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it's amazing (what baking can do)

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“Rebecca!” Keeley bursts into her office one afternoon, looking particularly frazzled, with Phoebe trailing behind her. “Where’s Ted? I need him! It’s an emergency.”

Rebecca looks up with surprise and concern, scanning over both Keeley and Phoebe to take in any injuries, but finding none. “An emergency? Keeley, what’s going on?”

“Ted.” Keeley insists. “I need Ted.”

“He’s down on the pitch, leading training.” Rebecca says, standing up to move over toward the windows. She doesn’t say that Keeley should know where Ted is because Roy is in the same place. “I’ll get him for you, ok?”

She moves to the window, which is already open, and leans out. “Ted!”

The three figures on the side of the pitch all turn to look up.

“Hey, boss! What’s up? ‘Sides you, of course.” He shouts up to her.

Rebecca glances back at Keeley, who is wringing her hands and looking panicked. “Ted, I need you up here as soon as possible. I’ve got a bit of an emergen-“

She doesn’t even finish the word before Ted is moving, sprinting off the pitch. Roy and Beard are looking up at her, concern written on their faces. She waves them off and they both offer a nod before turning back to the pitch to continue training.

Ted bursts through her office door mere moments later, gasping and sweating and looking frantic.

“What? What’s wrong?”

“Ted!” Keeley exclaims rushing to him. “I need your help.”

“Of course, Keeley. Anything.” Ted says, turning his full attention on her, even as he’s still panting.

“Phoebe’s school is having a bake sale tomorrow and I need your baking expertise.”

“What?” The word nearly explodes out of Rebecca’s mouth. “Keeley! You said this was an emergency!” 

She’s waiting for the eruption from Ted, for making him worry, making him run the whole way up here like he did. He must be so angry. But he doesn’t even bat an eyelash, just keeps on looking at Keeley.

“It is!” Keeley defends. “I can’t bake to save my life. I planned on just buying some things from a local bakery and putting them on a plate and sending them in, but Phoebe insists that they have to be homemade.”

“Ok.” Ted gives a nod at that, taking in another deep breath.

“Ok? Ted, this is not ok!” Rebecca argues. If Ted were any other man and he’d run up here expecting an actual emergency and instead been told they needed him to bake something, he would’ve flown off the handle. But Ted is completely calm and seemingly not at all bothered by anything that is happening.

“Emily said her mum was going to make the best treats like always,” Phoebe says softly, her eyes downcast as she kicks at the carpet, “and that I’d just be stuck with store bought ones because my mum is too busy and no one else cares and no one would want to buy my treats at the bake sale when they could just buy them at the store instead.”

“Well now,” Ted says softly, kneeling down so he’s eye to eye with Phoebe, “let’s not tell your Uncle Roy that bit, huh?” He gives her chin a gentle nudge with two of his knuckles, pulling a small smile out of her. 

“That certainly was not a kind thing for Emily to say.” He continues as he hears Rebecca and Keeley muttering under their breath. He definitely hears the word ‘twat’ being hissed. “But she was wrong, you know? You’ve got a bunch of people that care a whole lot. And we’re gonna prove that to her. So, what is it that we’re making for this bake sale, Miss Phoebe?”

“Cupcakes?” Phoebe says softly, the words coming out like a question. 

“Oh, absolutely, we’re making cupcakes.” Ted’s eyes light up as he rubs his hands together. “Say, I just had a great idea. I’ve gotta go make a phone call and finish up practice - training. But are you free for some baking times after dinner?”

Phoebe nods, her smile growing wider. “We are, aren’t we, Keeley?”

“Oh, we absolutely are, babes. Ted, you just name the time and place.”

“I’ll text you with all the details. Oh, this is gonna be fun!” He claps his hands and gives them a wink, before heading for the door. He’s just about there when he turns back. “Hey, y’all got any allergy restrictions for this bake sale? Is peanut butter in or out?”

Keeley looks at Phoebe, who just shrugs. “I’ll find out.” She offers, since it’s the least she can do.

“Lemme know as soon as you can, so I know what I’m workin’ with.” Ted nods, then really does leave the office.

Rebecca watches him go with a shake of her head and a fond smile.

“I cannot believe you just did that.” She says softly once Ted is gone, careful not to speak too loudly in front of Phoebe.

“Oi.” Keeley grunts, sounding every bit like Roy. “I couldn’t let her be so fucking sad about the bake sale. And I knew Ted would be able to help us.”

“You’re lucky he’s so understanding.”

Keeley doesn’t argue with this. She can’t.

**

Keeley trusts Ted completely. She has from basically the moment she met him, and definitely since the moment that he fed her a burger like it was the most natural thing in the world. But she still feels her face falling into a bit of a frown when they pull up to the address Ted had texted her and take in the sight of a bakery.

“We’re doing the baking, aren’t we, Keeley?” Phoebe asks, sounding uncertain.

“Yeah, babes.” Keeley smiles for her. “Ted said we were, so I’m sure we are.”

“Of course we are.” Rebecca says as she climbs from the back of the car, sounding completely confident in Ted. That response turns Keeley’s smile genuine.

The man himself is standing just outside the bakery with a woman who is handing him a set of keys.

“Thanks again for doing this, Amelia. I appreciate ya. And I’ll make sure everything is cleaned up and ready for tomorrow morning.”

The woman, Amelia, nods with a smile. “Anything for you, Ted.”

“Well hey, ladies!” Ted looks delighted at seeing them as they walk up to him, which Keeley knows means that he’s delighted to see Rebecca since he knew Keeley and Phoebe were coming. “You ready to get your bake on?”

“Why are we at a bakery?” Phoebe asks, straight to the point. “You said we were going to bake the cupcakes ourselves.”

“I did indeed.” Ted nods at her. “And we are. But it just so happens that Miss Amelia here has one heck of a fabulous kitchen that is gonna be a lot more accommodating to us and what I’ve got planned than a regular old kitchen would be.”

“And what is it that you’ve got planned?”

Ted’s smile grows wider at that question. “Why don’t you come on in and see?”

He gives a final wave to Amelia as he turns to shepherd them inside. 

“How do you know the owner of this bakery so well that she’d let you use it for the night?” Rebecca asks as they walk through. 

“Oh, I come here for some tasty treats for myself some times. Got to talkin’ to Amelia, swapped a couple recipes.” He shrugs like it’s completely normal for bakery owners to just hand over the keys to their customers simply because they’ve asked. 

“Swapped recipes?” Rebecca’s eyebrows go up just a bit at that and Ted chuckles, knowing exactly what she’s thinking.

“Don’t worry boss, the biscuit recipe is safe under lock and key, never to be shared with anyone.” He winks and then pushes the door to the kitchen open.

All three women gasp as they take in the sight. But it’s not the commercial kitchen set up with the many ovens and long rows of metal tables, filled with mixing bowls, utensils, ingredients, and cupcake pans that surprise them. It’s the twenty odd men, all in AFC Richmond gear, standing around the tables, laughing and joking.

“Uncle Roy?” Phoebe rushes to him, looking absolutely overjoyed. “What are you doing here?”

“What are you all doing here?” Keeley echoes, taking all of them in.

“We’re baking cupcakes, bruv.” Isaac replies, as though it’s obvious.

“But, do you know how?” Phoebe sounds skeptical and they all laugh.

“Not a fucking clue.” Roy says for all of them.

“But we’ve got Coach to teach us.” Sam says, sounding completely confident. It makes them all smile.

“Yes, you do.” Ted nods. “And more hands make more cupcakes, which means more money for the school. Plus, I thought we could kill four birds with one stone here, Ms. Jones.”

“Four?” Keeley turns to him, intrigued. 

“Well, makin’ the cupcakes obviously. But also, you’ve been talking about our social media presence so much recently, so I thought some pictures or videos or whatever posted on our accounts might be some wholesome fun for the fans. And that leads us to the third bird, which is that it’ll prove to Emily,” here Roy growls, “that not only were these cupcakes baked from scratch, but that Phoebe has lots of people who care about her. And since those people just happen to be the whole of AFC Richmond, who are all posting about the bake sale and their contributions to it…” he offers a little shrug and small smirk, “the fourth bird is that the fans come buy all Phoebe’s treats and raise a buncha money for the school.”

“Ted Lasso, I could kiss you on the mouth right now.” Keeley exclaims as she rushes to hug him tightly. “This is bloody brilliant!”

Ted just hugs her back with a smile. “If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to handle a bake sale. Now, come on, let’s get to it.”

Rebecca moves over to stand beside Roy as she watches Ted pull on an AFC Richmond apron. “Did he make the team come do this?” She asks, watching the boys snapping pictures with their phones.

“No.”

“Did you make the team come do this?” She knows Roy would do anything for Phoebe. Threatening the team with death if they didn’t come would be nothing but a drop in the bucket for him.

“Fuck no!” Roy looks at Ted, helping Phoebe up on to a step stool so she can reach the counter and all the ingredients. “I would’ve, but before I even knew what the fuck was happening, Ted had everybody in the locker room, telling some story about a fucking bake sale back home in Kansas and then talking about how he was going to do some baking with a local kid to help with her school bake sale and how anybody who wanted to help was welcome. And those fuckers all agreed. Not one grumble, not one argument. Even Jamie Fucking Tartt was on board. Didn’t even fuckin’ know it was Phoebe until Ted told me before we left Nelson Road.”

Rebecca looks around at all the boys, spending their night in a bakery kitchen learning to make cupcakes because their gaffer asked them - not demanded or cajoled or forced, but simply asked - and she feels her heart expand in her chest. 

“Alrighty then!” Ted claps his hands together to get their attention. “Roy, why don’t you come up here beside Phoebe? Got you and Keeley a bowl all ready. And boss, we’ve got an open spot right here next to Dani, since Higgie Smalls has agreed to be our official social media manager for the evening.”

“Just the evening, Ms. Jones.” He is quick to point out.

“Thanks, Higgins!” Keeley blows him a quick kiss, looking happy as can be next to Phoebe.

“Oh, no.” Rebecca shakes her head. “I’m just here to watch. I don’t -“

“Aww, come on now, boss.” Ted says as Keeley calls “Don’t be a floppy cock, Rebecca!”

She flushes just a bit at that, as Ted puts his arm around her shoulder and gently leads her to the spot next to Dani. “You’ve gotta get in on this action.”

“Ted, truly,” she tries once more, “I cannot cook to save my life. I will ruin them.”

He gives her shoulders a gentle squeeze. “It’ll be fine, I promise. Trust me.”

And damn him, but she does.

“Think of the joy of the school children, Ms. Welton!” Dani grins at her and all of the boys are all looking at her and she finds that she can’t argue with them, that she doesn’t want to.

“Fine!” She tosses her hands up. “Fine. What do I do?”

A cheer goes up among the boys, Phoebe’s hands clapping together. “Welton! Welton! Welton!”

She shakes her head and waves them off, studiously ignoring Higgins who she is certain is filming the whole thing.

“Alright, you Greyhounds.” Ted calls, quieting them. “Let’s bake!”

Ted, unsurprisingly, is a great coach, even when coaching them through how to make cupcakes. He is funny and patient, showing them proper mixing techniques, never getting upset, even when the boys manage to spill the ingredients all over the tables and themselves, drop eggs on the floor, or turn the mixer too high, causing batter to fly everywhere, including all over him. He simply tosses out towels, cleans up the floor, wipes off his face with a laugh, and says “let’s take it again,” as though this is some kind of football drill.

He is quick to offer praise and all of them, herself included, seem to blossom under it. Dani is humming to himself as he mixes, and she can hear Jamie joining in on his other side. Isaac and Colin are laughing and nudging shoulders playfully. Phoebe’s smile is so wide as Ted sneaks a bit of her batter on his finger and lets out a long whistle at it that it seems to stretch across to both Keeley and Roy’s faces as well.

His “Lookin’ good, boss,” has her blushing, even if he’s looking at the batter in her mixing bowl when he says it. She studiously keeps her head down, refusing to look up, lest she catch Ted’s eye or, worse yet, Keeley’s.

When they’ve finally all managed to get their batters mixed up appropriately and it comes time to pour it in the wrappers, it’s Ted who tosses colored pens about, suggesting that they decorate them.

The boys are quick to emblazon their wrappers with their signatures and numbers, as well as little doodles and phrases like “Richmond til we die”. 

Rebecca is at a bit of a loss as to what to put on hers until Ted comes to stand beside her. “Come on, boss, sign those bad boys.”

“Ted,” she says softly, trying very hard not to reach out and wipe off the smudge of flour he has across his cheek. 

“Just think of all those little girls who’ll be clambering for a cupcake signed by you.” And to prove his point, he picks up one of the wrappers and scrawls WELTON across it. “That’s a best seller right there.”

He’s gone before she can reply, but she finds herself picking up the pen and signing her name across some too. Considers writing Boss Ass Bitch but thinks better of it - it is a school function after all - and instead simply writes Boss. It makes her smile a little.

They manage not to make too much of a mess of things when it comes to filling the cups with batter. There are a few spills, and a couple over fills, but it’s far less than what she was expecting, honestly. Ted proclaims that Phoebe’s filling is immaculate and she squeals happily before looking right at the phone Higgins is holding and saying “take that, Emily, you daft minger!”

“Do not post that, Higgins!” Keeley is quick to call out.

“But send it to me!” Roy says proudly.

Once they’ve all placed their baking pans into the ovens and Ted has set a timer, he instructs them through the first stage of clean up, to which again, none of the boys complain. More hands do make quicker work, and by the time the timer goes off and they are pulling the cupcakes out of the ovens, the kitchen looks fairly clean. 

Ted guides them through setting the cupcakes on the cooling racks and reminds them that they cannot sample them yet, even as everyone feels their mouth water at the look and smell of them. Higgins snaps a picture of the variety of cupcakes set out to cool - lots of chocolate and vanilla of course, but also red velvet, lemon, orange, and strawberry, along with Phoebe’s funfetti ones and some swirled with cinnamon or dotted with chocolate or peanut butter chips. 

Rebecca wants to try every single one of them and cannot help but smile proudly at her own vanilla cupcakes, which look the same as all the others cooking, a fact that makes her puff up a bit with pride. 

“Now, it’s time to talk decorating.” Ted calls, which quickly sets off a discussion about icing versus frosting. It’s agreed that buttercream is their best choice for frosting the cupcakes in terms of not only piping but also versatility of flavors and ease of coloring. 

“Coach, do ya think I could do a chocolate ganache for me cupcakes?” Jamie asks quietly, and Ted smiles.

“Sure, Jamie. I think we can handle that.”

He walks them all through mixing up the frostings, helping them to flavor them correctly, adding color when needed, and easily guiding Jamie through the ganache. He shows them how to spread the icing and how to put it in the piping bags and swirl it on top. 

Although she is well aware that the boys have been having fun the entire evening, it’s at the decorating stage where they really seem to shine. There is much laughter and many shouts of joy as they get the frosting piped just right or when they sprinkle the colored sugar overtop. They quickly get into little decorating competitions, calling to Phoebe for thematic ideas (dinosaurs! unicorns! the ocean! the jungle! outer space! a football pitch!) and judging. She does so happily, wrapping the rest of AFC Richmond around her finger just as easily as she has her Uncle Roy.

Sprinkles and various shaped sugar candies appear to aid in the decorating, including a few Richmond crests, which Ted places down beside her with a grin. She knows better than to ask how he’d pulled that off, knows he’d never tell her, but she smiles as she carefully places one on top of her red and blue sugared frosting. Higgins is there, capturing the moment.

Once all the cupcakes have been decorated they are set out for everyone to see before Ted boxes them up.

“It’s a wonderful recreation of the Welsh flag, Colin.” Isaac praises.

“Holy shit, who’s the Van Gogh who recreated Starry Night on top of a fucking cupcake?”

“He was a Dutchman too, you know.” Jan offers with a smile.

“I love the dinosaur cupcake, Richard.” Phoebe praises. “And the unicorn is wonderful, Will.”

“The chocolate ganache looks bloody brilliant, Jamie.”

“Gotta get us on Bake Off next, huh?”

After admiring the cupcakes, the boys are thrilled to discover that there is left over icing, and soon they are piping it directly into each other’s mouths, and occasionally onto each other’s faces, laughing wildly as they go.

Phoebe laughs delightedly as Keeley draws a simple heart on Roy’s cheek before leaning over to lick it off to the sounds of many hoots and hollers from the team.

Ted lets them all have their fun until the icing is all gone and then he wrangles them back together to do another round of cleaning. There is a small bit of grumbling this time, but when Ted promises them that they can sample their wares once the kitchen is spit spot, they quickly get to work.

By the time they’re done, the metal surfaces are gleaming, and the kitchen looks as though twenty some footballers never set foot in it. Ted gives them approval to each sample one cupcake, which quickly turns into them grabbing one from each batch and beginning to cut them up so they can each sample most of them.

“Holy shit, this cinnamon cupcake! Bruv, I want to marry this cupcake.”

“Jamie, mate, seriously, this ganache. This ganache!”

“I did not think I would enjoy a lemon cupcake, but it has just the right amount of citrusy tang with the sweetness of the buttercream.”

“Coach, I’m gonna need a jar of this peanut butter icing to keep open on my counter!”

“Keeley! Uncle Roy! Emily’s gonna die when she tastes my cupcakes!”

“Damn right she will.”

“These cupcakes are life.” Dani proclaims and everyone nods in agreement.

“Ted,” Keeley calls, her voice sweet, “don’t you want to try a cupcake? Rebecca’s, perhaps?”

There is a definite sexual undertone in her comment and it feels like all eyes are suddenly on Rebecca, even though Ted is still standing by the cupcakes. She is absolutely going to kill Keeley later.

“‘Course.” He answers easily, picking up the one with the wrapper that he had scrawled her last name across. “But I think she needs to try it herself first.”

He holds it out to her, an offering, and she feels herself blush as she takes it from him, peeling back the wrapper and breaking off a piece of it.

“Fuck me!” She moans around a mouthful of cupcake that, insanely, she herself had baked. “I cannot have made this.”

“You surely did, boss.” Ted winks at her, reaching down to grab his own piece of the cupcake and popping it into his mouth. “And it is absolutely delicious.”

The look on his face is completely benign, but all Rebecca wants to do is pull him forward and kiss the frosting from his lips and the crumbs from his mustache. 

She shakes herself when she hears one of the boys mutter, “Man, it’s like walking in on Mum and Dad.”

The others murmur agreement and then quickly go back to talking, loudly, about the other cupcakes.

“Pass me a piece of that strawberry one, would you?”

While the boys continue to trade cupcake samples, Ted goes to work with Beard, meticulously boxing up the cupcakes, being sure to mark the ones that contain peanut butter. Rebecca walks over to where Keeley, Roy, and Phoebe are standing, Phoebe still eating one of her funfetti cupcakes happily.

“I’m going to murder you,” she hisses to Keeley, but Keeley just grins.

“Oi. Just make a move already.” Roy growls and she startles just a bit at that. 

“Wh-what?”

“He ran off the pitch like he’d been struck by lightning when you called for him this morning.” Roy says pointedly.

“That was for Keeley.” She argues weakly.

“He didn’t know that.”

“He’s a good man, Rebecca.” Keeley chimes in.

“I know that!” She hisses. She knows more than just about anyone. Tonight is just another example on a long list of the ways that Ted Lasso is a wonderful man.

“He looks at you like you hung the fucking moon.” 

“He does not.” 

“Respectfully, Ms. Welton, but he absolutely does.” It’s Thierry, standing close by. “We all see it.”

The other boys all begin to nod, even as they keep eating. Rebecca looks up, but Ted and Beard have disappeared, probably to load up the cupcakes. She’s very grateful for that fact.

“I - he - it’s not -“ she tries to argue, but can’t seem to make the words come out.

“Look, as someone who has already lost the damn betting pool because you two are being absolute bloody idiots and taking forever to just fucking admit it, I’ll tell it to ya straight, boss,” Jamie says. “You’re in love with him. He’s in love with you. So just admit it and be in love together and save us all from this pining!”

“Jamie’s right.” Moe agrees. “Normally I am all for a slow burn. I enjoy the pining. But this has truly gotten out of hand.”

 Rebecca is saved from having to say anything - and really what would she say - by Ted and Beard coming back into the kitchen.

“Alright, y’all. Cupcakes are all loaded up and ready for delivery tomorrow, Miss Phoebe. Gentlemen, you should be mighty proud of what you did here tonight. Just beautiful work.” He looks over at her then, and gives her the smile that he saves just for her, “You too, boss. Real glad you decided to join us.”

She smiles back at him, even as she’s aware of Moe mouthing ‘pining’ and Jamie throwing up his hands. 

“Hopefully you got some good content for the ‘Gram, Higgins. Oh, and we’ve gotta give a thank you shout out to Amelia for letting us use her kitchen, huh?”

“Of course, Ted.” Keeley smiles. “I’ll make sure she gets thanked.”

Phoebe walks over to him then, reaching up and giving a little tug on his hand. He kneels down right away. “Thank you, Ted.” She smiles and then leans up and kisses his cheek. 

“Aww, shucks, Miss Phoebe. It was my pleasure. But you know, it’s really these fellas and Keeley and Rebecca you should be thankin’. They did all the hard work.”

Phoebe turns to look at them and gives them all a smile. “Thank you, boys. Thank you, Rebecca. Thank you, Keeley.”

The boys demur from her praise, saying it was nothing, even as they jostle each other around, smiling.

“Alright, boys, time to head home and hit the hay!” Ted pats them all on the back as they leave, thanking each of them in turn, and Rebecca is again struck by just how generous and wonderful this man is.

Roy stops in front of Ted and gives him a nod. Ted grins widely, understanding the gesture for what it is. Keeley throws her arms around Ted once again, hugging him tightly, then pulling back and kissing the opposite cheek that Phoebe had kissed. “You’re wonderful, Ted Lasso.” 

Ted blushes and looks down. “This wasn’t no big deal, Keeley. I’m happy to help.”

She pats his back, then moves over to snuggle into Roy, who has hauled Phoebe up on his hip, even though she’s getting too big for it. 

Ted holds the door for them all, including Rebecca who is the last one out. She’s reminded of another time he held the door for her.

“That’s a long time to wait, Ted.”

“Well, I respect you didn’t hurry.”

She looks at him, considers just leaning over and kissing him, but can’t seem to make herself do it. Instead she gives him a smile and squeezes his arm. 

“Thank you, Ted. Tonight was lovely.”

“It was, wasn’t it?” He smiles at her, then turns to lock up the bakery.

She sits in her car and watches him double check that everything is secure before turning and starting his walk toward The Green and his home. She distracts herself from offering him a ride by opening up the Instagram app on her phone.

She starts with the official AFC Richmond account, smiling at the picture posts Higgins has posted. One of the cupcake baking process with various pictures of the boys goofing around and having fun, Phoebe watching over them, another of the decorating process, including the picture of her adding the Richmond crest to her cupcake, and then a third with a picture of their final products, giving the thanks to Amelia and her bakery, as well as the information about where to go for the bake sale the next day. 

When she clicks on their story, she is greeted by a video of the boys chanting for her, with the words “Baking with the Boss” across it. There are various other pictures posted, as well as boomerangs of the boys pouring their cupcake batter and putting the pans in the ovens. It truly is heartwarming to see how much fun they were all having together.

She could not have ever imagined something like this happening before Ted came into her life. This type of laughter and joy and simple pleasures of being together and baking seemed impossible. But now they are a team, a family, and this is just what they do. 

She clicks over to Keeley’s Instagram next, taking in the picture that Higgins had apparently captured of her tracing the icing heart on Roy’s cheek, Phoebe looking up at them smiling. ‘Baking with my babes’ she’s captioned it. And then a second picture of Phoebe kissing Ted’s cheek. ‘Thanks for the baking lessons, Coach.’

In her story there are more pictures and videos. Roy scowling as he mixes ingredients. Phoebe dropping the sprinkles into her batter. Keeley licking a spatula. And one of Rebecca herself, looking at Ted as he held out a cupcake to her. She has to click back, to see the picture again when it disappears after 15 seconds, because it is unmistakable in that picture, the way they are looking at each other.

“Pining,” she murmurs as the picture disappears again, replaced by a video of Keeley scanning the cupcakes, Phoebe’s excited voice talking about them.

The boys have all posted lots of pictures and videos too. She catches herself in some of them, mostly in the background, smiling and looking at ease, even in a situation that should’ve made her uncomfortable. And, as though they were doing it on purpose, it seems as if each of the boys has posted a picture or video of her and Ted, too.

Dani has captured the “lookin’ good, boss” moment on video, tucked easily between a picture of him and Jamie covered in flour and a video of himself saying “these cupcakes are life”.

Colin has posted a picture of Ted leaning over, writing her last name on a cupcake wrapper, just before a picture of his cupcake with the Welsh flag. 

Moe apparently videoed her reaction to eating the cupcake, although has only started it after her initial “fuck me”, which she is grateful for. He has captured the sparkle in Ted’s eyes at her reaction, though.

Isaac has a shot of the two of them, standing beside each other, shoulders pressed together. They had been watching the boys clean up, and they aren’t even looking at each other, but there’s a familiarity in the way they just are together that makes her breath catch. 

Theirry’s is a picture of Ted watching as she puts her cupcake pan into the oven. She sees it, then, the look everyone is talking about. Her heart stutters.

Sam has a picture that on the surface is of Ted, stealing a taste of Phoebe’s batter as she laughs, but he’s taken it at such an angle that she’s been captured too, gazing at Ted in a manner that is all too similar to the way he was looking at her in Thierry’s picture.

Jamie has a video of him mixing his batter, humming along with Dani, that then cuts to a video of Ted, splattered with batter. She isn’t in frame, but she can hear her laughter in the background, can hear the joy spilling out of her. 

She clicks out of Instagram then, opening her text thread with Keeley.

‘Fuck. I’m in love with Ted.’

The reply is nearly instantaneous and in true Keeley Jones fashion is a picture followed by a gif. 

The picture is one she is very glad that no one posted to social media because there would be absolutely no deniability if it had been. It is of her, looking at Ted after he ate the cupcake, and there is no mistaking the desire or the love that is written all over her face. How had Ted possibly not seen it?

The gif is of Phoebe and Joey from Friends, the words “THIS IS BRAND NEW INFORMATION!” across the bottom.

‘Ok, sorry, but I had to. Now… when are you gonna tell Ted?!?!? I need to know so I can tell Higgins I’ve changed my bet in the pool.’

‘HIGGINS?!’

‘Not the point, babes! Seriously, when are you going to talk to Ted?’

‘I… don’t know.’

‘The boys weren’t wrong, you know. He loves you too. See?’

A picture comes through then. It’s of Ted watching her eat the cupcake and she can practically see the hearts in his eyes as he looks at her. She realizes suddenly how it is that Ted could’ve missed the way she was looking at him. Because she’s seen this look on his face before, but she’s never truly acknowledged it for what it is until now. 

‘Fuck.’ She texts again.

‘Tell him. 🧁❤️😘🧁’

She doesn’t reply. 

**

She’s not sure exactly why she tells her driver to take her to Phoebe’s school the next morning instead of Nelson Road. It must be some kind of intuition. In-Ted-ition, he would happily call it, she’s sure.

And sure enough, he’s there, standing beside Roy’s car with the rest of the team, all in their Richmond gear, each holding their box of cupcakes. They appear to be waiting on something and for one moment she thinks it might be her, until Phoebe nods in the direction of the school entrance to a young girl and her mother, carrying a tray of baked goods. “That’s her.”

Roy lets out a growl and the rest of the team give a low rumble in return.

“Now, now fellas.” Ted says. “Let’s go solve this by being the better people. With the better baked goods.” He smiles then and gives a wink to Phoebe. “Lead the way, Miss Phoebe.”

With a nod, Phoebe sets off towards the entrance, and the boys all fall into step behind her. She falls in beside Keeley, who smiles widely at her, pressing a quick kiss to her cheek with another whispered “tell him!” before Ted takes up his place on her other side.

“Good to see you here this morning, boss.” He says as he carefully hands over a box of cupcakes to her. She notices that he’s still carrying another container, this one different than the cupcake boxes.

“Realized when I got home that I hadn’t actually contributed anything to our efforts,” Ted says when he sees her looking, “so I whipped up a couple batches of brownies real quick. Woulda made a Kansas Dirt Cake, but those don’t work too well at a bake sale.” 

“Ted Lasso, you have contributed more to our efforts than anyone else. Without you, none of this would have happened.” She gestures to the boxes of cupcakes in each person’s arms. 

Ted just shrugs off the praise. “Eh, it was fun. I video chatted with Henry and we baked together. Now Michelle don’t have to worry about what treats to bring to the football - er, soccer - game this weekend. Win win.”

Again she feels her heart expand, near to bursting with adoration for this man. 

“Ooh, here goes!” Ted sounds delighted as they walk into the school and are immediately shepherded into the cafeteria, where large tables have been set up.

There’s a definite hubbub happening in the gym, but when the team enters, everything goes quiet. 

“Hello, Ms. Bowen.” Phoebe grins as she comes to a stop in front of her teacher.

“Hello, Phoebe.”

“Here are my items for the bake sale.” Her eyes cut over to where Emily and her mother are still standing. “All homemade.”

“Yes,” Ms. Bowen grins, looking past Phoebe to the wall of footballers holding boxes of cupcakes, “I saw that on Instagram last night. As, I think, did many others.”

She tilts her head and it’s then that they notice the huge crowd of people that are currently being held back by a few teachers until the bake sale actually begins. They’re all decked out in their Richmond gear and upon being noticed, quickly begin a chorus of Richmond Til We Die.

“Where would you like them?” Phoebe asks sweetly.

Ms. Bowen motions to another few teachers who all move over quickly to take the boxes and begin to set the cupcakes out.

Ted steps up beside Phoebe, holding out his container of brownies. “All the ones that contain peanut butter have been marked on the boxes, but we also understand if you can’t sell ‘em, and we’d be happy to pay for ‘em if that’s the case.”

“Bloody hell, no!” Ms. Bowen exclaims. “We’ll put ‘em in a separate area, but we’re sellin’ ‘em.” She gestures to a table that’s sitting away from the others, holding some bags of what appear to be peanut butter cookies. “And I’ll be one of the ones buyin’ ‘em.”

“Well alright then.” Ted smiles. “And these here are some brownies too, also homemade, although not featured on the Instagram.”

He winks at Phoebe and she giggles.

“Well thank you, Coach Lasso.” Ms. Bowen says, pushing aside a tray to make room for the brownies. The tray she pushes aside is Emily’s mother’s. Roy actually smiles at the sight.

“Well, we don’t want to cause too much of a ruckus, so we’ll get out of your hair. Just wanted to help our girl Phoebe get her treats dropped off.”

“Thank you, Ted.” Phoebe grins. “Thanks, boys.”

A round of “‘course, Phoebe” goes up from the boys as they all go by to pat her shoulder, hug, or high five her.

Rebecca waits with Ted, watching as all the boys leave to head to Nelson Road, her own eyes on the cupcakes being set out. She notices something and a small frown settles on her face. “Ted? Where are my cupcakes?”

There’s a flash of something that looks like guilt across Ted’s face before he offers her a smile. “Told ya they’d be a best seller, boss.”

“The bake sale hasn’t even begun yet.” She points out.

Ted glances over at Keeley who gives him a nod. He nods back and then reaches down and takes Rebecca’s hand in his, guiding her out of the cafeteria and back to the parking lot, where his small car is parked. He doesn’t let go, even as he opens the passenger side to reveal the box of her cupcakes.

“Ted?” She looks at him with confusion written all over her face. “I don’t understand. Why are my cupcakes here? My god, they were terrible, weren’t they?”

“Rebecca, no. You ate one yourself last night. You know they were delicious.”

“But then why -“

“I bought them.” 

“What?”

“Well, technically I gave the money to Roy and he’s gonna give the money to Ms. Bowen once the sale officially starts.” He shrugs and grins at her. “But yeah, I bought them.”

“All of them?” She doesn’t understand.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“But… why?”

“Because,” he says, giving her hand a gentle squeeze, “you baked them.”

“You taught me to! You could have those cupcakes literally any time you want them. Hell, yours probably taste even better than mine. Why would you pay for them?”

“Because,” he says again, that look from last night coming over his face, “you baked them.”

She still just stares at him, the pieces not quite clicking into place. He lets go of her hand and turns back to his car, digging around in his backpack before pulling out a familiar pink box.

“I also made a fresh batch of biscuits last night.” He says calmly. “Maybe I should donate a couple boxes of them too.”

“No!” She nearly snarls, grabbing the box from his hand, and it’s then, as she clutches the box and looks up into his amused eyes that it finally clicks for her. “Oh .”

“Yeah.” Ted smiles, his cheeks faintly pink. “Didn’t really like the thought of anyone else eating your cupcakes. And now that I’ve said it out loud, I realize it sounds possessive and that that’s not a call that I should get to make and dang, Rebecca, I’m sorry, you deserve more autonomy than that. I’m gonna just take these cupcakes right on into the school and -“

“Ted.” She grabs his hand, smiling widely. “I don’t want anyone else to eat my cupcakes but you.”

And it isn’t exactly saying ‘I love you’, but she thinks it’s enough, because his eyes light up with joy and then he’s leaning up towards her.

“Really?” He asks, his face close to hers.

“Really.” She affirms before closing the gap between them and finally, finally kissing him. And oh, there it is, she thinks as one hand falls to her waist and the other cups her cheek, his fingers sliding into her hair. Lightning.

**

She has no idea how long they stood in the school parking lot kissing, but eventually they’d had to part ways and head to Nelson Road. 

Now she sits in her office, staring at the door, waiting for him to come through, petrified that she has somehow screwed everything up.

But then she hears the familiar knock and sees him enter with a wide smile on his face, and all her fears just slip away.

“Well good morning, boss. I’ve got your biscuits right here.” He passes them over to her with a grin. “And I thought maybe we could implement a little something new today.”

She takes the biscuits eagerly, her eyebrow raising at his words. “Oh?”

“Yeah.” He moves his other hand from where it’s been resting behind his back to reveal one of her cupcakes. It has her signature scrawled across the wrapper and one of the Richmond candy crests on top of the icing. “I think Cupcakes with the Coach has a nice ring to it, don’t you?”

She laughs in delight. “It does.”

She watches as he happily eats the cupcake while she herself digs into the biscuits. When he’s finished, there are crumbs in his mustache and frosting on his lips and this time she doesn’t hesitate to stand up, move over to him, and kiss them away. The kiss tastes of his biscuits and her cupcake, the sweetness swirling together in her mouth. 

“Mm.” She sighs when she pulls away. “Yes, I think we definitely need to keep Cupcakes with the Coach.”

“Guess that means you’re gonna have to start doing a bit more baking then.”

She lowers herself so that she’s sitting on his lap, her arms around his neck. “As long as you’re with me while I do it, I don’t see a single thing wrong with that idea.”

He laughs and kisses her again, pulling her even closer to him. “You got it, sweetheart.”

And then, in a moment of complete deja vu, Rebecca’s office door flies open and Keeley rushes in. “Rebecca! Where’s Ted? I need him!”

It’s only once the words are out of her mouth that she takes in the sight of them, just pulling away from the kiss. “Oh, fuck, that’s hot! And also, it’s about damn time!But, oh my gosh, Ted! Everything we donated sold out! The cupcakes, your brownies - which were fucking delicious by the way! Under an hour and they were all gone! They’re saying it’s the best bake sale profit in the school’s history! And guess whose baked goods hadn’t even been touched when we left?”

“Emily’s?” Ted asks with a grin.

“Emily’s!” Keeley is triumphant. “That’ll teach the little twat, making comments about my Phoebe.”

She looks at them again, seeing how Rebecca is still completely content, settled on Ted’s lap, leaning against his chest, her head tucked in toward his neck, as he rubs her back and looks at Keeley. “Oh. Shit. I should leave and let you two get back to it. Or, I could stay…”

“Keeley.” Rebecca’s voice is stern, even as her body is fully relaxed and melted into Ted.

“Alright, alright. One day, you’re gonna change your mind, mark my words.” Keeley teases. Then she turns slightly more serious. “Anyway, I just had to tell you. To thank you again, Ted, for what you did, helping me out that way. You truly went above and beyond, and you made Phoebe’s day today. And yesterday! You made Phoebe’s days.”

Ted chuckles, looking down at Rebecca in his lap with wonder, like he can't believe she’s actually there. “Pretty sure I should be the one thanking you and Phoebe, Keels.” 

Keeley doesn’t argue with this. She can’t.

Instead, she walks out of Rebecca’s office and opens the AFC Richmond group chat. ‘Fucking finally!’ She sends, along with the picture she hastily snapped just before leaving the office.

She’s captured them, Rebecca on Ted’s lap, snuggled against him, his hands splayed across her back, pressing a kiss into her hair. Off to the right, you can see Rebecca’s desk, where an empty biscuit box and cupcake wrapper sit together.