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Make You Feel My Love

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She takes him with her to spread joy on Christmas. 


He relishes in the feeling of being driven around town by her, stopping only to give gifts to children, watching their faces beam when they see more goodies than they've probably had all year piled into one huge sack at their doorstep. It's incredibly fulfilling and heartwarming to see smiles erupt on their faces. 


But what's even more incredible is the way those smiles in turn light up Rebecca's face brighter than a hundred Christmas trees. Her smile so wide her laugh lines deepen like he's never seen before, her eyes wide and happy, crinkling at the sides, and cheeks rosy from both, the cold and merry mood alike. 


Her laughs come more freely today. Deeper, belly laughs that take his breath away. She's one hundred percent Rebecca . Not a smidge of ' da Boss ' in sight. She lets him tell her silly stories of things she only half understands, shakes her head at their absurdity and even slips in a story or two of her own. Tomorrow, ' Rebecca Welton- Boss Edition ' will take over, but today he'll relish in everything that is entirely Rebecca. 


He feels like he's being tested time and again throughout the day, trying hard not to walk too close to her. Trying to keep from slipping his palm into hers and entangling their fingers. Trying not to stare too long at the way she becomes animated when she's explaining to the kids just how Santa's sleigh hit delays. 

She slips an arm through his own when a wave of sadness engulfs him. 


The hollowness in his chest threatens to overpower him when they come across a child around Henry's age, with identical items in his wish list as Henry's. But Rebecca is miraculously attuned to his emotions and she grounds him with an arm through his and a small story from her childhood before he can slip further into the darkness. 


She doesn't let go of him for the rest of the evening. 


He tells himself not to read too much into it when she asks him " what now? " when her car is significantly lighter and devoid of presents. He has to remind himself that she's only asking as a friend, as someone who's sailing in the same boat as he is. There's no pity there though. He knows that with absolute certainty. He knows because she wouldn't accept any pity herself. Everything she does is out of genuine care and concern. 


His biggest test of the evening comes at the end, after they've spread joy and sung and danced their hearts out with the Higgins' and their team. It takes every molecule of self restraint in him not to pull her towards him and join their lips when she walks him back to his flat. There, outside his door, the moonlight shining off her hair and reflections of all the Christmas lights in her eyes, the urge to press a soft kiss to her lips is overwhelming. 


Instead he reaches out and pulls her into a tight hug, one that he's pleased to know she returns in kind. He whispers his thanks into her ear. His gratitude for turning a drab day into a bustling, happy one filled with life and merriment. He tells himself it's wishful thinking or the cold air of the night, why she shivers in his arms. 


He files the day as one of the top three Christmases of his life.

It's his sound advice she seeks when her mother comes to visit.

Her face pinched, eyes steeled, they sit side by side on her sofa as she tells him about her relationship with her parents. Love mixed with anger and worry, he sees her jaw work and the rigid line of her shoulders as she tries to hold back emotions. 


He realises that complicated parental relationships don't vanish with age and success, no matter who you are or where you come from.


They're in the workplace. It's Boss and Coach Lasso here. This - whatever this is - is significantly blurring the lines of professionalism they've managed to tread carefully thus far. He doesn't hold back, however, taking her fists in his hands and unclenching them, finger by finger as he softly whispers words of advice and encouragement. 


He can feel her dilemma, the anger so much like his own held against his father. He makes her a cup of tea and pulls out the extra box of biscuits he keeps in his bag just in case of emergency situations like these, and she looks at him with such big doe eyes that it has his heart skipping a beat at the adoration he finds there. 


She thanks him for his patience and advice, and apologises for monopolising his time and for the display of emotion that she usually holds back from. He waves it all off with a "what are friends for" and a promise to be there to support her should she ever need it again. 


She presses a soft kiss to his cheek, thumbs off the hint of lipstick left behind and sends him back to his team with a soft "Thank you, Ted.".


His cheek, where her lips had touched his skin has tingled and burnt ever since. 

It's his doorstep she shows up at, when she needs somewhere to escape.

It's been an ordinary day, Biscuits with the Boss followed by drills and training and lunch with Beard (secret sandwich switcharoo with a surprisingly delicious mayo and cucumber sandwich in it for him). It's been an ordinary evening too, a stroll around the park, a few laughs exchanged with Shannon and a quick but delicious dinner of spaghetti and meatballs. It's all been just like any other day, until the doorbell rings at precisely 8:17 pm. He knows because he's been sitting in front of his laptop waiting for his scheduled Skype session with Henry for the last seventeen minutes. 


She's there, at his doorstep, still in her work clothes, her purse hanging from one arm, an umbrella from the other. She looks nervous, like she's not sure she meant to come to him at all, and a sadness in her eyes that he's never seen before.


He ushers her in, leaving her umbrella by the door and hangs her coat in the closet. He sits her down on his couch, pushing his laptop a little out of the way and waits for her to break the silence. When a minute passes and nothing happens, he offers to make her a cup of tea. His voice breaks whatever spell she'd been under and suddenly she's apologising profusely for interrupting his evening. 


And just like all the other times she's come to him in times of need, he takes both her hands in his and reassures her that he's more than happy to be there for whatever she needs. She doesn't realise just how much he means that statement in its entirety. 


She tells him about having Nora over for a few days, tells him about how lovely it was to have a child in the house. She tells him how much fun they'd had together, doing the silliest things at home and being problem-solving professionals in her office. She tells him that Nora is now gone and her home is once again empty and barren. 


Just like herself. 


He pulls her into a tight embrace at that, wishing his love and admiration for her could transfer over to her through osmosis. Instead, he strokes her hair and whispers reassurances in her ear, tells her she should never refer to herself in that manner. He invites her to stay with him for however long she needs. 


He fixes her a plate of leftover spaghetti and she seems to be in better spirits by the time her fork is scraping the bottom of the dish. He lets her sit in on his call with Henry, encouraging her to participate in their inane discussion about cars and dinosaurs and learns that she used to be a 'Hotwheels' girl herself. She radiates an energy he's never seen before while she talks to him. It takes his breath away, the way she's calm and nurturing and engages with his son like he's her own. 


She doesn't stay over despite his insistence, and since she looks considerably happier than when she'd arrived, he lets her go with the promise of extra baked goodies in the morning.


He's probably the last person she texts that night, a simple "Thank you for everything, Ted." , but the purple heart at the end of that message lights a flame of hope in his chest that keeps him warm for the next few weeks that follow. 

He knows he's the only one she'll come to when Rupert is the one to bring her down. 

Yet, he's still a little surprised and honoured that she feels safe enough to open up to him when Rupert sends her pictures of his new child.  


She storms into his office, fuming and waving her phone around like it's a weapon. It could very well be, because the side of his head has a close call, escaping it by the breadth of a hair. He closes the door and lowers the blinds and waits for her to get whatever this is out of her system. 


She calms down eventually, and plops down into a chair (can it really be called "plopping" if it's that graceful?) and he takes the one next to hers. She tells him about the baby, about the way Rupert has tormented her since the moment it was conceived, shows him a picture of the tiny girl drowning in blankets, fast asleep. 


She has plump cheeks and a tiny button nose and looks nothing like her piece of garbage father. For that, he is grateful. Something must show on his face because she tells him it's okay to say she's cute, because she is, and it's not her fault her father is a cock of enormous proportions (and not in a good way).


She tells him a little bit about wanting a child and why that didn't work out. She doesn't go into much detail, because they're still at work, but he understands enough to make his blood boil on her behalf. 


A heartfelt wish.


A singular request in twelve years of marriage.


Heard, but never fulfilled.


Used instead, as ammunition against her. 


Another bullet in Rupert’s ever firing gun.


He didn't think he could hate Rupert any more than he already did. Turns out he could. 


He digs out another one of his green army men (he has a whole stash tucked away both here and at his flat) and offers it to her. She looks at him with wide, damp eyes and he's glad to see the hints of a small smile form at the corners of her lips as her fingers caress the little toy. He will absolutely not dwell on why that makes him blush.


He listens and empathizes, cries with her for her predicament and fills her with a little bit of his optimism. He doesn't tell her she'd be an amazing mother. He doesn't tell her there are ways she can still be one if she wishes. He simply listens and comforts and supports.


He covers her bare knee with his palm and rubs his thumb back and forth in a soothing pattern on her skin while her head rests against his shoulder. Her hair tickles the side of his neck, shivers shooting down his spine at the sensation but he doesn’t utter a peep, afraid to disturb the calm that blankets them.


He can't tell whether or not he's grateful she's wearing a skirt.


They sit there in comfortable silence for a while, his thumb tracing patterns in her skin and he can't help but feel something shift between them in that moment. 


He hopes she feels it too.

She invites him over for dinner one night.

He has half a mind to call her and cancel their plans. 


She'd asked him a few weeks ago if he was free on the seventeenth. A small dinner at her place, casual and intimate-  " there's no need for any details, Ted. Simply let me know if you are available that evening and bring a healthy appetite and that enormous repertoire of stories with you. "


He hadn't even needed to check his calendar. That day also happened to be Henry's birthday. He had no plans but to Skype with his son and drink himself into a sad, self-pitying stupor, much like on Christmas day. 


He'd agreed to be there in a heartbeat -he never could say no to those green eyes. But as he folds the flap of the pink biscuit box shut (he might be on a different continent now, but his mama taught him well and he'd be damned if he showed up without a small gift for his host), he eyes the half empty bottle of whiskey in the liquor cabinet and contemplates whether it's best to continue with his original plan for the evening. 


Rebecca must have a powerful sense of intuition, or maybe she just knows him that well by now, because his phone lights up with a text from her at precisely that moment. 


It's an image of her holding a box of tea cakes from his favourite shop with a simple caption. We're waiting for you. 


He feels something lodge itself in his throat, a feeling in his chest he can't quite name erupt and dull the sadness and bitterness he had been carrying around all day.


He finishes packing her goodies and hauls ass to her flat. 

She knows.


She's known all along what this day means to him. How he misses his son, how he hates that he can't be there with him, can't be a part of his birthday celebrations. 


She'd known and she'd arranged a party of their own. He's beyond touched at her kind, thoughtful gesture and he tries but fails to hide the tears in his eyes when he walks into her home and sees the simple birthday decorations and Henry's beaming face through her laptop screen. It was a dinner party, but just for him.


She draws him into her arms, gives him a tight squeeze that holds his broken pieces together and glues them back into a whole.


I've got you, Ted. She whispers into his ear before they part and he thinks she shouldn't say things like that to people that are trying hard not to crumble into a blubbering pile of tears at her feet. 


They're there with Henry as he opens his gifts. They watch him cut his ice cream cake that's in the shape of a truck and they cut one with him, an ocean away, a small chocolate cake with 'Henry' written across it in neat green icing. They end their bi-continental celebrations when his heart is full as is his belly, and his cheeks hurt from smiling, watching Rebecca and Henry laugh together. 


A day that seemed dreary and drab has once more been full of light and happiness because of Rebecca. He feels immensely grateful for her, appreciates her efforts to make a tough day easier for him, marvels at her ability to anticipate his needs and not shy away from fulfilling them. And he lets her know it.


There, on Rebecca's couch, sitting in front of her closed laptop, his hands gripping hers tightly, their knees brushing and bumping up against each other, he tells her how important she is to him. How he never feels like he’s too much when he’s around her.


He tells her that even though her intentions for bringing him over to Richmond might not have been entirely honest, he's immensely glad she did. It's been a lonely year for him, and she's been his flame, a source of light and warmth in an otherwise dark, cold, wet cave.


Her eyes light up in a way he hasn't seen before and there's something charged in the air around them. She looks hopeful and nervous all at once, her eyes wide and shining with anticipation as she squeezes his hands that still rest in hers. 


Under any other circumstance, with any other person, he'd know what he was supposed to do next. He'd know to lean in slowly and take her lips in a sweet kiss. But this isn't someone else. It's Rebecca Welton. And she couldn't possibly want him to kiss her. She has never once alluded to wanting to kiss him. She's still reeling from her divorce and she's never mentioned any interest in starting a new romance. 


So he keeps his lips to himself.


He tricks himself into believing it's his imagination, the way she looks crushed and defeated when he pulls away and stands to take his leave for the night instead. She has no reason to feel that way, he believes. The emotion fuelled day is making him see things that aren't there.

He can feel her eyes tracking him as he gathers his things and makes his way to the door. It's only when he rests his hand on the knob of her door does she snap out of wherever she'd been and schools her features into something he likes to call her "boss face". 


He can't read her when she's like this. 


He thinks he might have made a mistake.


Her look of pure devastation haunts him in his sleep for weeks. 

He's not the one she comes to when she starts dating again. 

He can't remember much of what he's said in the last half hour. His ears had started ringing right after he'd learnt Rebecca was dating. Was dating someone that wasn't him. His heart is beating palpably faster in his chest and he feels the world shift on its axis, tilting everything just a little off center. He doesn't know what to do to set it straight again.


She's been talking to this bloke- John - for a while now. And he hadn't known. 


She hadn't told him. 


Why hasn't she told him? 


She’d told Keeley. Hell, Higgins knew too. And yet he had been deliberately kept out of the loop. They had biscuits in her office every morning- plenty of opportunities to slip in this crucial bit of information. Crucial how, he can't really tell. Him knowing wouldn't have changed anything  between them, not really. 


He tries not to let it hurt too much. He keeps reminding himself, he has no right to be upset. Rebecca doesn't owe him anything. They are friends, but that doesn't mean she has to tell him about everything that goes on in her life. He holds back information from her too. Like what transpired that night between him and Sassy. It seems deliberate, though, her holding back this little tidbit. Just as it was deliberate on his part when it came to Sassy. He wonders if it means something. 


But it still hurts him when he finds out, and he thinks he has gotten ahead of himself, taken her friendship for more than what it was. Wishful thinking had blurred all objectivity and now he was suffering the consequences of it. 


He excuses himself from her presence quicker than ever before. 


Never has he willingly left her office, especially of late. Rebecca has always had to remind him of the long day of work ahead of them both for him to actually make a move. If she is surprised by his voluntary exit, she doesn't let it show.


He tries not to let their interactions become awkward. He thinks it works because she asks for his opinion on her dating life more frequently than he'd like, John apparently proving to be a man worth his salt. 


Whether he is worth Rebecca, he has yet to decide. 


He lets her paint his nails, the experience being the most bittersweet he has ever had. Her long, slender fingers holding his gently, supporting them, manipulating them to make her job easier. And every time her fingers leave his, he holds back the urge to chase them, to hold on tight and never let go. 


But he doesn't, because he knows that even though it's his nails she's painting right now, it won't be his hand she holds tonight.

Of course, he's the last to know when she breaks up with John. 


She tells him during 'Biscuits with the Boss' when he forces a question about how John was out of his mouth. She looks at him oddly, before telling him they're no longer together. It's tense, more tense that it should be, and he feels like he's being pinned under her searching gaze. He hopes his expression doesn't give away the slight relief he feels at the news. He considers himself a terrible person for feeling relief. It's selfish, but emotions aren't ever in anyone's control. He feels sad for Rebecca, he really does. He knows how nervous she'd been about dipping her toe back into the dating pool. He hopes she doesn't take the breakup too badly and offers his friendship to tide over the post-breakup blues. 


She surprises him by taking him up on his offer. 


One evening of "two single friends hanging out" turns into four and soon they're spending most nights of the week together, even if they spend it working quietly in Rebecca's office. He cherishes every minute spent in her company, every smile thrown his way, every fond roll of her eyes. He never crosses the line between friendship into "something more" though, she never gives him any indication she feels remotely the same way he does. 


Keeley also bears witness to her secrets, Roy also someone that she goes to for advice. Suddenly the sacred role he's played in her life has become..well, un-sacred. And he's glad. He really is, that she has a whole slew of people that care for her and are ready to support her in whatever way she needs. 


But he'd be lying if he said he doesn't miss being the one she comes to when she needs someone she trusts. 


He's self aware enough to realise that these feelings are really just stemming from his own insecurities. He thinks other people being there for her will make Rebecca value him less, meaning she won't see him as someone reliable anymore and won't need him in her life going forward.


He's diagnosed himself in a heartbeat, but he's at a loss for how to handle those unfounded feelings. Bringing Rebecca up with Dr. Sharon doesn't seem wise, so instead he chooses to tell himself over and over again, that his thoughts aren't really the reality of the situation. She still appreciates him. Still eyes his box of biscuits with the same hunger as she did on day one. Still needs him in her life. Still wants him around. She hasn't gotten overwhelmed by his presence. 


At least, not yet. 

He cracks one day when she tells him about a date she has that evening with some guy he can't be bothered to learn the name of. It's a first date, so he's glad she's letting him in on it from the start as opposed to the last time. But still, he can't sit around watching some other man take the place he so desperately wants to occupy. He owes it to them both to be honest with her about his feelings, to take a chance and hope for something more. And maybe, just maybe, he will be honoured with the greatest gift a person could ever receive- her heart.


The best case scenario would have been for him to have come to this decision in her office, while she was telling him about it, so he could have confessed his feelings on the spot and maybe she wouldn't have gone on the other date, or maybe she would've let him down easy and still gone to see.. Mark? Matt? Micheal? Whoever it was she was meant to be seeing. 


But of course, things had to be a little complicated for him even in love, especially since everything in his life seemed to be just a tad bit harder of late. His decision came later- much later in the evening, when training was just about coming to an end. 


It's bordering on six in the evening when he makes the trek to her office, hoping she hadn't already left for the day. He does his customary quick knock before pushing the door open a sliver and poking his head in. It looks like he hadn't hoped hard enough, because the room is empty, no Boss in sight. Her coat and purse -also not in their usual place, signifying he's missed his chance for the day. 


He lets his head fall against the door frame with a soft thump and closes his eyes, trying to reassure himself that it wasn't the end of the world. Even though she had left for the day and was probably getting dressed up for some chap named- Jeremy? Jack? Jason?- it didn't mean the world was ending, no matter how much it felt like that. 


He'd just tell her tomorrow. Yes. He'd go home, eat a nice hot meal, get a good night's rest and come back bright and early tomorrow morning for "Biscuits with the Boss- Confession Edition." 


In spite of his fool proof plan, he finds himself at her doorstep that very evening after the sky is dark and the street lamps are lit and his feet ache from walking around the neighborhood for hours. He rings the doorbell once, knowing she won't be at home yet, knowing that she'll still be out dining with Peter? Paolo? Paul? He hopes it's only dinner, hopes they are not going dancing or any other place where the opportunity for the bloke to put his man paws on her soft skin might arise. He sits on the stairs of her stoop, closes his eyes and focuses on his breathing. 


He doesn’t need to relax. He's calm. 


He doesn't need to give himself a pep talk. He knows what he's here to do and he has no hesitation in doing it anymore. 


He’s ready. 

He must have dozed off sometime during his wait because suddenly Rebecca's pretty face is looming over him in concern. 


"Ted! Are you alright?" She sounds a little frantic and he wonders if she's been trying to shake him awake for a while.




His voice is hoarse from sleep and it does nothing to quell the concern in her eyes.


She ushers him into her home, and he takes it all in, as if he’s never been in her personal space before. Of course he has, but this is different. It’s like he’s taking everything in with new eyes.


Her home is.. kind of like her. On its surface it seems sterile and impenetrable, quite hostile in its lighting and clean, seemingly un-lived-in feel. But when he looks beneath the surface he sees evidence of Rebecca in it all. 


The few plants that are scattered in various corners of the room- evidence of her nurturing side, of her desire to give and help something grow while expecting nothing in return. There are a few books arranged neatly on the coffee table, but he spies what looks like a spy thriller from afar that's the most worn from the pile. Tea cups scattered where tea cups shouldn't be, a chocolate wrapper tucked in between two cushions. He takes note of the brand and tucks the information away for later. Hopefully after his small confession he won't be barred from visiting her in the mornings, and he'll have the opportunity to slip in a chocolate bar every now and then with her biscuits. (Biscuits with the Boss in Bed? Hmm. It's a mouthful, but he thinks he can find something more pleasurable to do in bed.) 


He follows Rebecca into the kitchen where she pours him a glass of water (still, thank you very much) and puts the kettle on for herself. It's only then that he finally notices how absolutely stunning she looks, all made up and ready for her date that evening, in a deep purple off shoulder dress. He hates the relief that courses through him when he checks the time and sees that it's just before nine, a decent time to be home after a dinner date that probably didn't go all too well. 


“Is everything alright, Ted?”


She sits down on the chair next to his and looks at his hands, a concerned frown settled on her face. He feels his face heat up in embarrassment. Perhaps his decision (however unconscious) to camp outside her home was a tad extreme. He could have waited until the morning. He clears his throat. 


“Everything’s okay Rebecca.” He pats her hands and she catches on to his own before they can withdraw. His hands feel cold against her warm palms.


“How was your date?” 


Her face contorts into an expression he hasn't really seen before. 


“It was….nice.” She says after a brief pause.

He hums and nods his head and tries to figure out what “nice” is actually code for. 


“That's...good, right?” 


Rebecca shrugs, her thumb traces the veins on the back of his hand and he feels out of sorts- not just because of the unfamiliar but pleasant contact, but also because she's holding something back from him. Usually he's good at figuring out what that is, but tonight he's unable to see beneath her mask, and it's unsettling, considering he’s there tonight to potentially take their relationship to the next level. 




“There was no lightning.”


She says it softly, like maybe he’s not meant to hear it. But he does and he can't help but ask her what she means by that.


“Roy,” She begins, rolling her eyes, “suggested that I should be with someone that makes me feel like I've been struck by fucking lightning . But it doesn't work like that now, does it?"


Ted shrugs. "I don't know Rebecca, you know me, always love a good rom-com moment. But hey, someone like you deserves the best and if it's not this guy- er- "


"Raphael." Rebecca supplies with an amused smirk when he flounders for a name.


"Right, Raphael." The name sounds odd in his thick accent and he watches Rebecca hold in a laugh. "Well, if this guy isn't bringing the heat and light, you just gotta move on to the next contender until you find it." 


He hopes his name is somewhere on that list of contenders. Preferably at the top. Preferably next in line. Preferably also the one after which she no longer needs the list and throws it away.


He doesn't know when the evening became about lending her an ear and giving her space to open up instead of the other way around, but it's quite fitting, given most of their heart-to-hearts go precisely this way. He's played the part of "a friend in times of need" so often, what's one more time before he sets something else in motion.


She hasn't pushed him yet, to tell her what he's doing there, why he'd camped out at her doorstep, seemingly out of the blue, so he's perfectly content  to sit there listening to her instead. It doesn't feel right to tell her the things he'd come to say. It's not the time for life changing confessions. At least not right now. Maybe tomorrow. Right now she needs a friend to talk to, and that's something he can definitely do. 


"What if I've already found it?" 


“Huh?” He had been so lost in thought he'd nearly missed what she'd said. She's looking at him with an unreadable expression on her face and the intensity of it sends his heart galloping.


“What if I know who'd be responsible for causing said lightning?”


“Well then I think you should do something about it.”


“What if i'm wrong? What if I mess it up?”


“You won't know unless you try, now, will you?"


She looks at him a moment longer, eyes darting across his face before dropping to their still joined hands. She squeezes them firmly once before her palms rest against his cheeks, thumbs tracing his cheekbones, that look still on her face and - oh .  


He gulps and watches her eyes flick down to watch the movement of his throat. 


He doesn't remember who leaned in first, but finally his lips are meeting hers, chaste but not tentative. They part sooner than he’d like and it's good that they do because they're both a bit winded, like they've just finished running a marathon. 


She's already looking at him when he finally opens his eyes and he's never seen her eyes so wild before- pupils blown wide, the green ring of her irises electric- hypnotizing and entrancing. It pains him to close his eyes to that sight but the need to taste her lips once more overpowers the desire to drown in those eyes. 


This time there's nothing chaste about the way their lips glide together, parting on their own accord to deepen their kiss. He lets her guide them, her tongue inviting and warm against his own. It's exhilarating and freeing and he's surprised they're still sitting on her couch and not floating away. 


She's his tether, she's always been his tether, grounding him before he gets swept away by whatever latest storm comes his way. Just like he is hers. Even now, when she's the reason he’s free-falling, she's also the one to provide a soft landing and safety harness to make sure he's alright as he falls. 


They part after what feels like not long enough, but his lungs are screaming that maybe it's been just a little too long. Whatever. It was worth it. She was worth it. 


“And?” It's an unnecessary question. They both know exactly what's transpired between them.


“I was right. Definite lightning.”


They're both a little giddy, wide smiles and flushed faces lighting up the whole room ten times over. Lightening indeed .


“Well, that makes what I came here to do much easier.”


“Oh? You never did tell me why you're here.”


“To do this. Well, not quite this, but to tell you how I feel about you. To ask if maybe you felt the same way. And then hopefully do this.”


She huffs out a laugh. 


“Looks like you jumped the gun on the timing then. Because I still don't know how you feel.” 


She looks a little uncertain, a little afraid, like he might not really want this with her for more than one night. It enrages him, the way people have treated her in the past, how they’ve made her feel like she's not worth much. But he hopes their time together will change that. That he can show her just how brilliant and wonderful and deserving of love she really is. That by loving her, she’ll grow to love herself a little more. 


“I'm in this for the long haul, Rebecca. I want to be here for as long as you will have me around. And I know some folks might think it too soon to tell a woman they love her after their first kiss- hell, we haven't even been out on a date yet- but we've known each other for the better part of two years now and I've fallen in love with you bit by bit, over every moment we've spent together. If you will have me, I would very much like to keep falling for you every day for the rest of my life.” He gently kisses the trail of tears falling down her cheeks. “I know this sounds an awful lot like a proposal, but I just need you to know where I stand.” 


“Oh, Ted. You have no idea how long I've waited to hear you say this.” She laughs and it's a little watery, but he’s relieved to know his feelings are reciprocated. 


“Well, the whole you dating other people did give me pause.”


She cringes a little at that. “I didn't think you would ever want me like that." She says softly. "This whole thing is a little surreal, to be honest. I'd given up hope of more with you a long time ago.”


“Well then I'm glad I decided to stop by this evening.”


“Me too.”


He can feel his heart racing in his chest and can feel her pulse at her wrist thrumming just as fast beneath his fingers. 


“You look positively stunning tonight.” 


"Flattery will get you everywhere, Coach Lasso." 


"You know me, just being honest." 


"Hmm." She hums and leans back in, her mouth hot against his, nails scraping the nape of his neck.


Soon, they're a pile of tangled limbs and breathless bodies and come morning he'll know exactly who Rebecca will be going out with.


Ted. His name is Ted Lasso.