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Unafraid

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The evening hadn’t gone even remotely the way Rebecca had thought it would. She had imagined a nice evening out with John, an amicable conversation (in which she didn't really have to play a major part except to smile and nod in appropriate places) over a nice hot cup of coffee and maybe a short stroll after. But she had taken herself (and John too, of course) aback by calling it quits with him instead. 

 

She tries not to be upset. She really does. She didn't even like him all that much, in all honesty. Still, she had put herself out there and tried her hardest to make it work. But maybe things that you had to force weren't meant to work out anyway. 

 

So now here she stands, beside the driver's door of her car, her hands fiddling with the key fob and her shoulders drooping from the weight of yet another failure. Her thoughts race a mile a minute, one fading into the background only to be replaced with another before she can really make sense of it. If she's honest with herself it isn't really about the break up. Well, not entirely about it anyway. It's mostly about what she realised as she was essentially thinking out loud.

 

How is it ever possible to feel truly safe with someone? I suppose you can't.  

 

She'd said that not more than fifteen minutes ago, and yet it was only a few seconds after those words had left her lips that she knew she was wrong in her assumption. She had most certainly felt “truly safe” with someone. She just hadn't realised it up until that very moment.

 

Intimacy is all about leaving yourself open to being attacked. 

 

She had, and he hadn't attacked. She had done it unknowingly. Not long after she met him, she had opened up to him about something she hadn't told anyone else-- partially because no one had bothered to ask her, but mostly because she couldn't bear to show the world her wounds. She didn't trust them to hold them delicately, to help her heal, and hold her hand through the pain. But ten minutes with Ted and he had already asked her how she was coping with her scandalous divorce. Something all her other "friends" had neglected to ask her.

 

But that hadn’t been the most shocking part of that conversation. No. The thing that surprised her the most was her response. She had admitted to him how hard the year had been. She had shown him, a complete stranger, exactly where she hurt, and she had done it willingly. She had left herself open to being attacked by him, the very moment she met him. If that wasn't sign enough that Ted Lasso was someone special, she didn't know what was. She had shown him her weakest spot, told him just how to bring her down, but instead, he had kept her safe. He had shown her kindness and empathy and supported her while the wound turned into a scab and the scab into a scar.

 

Because now she can see with utter clarity that "Biscuits with the Boss" wasn't about team bonding. Not really. It was a way for him to show her he was there. That he saw her. That he was looking out for her. That he had two ears as big as Dumbo's if she ever needed someone to listen. He had guided her through her pain, quietly, without any complaints and without ever asking for something in return. She'd be lying if she said she'd experienced something like that before. 

 

I have to be brave enough to let someone wonderful love me without fear of being hurt and without fear of being safe.

 

Once again, she had unknowingly done just that. She had let Ted in. She had let him care for her and be her friend and love her. Because that's what it was. Love. She recognises it for what it is. If he hadn't bothered to hide it, why should she ignore it? Him bringing her biscuits every morning, a seemingly innocent and silly question asked with the intent of breaking the ice, was really about getting to know her better. It was about growing closer to her, having her open up to him.

 

And she had, and how.

 

Forperhaps the first time in her life she had done so without hesitation, without fear. How could you be afraid of something you weren't aware of? Her heart had opened itself up to him without her even knowing, had let him in and now she couldn't get rid of the small home he had built inside her heart. And truth be told, she didn't even want to. He was flawed, yes, just as she was. A little bit broken, a little bit hurting, but fiercely strong and determined to keep moving forwards. They were sailing in the same boat, metaphorically speaking, and yet they hadn't used their pain as a way of getting closer. Sure, it was decidedly easier to talk to someone who understood first hand what you were going through and to connect with them on a level no one else could relate to, but that wasn't the only thing they had in common. They had been brought together by their hardships, yes, but also by their joys and triumphs, and also by the mundane.

 

She could see with the utmost clarity now, the way he looked at her-- similar to the way he looked at Henry, but not quite the same. She could feel the love that made its way into the biscuits he made her, in the tenderness of his touches, in the softness of his smiles, in the ease of his laughter. It was astonishing how she had managed to be blind to it for so long. 

 

But not anymore.

 

She was ready. Ready to let someone wonderful love her. Because Ted was wonderful.  He was delightfully funny, with wisdom and maturity seemingly beyond his years and yet equally silly and goofy. She was ready to let him love her. She'd already let it happen subconsciously, and now she was ready to embrace it entirely, with all of her being. She now understands what people mean when they say “follow your heart”. Was she afraid? Of course. Putting your heart on the line was never easy. It would never be easy. But she wasn't afraid of him. She wasn't afraid to let him hold her broken, bleeding heart in his hands. She wasn't afraid to let him see the ugly, disfigured parts of her, the parts she herself couldn't bear to look at in the light of day. She felt safe with him. Safer than she'd ever felt. She was ready to love and be loved in return.

 

Standing there in the cold, wet London evening, she realises that she is ready to begin the next phase of her life with one, Ted lasso. 

 

~~

                                                                      
                                                                                       

It takes her next to no time to reach his flat, the sun still setting in the distance, the street lamps waiting to be turned on at any minute. She can feel her heart thumping away in her chest, but she knows it's not anxiety. It's only excitement and anticipation. The kind an adrenaline junkie probably feels right before diving off a cliff. She's diving, but she knows-- he has proven to her time and again, is how she knows-- that he'll be there to make sure she lands on her feet. 

 

She rings his doorbell and waits, shifting from one foot to the other, thinking about all the other times she's been there. Granted, there haven't been that many, and all of those times have been thought out and planned in advance. Never has she showed up at his doorstep unannounced-- Christmas day notwithstanding. She doesn't think he'll mind though. 

 

She sees him poke his head out the window, looking down at her not unlike that time on Christmas. But unlike that day she doesn't wave, doesn't give him a friendly salute, doesn't utter a word in acknowledgement. She looks at him, and maybe it's the shock of seeing her at his doorstep without warning, or maybe it's whatever expression her face had chosen to settle in, but none of his usual quips or jaunty greetings make an appearance. He looks at her a moment longer before wordlessly shutting the window and moving out of her line of sight. 

 

She draws her coat more snugly around her, the chill of the night beginning to send small shivers down her spine. The street lamps flicker on and cast a soft glow over the length of the alleyway, and even though she knows her life is about to change forever, she has never felt more at peace than she is in this moment. 

 

The sound of the door unlatching forces her attention back to it, and a moment later his face appears before her, concern and a little apprehension painted across his usually jovial features. He takes a moment to scan her face, his eyes tracking every minute expression there with the utmost concentration. She doesn't know what he sees or what he'll make of it, but he must find whatever he’s looking for because his eyes soften and the frown on his face falls away. He looks like a man that has finally found answers he has spent countless years looking for. And with his clarity, she knows he knows. She can tell that by some unfathomable reason he can see the decision she has come to, that he can see the breakthrough she has made over the last hour, that she has finally reached the place he has been waiting in, for her. That she's ready to put her hand in his and walk the rest of the road together. 

 

For now though, his hand comes to brush her cheek and she leans into his touch, the warmth of his palm grounding her, letting her know she's safe. Letting her know through the brush of his fingers against her temple that she is standing on solid ground and is no longer falling. And when their lips meet, she knows the only reason she’ll ever fall again is in love with him day after glorious day.