, and a perfect match for my daughter. I am so sorry, Alex. I was hurting and took things out on you, and did horrible, unspeakable...unforgivable...things.” Ken interrupted, quietly apologizing, tears falling down his cheeks unchecked.

 

Ali’s head snapped back towards her father...had she heard him correctly? Her eyes narrowed and her jaw slackened a bit. 

 

Ashlyn hugged her tightly from behind and whispered in her ear, “Surprise.”

    

“What. The. Actual. Fuck?!” Ali demanded her body tensed...muscles twitching...ready to fight from the adrenaline coursing through her veins. 

 

“Come on, I think this is a conversation best held at a table.” Ashlyn replied, her voice brokering no protest.

 

Ali allowed the blonde to pull her by the hand away from the crowd that had gathered, leaving Ken to push her cart full of luggage behind them. Ali’s feet moved, but her brain was having a hard time catching up to the reality of what was going on around her. Ashlyn led the two over to a Starbucks shop inside the concourse and claimed one of the last tables, holding out a chair for Ali. The still stunned brunette sank into the seat with the help of her fiancee.

 

Ashlyn sat next to Ali, and Ken sat across the small table from them. Ali continued to glare at her father. She felt the blonde’s hand squeeze her thigh, and her eyes darted from deep woods to caribbean ocean shallows and back, the question remaining. Ali crossed her arms in front of her chest and settled back in her chair, pinning Ken with a scorn filled stare. Ashlyn cleared her throat, breaking the awkward silence.

 

“So, uh...your father has something he wants to tell you, babe.” Ashlyn prompted, hoping that Ken would snap out of it and say something.

 

Ken rubbed his hands together nervously. How could this be so difficult? He closed his eyes and let out a large sigh. What he had done to his children was unforgivable, and he couldn’t bring himself to ask for her forgiveness. He looked up as he felt a large hand cover his. Compassionate hazel eyes gazed encouragingly at him, and he found it oddly comforting that his daughter and her girlfriend looked like yin and yang with her dark eyes sending him a death glare. Ken watched as Ashlyn rose to her feet.

 

“I’m going to go get us some coffee. I’m sure while I’m gone, Ken will be more than happy to fill you in on everything.” Ashlyn gave him one last segue to his apology before walking over to stand in the long line.

 

Ali looked expectantly at Ken and raised one perfectly sculpted eyebrow at him. 

 

“I know how I treated you is unforgivable, and I’m not going to make any excuses for my behavior. It was beyond wrong. I don’t blame you if you can’t ever forgive me. No matter what, I just want you to know that I am so very sorry. I...I was a scared asshole. I...allowed the church to influence how I felt about you and Kyle...and Ashlyn too.” Ken started before Ali interrupted him.

 

“When I was growing up, you always told me that I could be whatever I wanted in life, and that you would always love me. What happened with that?! Guess that was a big fat lie too.” Ali angrily spat out.

 

“What happened is that I started hurting and instead of doing something positive to get rid of the pain, I pushed your mother away, and took solace in the bottom of a bottle. I thought Kyle’s lifestyle was all my fault.” Ken began his explanation.

 

“Orientation! It is NOT something you can change.” Ali corrected her father with a fiery glare.

 

“You did!” Ken threw up his hands, not quite understanding.

 

“No dad, I didn’t. I’ve always found girls attractive...I just always found boys attractive too...and...and I just thought I had school girl crushes on my friends...until I met Ashlyn. It confused me too in the beginning.” Ali finally admitted.

 

Ken chuckled, “Glad to know I’m not the only one.”

 

Ali started to thaw a little, and leaned forward, her weight resting on her arms against the table, “So how did this all go so wrong between us, dad?”

 

“I think it was a combination of alcohol and religion, Princess. The church was preaching that you and Kyle, and every other gay person, were going to burn in hell...and I didn’t want that for my children. I knew it was my failing as a father that made you choose that.” Ken put up his hand to silence the protest he knew was coming from his daughter before he continued, “I know that isn’t true now. You’d be surprised what I’ve learned from Ashlyn and her preacher friend...but it was how I felt when I attended my old church. I think the alcohol kept me foggy brained enough to believe my old preacher’s assessment that I was being punished by God for my sins, and that you two were somehow paying my debt to the Lord. I don’t know...now that I’m sober, it really doesn’t make any sense to me. I just thought if I made it hard enough on you...you’d change...you know, choose to go straight again.”

 

Ken reached across the table for Ali’s hand, but she pulled it away. He let out a hurt sigh, and hung his head.

 

“Look, I did unforgivable things to both you and Kyle. I can’t ask you to forgive me. I won’t ask for that. I will tell you that I’m more sorry than you will ever know, and I will spend the rest of my life doing anything and everything to make it up to you. I promise you that I’m never going to drink again. I will prove to you that I can be the man...and the father...you need me to be...that..that you deserve me to be.” Ken pledged, tears leaking from the corners of his eyes.

 

Ali’s face scrunched up in confusion, “But how did you get sober? How did you and Ashlyn meet up? I don’t get any of this.”

 

“I’m kind of fuzzy on some of the details, but I have had some people tell me what happened, and sometimes that jogs my memory of it. I do remember Ashlyn showing up at my door, me trying to...to punch her...and falling. It’s kinda of fuzzy for awhile, but I do remember waking up in the ER later…” Ken started relaying the story to his daughter.

 

SIX WEEKS EARLIER ~

 

“WHERE AM I?! SOMEBODY HELP ME!” Ken shouted as panic set in when he woke on a gurney in unfamiliar surroundings.

 

Ken’s eyes narrowed as he heard the doctor and that damned dyke talking about him on the other side of the curtain...like he wasn’t even there.

 

The tired ER doctor looked at Ashlyn and wished he could have had an hour before the man under his care had woke up. He would have been able to get an MRI done, and checked for brain bleeders without the crazy train going off the rails the entire time. 

 

“I’m sorry, the paramedics told me you were on scene when they arrived. Are you a relative?” the doctor 

hoped. 

 

Ashlyn didn’t hesitate, “Yes sir. Well, he is my going to be my father-in-law soon.”

 

“She’s no relative of mine! She is a goddamned fucking carpet munching dyke who has preyed on my little girl!!! Lock her up in prison!” Ken bellowed as the nurses kept trying to calm him down.

 

The doctor took a moment to weigh his options, and that of his patient before he took a deep and continued, ignoring the crimson that had invaded the cheeks of the woman in front of him, “Well, you are the closest we have at the moment. I’m sure you can hear that he is upset. I’m going to try to get an MRI done to rule out a brain bleed, and to see if he has any skull fractures that we need to be worried about. He listed a Reverend Lonny Mitchell as his next of kin, but when we contacted him, he was a little less than cooperative to say the least. Do you know how much Mr. Krieger had to drink today and if he has any allergies?”

 

Ken’s eyes widened. Reverend Mitchell would never leave him alone in this hell hole, “LIAR!”

 

Ashlyn shook her head, “Sorry. I just knocked on the door. I know he has a drinking problem, but I don’t know the amount he drinks daily or anything. He has lived alone for a few years now. As for allergies, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have any.”

 

“FUCK YOU! I don’t have a drinking problem. I have a ‘too many damned queers in my offspring’ problem!” Ken shouted, not believing the audacity of the blonde.

 

 The doctor nodded his head in understanding and marked down the notes of his patient’s alcohol abuse and unknown status on allergies onto his charts, “Thank you. We should know something as soon as we can get him into for the MRI and get the results back. I’ll let you know as soon as we know something.”

 

Ashlyn blew out her breath, and unclenched her fists. Ken obviously was blackout drunk, and lashing out. She couldn’t take anything he said to heart...but that was easier said than done. The blonde walked back to the waiting room with her hands shoved deep into her pockets. No matter what kind of abuse that man dished out...she was going to be there for him. He was still Ali’s dad. 

 

“GET YOUR FUCKING HANDS OFF ME!” Ken screamed as he pushed one of the nurses back and grabbed the IV tubing that ran into his vein, pulling it out of his arm, blood splattering across the chest of the nearest nurse’s scrubs.

 

The doctor administered a shot of chlordiazepoxide, and once Ken passed out from the sedative, he was restrained and taken to get his MRI done. The effects of the drug would last from one to three days. 

 

IN THE AIRPORT ~

 

“...When I woke up trapped in my own bed with a broken arm, leg, and sprained ankle, Ashlyn was there. I...I was not very nice to her. I screamed at her, threatened to have her arrested, threw the soup she had made me all over her, spit on her, even...punched her. But that hard headed woman never left me. She cooked for me, cleaned my house, she cut firewood and made me a fire in my room, she paid a visiting nurse to check my vitals and give me sponge baths...she even called her Pastor friend to come and care for my spiritual needs. The three of us played cards, and had a bible study. You know...Ashlyn even prayed with the Pastor for my healing. I...I definitely didn’t deserve her kindness and care.” Ken finished his story about the time the blonde made her way back to their table with three cups of coffee, and a dimple bearing grin.

 

Ali looked up at the blonde in awe. Her eyes were glassy with unshed tears. Before Ashlyn could sit down, Ali pushed back from the table and stood.

 

“If you ever want to be in my life again, you need to watch my stuff and be here when we get back.” Ali demanded before grabbing Ashlyn’s hand and pulling her quickly away from the table.

 

“Where are we going, Princess? Should I be worried?” Ashlyn inquired as Ali moved with a purpose, the blonde in tow.

 

Ali didn’t respond. She continued across the concourse to the persons with attendants bathroom. Their timing proved perfect as a mother with two small children vacated the room just as they arrived at the door. The brunette practically shoved the blonde inside, pulled the door shut, and secured the deadbolt. 

 

“Am I in trouble?” Ashlyn asked, wary of the silence.

 

Ali spun around and shoved Ashlyn against the sink. The gorgeous brunette crashed their lips together, her hands desperately working the belt buckle on the blonde’s grey slacks. Ashlyn felt Ali’s nimble fingers open her belt and tug her shirt tail out from her trousers. Well trimmed fingernails ghosted across her taut abs, and Ashlyn moaned into Ali’s mouth. Eager hands unbuttoned the blonde’s pants and started to yank them towards the floor. Ashlyn caught Ali by the shoulders as the brunette started to kneel on the floor.

 

“Wait baby.” Ashlyn blurted out.

 

The blonde quickly squirmed out of her jacket and laid it down on the bathroom floor for her fiancee. Ali cupped Ashlyn’s face and kissed her once more, tugging on the blonde’s lower lip with her teeth, before sinking to her knees...falling even more in love with her considerate soul mate in that instant. Ali slid Ashlyn’s pants down and allowed them to pool at the woman’s ankles before doing the same with her heather grey Ethika boxers. 

 

“Oh god, Alex. Fuck baby that feels so good. I’ve missed you so much!” Ashlyn moaned when Ali slid her tongue through the blonde’s soaked folds and swirled it around her opening.

 

Ashlyn ran her fingers through Ali’s luscious sable locks and held the brunette firmly against her aching center. The blonde watched Ali’s eyes flutter closed in pure ecstasy as the taste of her ambrosia washed over the brunette’s worshipping tongue that was thrust deep inside her hot...flooded...satin temple. Ashlyn leaned against the sink finding it increasingly difficult to stand as Ali feasted on her...the brunette’s tongue declaring the depth of Ali’s love for the blonde with each stroke. 

 

Feeling the blonde’s eyes on her, Ali looked skyward...glowing topaz jewels meeting lust darkened caribbean ocean shallows. Ashlyn’s hips thrust forward to meet Ali’s tongue, fucking the brunette’s face with abandon. As good as it felt, the blonde realized they still needed to be quick. Ali sensed Ashlyn’s needs and moved her tongue higher to lavish attention on the blonde’s small bundle of nerves. She sank two fingers deep inside Ashlyn’s core, releasing another wave of passion and profanities from the blonde. Ali’s thrusts quickly escalated and pushed the blonde higher and higher. Ali felt the blonde’s walls pulsing...gripping onto her fingers...and knew she was close. The brunette dipped her left pointer and middle fingers into her own soaked core, coating them in her passion before offering them up to Ashlyn. The blonde leaned down and took Ali’s fingers into her mouth, sucking them clean to keep from screaming out as she felt her strong orgasm rip through her, the brunette catching her as her muscles shook, her legs nearly giving out on her.        

 

Ali quickly stood and allowed Ashlyn to lean on her as she held the taller woman up by the waist. 

 

“I love you, Alex...but where in the world did that come from?! Damn woman, you are something else!” Ashlyn marveled, slowly catching her breath and feeling her heart still pounding in her chest.

 

“What you did for my father was the absolute sexiest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life, Ashlyn. You surprise me...amaze me...make me love you more and more every single day. I love you so much, and I couldn’t wait to show you.” Ali replied earnestly.

 

Ali pressed up on her tip toes and captured Ashlyn’s lips in a tender emotion filled kiss. As their lips gently expressed their love for each other, a loud knock startled the two, and they jumped away from each other giggling. 

 

“Just a minute!” Ali sang out as she helped Ashlyn tug her pants back up.

 

The brunette washed her chin and hands as Ashlyn tucked in her shirt, buttoned up her slacks, and secured her belt buckle. The blonde scooped up her jacket and grabbed Ali’s hand as they exited the bathroom together, giggling at the looks the woman who had been waiting sent them.

 

**

 

Ken stood by the door to the limo as Ashlyn helped Ali inside and then crawled in after her. Instead of entering he leaned down and looked at the couple, smiling.

 

“You two go ahead. You should have some alone time, you have been apart for long enough. I’ll catch a cab home.” Ken suggested.

 

“Are you sure? We don’t mind dropping you home on our way, sir.” Ashlyn replied, Ali snuggled into her side.

 

“No, you two enjoy your reunion. Maybe sometime next week you can give me a call when you are all settled in, Alex? We could go get some coffee?” Ken asked.

 

“Maybe.” Ali replied, a little uncertain.

 

“Well, whenever you are ready then. If you need anything, just call me.” Ken smiled sadly at his daughter before he closed the door and patted the top.

 

Ken’s head hung low as he made his way to the taxi stand. He hoped that someday Ali would be able to forgive him. He didn’t deserve it, but he hoped for it just the same. Suddenly arms flew around him and the force from behind nearly knocked him over. Ken spun around and wrapped his arms around Ali, pulling her to him in a tight embrace, tears falling down his cheeks.

 

“Welcome home, daddy.”    

 

     

 

Chapter Text

Not long after the limo pulled away from the curb, Ali straddled Ashlyn and cupped the blonde’s face...the face the brunette had missed so terribly for the last month and a half...every small line, every soft peach-fuzz hair, each and every eye lash that framed those compassionate pools of caribbean ocean, those exquisite high cheek bones that led to the dimple that creviced her fiancee’s left cheek, all the way past those slightly wind chapped lips and down to that incredibly strong jaw line...the face that made Ali’s heart beat faster...the face of her forever love. Ali’s breath hitched as she felt the blonde’s strong hands slide up her well muscled thighs, pushing the bottom of her dress up with them. Ashlyn unconsciously licked her lips when her hands glided over the brunette’s hips and down over smooth perfectly rounded ass cheeks.

“Why Ms. Krieger, you naughty girl. Where are your panties?” Ashlyn playfully chastised as her hands continued to reacquaint themselves with Ali’s bare ass.

Ali arched her back at the feeling of Ashlyn’s strong hands teasing the flesh of her ass...her eyes had grown dark with lust...her core desperate for delicious friction. Ali’s lips captured Ashlyn’s, and she tugged on the blonde’s lower lip as she pulled away, eliciting a groan from her fiancee at the loss of contact. The brunette grew impatient and slid a hand between her own soaked folds, moaning softly as she coated her fingers in her abundant ambrosia. Nobody had ever been able to get Ali as wet as even the thought of Ashlyn fucking her did. Nobody had ever mastered her body like the blonde keeper.

Ali brought her fingers covered in her glistening gift to the blonde’s lips. Ashlyn’s eyes closed at the sweet taste of the brunette’s passion as she gently sucked Ali’s fingers clean, images of many nights spent feasting on her fiancee playing like a private movie in the blonde’s mind.

“Are you complaining?” Ali’s sensuous voice added fuel to Ashlyn’s fire, and a deep moan escaped the blonde’s lips.

Ali squeaked in surprise as Ashlyn suddenly twisted, and pushed the brunette onto her back on the long limo seat. The blonde unconsciously licked her lips as she raked her eyes up Ali’s shapely muscular legs and followed the well trimmed strip of dark curls to the glistening pink jewel that crowned the brunette’s satin temple. Ali noticed the predatory glint in Ashlyn’s eyes and she looked out of the tinted window spying the Lincoln monument not far in the distance. The brunette tried to squirm away from Ashlyn, but the blonde pulled her back by the waist.

“Ashlyn Michelle Harris, don’t you dare start something that you can’t finish, and by the looks of it, we will be home in about five to ten minutes depending on traffic.” Ali warned.

“Then I guess you better hurry up and succum to my talents.” Ashlyn replied smirking.

Ali shook her head and complained, “I don’t want to hurry. I’ve waited so long and we already ‘hurried’ at the airport.”

“Well, that’s what I figured you’d want when I paid for the driver to take us out to your dad’s and back, even if he wasn’t with us.” the blonde quipped.

“Oh my god, Ashlyn! I am not having sex in my dad’s driveway!” Ali protested.

“Who said anything about stopping? I figure we have at least an hour maybe even an hour and a half out to Dumfries and back with the traffic...unless you want to wait another ten minutes to get home first.” Ashlyn reasoned, leaning over and blowing slightly on the aroused brunette’s soaking wet center, “Besides, I know how much you love a good fucking in the back of a limo.”

Ali’s lips curled up into a sensuous smirk, “You know me so well.”

“I try Princess...I try.” Ashlyn responded as she lowered herself.

The blonde keeper kissed, licked, and nipped her way up the inside of Ali’s right leg, taking a slight detour at the top to place a kiss on ‘Nittany’ before settling between the brunette’s goal posts. Ashlyn breathed in deeply and her mouth watered...nothing smelled quite as delicious as an aroused Alexandra Blaire Krieger.

“Oh hell yeah, baby! Mmmm. Fuck me with that talented tongue of yours!” Ali moaned at the feeling of Ashlyn’s tongue swirling around her opening and then impaling her...it had been way too long.

Ali’s hips set a slow pace bucking up to meet Ashlyn’s tongue thrusts...she had at least one glorious hour to enjoy the blonde’s languid tongue lashing, and the brunette intended to last every single second of that hour before falling over the edge.

Ashlyn’s eyes closed as the sweet taste of Ali’s passion permeated her senses. The blonde focused on every tiny detail of Ali’s body...the heat...the flood of passion as it hit her tongue...the tickle of the brunette’s well trimmed dark curls against her nose as she pushed her tongue deeper into the defender’s core...the sweet muskiness of Ali’s arousal...the way the brunette’s muscles twitched and body trembled beneath her touch. Ashlyn made sure that her soulmate felt how much she was loved and adored with each and every touch...kiss...nip...lick...every single thrust of her tongue. There were no walls between them...no barriers...no judgements...no place to hide as the two hearts beat for each other...as the two reunited as one.

**

“Oh sweet fucking Jesus, Ashlyn!” tumbled from Ali’s lips as she shuddered from the strong orgasm that ripped through her body, her fingers digging into the flesh of Ashlyn’s shoulder blades.

 

Ashlyn gently pumped her three fingers a few more times and then stilled them, allowing Ali to come down slowly as she kissed her beautiful fiancee֝  deeply. The blonde loved the feeling of Ali’s walls pulsating around her fingers...the feeling that Ali’s body never wanted to let her go. Ali moaned at the taste of their combined passions as their tongues danced. She grabbed Ashlyn’s wrist to prevent the blonde from slipping out.

 

“Not yet, babe...please. I just need to feel you inside me a little longer. God, I love you. I wish we could just stay like this forever.” Ali confessed, still a little breathless from her last orgasm.

 

Ashlyn placed a kiss on her nose, “Whatever you want, my Princess.”

Whatever I want?” Ali asked to confirm, cupping Ashlyn’s face.

 

“Name it. It’s yours, Princess. Whatever. You. Want.” Ashlyn confirmed, leaning in to Ali’s touch.

 

“I want to win the World Cup with you. I want to marry you with all of our family and friends celebrating with us. I want to win Olympic gold with you. I want to grow old with you, to raise children with you...to spoil grandchildren with you. I want to live a long and happy life with you and then, I want to die in your arms and spend eternity with you.” Ali replied, mapping out their future in simplistic terms. 

 

“Done.” Ashlyn easily agreed, kissing Ali deeply, the brunette finally allowing the blonde to gently pull out of her still throbbing core. 

 

When the kiss finally ended, Ali nuzzled into Ashlyn’s neck and Ashlyn pulled the brunette in closer, wrapping her arms securely around her fiancee’s waist. Ali absently played with Ashlyn’s hair, and the blonde closed her eyes, enjoying the sensation. The brunette released a deep sigh.

 

“What’s going on in that beautiful mind of yours, baby?” Ashlyn inquired, kissing Ali’s temple.

 

“I just...I don’t know if I can forgive my dad for what he did...what he said...how he treated us...and Kyle.” Ali tried to put her thoughts into words, “I don’t know that he deserves forgiveness, I guess.”

 

“Maybe he doesn’t deserve it, but you know what? Forgiving someone isn’t about absolving them from the wrongs they committed. It’s more about being willing to work with them to move past it...to learn from our mistakes. It’s also about allowing ourselves to be free from the wrongs committed against us. If we never forgive, how can we move past it and be happy again? How can we grow? How can we ever feel anything but anger and hatred if all we ever do is keep a score card of how this person or that person hurt us...wronged us? All that hate and anger can eat you up from the inside...like cancer. Forgiveness is mostly about loving yourself and giving yourself permission to heal, and I for one think you are worthy of that.” Ashlyn shared.  

 

“God, how do you do that?” Ali whispered in awe.

 

“Do what?” Ashlyn asked for clarification, “Forgive someone?”

 

“No. How do you always know the exact right thing to say to me? I swear, Ash, you are the deepest feeling...deepest thinking person I’ve ever met. You challenge me in ways I never expected.” Ali replied, adoration evident in her voice.

 

“Well...it isn’t easy being this perfect.” Ashlyn smirked.

 

“A perfect ass.” Ali teased back.

 

“Why yes, my ass is perfect. Thank you for noticing.” Ashlyn chuckled as Ali playfully swatted her shoulder.   

 

**

 

Ashlyn’s eyes fluttered open and she sighed in contentment. Her angel was curled up into her side with one leg draped across her body. Ali’s beautiful face nuzzled into the blonde’s left breast with one hand curled up under her chin. Ashlyn smiled at the soft snoring noises escaping past those luscious lips, and tenderly kissed the brunette’s temple. Waking up with Ali in her arms was one of the best feelings in the world, and the blonde knew she would never grow tired of it. All too soon Ali shifted her leg and Ashlyn groaned at the pressure against her full bladder. The blonde tried to carefully extract herself from her sleeping angel, but as she started to slip away, the brunette tangled herself around Ashlyn even more.

 

“No. Mine.” Ali mumbled sleepily as she nuzzled deeper.

 

“Sorry Princess, but I need to go pee, otherwise it’s about to get messy in here.” Ashlyn stated, trying to work herself free from the half asleep octopus in bed with her.

 

“Don’t care.” Ali replied in full on Princess whine.

 

“You don’t? We are in your apartment and in your bed.” the blonde reminded Ali.

 

“Fine. Go.” Ali complained as she released Ashlyn and rolled over, pulling Ashlyn’s pillow from under the blonde’s head and cuddling with it.

 

Ali’s phone buzzed a text message receipt while Ashlyn was in the bathroom, and the sleepy brunette reached over and swiped her iphone off of the night stand.

 

Cap: Everyone is eager to help. Troops will be assembled day after tomorrow. Operation Fuck You Bitch is on! Waiting for you and Ash so GET OUT OF BED AND ON A PLANE. ;)  

 

Ali groaned. Why did they all have to know her so well?! She let the phone fall onto her chest and covered her eyes with her arm...just fifteen more minutes.

 

**

 

Abby handed Christine a beer and sank onto the couch next to her wife. She looked around at her full den and took a swig from her bottle. Most of the team had arrived earlier in the day. With plenty of floor space, blankets, and sleeping bags, the couple had invited them to camp out at their house. Sarah had put together a small feast of mostly healthy side dishes, and Abby had grilled chicken and salmon burgers. Even though they were eating, it was time to get down to business as far as the power forward was concerned.

 

“Soooo, who wants to start?” Abby prompted, taking the paper plate full of food Sarah offered her.

 

“OOOH ME...ME!” Pinoe shouted, nearly spilling her drink as her hand shot up and waved enthusiastically.     

 

“Anybody at all.” Abby stated, ignoring the spastic middie.

 

“MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!” Pinoe shouted, jumping up and down, her drink sloshing onto the hardwood floor, earning her a harsh glare from the power forward who was in turn getting an exasperated look from her wife, “Oops! I’ll clean it up for you, Sarah.” 

 

“So is this for real?” Sydney asked as Pinoe stuck out her tongue at Abby on her way to the kitchen to get a roll of paper towels.

 

Abby looked over to Christine, “Cap. Why don’t you do the honors.”

 

Christine stood and the room fell silent, “It’s true. I couldn’t believe it either, but Kriegs emailed me the evidence. I’m actually shocked. First, I can’t believe that bitch wormed her way into taking over athlete endorsements at Nike, but mostly that the little shit had the gall to hire Ashlyn’s ex to send Kriegy that letter and the pictures I told you about when I called each of you. It damned near sent Ali over the edge to see Ashlyn kissing another woman and...ehm…‘other stuff.’ Apparently Daniella paid the woman all the money she has charged Ali in ‘fines’ for breaking some damned ‘morality clause’ she had Ali’s agent get her to sign without reading. It basically says that she can’t engage in any homosexual activity or even give the appearance of such, and for each offense, she gets fined.”

 

Christine paused and looked at all the women in the room, giving them a chance to let the gravity of the situation sink in, and grumble among themselves. These were more than just teammates. These women were a family, and when you mess with one...you get the wrath of all. 

 

“Ali hadn’t added all the fines together yet, but she said that out of her first year’s endorsement check, she might have about five grand left.” Christine dropped the smaller bombshell, and many in the room gasped knowing how much a big endorsement like Nike pays, “But the worst is...if she and Ash go ahead with their wedding during the next five years while under this contract, they will have to pay a one million dollar fine.”

 

“Fuck that cunt! I’m gonna rip her arms off and beat her with them!” Pinoe shouted, her anger boiling over. 

 

“Yeah, who the fuck does she think she is?! I say we take her out on a boat and throw her overboard with some chum.” Meghan added.

 

“Chum made from Ashlyn’s ex!” Morgan added, squeezing her girlfriend’s hand, and getting an approving smile from the diminutive left back. 

 

“We gotta make sure she is bleeding a bit before we dump her overboard though. That way the sharks won’t be able to resist her.” Alex reasoned.

 

“Ew, why do you guys want to punish the sharks?! Poor sharks never did anything to you. I say we just shove her into a wood chipper and be done with it.” Sydney suggested and then chomped her way up a carrot stick as illustration of her point.   

 

“Well that escalated quickly.” Tobin remarked to Kelley, shaking her head at the vindictive group.

 

“Daniella should have gone to prison instead of getting a bus ride home. I just don’t think we need to make the same mistake twice...in fact, is it really a crime if they don’t ever find a body?” Becky added, thoughtfully chewing on her burger.

 

“We could take her skydiving with an empty parachute. Splat!” Carli suggested, smacking her fist against the palm of her other hand.

 

“Why is everybody coming up with such outlandish plans? Baseball bats to the head work just fine, and it’s a lot cheaper than renting a plane or a wood chipper. And besides, I get seasick so a boat is out.” Hope casually reminded the team.

 

“Oh yeah, you were totally puking your guts up when we went on that sailing cruise last year, huh.” Kelley replied, rubbing her thumb in circles on the back of Hope’s hand she was holding, “We could always take her out to the Bayou and tie her up to a tree out in the swamp. Gator bait!” 

 

“Take the bitch out to the woods next to a lake where you have a shipping container set up. Make sure that the inside is completely sealed in plastic tarps on all four sides. Kill her however you like inside the container. In fact, you could take all the time you wanted. Do her slow and painful. Take some tree shears and cut off her fingers knuckle by knuckle. Pluck her eyes out with a dull spoon. Use some pliers to pull her teeth out one at a time. Once you are done having fun killing her, strip off any clothing that you are wearing, wrap your clothes along with the body in the tarps. Don’t forget your shoes. Stuff it all into a fifty five gallon industrial drum, and carefully pour hydrochloric acid on it all. Come to think of it, you could just tie her up and stick her in the drum full of acid alive, and let that kill her. Pretty sure that would be painful as fuck. Anyway, seal it up, jump into the lake to wash any remaining evidence off, and pay a collector cash to come take the drum to an industrial waste site.” Julie shook her head as she leaned forward and dipped a piece of pita bread into the bowl of hummus, “Amateurs.”

 

“You scare me, Foudy.” Abby blurted out and several heads nodded in agreement.

 

“Oh you kids have no idea!” Mia teased as she made a cross at Julie with her two pointer fingers to ‘ward her off.’ 

 

“What? I love Dexter, the Godfather, and Forensic Files. Just remember that.” Julie winked, shoving the piece of hummus covered pita into her mouth and licking her fingers clean.

 

Abby swallowed a large swig from her beer just as the doorbell rang. She set her beer down on the coffee table and stood, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.

 

“Saved by the bell.” Abby joked as she headed to the front door.

 

 She returned a minute later with Ashlyn and Ali in tow, “Look who decided to finally join the party!”

 

A cheer went up and everyone got up to hug and welcome the couple. Soon Ali was pulled into a fierce hug by Crystal Dunn.  

 

“Don’t you two worry. We’ve been plotting how to kill that fucking bitch. We got your back boo-boos. Always. Also...don’t ever piss off Foudy. Just sayin.” Crystal shuddered at the mental image of Julie Foudy putting her plan into motion.

 

**

 

“You ready for this?” Ashlyn asked as she took Ali’s hand and gave it a squeeze.

 

Ali looked up at the massive Nike headquarters building and nodded her head. She took a deep breath and steeled herself, glad to have the whole team behind her. 

 

“As ready as I’ll ever be. Let’s do this!” Ali replied, her game face on.

 

“Ok guys, Julie is rolling. Remember to go behind the camera when you go inside. She will be coming in behind you no more than three minutes later to ambush Daniella. We have everything covered out here. Go flush the bitch out!” Christine directed the two. 

 

Ali looked up at Julie and sent her a silent ‘thank you’ nod as they walked behind her camera crew. 

 

“I am outside the headquarters for Nike Incorporated with Mia Hamm and the members of the current Women’s National Soccer Team here to celebrate a new era of social justice. The sporting goods, athletic shoes, and clothes manufacturer, has once again stepped out in front and is leading the pack for social change. Athlete Endorsement Manager, Daniella Hearst, spearheaded an effort to draft a new company wide policy of inclusion for all athletes. Hearst, a high level soccer goal keeper recently released from camp with the Women’s National Team and lesbian herself, felt the change was overdue...” Ali and Ashlyn heard Julie recite for the camera as they walked past.

 

‘Let’s see the bitch worm her way out of this one!’ Ali thought with a measure of satisfaction as she and Ashlyn entered the lobby, hand-in-hand. They walked up to the reception desk and waited while a woman finished up ahead of them. As they were waiting, an older woman with salted auburn hair pulled back into a classic updo noticed them from the stairs and approached them with a warm smile on her face. 

 

“Ali Krieger, how nice to see you. Adriana Hearst. I wanted to personally welcome you to the Nike family and see how you like being a part of it so far.” the woman introduced herself as she held out her hand.

 

“She would like it a whole hell of a lot better if she wasn’t a slave.” Ashlyn growled, her patience wearing thin.

 

The woman pulled back her hand like it had been burned, and shot the blonde a confused look, “What do you mean?”

 

“I mean ask Daniella Hearst. She keeps charging Ali fines for tweets and pictures of me and my fiancee on social media. So much that Ali has basically worked for free this year...and the year is only half over. She will fine us a million dollars if we get married while this five year endorsement deal is under contract. If you guys hate gays so much, you shouldn’t have one running your Athlete Endorsements.” Ashlyn posited, glaring hard at the woman.

 

“I am sorry, but I have absolutely no knowledge of this, and it certainly wasn’t okayed by the board. I think we need to go have a talk with Daniella. Please, follow me.” Adriana stated.

 

Ashlyn placed a hand on the small of Ali’s back as they followed Adriana down the hallway. Ali was glad the blonde was there. She wasn’t sure how well she would be able to stay professional once she was face to face with Daniella Hearst. At least Ali knew one thing, Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, and her current team mates were all going to be waiting to jam her up, publicly. That thought brought a smile to the brunette’s face just as Adriana knocked on a door and opened it before Daniella could answer.

 

Daniella looked up from behind her computer, startled at the women walking through her office door. Her face blanched when she saw Ali and Ashlyn following her mother. What the hell was this?!

 

“What the hell?!” Daniella blurted out, quickly shutting her laptop and sliding it into her desk drawer.

 

“I could ask you the same thing, Daniella. These women tell me that you have been charging fines for tweets and pictures of the two of them. Something to do with the two of them being in a romantic relationship? Is this true?!” Adriana demanded, sitting on the corner of the desk and pinning her daughter with a very icy glare.     

 

Daniella looked from her mother to Ashlyn, “Of course not. God mom, I’m gay, why would I do that?”

 

“That’s such bullshit. You wouldn’t accept that Ashlyn is my fiancee. You stalked her, and...and tried to get her to sleep with you and when she turned you down, you taped us together in bed using some damned spy technology you had downloaded onto Ash’s cell phone. Go ahead, tell your mother the real reason you got tossed off the National Team. What was it you said on your way out the door? ‘Nobody says no to a Hearst.’ And to think I had defended you.” Ali seethed, and Ashlyn quietly slipped a hand around her waist, preparing in case she needed to hold the pissed off brunette back. 

 

“What is wrong with you? Oh my god, I am so sorry, ladies.” Adriana started.

 

“What?! You believe them...total strangers...over me?! I’m your daughter, your own flesh and blood.” Daniella interrupted, incredulous over her mother’s words.

 

“Oh don’t even start, Daniella. Yes I believe them over you. You have always been such a little liar, ever since you were little.” Adriana turned towards Ali and Ashlyn, “Again, I’m so sorry for what she did to you. You can’t imagine how disgusted I am by her behavior.”

 

Ali watched as Daniella’s face changed. It was almost as if someone had flipped a switch. The brunette unconsciously took a step back from the young woman wearing the dangerous expression. Daniella stood up suddenly, invading her mother’s personal space, her face red with rage.

 

“NO! You do not get to be ‘disgusted’ by me. How fucking dare you?!” Daniella turned towards Ashlyn and Ali, “Did she tell you that she prostituted me out as a five year old? I bet she didn’t. I bet she introduced herself as ‘Adriana Hearst’ too, she always wanted an aristocratic name.”  

 

“That’s enough, Daniella! You really must excuse her, she isn’t well.” Adriana tried to diminish the impact of her daughter’s words, but only succeeded in Daniella turning her attention back onto the elder woman.

 

Adriana backed away from the desk and Daniella picked up the stapler from her desk and threw it forcefully against the wall, breaking it. Next she knocked the tower of desk trays and paperwork onto the floor, grabbing the pages that landed on her desk and ripping them up. She ripped out desk drawers and allowed them to crash to the floor before stomping on them, splintering the thin panels of wood. Daniella trashed her office while she continued to rant.

 

“Why didn’t you tell them your real name is Betty Jo and you met dear old dad when you were sacking groceries at the Piggly Wiggly, mom? You are disgusted by me?! Where do you think I learned that phrase? Huh?! Go ahead, tell them how I used to beg you not to send me to ‘Uncle Charles’ for the summer. Tell them how I begged not to go, and you told me to relax and ‘enjoy’ his attention so you could dump me and run off with dear old dad to Paris. I told you! I told you what he did to me...what he made me do to him. ‘Nobody says no to a Hearst.’ I heard that several times a day...every day of every summer for ten years until I got big enough to kick his ass…”

 

Daniella picked up her desk chair and tossed it over the desk, one of the arm rests breaking off as it crashed loudly against the floor, “And you did nothing! You made me do it. You just gave me to him so you didn’t have to work hard anymore. So you don’t ever get to be disgusted...all I ever wanted was for you to protect me...to be proud of me...but I’m not worth it. I was never worth anything to you.”

 

Daniella started hitting her head against the wall. Ali and Ashlyn exchanged a look and Ali nodded. Ashlyn rushed over and wrapped her arms around Daniella, preventing her from hurting herself any further. The young woman struggled against Ashlyn.

 

“No! You don’t care! You sent us away.” Daniella screamed at Ashlyn, trying to push her away.    

 

“Be careful! She’s Dani now. I haven’t seen her have a break in almost eight months. She must have gone off her meds again.” Adriana warned Ashlyn as she took out her cell phone and hit a speed dial number, “Yes, Dr. Langly, it’s Adriana Hearst, ‘Dani’ is back. Please send them to collect her at the Nike headquarters building….thank you.”

 

“Shhh...Daniella, it’s alright. I’ve got you. I’ve got you.” Ashlyn cooed, trying to calm the distraught and angry mentally ill woman.

 

Daniella finally stopped fighting to get out of Ashlyn’s strong embrace and instead, collapsed against her. The blonde helped the youngster to floor, and rocked her gently, speaking to her in a soft calm voice. Daniella’s face finally softened as she looked up into Ashlyn’s compassionate eyes. She felt safe for the first time in over ten years.  

 

Adriana started towards Daniella and was surprised by Ali stepping in her way. The older woman’s eyes narrowed and she cast a wary glance over the brunette trying to figure out the younger woman’s motives.

 

“Look, she’s my daughter and I’m not going to let you two put her in prison…” Adriana started.

 

“I don’t want her in prison. I want her to get help. Real help, because you don’t know what it’s like to be a confused little girl who doesn’t understand what’s going on, just that it makes you feel uncomfortable to be around him, and his hugs don’t feel good...they don’t feel right. And after he hurts you on the last night he is in this country you become a scared little girl who is told that even if she does tell, her mommy and daddy won’t believe her anyway. A little girl who grows up to hate hugs, and gets weird looks from her family and friends because they don’t understand why she hates them. You could never possibly understand it. I can’t even fathom what it must have been like to go through that on a daily basis for months...years...a decade. There are things far worse than going to prison, but I can’t think of any worse than the hell Daniella went through.” Ali chastised Adriana as Daniella watched, unable to wrap her broken mind around the fact that the brunette shared her secret past, and was literally protecting her after everything she had done.

 

Ashlyn reached out and wrapped a large hand around Ali’s smaller one, wanting more than anything to be able to go back in time and kick that guy’s ass...to be able to stop it from ever happening to the fiercest woman she had ever known. Now the brunette’s reluctance for hugs made perfect sense, and it broke the blonde’s heart. 

 

“Well I trust you two understand that this needs to be handled with...discretion. In return for your  ‘discretion,’ the Hearst Corp will sell off our shares of Nike, and return all of the money Daniella charged you in fines. Do we have a deal?” Adriana replied, worried about the family’s reputation and the reputation of their company. 

 

“On two added conditions.” Ali replied, piquing the woman’s interest.

 

“Go ahead, I’m listening.” Adriana prompted.

 

“One. We have a camera crew and Julie Foudy, a commentator from ESPN, down in the lobby. We have already publicly announced that Daniella was in charge of a successful effort to have Nike officially adopt a non-discrimination policy that welcomed all athletes...gay, straight, man, woman, transgender, of any color or creed. You need to go on camera and allow Julie to interview you where you will back that statement up both in the interview and with a real policy that we will help you write. Just after we all play some football together on that beautiful pitch behind the building for some great publicity shots.” Ali explained the first condition.

 

“And the second?” Adriana asked as she silently assessed the woman standing in front of her.

 

“You will get Daniella the best mental care possible so she can quit being haunted by your failures as a mother. We expect you to keep us in the loop on her condition. That’s it.” Ali finished, her arms across her chest to keep from hitting the smug older woman.

 

“Deal. Now, how about you tell me how this ESPN camera crew ended up in our lobby?” Adriana questioned the brunette.

 

“Well, I couldn’t take the fines from that fucking ‘morality clause’ any longer. We figured if we made it public knowledge that Daniella was responsible for writing this wonderful all-inclusive non-discrimination policy, and then ambushed her with an interview, she would have to give in and actually do it, which would get me out of that stupid clause. When push comes to shove, she would have seen that she was painted into a corner and this was checkmate. Or else, Nike would have suffered from some really bad press and backlash.” Ali explained their plan.

 

Adriana chuckled and called down to the reception desk to verify that there was indeed a camera crew standing by. When she hung up, she smiled at Ali.

 

“You would have made a great Hearst. Well, you would have had to dump your integrity first, but damn, you sure can play hard ball.” Adriana complimented as she prepared for her interview.

 

Ali sank down next to Ashlyn and Daniella. The young woman looked at her with tears in her eyes. Ali gently wiped them from her cheeks with her thumbs. 

 

“Don’t worry, Daniella, we are going to make sure you get help healing.” Ali promised as they waited for the attendants to come pick her up.

 

**

 

Pinoe belched loudly and laughter filled the air around the fire pit in Abby and Sarah’s back yard. It had been a long day in Beaverton, but nobody had been ready to give up a chance to relax and let loose with each other when they had finally gotten back to Portland.

 

“Mia, truth or dare.” Pinoe challenged with a slight slur.

 

“Dare.” Mia replied, grinning at the quirky middie.

 

“Ooooh. You aren’t lame-o at all. Ok, I dare you to kiss the most attractive woman here.” Pinoe called out, proud of herself that she was going to get the straight woman into some sapphic action.

 

Mia stood up and looked at everyone. Her gaze lingered on Ali, then Ashlyn. She slowly walked towards the tall lanky blonde keeper with the brunette curled up in her lap. Ali gripped her beer getting ready to watch yet another woman kiss her fiancee. That seemed to happen a lot during truth or dare games. Suddenly the older forward changed directions and came to a stop in front of Pinoe’s lawn chair. The blonde sat up and licked her lips. Mia slowly bent forward and reached her right hand out towards Pinoe’s face...before quickly bringing it up to her mouth and placing a very passionate kiss on her right palm. Laughter erupted again as Pinoe’s face fell.

 

“Hey! That’s cheating!” Pinoe protested.

 

“No it’s not. You dared me to kiss, and I quote, the most attractive woman here, end quote. Well, I looked at everyone, and determined that I am indeed the most attractive woman here, by my standards. Are you calling me a liar?” Mia messed with the drunk woman’s head.

 

“Yes...no...maybe? I don’t know? Oh hell. I’ll just shut up and drink now.” Pinoe conceded and took a large swig of her tequila.

 

“Damn Pin Head, Mia schooled you.” Tobin chuckled, “We need her at more of our parties.”

 

“No you don’t. I’m getting too old to keep up with you young football studs anymore. This is already way past my bedtime.” Mia winked as she took her seat, and Foudy passed her beer back to her.

 

“Whatever you say, grandma. I noticed you still managed to score on Hope today.” Tobin fired back.

 

“Hey! Don’t say ‘grandma’ and ‘scored on Hope’ in the same sentence ever again.” Hope playfully growled.

 

“Hey JJ, truth or...never mind. Continue your sucking face fest.” Tobin called out, noticing Carli and JJ involved in a heavy make out session on the edge of the fire pit, “Damn. You two should charge admission.”

 

Carli continued to kiss Julie deeply while she raised her middle finger at Tobin. Julie pressed her body against Carli. The blonde loved the powerful midfielder’s aggressive nature, and gasped when she felt the brunette’s hands slide under her shirt.

 

“Get a room!” Ali stopped kissing Ashlyn long enough to call out at the couple before she captured Ashlyn’s lips again to a fresh round of laughter from her teammates.

 

Ashlyn pulled back and whispered, “Speaking of, you ready for bed, Princess...before we lose the guest room Abby promised us?”

 

“Thought you’d never ask.” Ali replied, taking the hand Ashlyn offered her and stood.

 

Ashlyn got up and placed a hand around Ali’s shoulders, “Hey guys, it was a long emotional day for us. We are gonna go…”

 

“Have lots of sex!” Pinoe supplied, causing a round of knowing chuckles.

 

“to bed, Pin Head. We just wanted to thank you for everything you did for us today. You guys are the best and we love you.” Ashlyn finished.

 

“Yeah, I can’t tell you how much your support means to me. I really do love you guys. Thank you again.” Ali added.

 

“No worries, Kriegy. We have your back girl, always.” Heather spoke for the group.

 

As the couple walked through the kitchen, Ashlyn grabbed the half empty bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon off the counter. Ali linked her arm through the blonde’s.

 

“You read my mind, woman.” Ali stated, leaning into Ashlyn.

 

“I know what my Princess likes.” Ashlyn winked. 

 

Ashlyn sat down on the bed next to Ali and handed the bottle to the brunette. She took a sip and passed it back to the blonde. Ali slowly pulled her shirt over her head and it caught on her messy bun.

 

“I’m not sure you need any more of this.” Ashlyn teased as she set the wine on the night stand.

 

“Well, I’m not sure you need any more of this, then.” Ali teased back as she stood and bent over, wiggling out of her shorts.

 

Ashlyn laughed as Ali lost her balance and would have face planted if the blonde hadn’t jumped up and caught her by the waist, “Good thing for you I have reflexes like a cat...a ninja cat.”

 

“And you are so modest too.” Ali replied, her head still spinning a bit.

 

“That’s because I’m pretty much perfect.” Ashlyn responded as she helped guide Ali down to the bed.

 

“One of these days I’m gonna find a safety pin and pop that swollen head of yours.” Ali giggled, and Ashlyn slid into bed next to the brunette.

 

Ashlyn held her arm up and Ali curled into her left side and pulled her arm down around her. The brunette absently traced the intricate tattoos covering the blonde’s left arm as she sighed in contentment.

After a few seconds, the blonde looked down at Ali.

 

“So, are we going to talk about today or…” Ashlyn carefully broached the subject.

 

“What about it?” Ali asked for clarification.

 

“Well...you never told me any of that stuff before. So...does it like bother you when I hug you, or hold you at night?” Ashlyn gently inquired.

 

“Oh god no, Ash. Your arms are my shelter...my sanctuary. I have never felt safer and more loved in my life than I do when you hold me.” Ali reassured the blonde.

 

“That’s good. I don’t ever want to do something that would cause you pain...but it would sure be hard to stop snuggling with you.” Ashlyn admitted, kissing the top of the brunette’s head.

 

“Look, it happened a long time ago. I was six, maybe seven. I don’t remember details. I just remember feelings. Like how the way he hugged me felt. I remember he only really hurt me once, the night before he flew home. He was an exchange student, but I don’t remember much about him except his face. The rest is pretty fuzzy. That’s really all there is to it, Ash. Today was the first time I ever told anybody. I don’t think I really remembered until Daniella was talking about her experiences. Then it just came back to me all of a sudden.” Ali explained.

 

“Ok, but if it bothers you, or you ever need...you know I’ll always be right behind you...you can talk to me...ask me anything and it’s yours. I love you more than anything in this world, Alex.” Ashlyn offered.

 

“I know, baby. I love you too...so...so very much.” Ali replied, “You know what I need right now?”

 

“What’s that?” Ashlyn asked.

 

“Some Animal Planet wild monkey lovin.” Ali answered with smirk.

 

Ashlyn grinned and stood up. It didn’t matter how late it was, or how tired she was...the blonde would do anything to put a smile on her Princess. Ashlyn started jumping around wiggling her butt and scratching under her arm pits as she made monkey grunts. Ali’s face softened and her eyes glistened as she watched her keeper acting silly for her enjoyment. That kind of love was pretty sexy.

 

“Hey, you might want to close the window before you get started in there, Monkey Butt!” Abby called out from the fire pit, and a round of laughter from her teammates had blood rushing to Ashlyn’s cheeks.

 

“Yes, close the window and get that sexy monkey butt over here. I have something for it.” Ali purred, taking the sting out of the embarrassing situation.  

 

Ashlyn grinned as she closed the window, and flipped off anybody that might be looking. The blonde was in for a long night, and she didn’t mind one bit. 

 

Chapter Text

Ali and Ashlyn sat across the table from Jill, nervous that they had been summoned by their coach before even getting their room assignments. Ashlyn’s foot bounced uncontrollably until Ali placed her hand on the blonde’s thigh, sapping the nervous energy with her calm touch, and stilling the keeper’s movements. Jill seemed to take a perverse amount of delight in how nervous she could make the two players without even saying a word. Finally the coach decided to let them off the hook.

 

“It was brought to my attention that since you two have been living together for the last year even though you maintain separate residences, you don’t sleep well in separate beds anymore. Considering this also would impact your roommates if you tossed and turned all night, the Captains came to me with a request from the rest of the team. They want you to room together during the tournament, for the good of the team.” Jill started and Ali and Ashlyn spared a surprised glance at each other before returning their attention to their coach, “I want to make it perfectly clear that I expect you to respect the rules, especially the ‘no sex prior to games’ rule. I understand that being in the same room together will be tempting. I fully expect you to come to me for room reassignment if you don’t think you can control your libidos for the duration tournament, because if you break the rules and I find out about it...I have no problems kicking you both off this team. Understood?” 

 

“Yes ma’am.” Ali and Ashlyn replied in unison, completely taken aback that their teammates had pushed for this.

 

“Good. Here are your room keys for the next few days, and I would suggest you make the most of your time prior to team dinner. We have a light practice mid-morning following team breakfast tomorrow. Now, let’s go win us a World Cup, yeah?!” Jill suggested as she tossed two card keys across the table at her players.

 

Ashlyn swiped the keys off the table and handed one to Ali as they stood up. She looked back at her coach and sent her a dimple-bearing grin. Ali smiled warmly at Jill as well, knowing how much faith the coach was putting into them.

 

“Don’t worry coach, we won’t let you down.” Ali offered.

 

“Yeah, I mean, I might get horny and push, but this one is like Captain Goody Two Shoes who won’t break the rules no matter what...like she even gives Whit a run for her money. You know she made me sleep alone in my own bed for the entire camp when we were roommates before, so you have nothing to worry about.” Ashlyn’s open confession coloring both Ali and Jill’s cheeks pink.

 

“Uh, thank you, Ashlyn. Totally inappropriate and very much TMI, but thank you for your honesty. Please take her out of my sight, Krieger, before I change my mind.” Jill instructed the brunette who had buried her face in her hands.

 

A mortified Ali grabbed a fist full of Ashlyn’s t-shirt, and pulled the keeper from the room as she kept her eyes forward, unable to even look at her coach. Once they were out in the hallway, Ali smacked Ashlyn hard on the right shoulder.

 

“Ow! Hey! What the hell was that for?” Ashlyn yelped in surprise, and rubbed the sting from the brunette’s slap with her left hand.

 

“Remember our conversations about ‘over sharing?’ Well, you just took it to a whole new level. I don’t know that I’ll be able to face coach anytime too soon.” Ali replied her cheeks still burning.

 

“Aw Princess, I’m sorry. She just makes me so freaking nervous, and you know I default to humor. I was trying to be funny while reassuring her at the same time.” Ashlyn apologized. 

 

“So not funny, besides, I think I had it handled, Ashlyn. Oh, and for the record, calling your fiancee ‘Captain Goody Two Shoes’ is not the way to get her in your bed...but it is a damned good way to end up in the dog house.” Ali admonished the blonde as they walked towards the lobby.

 

“But babe, that’s not all you are. I just didn’t mention that you are also sometimes, Private Hot Pants, Corporal Craving Mytongue, Sergeant Smoldering Eyes, Commanding Sergeant Major, Lieutenant Luscious Lips, Major Muscular Thighs, Colonel Bad Ass, and General Naughty Ness. I mean, I wouldn’t want to ‘over share’ with the woman!” Ashlyn replied, counting the other names off on her fingers while Ali tried in vain to stay mad and not laugh, which only resulted in the brunette snorting down the hallway.

 

“So what does that make you then?” Ali giggled, opening the door to the stairwell.

 

“Lucky! Duh.” Ashlyn responded enthusiastically, following the brunette up the stairs. 

 

Ali increased her speed up the stairs, and looked back over her shoulder at Ashlyn, who was still pacing herself for the seven floor climb. 

 

“I guess you better hurry your Lucky Ass up then, before this Corporal gets promoted to a Captain.” Ali smirked before turning back and sprinting up the stairwell, the blonde trying desperately to catch up.

 

“You know I wouldn’t be opposed to the Corporal being promoted to Commanding Sergeant Major.” Ashlyn called to Ali’s retreating backside.

 

“Only if you catch me.” Ali challenged, taking the stairs two at a time and laughing manically...if their friends only knew how much the aggressive keeper loved being taken by the fierce defender, the blonde would never be able to live it down.

 

**

 

The two were assigned a corner room which had windows on two sides of the building, providing them with a wrap around panoramic view of the city. Ali stood in front of the large window that overlooked the stadium where team USA would be playing in a few days. Ashlyn stepped up behind her and wrapped strong arms around her waist, kissing her pulse point. The blonde rested her chin on Ali’s shoulder, and they gazed at the stadium in silence.

 

“In a few days you will be tearing up teams on that turf, baby.” Ashlyn whispered, allowing her lips to ghost over the shell of Ali’s ear causing the brunette’s skin to erupt in goosebumps, “And being so damned sexy doing it, that I will be taking plenty of ice baths.”

 

“It’s almost too good to be true, Ash. I mean, I never thought I’d be able to share this with anyone more special than Kyle, pain in the ass that he is, but I feel like all of my prayers have been answered. You are literally my dream come true, baby. When I step out on that pitch, I know you will be there with me, and that means everything.” Ali replied, melting into the blonde’s touch.

 

“Oh I think you would be just fine stepping onto the pitch without me. I mean, you do have Hope and all.” Ashlyn teased. 

 

“No I’d miss you alright, because let’s face it, you are soooooo much sexier in that keeper kit. Don’t you dare tell her I said that.” Ali giggled, picturing the icy glare she would get from both Hope and Kelley.

 

“Hell Princess I’m not going to tell her...I’m gonna pay a skywriter to quote you over the stadium.” Ashlyn chuckled as she illustrated with her left hand in the window, enjoying the vision in her head of Hope’s face while reading the words in the sky.  

 

Ashlyn yelped and laughed as Ali reached behind her and pinched the blonde’s thigh, “You are incorrigible!”

 

“Oooh, busting out the fancy pantsy words now, huh. I got your incorrigible riiiiiight here.” Ashlyn replied as her hands slid up the underside of Ali’s t-shirt. 

 

Ashlyn’s fingertips squeezed and rolled Ali’s nipples through the cotton prison of the defender’s sports bra. The brunette’s breath hitched at the sensation. Ali’s tongue poked out and curled over her bottom lip as her eyes closed, her head listing to the side to give Ashlyn permission and easier access to her neck. Ashlyn nipped her way down the brunette’s neck, stopping to gently suck at her pulse point. Ali reached behind her and tangled her right hand in long wild blonde locks, encouraging Ashlyn. Well versed in Ali nonverbal communication, the blonde sucked harder before moving on, leaving just a ghost mark of her passion in her wake as the turned-on brunette moaned approval. 

  

No words were needed as Ali’s hands peeled her t-shirt up, and she only paused long enough for Ashlyn to lean back so she could pull the shirt over her head. Ashlyn’s t-shirt and bra quickly joined Ali’s shirt on the floor, and the blonde helped her fiancee out of her sports bra and dark blue leggings. As soon as Ashlyn had wiggled out of her shorts and boxers, Ali closed the short distance, pushing up on her tip toes...their soft lips danced together as naked warmth met naked warmth.   

 

Ali’s body trembled against Ashlyn as the blonde’s hands cupped her small pert breasts, the keeper’s strong fingers continuing to lavish attention on the hardened peaks which shot desire straight to the brunette’s core. Ali’s hands drifted over colorfully inked flesh to Ashlyn’s tight ass, and she gripped the cheeks firmly, pulling the blonde closer as their kiss deepened. The brunette moaned, she needed more...more skin contact...more glorious friction...more tongue dancing inside her mouth...more Ashlyn.  

 

Ashlyn slowly worked her way along Ali’s jawline, kissing, licking, and finally nipping the older woman’s earlobe.

 

“Turn around and look at the stadium, baby.” Ashlyn suggested, wanting to share her vision with her love.

 

Ali shivered from the blonde’s lips tickling the shell of her ear in just the perfect way. The brunette’s tongue swiped across her lips in anticipation as she turned to face the window, feeling the rush of slick wetness on her skin as her passion coated the insides of her muscular thighs. Ashlyn gripped Ali’s wrists and pulled them up to the window, placing them flat against the cool surface and twining their fingers as she stepped between the brunette’s legs and used her thigh to rub against her fiancee’s sensitive nub, sweetly torturing her. Ali melted into Ashlyn, and loved the feeling of the blonde’s soft breasts and hard nipples against her back. 

 

“Ash, god I need to feel you inside me.” Ali moaned as Ashlyn pressed into her backside even more, the blonde’s hands sliding down her sides to rest on the brunette's now undulating hips.

 

Ashlyn slid her left arm around the sexy brunette’s waist and pulled Ali back slightly, giving her more access.  The blonde’s right hand slid over a muscular ass cheek and through soaking wet folds until she had gently eased three fingers deep inside Ali’s aching needy core. “In a couple days time I am going to watch you as you chase glory, right there on that pitch, baby.”

 

“Fuck you feel so good inside me, Ash.” Ali managed to mumble as Ashlyn had started thrusting inside her in a slow, strong rhythm.

 

Ali’s eyes fluttered closed at the sensation of Ashlyn taking her. 

 

“Can you open your eyes for me, Alex, I want you to see the stadium as you feel me loving you.” Ashlyn quietly petitioned, and the brunette complied, her shiny topaz eyes now lust darkened.

 

“I am going to be on that bench with my eyes glued to you, watching you play. Every time you leap for a header, every time you clear the box, Every time you close on someone and steal the ball...hell, every time your cleats rip that stupid plastic turf...I will be on the side of that pitch, loving you, cheering you on. No matter where you are on that pitch, know that I will always be right behind you. You are my world, and no matter what happens in this tournament, you will always be my champion.” Ashlyn explained as she continued to stroke her fiancee with every ounce of love she felt for the fierce defender.

 

 “Oh god, baby. I love you. Fuck me so good.” Ali moaned as the deep thrusts from Ashlyn’s strong fingers pushed her small breasts flat against the large window in their room over and over again. 

 

The cool glass felt amazing against Ali’s flushed skin, and caused her perfectly pink nipples to squeeze into even harder pebbles. Ali felt an intense wave lifting her higher than she had ever gone before, and her fingertips desperately searched in vain for something to latch onto as the glass underneath her got slicker and slicker from her sweat with each passing heartbeat. When Ashlyn slipped a thumb into her tight ass, Ali’s entire body trembled with forceful contractions as her orgasm ripped through her. Ashlyn caught Ali as the brunette’s legs gave out. She pressed the defender against the window, holding Ali upright...trapped between the cold slippery glass and the blonde’s hot sweaty flesh. 

 

“I’ve got you, baby. I’ve got you. I love you so very much, Alex. You are the most amazing woman in the entire world, and I still can’t believe you chose me. God...I...I love you more than life itself.” The blonde murmured into her fiancee’s ear before scooping her up into strong arms. 

 

Ashlyn carried her love to the bed, and they collapsed together in a tangle of sticky...sweaty...spent flesh, Ali tucked safely into the crook of the blonde’s inked arm with her face nuzzled into her keeper’s neck. They had just enough time to get a quick nap in, and shower off the remnants of their love making before team dinner started. Ashlyn ran her fingers through Ali’s sex mussed hair, and placed a tender kiss on the satiated brunette’s forehead as she felt her fiancee’s breathing deepen into sleep. It wouldn’t be but a few heartbeats before she joined her.  

 

**

 

As the elevator passed the second floor on its way down to the lobby, Ashlyn took a deep breath and schooled her features. She had run back up to the room to fetch Ali’s missing shin guards that had somehow been packed into the wrong bag the night before. When the doors slid open, Ashlyn was met with a gaggle of excited young girls seeking autographs between her and the door. A group of mothers milled around the edges waiting on their daughters.

 

The blonde noticed a tall dark haired girl, who couldn’t be more than six or seven. With one hand, the youngster had a firm grip on a toddler...whose unoccupied thumb was stuck in her mouth...and clutched a pair of tiny goal keeper gloves with the other. Ashlyn’s face split into a dimple bearing grin when it became apparent the older girl gave up trying to get closer to Hope and Alex so she didn’t have to leave the thumb sucking girl behind. Such a good older sister. Ashlyn approached them quietly, and when she was standing right beside the pair, the dark haired girl gave her a sideways glance.

 

“Are you a goalkeeper?” Ashlyn inquired.

 

“Oh yes. It’s my favoritest position.” the girl started before she leaned towards the blonde and lowered her voice, “I don’t like to run so much.”

 

Ashlyn chuckled,  sinking down until she was squatting eye level with the girl and replied conspiratorily, “Me neither.” 

 

They both laughed and high fived. 

 

“Want me to sign your gloves?” Ashlyn offered as she reached into her pocket for a sharpie. 

 

The girl scrunched her eyebrows together and gave her a confused look, “Are you a coach?” 

 

The girls’ embarrassed mother interrupted as she noticed some of the sparkle leave Ashlyn’s eyes, “Oh Bethany, don’t you know who…”

 

Ashlyn waved her off with a resigned sigh, “Would you like me to get Hope to sign them?”

 

“Oh my gosh, really?! Could you? You know Hope Solo?! Oh, you are the luckiest person alive!” Bethany gushed, jumping up and down before looking at her sister and calming down, “Um, do you think she would sign Violet’s ball too?”

 

Ashlyn smiled and turned her attention to the thumb sucking toddler, “So you must be Violet, how old are you?”

 

“She doesn’t talk to anybody ‘cept me and mommy.” Bethany replied for her little sister before her mother stepped up.

 

“Violet is a mostly nonverbal autistic. It seems she only gets excited and verbal for a few different people...but I don’t see her here.” the mother explained, scanning the lobby.

 

Ashlyn’s cell phone started ringing just as she patted Violet on the head, and the blonde fished her iphone out of her pocket. The phone was facing the children and before Ashlyn could turn it around, Violet’s eyes widened and she started bouncing up and down, clearly affected.

 

“Pwetty Awi. Pwetty Awi. Pwetty Awi!” Violet said over and over, pointing up at the phone.

 

Ashlyn quickly pushed the button to answer and looked at the mother apologetically, “Sorry if my phone hurt her ears.”

 

“No, that was Ali Krieger’s picture. She was saying, ‘pretty Ali’. Violet just loves her.” the mother replied quickly.

 

Ashlyn was about to reply when she faintly heard Ali on the other end loudly calling her name, and sheepishly held up a finger as she turned her attention to the phone in her hand, “Hey Princess where are you?”

 

“I’m on the bus, saving you your favorite seat...the one next to me. However, Syd says if you don’t get your ass in it within the next thirty seconds, she is taking it.” Ali teased.

 

“Come into the lobby. Hurry...you have the chance to change a kid’s life.” Ashlyn added before she hung up and turned back to the mother, “Mind if I borrow these two?”

 

“Not at all. Please.” the woman responded, amazed at how smitten Violet seemed with the blonde keeper since the toddler had seen the picture of Ali on Ashlyn’s phone.

 

Ashlyn scooped up the two girls into her arms, “Come on princesses, who wants to meet Hope Solo and Ali Krieger?”

 

Bethany squealed in delight, and Violet joined in even though she didn’t understand her sister’s excitement. Ashlyn sidesteps kids and parents on her way to the front of the lobby. Hope and Alex have stopped signing autographs so the blonde hurries to catch them before they disappear out the doors. 

 

“Hey Hope, wait up!” Ashlyn calls out.

 

Hope pauses at the door, turning back towards the blonde keeper. Ashlyn swears she sees the keeper mouth expletives at the sight of the girls in her arms, shooting the blonde daggers with her eyes. Before Ashlyn can catch up, Hope disappears through the door as Ali passes her to stand just inside the lobby. Violet starts bouncing in Ashlyn’s grip and pointing at the feisty defender.

 

“Here. Her name is Violet, she is madly in love with you, normally doesn’t talk, and is autistic. If she says ‘owie’ that’s you. Oh and that’s her mom.” Ashlyn juts her chin in the direction of the young brunette woman following her while handing the toddler to her fiancee, “I gotta go catch up to Hope for this one.”  

 

Ali smiles at the small girl in her arms, melting at the toddler’s big innocent brown eyes as the girl stares at her in wonder. Violet smiles coyly and reaches out a hand to pat Ali on the cheek. Touching the smiling defender, the little girl starts giggling.

 

“Pwetty Awi!” Violet says with gusto, earning a megawatt smile from Ali. 

 

“You are adorable!” Ali gushes at the girl, her nose crinkling, and Violet pats her again, as if to determine that she is real.  

 

**

 

Hope dropped her bag for the driver to place under the bus on her way to the door. She knew if she got on the bus before Ashlyn brought the kid outside, she could probably get away without having to sign anything else. Unfortunately, there were a few others taking their time, and the line extended just beyond the bottom step. Hope blew out an aggravated breath when she heard Ashlyn calling her name.

 

“Hey Hope, Bethany here is a huge fan. She wanted to meet you. Go say hi, Sweetie.” Ashlyn instructed the girl as she set her on the ground behind Hope.

 

The keeper spun on her heels and spared the child a tight lipped smile. Bethany swallowed hard at her intimidating hero, trying to work up the courage to extend her gloves skyward for an autograph. Hope shifted her weight and thrust a hip out waiting for the kid to speak. When no words came out, Hope shook her head.

 

“Good to meet you kid. If you want to be a keeper you need confidence and you have to learn to use your voice.” Hope spared the child a bit of snarky wisdom before turning and disappearing up the now cleared stairway into the team bus. 

 

Ashlyn ground her teeth together. Sure Hope had probably signed twenty to fifty autographs, but what the hell was one more? The blonde saw the driver putting the bags under the bus and quickly made her way over. She found the bag she was looking for and rummaged around inside until her hand closed around the garment she had been searching for. Pulling the old USWNT keeper kit from the bag, Ashlyn looked up at Bethany.

 

“Hey Bethany, catch!” Ashlyn called out as she tossed the shirt to her.

 

Bethany caught the shirt and grinned from ear to ear, “Gee, thanks, Coach!”

 

Ashlyn winked as she stood and started to get on the bus, only to have Hope block her path.

 

“That better have been your kit, Harris.” Hope snarled, already in a bad mood.

 

Ashlyn smirked at Hope as an excited voice called out from behind her, “Wow! Thank you Miss Hope! I will wear it to all your games!”

 

Hope growled and tried to get off the bus, but Ashlyn blocked her with her body, “Oooh, who’s your Goalie now?!”

 

“Get out of my way.” Hope replied testily as she tried to slip past Ashlyn, only to be denied again.

 

“Oops, Harris for another save!” Ashlyn teased, buying Bethany time to get back to her mother.

 

“I’m gonna kick your…” Hope started.

 

“Soccer balls! She was gonna totally say soccer balls.” Ashlyn called over her shoulder to a giggling Bethany.

 

Bethany held up her prized Hope Solo USWNT jersey for her mom to see, and Ali giggled knowing exactly who that little treasure had come from. The woman looked at the defender and smiled gratefully at her as Ali passed Violet back.

 

“I can’t thank you and Ashlyn enough for making my girls’ day. I mean...wow. You are just too kind!” the woman expressed in awe, Violet sticking a thumb in her mouth as she got comfortable in her mom's arms.

 

“Oh no! Your girls totally made our day! What little cutie patooties.” Ali replied in earnest.

 

“Girls, tell Miss Ali thank you and good luck winning the world cup. She has to get to practice now.” the mother instructed.

 

“Thank you Miss Ali. Hope you win the gold.” Bethany responded, still inspecting the number one jersey in her hands.

 

“Pwetty Awi win!” Violet added around her thumb, before playing shy again and tucking her face into her mom’s neck.

 

Ali waved at them as she ran towards the honking bus.

 

Hope tried one last fake to get past Ashlyn, who didn’t fall for the ploy.

 

“Nothing gets past this brick wall!” the blonde keeper taunted.

 

Ashlyn squeaked and jumped as Ali goosed her ass, and slid past her with ease. Hope shook her head and threw her hands up.

 

“Ugh. Now why didn’t I try that?!” Hope blurted out.

 

“Because it’s hard to block shots with a broken hand.” Ali sweetly replied as she walked past Hope onto the bus. 

 

**

 

Ashlyn carefully extricated herself from her sleeping angel, and padded softly over to the window that overlooked the stadium. She drew the curtain back, revealing city lights that nipped at the dark sky...the stadium appearing almost as a black hole rising up in the middle, consuming everything in it’s path...including Ashlyn’s dreams. Why couldn’t she have been the one born first? Then Hope would have been chasing her instead. She worked so damned hard every single day to make her life long dream of being a World Cup Champion come true. Being here as the number two and sitting on the bench had never been part of that dream. Ashlyn leaned her forehead against the window and closed her eyes. Hope was her friend and she really didn’t want anything bad to happen to her, but hope was a double edged sword...in more ways than one. The blonde felt the familiar pang of guilt hit for even having those thoughts, besides, she had been rewarded with an even bigger prize...the love of Alexandra Blaire Krieger. And in the grand scheme of things, wasn’t that worth all the frustration, pain, sweat, and tears? Ashlyn jumped when she felt a hand softly squeeze her shoulder.

 

“Can’t sleep?” Ali quietly asked, stifling a yawn as she allowed her hand to drop and wrapped her arms around the blonde’s bare waist, resting her head against the back of her keeper’s shoulder. 

 

Ashlyn’s hands covered the sleepy brunette’s tenderly, “No. I’m sorry if I woke you.”

 

“I’m sorry, baby. I know how much you want to be the one between the posts tomorrow.” Ali stated, encouraging the blonde to let out her true feelings that she bottled up, and kissed the back of Ashlyn’s shoulder.

 

“Sometimes I think I must have been a horrible person in a past life or something...like...like this is some sort of...I dunno...cosmic punishment, or something.” Ashlyn replied, tears welling in her eyes as she stared at the darkened stadium where she knew she would never get to play without something awful happening to Hope.

 

“Oh babe, you aren’t being punished. It was just dumb luck that Hope was born a few years ahead of you. You could be starting for any team in the world. You are that good, and everyone on this team knows it...especially Hope.” Ali responded, wishing that she could take away all the pain and frustration she knew her soulmate was going through.

 

Ashlyn turned in Ali’s arms and leaned her forehead against the shorter woman’s. She felt so tiny at that moment. So...so undeserving of Ali Krieger’s love. 

 

“You know the worst part of it is that she had a chance to really make a difference in that kid Bethany’s life. Instead, she treated her like crap. It’s like she is wasting her...I don’t know...influence, I guess. I mean, people know who she is and listen to what she has to say. Why does she have to be such a...a jerk sometimes?! I wish I could have more caps just so people would respect my opinion and I could make more of a difference in those kids’ lives.” Ashlyn confessed, her throat tight with held back emotion. 

 

Ali tenderly wiped away Ashlyn’s frustrated tears with her thumbs, and Ashlyn’s dam broke. The defender pulled the blonde into her arms and allowed her tears to flow. 

 

“You don’t get respect by the number of caps you have, Ash. You get respect by the kind of person you are off the pitch. That’s the most important thing of all...who you are as a person. Hope is my teammate and I will fight for her, but I could never love her. I absolutely adore who you are inside here…” Ali gently patted Ashlyn’s chest over her heart, “I fell in love with you as soon as you opened up and showed me the light of your soul. You are the best human I know, with the kindest heart. You are my hero, Ashlyn Michelle Harris, and I will always...always...be right behind you, no matter what.”

 

Ashlyn sniffled and gazed deeply into Ali’s sincere eyes. She smiled against Ali’s lips as the brunette kissed her. She may not be starting tomorrow, but she was something better...she was MVP of Alexandra Blaire Krieger’s heart. 

 

Chapter Text

Ali closed her eyes and focused on her breathing. They hadn’t exactly crushed their opponents, but here they were, preparing to play Germany in the finals. Germany. Of all teams, it had to be the Germans. The team of her second home. The team who knew her the best. Ali smiled...but she also knew them better than any other team as well...and she was fluent in the language. The brunette found that if she took the time to sit and meditate, she could feel more settled...even when facing her greatest opposition. 

 

Ali opened one eye when she heard Ashlyn come through the door to their hotel room. The brunette silently watched as her keeper peeled off her practice clothes, and she winced at the sight. Ashlyn was covered in sweat, bruises and turf burns. The life of a back up keeper for the national team was not an easy one, especially when they were playing on nothing but unbearably hot plastic covered cement. Of course her generous fiancee had volunteered to defend pk practice for the forwards and middies. Ashlyn willingly took the bruises and turf burns from diving over and over again so Hope didn’t have to. Hope would remain fresh for the matches. The blonde did it every single day without uttering one complaint that wasn’t dragged out of her by her fiancee, because that is who Ashlyn Harris is...selfless, dedicated, professional, hardworking, and talented as fuck...and Ali fell more in love with her each day.  

 

Ashlyn padded over to Ali and leaned down to kiss the top of the defender’s head. Ali opened both eyes and blinked up at the naked woman towering above her, the blonde’s breath hitching at the love she saw reflected in those twin sparkling topaz jewels. 

 

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb your meditation.” Ashlyn quietly apologized. 

 

“Never apologize for being naked and kissing me, Stud.” Ali sighed, “Absolutely two of my favorite things in this world.”

 

“Well I’m taking two of your favorite things into the shower so we can go soon, and get your third favorite thing.” Ashlyn suggested with a wink.

 

Ali spared Ashlyn a nose crinkling smile, the tip of her tongue between her teeth, “Oooh! Shoe shopping!”

 

“Uh no. Not even close, Princess.” Ashlyn chuckled as she headed towards the bathroom, each step making the blonde acutely aware of the new bruises forming over her inked ribcage, “But nice try though.”

 

Ashlyn stopped just inside the doorway to the bathroom, and her eyes misted as she took in the sight. Candlelight reflected off the steam which rose from a full bathtub that filled the room with the scent of lavender, cypress, and yarrow...the fragrance of Ali’s love. The blonde closed her eyes as warm lips pressed against the back of her shoulder.

 

“Get in the tub, baby, before it gets cold.” Ali directed.

 

A soft moan of appreciation escaped the blonde as she stepped into the still warm bath and sank down into its comfort. After Ashlyn found the perfect position, Ali kneeled beside the tub on a folded towel with the glass from next to the sink in her hand. She filled the cup over and over again, pouring clean hot water on the keeper’s head. Ashlyn’s eyes fluttered closed as Ali started to gently knead the tight muscles of her neck. 

 

“Oh god, that feels amazing, babe. How did you know I needed this?” Ashlyn inquired as she melted beneath the brunette’s loving ministrations. 

 

“I see you, Ashlyn Michelle Harris. I see the humble woman who volunteers to throw herself against hot cement for hours so that her teammates can practice, no matter the toll it takes on her body…” Ali’s voice nearly broke as her eyes welled with unshed tears at all of the new injuries that marred her love’s flesh,  “I see the proud woman who would never dream of asking for a massage afterwards, no matter how much she needs it. I see the strong woman who would pretend her battered body doesn’t hurt a bit so she can take me out and spoil me without me feeling guilty. I see the amazing woman who consistently puts everyone else’s needs above her own because she genuinely gets pleasure from making others happy. I see you Ashlyn Harris, and I love you...So. Very. Much.”

 

Ashlyn reached up and gently swiped a tear from the brunette’s face with her thumb, leaving Ali’s cheek a bit wet from the fragrant bathwater. The blonde’s large hand then slid behind Ali’s neck, and she pulled her fiancee into a tender kiss...Ashlyn’s lips composing a languid, silent love song for the brunette to the beat of their hearts. Fresh tears leaked from Ali’s closed eyes...no one had ever proclaimed their love for her as emphatically or eloquently. When the kiss finally broke, Ashlyn kissed the tear tracks from Ali’s cheeks. 

 

“I love you too, Alex. Words haven’t been invented yet for how much I love you.” Ashlyn confessed, her throat tight with emotion. 

 

Ali reached back for Ashlyn’s left hand and brought it to her lips before settling it on top of the blonde’s abs under the hot essential oil infused bathwater, “Relax now, baby. Let me take care of you.”

 

Ashlyn closed her eyes again, and surrendered herself to Ali and the healing water. The brunette carefully worked a bit of shampoo through Ashlyn’s wild blonde mane, taking time to lovingly massage her scalp. Once she had rinsed the shampoo out and massaged conditioner in, Ali gingerly applied Ashlyn’s body wash.  She used a delicate healing touch to write a love letter across Ashlyn’s damaged flesh...tenderly caring for her grateful soulmate.

 

Ashlyn’s eyes opened and she swallowed a hiss at the searing pain that shot through her when Ali massaged the body wash onto her right hand, her newly broken pinky finger screaming at her. Before Ali could notice the slightly off angle of her finger, Ashlyn leaned up and kissed the brunette passionately. The brunette melted into the kiss and released the blonde’s hand to cup Ashlyn’s cheek. After a few breath stealing minutes of kissing, Ali pulled back. Her lust darkened eyes betrayed how kiss drunk the brunette actually was, and Ashlyn found herself getting lost in them. How had she been so lucky? Ali quickly leaned in to steal one more kiss, nipping Ashlyn’s lips and tugging on the lower one as she sat back again. 

 

“God I love the way your kisses make me feel, Stud...but we have to stop.” Ali stated with a wistful sigh.

 

“I know. I suppose I better rinse the conditioner out of my hair and get dressed. We still have to go get your other favorite thing before the team meeting this afternoon.” Ashlyn replied as they leaned their foreheads together, relieved that Ali hadn’t caught onto her pain...nobody needed to know how badly her finger hurt...especially since the blonde keeper would never let pain prevent her from being the best brick wall her team needed her to be.

 

***

 

Ali quickly threw her hair up into a messy bun and slipped her sunglasses on as she and Ashlyn made their way down the sidewalk outside of their hotel. So far the blonde had maintained her silence about their destination, and even though it was driving the brunette crazy, she wasn’t going to give in to her urge to pester Ashlyn for the info...mostly because that’s exactly what the keeper was after. Ashlyn watched Ali chew on her lip out of the corner of her eye and smirked. She could see the wheels in the defender’s brain spinning.

 

“So, nice day for a walk.” Ali finally broke the silence...there were ways of extracting information that weren’t so obvious as pestering.

 

“Mmmhm. I know how you love a good stroll and exploring.” Ashlyn replied, not giving the brunette any useful information.

 

“I don’t know though, we probably shouldn’t go too far from the hotel. I don’t wanna get lost.” Ali tried again.

 

“Oh don’t worry, Princess, I know exactly where we are going.” Ashlyn replied, trying hard to keep a straight face as they continued walking up the block. 

 

Ali smiled as she noticed Ashlyn steering her with a gentle hand in the small of her back towards a large mall. The football fashionista got even more excited as the keeper reached for the door to the mall entrance and held it open for her. Her topaz jewels gleamed as Ali took in the three stories of shops. So many shoes and purses...so little time. Her smile faltered for a brief heartbeat when Ashlyn ushered her past a store with its windows full of beautiful high heels and high end purses, the blonde noting how much Ali’s eyes had lit up at the display. 

 

Ali’s lips puckered slightly in an adorable pout each time they passed by a store that looked like a place she ought to be shopping. Finally the blonde stopped, and Ali looked over at the Forzieri store front. Its huge window display was chock full of designer handbags...bejeweled, leather, colorful handbags that called out to the brunette nearly as much as the gorgeous high end heels in the window display on the other side of the doorway screamed her name. Ali’s megawatt smile fell as Ashlyn pointed up to the Red and White sign above the store next to Forzieri that proclaimed, ‘Always Fresh Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop.’ 

 

“Timmy’s!” Ashlyn announced excitedly in her best ‘South Park Timmy’ voice. 

 

“It’s a good damned thing you are hot and amazing in bed, Stud.” Ali mumbled to herself as she reluctantly allowed Ashlyn to direct her to the entrance away from all the pretty princess things next door.   

 

Ashlyn took Ali to a table and pulled the shiny straight-backed aluminum chair out for her. Ali plunked into her seat and spared a tight lipped smile for the blonde, trying really hard to school her features so her fiancee wouldn’t read the disappointment she felt. There were amazing shoes and purses next door for crying out loud...and they could be all hers! Ali watched as Ashlyn practically skipped up to the counter to place their order, and shook her head. Well the blonde was certainly excited. 

 

“Hallo Ali! Vorstellen, dass Sie hier zu sehn. Wie geht es dir?” Saskia’s voice startled Ali out of her thoughts. 

 

The fierce defender turned her head, and Ali’s nose crinkled as she grinned at her former Frankfurt teammate.  Ali stood up and allowed the woman to give her a quick hug.

 

“Hallo, Saskia. Ich bin sehr gut, aber, Ich habe dich vermisst. Wie geht sie?” Ali responded, easily falling back into what seemed like her second native language. 

 

“Ich bin auch gut. Vorbereiten der arsch in fußball zu kicken.” Saskia teased with a wink.

 

Ali wagged her finger in front of Saskia, “Oh, ich denke nicht so. Nur in deinen träumen.”

 

The small group of German players that had surrounded the American defender laughed along with Ali and Saskia at their trash talking. Ali looked past Saskia to where Ashlyn was paying for their order and chatting with an amused looking Nadine behind her in line. The brunette wished more than anything that the extremely talented keeper could be the one in between the posts behind her. Ashlyn had long proven she deserved a shot, and maybe that was her biased opinion, but Ali couldn’t help but feel a bit of anger towards Jill that her love had been snubbed without even being given a fair opportunity to win the starting spot from Hope.   

 

“So ist still Glucksbringer, or now just Stud?” Nadine winked as she walked up next to Ashlyn. 

 

Ashlyn looked up from her watch, and her lips curled into a dimple bearing wide smile. The blonde wrapped her arms around the number one German goalkeeper and squeezed warmly. 

 

“Hey Natze! I have so much to thank you for...Ali told me what you did for us...how you believed in me. I can’t even find the words to tell you how grateful I am.” Ashlyn murmured in Nadine’s ear as they hugged.

 

“Ist ok. You can name your first born after me. Fair deal, ja?!” Nadine teased.

 

“Ummm...I’m not even sure I get to name them! It might be a safer bet that I name our next car after you.” Ashlyn chuckled.

 

Nadine’s face scrunched up as she considered this, “Ach nein danke! You will probably drive some ugly minivan for all your kids.”

 

The two laughed heartily at that prospect just as Ashlyn’s order was finished. Nadine’s eyes narrowed as the blonde gingerly picked up the coffee with her right hand. 

 

“How long?” Nadine asked pointedly.

 

“How long, what?” Ashlyn replied, confused by the question.

 

“How long you have that broken finger?” Nadine clarified, nodding towards the blonde keeper’s right hand.

 

Ashlyn grimaced as she unconsciously tried to curl her broken finger under to hide it from Nadine’s appraising gaze.  

 

“Today. During pk practice...but it’s fine, really.” Ashlyn tried to downplay the injury, but the German wasn’t having any of it.

 

“Let me guess, you have kept it secret from her, ja?” Nadine hit the nail on the head as she reached across the counter and picked up her order as well.

 

Ashlyn blew out her breath and nodded. No sense in lying about it.

 

“I understand. I am also a keeper. I just remind you that she does not like secrets. Let her be there for you. Ist not weakness to need your woman, my friend.” Nadine reminded Ashlyn as they headed back towards the group.

 

Ashlyn smiled as she watched Nadine place a chaste kiss on Ali’s cheek in greeting, and the brunette cupped the German goalkeeper’s cheek in return. If she lived to be a thousand years old, Ashlyn still wouldn’t have enough time to properly pay back Nadine. The blonde set down the coffee cups and small bag on the table and made her way to Ali’s side. The brunette unconsciously tucked herself into the blonde keeper’s inked side as she continued talking with the group of German players, and Ashlyn’s heart swelled as she wrapped her arm around Ali’s shoulders. 

 

“So Ali, when is the wedding?” Nadine asked, speaking in english for Ashlyn’s sake. 

 

Ali smiled coyly, “We haven’t really set a date yet, but I think it will probably be after the Olympics.”

 

“Oh you will know when we have it, Natze, because you are definitely on the guest list...all of you are.” Ashlyn added, knowing how much these women meant to her fiancee.

 

Nadine looked at her watch and she reluctantly got everyone’s attention so they could get going. Germany had a team meeting soon, and they had to be on time. After one last round of trash talking in Deutsche with the two Americans, the Germans filed out of the coffee shop.

 

Ashlyn pulled out the chair for Ali once more, and helped her into her seat...the brunette in a visibly much better mood. Ashlyn grabbed the chair across the small table from the brunette and set one of the cups of coffee in front of Ali. She quickly took a small treat out of the bag and placed it on top of the bag in front of Ali.

 

“Ta DA!” Ashlyn exclaimed loudly, her wide smile showcasing the deep crevice of her dimple as she used both hands to emphasize the items in front of the brunette.

 

Ali glanced down at the offerings and back up at Ashlyn.

 

“Its a cup of coffee and a doughnut hole, Ashlyn.” Ali replied flatly, not at all understanding the blonde’s enthusiasm, especially since there were gorgeous purses and heels right next door.

 

“No. It’s a double-double and a sour cream Timbit, Alex...and they are gonna blow your mind.” Ashlyn retorted smugly, leaning back and crossing her arms.  

 

Ali giggled, “Are you seriously trying to feed me Tim’s bits? I thought you knew I only eat lady bits now...specifically yours.” 

 

Ashlyn’s eyes widened and she brought her left hand to cover her mouth, and then fanned herself in mock shock, “Why Miss Krieger, I can’t believe you would talk of such naughty things in public. What would your parents say?!”

 

Ali stuck her tongue out at Ashlyn before popping the Timbit in her mouth. The moist, rich, sour cream infused glazed doughnut hole practically melted on her tongue. A look of pure ecstasy came over the brunette, and she moaned as she closed her eyes focusing on the explosion of heavenly flavor in her mouth.

 

“Riiiiight?!” Ashlyn commented, feeling totally vindicated.

 

“I hate you. Why would you introduce me to such scrumptious cakey goodness when you know I am trying to keep my ass in shape?!” Ali teased as she savored the lingering sweet aftertaste a moment before reaching for the cup of coffee in front of her, and taking a big sip.  

 

Ashlyn’s eyes twinkled impishly, “I liiiiiiike big butts and I can not lie…”

 

Ali snorted in mid-drink and spewed a bit of coffee on her chin and the table. She set her cup down before the brunette crumpled up the bag the Timbit had come in, and threw it at Ashlyn while she continued to cough up coffee. The wad of wax covered paper was snatched out of mid-air by the keeper before it hit her face.

 

“I swear to god Ashlyn, you will die a slow painful death if I ever catch you teaching that rap song to our kids!” Ali taunted as she caught her breath, and wiped her face off with a napkin. 

 

But baby, your ass is sooooo….” Ashlyn started, cupping both hands out in front of her to emphasize the size.

 

“Don’t you dare finish that sentence, Stud!” Ali interrupted the blonde, her harsh words betrayed by the light tone in her voice.

 

“...squeezable...teasable...delectable...and definitely fuckable!” Ashlyn finished, wagging her eyebrows suggestively at the brunette.

 

“Oh that’s it, you are sooooo getting it now!” Ali razzed the amused keeper.

 

“Well it’s about damned time! I’ve been trying to get it for the past week!” Ashlyn teased back, quickly standing up and holding her left hand out towards Ali, “Hurry. Maybe we can squeeze in a quickie before the team meeting.”

 

“Maybe you fell on your head one too many times at pk practice.” Ali retorted as she took the keeper’s hand and allowed Ashlyn to help her up.

 

***

 

Julie nudged Carli in the side with her elbow as they sat together on a sofa in the hotel lobby. She jutted her chin in the direction of the front doors and Carli’s eyes followed. Her eyes narrowed and her face hardened. What the hell was he doing there?!

 

“Abby…” Carli nodded her head towards the door and Abby turned her head. 

 

“Oh hell no! You guys go warn Ali. Pinoe, you are with me. He doesn’t get to the elevators, no matter what you have to do.” Abby quickly handed out assignments as she stood.

 

Carli and Julie sprinted to the elevators and split up. Each took one of the two lifts up to the seventh floor to further stall the unwanted man, while Abby and Pinoe ran interference.

 

“Well hello, Abby! Exciting day tomorrow. I’m sure you can’t wait to get out on the pitch.” Ken warmly greeted his daughter’s teammate.

 

“Don’t even, Ken. I can’t let you do it to her. Not now.” Abby growled, blocking his path to the front desk.

 

Ken’s face flushed a little and he looked down at his shoes as he realized his daughter hadn’t mentioned their reconciliation. It was fine, really. He still had to prove himself to her. Nothing wrong with that. Ken had simply wanted to wish her luck for the match the next day. He looked at the protective power forward with a disarmingly kind gaze, and took a deep breath. At least running into his daughter’s friend offered him another opportunity to make things right.

 

“I uh...I do need to tell you that I’m so very sorry for the awful things I said last year. I...I was so hurt and confused. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. I know Alex has been working on it. Deb said that she had asked if I was coming...so here I am.” Ken apologized as he explained himself to the player.

 

“I truly hope you mean that, Mr. Krieger. I know how much it would mean to Ali for you to be back in her life...” Abby replied, thawing a little, “...as long as you can accept that means her love for Ashlyn.”

 

Before Ken could reply, a sprinting Megan Rapinoe launched herself through the air. She landed on his back, knocking him off balance, and the two landed in a tangled pile on the floor. Abby closed her eyes and shook her head. She sighed loudly and helped Ken to his feet.

 

“Are you ok, sir?” Abby asked narrowing her eyes at an unrepentant Pinoe.

 

“Well that was certainly an...enthusiastic greeting.” Ken replied, dusting himself off. 

 

Pinoe shrugged at Abby’s glares, “What? You said ‘no matter what I had to do.’ Well, it worked didn’t it?! He isn’t at the elevators.”

 

Ken looked at the diminutive midfielder curiously. What in the sam hades hell was going on?! Pinoe noticed his confusion and rolled her eyes.

 

“We couldn’t let you get on the elevators and go up to Ali and Ash’s room.” Pinoe explained.

 

“Oh! Well, I wasn’t going to up there since they...you know...certainly do…” Ken started before being interrupted.

 

“Fuck like bunnies? Yeah, I thought that too, but it turns out it’s monkeys...which kinda blew my mind. I didn’t know that monkeys fucked that often, but I guess they really do if you look at the bonobos.” Pinoe rambled on until Abby whacked the back of her head, “OW! Hey!”

 

Ken’s face paled a little and he shuddered, “I was going to say ‘like their privacy,’ but thank you for that new visual that I will never be able to get out of my head, Megan. I thought the one I had when I knocked on the door last year was bad…”

 

Ken visibly shuddered again as his voice trailed off. 

 

“I’m sorry, Mr. Krieger, Pinhead doesn’t rub her two brain cells together too often.” Abby apologized, and stared pointedly at Pinoe who was shooting daggers back and rubbing the sting from the back of her head.

 

“That’s ok. I mean, I actually do like Ashlyn. She is so different than what I was led to believe by my old church. I am very happy that my daughter found someone as wonderful as Ashlyn to love and protect her for the rest of her life...I just don’t want to think about my daughter having sex with anyone.” Ken explained. 

 

“Daddy!” Ali excitedly blurted out as she emerged from the stairwell, seeing him with her teammates. 

Ali quickly made her way across the lobby and allowed Ken to wrap her in a warm embrace. Moments later, Ken held his right arm up in silent invitation for a trailing Ashlyn to join them. Abby and Pinoe got a little choked up as the blonde keeper melted into the group hug with her future father-in-law, knowing how far he had come. Ken wiped his eyes as the hug finally ended. He would never take holding his daughter in his arms for granted again, and he would always be eternally grateful for his second chance at life that her fiancee had given him. 

 

“Nice to see you, Ken. I didn’t know you were coming.” Ashlyn greeted him.

 

“Oh well, Deb said that you guys were asking if I’d be here, so I thought you should know I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Besides, I know Alex can’t play in the World Cup final without this.” Ken replied as he fished a piece of very worn and faded cloth out of his pocket.

 

Ali’s eyes welled up and her hands flew up to cover her mouth in surprise, “Oh daddy, you remembered.”

 

“Of course, sweetheart. I knew you’d want it with you tomorrow.” Ken stated quietly as he handed the scrap over to his daughter.

 

Ali held the faded red and white fabric reverently. The brunette held it up for Ashlyn to see, showing her looping script in black sharpie that read, “When you don’t think you have any heart left to give the game, borrow some of mine xo Mom”.

 

“It’s the part of her Frostburg State University kit from over her heart. She cut it out for me when I was having a hard time at Penn State. I wore it under my bra close to my heart. Then I discovered I had so much more to give than I ever dreamed possible.” Ali explained, “It’s been my good luck charm ever since.”  

 

Ashlyn leaned in and kissed Ali’s temple, “It’s beautiful. Your family never ceases to amaze me, Alex.”

 

Ali graced her fiancee with a megawatt smile, “We’re gonna win now! No doubt about it!”

 

“Yes we are!” Ashlyn agreed whole heartedly.

 

 

Chapter Text

Ali saw the intercepted pass from Carli to Abby go screaming over her head to start a counter attack by the talented German squad. She changed directions on a dime, and started sprinting back towards the play. The determined right back caught up to Anja Mittag who had leaked out, and barely kept herself onside at the start of the counter attack. It was now a foot race to the ball. 

 

“Get there baby, get there!” Ashlyn called out along the sidelines, trying to will Ali’s feet to move just a tiny bit faster. 

 

Ashlyn smiled as Ali seemed to find another gear, and started to separate from Mittag. The fierce defender was the first to the ball, and Ashlyn pumped her left fist in front of her as her love cleared the ball harmlessly back to Hope. Ashlyn pointed to Ali and cheered loudly as she ran back towards the German goal to join the attack. 

 

“Yes Alex, yes!” Ashlyn called out in supportive recognition when Ali passed her. 

 

Ashlyn glanced up at the scoreboard. The two rival teams had been going back and forth pretty evenly matched since the opening whistle blew for the kickoff. It was getting late in the first half, and so far nobody had managed to put the ball into the back of the net. Only eight minutes plus a couple of stoppage time minutes to go until the half. The blonde sighed. The way it was looking, they would be going into the locker rooms tied at nil. 

 

Ali received the ball from Julie and as she started running with the ball, the fierce right back suddenly felt her legs get tangled up with a sliding Bartusiak who caught her from behind. Before she even landed face first onto the hot turf, Ali heard the whistle blow. It had been a hard foul, and she felt some pain in her ankle. Bartusiak mumbled her apologies before she regained her feet to face a yellow card, but Ali took a moment on her hands and knees to assess how her ankle really felt. Ashlyn had taped it prior to the match, so it was fairly well supported. Ali hissed in a bit of pain as she rolled it around. Just a simple knock. She could most likely walk it off. 

 

Ashlyn shot off the bench to her feet, yelling obscenities on the sideline, as soon as she saw Bartusiak sliding into Ali from behind. She hated being on the bench and powerless to actually do something for her fiancee. But then, what would she be able to do from between the posts? Stand back there and impotently scream at the woman whose reckless defending had taken her love to the ground? Yeah, that’s as helpful as her litany of curses from the sidelines was now. Ashlyn rolled her eyes at her own thoughts before watching in relief as Ali regained her feet. Good. At least she wouldn’t have to create an international incident after the match to defend her favorite defender. If the brunette only knew how often the blonde thought about beating the crap out of someone for accidentally hurting her love, she would probably get smacked in the back of the head for being too much like Pinhead. 

 

“Watch yourself, Saskia!” Ashlyn growled loudly to the German defender as she ran up the sideline to join her back line while Ali restarted play with her free kick. 

 

Bartusiak looked over at Ashlyn and mouthed, ‘sorry.’ The blonde nodded her acceptance that the play hadn’t been intended to be dirty. Ali chose her target and blasted the ball forward to a waiting Pinoe who settled the ball at her feet and charged ahead along the left side. With several German players closing in on her fast, Pinoe slanted a pass forward towards Alex, who tried to shoot from just outside the box, but the shot sailed harmlessly over the crossbar for a goal kick. Ali faded over towards the middle of the pitch a bit so she was next to Sasic while waiting for Nadine’s kick. The brilliant defender didn’t want to risk losing her mark, but she wasn’t going to be completely pulled out of her area either, and leave the right flank open for attack. 

 

Ashlyn’s face broke out into a proud grin when Ali won the ball despite being a full three inches shorter than Sasic, and headed it back towards the German goal. Kelley poked Ashlyn in the ribs and pointed to Ali as the fierce right back was adjusting her position to the flow of their team’s build-up to attack the German goal. 

 

“Girl definitely has some hops!” Kelley complimented, noticing the pride in Ashlyn’s loving eyes as the blonde’s attention hadn’t wavered from her fiancee. 

 

“Oh yeah, my baby is a regular gazelle...one badass gazelle.” Ashlyn replied.

 

“Uh, gazelles are not exactly ‘badasses’ Ash.” Kelley teased as they watched Simone Laudehr and Bianca Schmidt double team Pinoe and steal the ball from her.

 

“Fffft. Gazelles sprint up to sixty miles per hour, can jump twelve to fifteen feet in the air because they have such powerful legs, and according to shaman legend, the gazelle power animal wisdom includes awareness, speed, grace, agility, beauty, ability to maneuver effortlessly, along with their vertical leaping abilities. Sounds like the epitome of ‘badass’ to me...especially if you are a football defender.” Ashlyn counted the points off on her fingers, and then crossed her arms as she leaned back against the bench with a smirk.

 

“God Ashlyn, where did you even learn all that crap, or did you just pull that out of your ass?!” Kelley asked somewhat skeptically, trying to decide if she was impressed or being punked.   

 

“Animal Planet. It’s surprisingly human.” Ashlyn retorted as they watched Klingenberg clear the ball across the back line for a German corner kick. 

 

“Poor Ali, she didn’t realize she was dating the obsessed Animal Planet nerd when she fell on her head and picked you.” Kelley chuckled as Ashlyn flashed her the middle finger of her left hand, the referee’s whistle sounding loudly. 

 

“Trust me, she isn’t complaining about my Animal Planet obsession.” Ashlyn fired back, wiggling her eyebrows in a suggestive challenge while the two teams’ players headed towards the US goal box.

 

“Eeew! TMI, TMI!” Kelley plugged her ears playfully as they watched their teammates marking the Germans inside the box.

 

While Schmidt set up for the corner, Ashlyn glanced up at the scoreboard and sighed. It was the fourty fourth minute. Only three minutes until the half. The blonde keeper couldn’t wait for the whistle. She could see Ali lined up with her mark, Sasic, but the right back looked a little antsy. She could tell her fiancee needed the break to rehydrate, fuel up, and gather her thoughts. Honestly, by the looks of both teams, she wasn’t the only one. 

 

“Hey JJ, tighter on Popp! That’s it!” Hope directed as she calculatingly took in the players lining up in front of goal. 

 

Schmidt sent a bending cross to the near post that JJ headed down. Meghan tried to clear it but the touch was weak, and Mittag blasted a shot back in from the top of the box that bounced off the crossbar to Becky, who immediately played it back to an unprepared Ali. The unexpected pass immediately ricocheted off the right back’s left shin, and past a diving Hope Solo into the back of the net. Ashlyn felt helpless as the ball settled in the back netting, and Ali’s face first registered shock, then horrified guilt as the realization of the own goal hit her to the echoing groans of the pro USA crowd. 

 

“Fuck, Krieger! What the hell…” Hope growled as she angrily swiped the ball from the ground and kicked it toward the center circle, “Wake the fuck up! I can’t defend them and you too!”

 

“I’m so sorry, guys.” Ali blurted as her shoulders dropped a bit, her nightmare was coming true.  

 

Abby glared at Hope and motioned for everyone to gather around her in front of the goal. She looked pointedly at Hope while rubbing her left hand soothingly on the small of Ali’s back. The Captain put one hand in the center of their circle, and everyone started adding a hand to the center pile. 

 

“It’s ok, Kriegy. That one is on all of us. We win as a team, and we fuck up as a team, besides this is far from over! Now let’s go out there and show these fans what we are made of...USA on three. One! Two! Three!” Abby refocused her teammates. 

 

“USA!” the team shouted in unison before trotting back to the center of the pitch to re-start play.

 

“You got this!” Ashlyn shouted in support as Ali jogged back to her position for the kickoff. 

 

Ashlyn watched Ali intently for the remaining few minutes as USA pushed hard, but came up empty time after time. She knew the brunette had shoved the own goal to the back of her brain for the moment, but as soon as the whistle would blow, that thought would torture her through the half. The perfectionist in the defender would be examining every tiny detail of that play over and over again in her mind to find out what she could have done differently...better...quicker...to have stopped the ball from going into the back of the net. Even though they won and lost as a team, Ashlyn knew that in her heart, Ali would be taking full responsibility for the team being down a goal to the Germans. As Carly received a slotted pass from JJ, the whistle sounded and Ashlyn jogged out onto the field to meet her fiancee and offer her some support as they both made their way to the tunnel.

 

Ali looked up at Ashlyn approaching, and her shoulders slumped a bit more. How could she ever have let last night happen? She had promised...promised! She had broken the rules she had promised coach she would obey, and this was her punishment. Her nightmare was coming true. She had to find a way to turn this around before it was too late.

 

As soon as they were inside the tunnel and away from the stadium full of prying eyes, Ashlyn wrapped her arm around Ali’s shoulders and squeezed her into a side hug. Ali shrugged out of the blonde’s embrace.

 

“Don’t. Please. I just...I can’t right now.” Ali mumbled, and she suddenly jogged off, leaving a stunned Ashlyn standing alone in the tunnel.

 

**

 

The mood in the locker room was somber as Ashlyn quietly opened the door and slipped inside. She had taken a few minutes to compose herself after Ali had rejected her comfort. Rejected. Ali hadn’t rejected her since the very beginning, and that had hurt...but the blonde knew the guilt her fiancee was feeling. She made her way over to where the defender was sitting and slid onto the bench next to her. 

 

“Listen, you can be mad at yourself for a fluke accident, and you can wallow in your pity party if you want, but don’t you dare shut me out for loving and supporting you, Alex. That’s not fair.” Ashlyn leaned over and whispered to Ali who refused to look at her, “Now fucking let it go because we need you out there in the second half. This thing is far from over, and We. Need. You.”

 

Tears welled in Ali’s eyes. Ashlyn was right. She had never been this way. Never dwelled on flubbed plays in the middle of a match. What the hell was wrong with her? Sure, this was the finals of the World Cup...but it was still just a game. She had literally played thousands of them...perhaps even tens of thousands of them in her lifetime, and this one was no different. Her team didn’t need cry baby Krieger, they needed Princess Warrior...they needed fire and fight...strength and stamina...cunning and craftiness. They needed her to get her stupid shit together. 

 

Ashlyn smiled as she felt Ali reach over and place her right hand on top of the blonde’s left hand, twining their fingers and giving the keeper’s hand a gentle squeeze. Ashlyn squeezed back...she didn’t even have to look to know the fire was back in Ali’s eyes. 

 

**

 

Ali felt the hard contact and she fought to maintain her balance over the ball. With a single touch, she passed the ball forward to the feet of a slashing Sydney Leroux. Sydney saw the German defenders collapsing in on her and took a shot just inside the box. Angerer extended fully, and managed to tap the ball to the outside of the goal...the ball skittering harmlessly across the touch line, conceding a corner kick instead of a goal. Sweat streamed down Ali’s face and stung her eyes as she lined up inside the box and waited for the cross. She felt Bartusiak try to grab a fist full of her kit, and the intelligent right back took a couple of sudden steps forward, freeing herself from the German defender’s grip just as the ball came off of Pinoe’s foot. Ali pressed off her feet to leap into the air just as she felt her body sandwiched by Bartusiak and Goessling. The ball sailed over their heads towards Abby. The tall power forward managed to get her head on the ball, but it hit off the corner of the crossbar and bounced over the touch line for a goal kick to Germany. Ali groaned. That had been a good look, and they had been unable to capitalize on it. 

 

“Ihre Zeit wächst kurz.” Goessling taunted as she shouldered her way past Ali.

 

“I’ll show you whose time is almost up…” Ali muttered under her breath as she ran downfield to get into position for the goal kick, a new fire burning intently in her veins at the taunt. 

 

Ashlyn couldn’t hardly stand to sit on the bench and watch. With each passing second, the match out on the pitch was getting more and more intense. After a series of mid-field steals, Germany was bearing down on the goal onside and with numbers. Ali, Becky, and JJ were spread thin due to Klingenberg going all the way forward, and being out of position for the counter strike. Just outside the penalty box, Becky managed to get a foot on the ball and clear it over the back touch line, conceding another corner kick to the confident Germans. 

 

The ref blew her whistle, and had a talk with the players as things were getting a bit chippy lining up for the corner kick. A perfect cross from Schmidt found Mittag, and the forward blasted a shot towards the goal. It ricocheted off the right side of the cross bar in front of a diving Hope Solo, and the crowd went silent as a loud sickening thud reverberated through the stadium when Goessling’s foot missed the ball but connected with Hope’s face, the focused goalkeeper’s head snapping back and body going limp. 

 

Ashlyn leapt off the bench and wrapped her strong arms around an incensed Kelley O’Hara, preventing her from storming the field. Ali and Becky quickly called to the ref for the trainer while Abby shoved Goessling away from Hope’s still body. Already agitated, Goessling got into the power forward’s face.

 

“Fick dich, mann sein wollen!” Goessling screamed at Abby as she aggressively shoved the power forward back. 

 

Abby got right back into Goessling’s face, “You better step back, beauty queen, or your pretty little face is about to get beat!” 

 

The referee’s whistle finally registered in Abby’s brain and she allowed Pinoe and Christie Rampone to tug her away from the confrontation as the referee stepped in between the two players. The crowd gasped as the referee stopped Abby and pulled out a red card. 

 

“What the...fuck!” Abby ripped off the Captain’s arm band in disgust and handed it to Christie, “Go get ‘em Captain America! They need you.”

 

Abby smirked in satisfaction as she saw the referee give Goessling the same treatment while she walked off the field. She said a quick prayer for Hope and her teammates as she entered the tunnel. It was now completely out of her hands whether or not they would be Champions, but the fuming power forward had no regrets. Hope had needed someone on the field to stand up for her.

 

Ali and Becky knelt down beside Hope’s still body. Blood was coming out of the corner of her mouth and nose, her face already starting to swell and bruise. 

 

“Damn it. She’s out cold.” Becky swore and Ali nodded, both knowing what that meant...Ashlyn would be coming in to the game one goal down and twenty three minutes remaining on the clock, plus stoppage time.  

 

It took a bit of smelling salts held under Hope’s nose by the trainer to rouse her, but her eyes finally fluttered open. Her normally fiery eyes looked unfocused and she still looked dazed, however. It took the EMT’s and trainer all of five minutes to get her onto a stretcher and into the tunnel where the ambulance waited to whisk her off to the hospital. 

 

“Harris, get warmed up. You are our Hope now.” Jill barked at the back up keeper, pissed off at the Germans for injuring her star. 

 

Ashlyn swallowed hard as she started stretching along the sidelines. What the hell should she do now? Should she tell coach about her finger? Would she still be able to stop balls screaming towards the net? The blonde looked up at Ali who had jogged over to the sideline in front of her.

 

“You have an injury don’t you.” Ali remarked, it was a statement and not a question.

 

Ashlyn cringed and nodded. How did she ever think she was going to hide it from her perceptive fiancee? 

 

“I knew it! Where?” Ali demanded, her voice betraying her disappointment in the blonde.

 

“Pinkie finger of my right hand...at our last pk practice. I think it’s broken.” Ashlyn admitted. 

 

“Ok. So get your ass out between the posts. You know we have you covered, babe, and we are much better off with a broken fingered Harris between the posts than Alyssa. She just isn’t ready for this level yet. You know you are.” Ali reasoned, giving Ashlyn her swagger back. 

 

The defenders all huddled around Ashlyn inside their box. Pride mixed with a bit of annoyance at the blonde filled Ali as she listened to the new keeper give a pep talk to the group. 

 

“Look, we need to shut them down, now! From now on, you guys are the...D.O.D...my Department of Defense, and we don’t let anything get passed us! For Hope.” Ashlyn commented while she finished putting on her gloves.

 

Ali waved the rest of the back line over to her as Ashlyn walked to her place between the posts, “Hey guys, let’s give Ash our very best. She really needs us right now.”

 

** 

 

Ashlyn’s chest tightened as she watched Sasic break away towards a loose ball. She glared at the oncoming forward. Nothing was going to get passed her...nothing. The keeper blew out a breath as Ali closed the gap and caught up to the talented threat, challenging and winning the ball back for the Americans. However, a few passes later, Alex got wrong footed by a pass from Carly and the Germans were once again countering. 

 

Ashlyn barked orders, pointing out the weak spots in the back line defens