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Ted leaves Richmond for Kansas on December twenty-third. Rebecca gives him a friendly wave as he heads out of the club on the twenty-second, and he shoots her a wide grin and a “Merry Christmas, boss!” in return.

While they’ve gotten a lot closer since Keeley left to become her own boss, spending much more time together as a result, the strange sort of - distance, that has prevailed over the past year has lingered.

Where once a goodbye hug would have been ordinary and welcome, now the prospect just feels… charged. Too much in a way she can’t explain.

So she gives him a wave, and that’s that.

 

 

She’s spending the holiday with her mother, so while the loneliness still tugs at her a bit, it isn’t nearly as acute as previous post-divorce years have been.

It becomes extremely apparent, though, as she delivers gifts to kids that the lack of Ted’s presence beside her leaves a significant hole and an unexplainable ache.

 

 

On Christmas morning, she’s lazing about in her pajamas with a cup of tea in her hand when the doorbell rings.

She’s confused when she opens the door to find no one there, but after a few seconds she notices the package on the ground.

Curious, she picks it up and scans the box for the shipping information.

The return address lists Ted Lasso above the street information, and Rebecca’s lips curl into a smile.

Of course Ted had sent her a Christmas present. The man’s need to be a caretaker at all times knew no bounds.

Inside, she gently places the box on her kitchen table, and carefully cuts open the seam with a box cutter. She pulls back the flaps to reveal a gorgeous basket tied with pale purple ribbons. It’s filled to the brim with chocolates, relaxation products like bath salts and candles, and face masks fit for a spa day at home.

She’s smiling, a soft glow filling her chest as she sifts through the thoughtful contents.

Until her hand freezes.

It’s so innocent and tiny that she could have easily missed it. But as she slowly picks the object up between two fingers and examines it, her heart drops so far through the floor it probably lands somewhere close to the Earth’s fucking core.

It’s a lipstick vibrator.

Rebecca wildly searches for an explanation, but all she can find is the card attached to the side of the basket, which reads - 

You work so hard, boss, and I just wanted to get you some items that will help you relax! Merry Christmas! -Ted

- and she chokes.

What the fuck?

She snatches her phone up off the counter and goes to message him, but pauses.

What should she even say?

Did he-? Why would he-?

She sets her phone down, and doesn’t text him. She makes sure that the device is buried under the rest of the basket’s contents, and hastily shoves the whole thing in her pantry, so she doesn’t have to look at it. Or examine why she feels so flustered, all of a sudden.

 

 

She and Keeley are having a Boxing Day brunch when Rebecca takes a huge gulp of her mimosa, swallows, and says, “Ted got me a vibrator for Christmas.”

Keeley doubles over, spluttering as a bite of her omlette apparently goes down the wrong pipe. Rebecca feels a bit bad for causing her friend such distress.

“Sorry, what?” she asks finally when her airway is cleared.

Rebecca puts her head in her hands and groans. “He sent me a lovely gift basket, with very normal, appropriate things, and then also a fucking vibrator.”

Keeley looks absolutely thunderstruck, eyes popping out of her head and mouth open wide. “Didn’t think that was Ted’s style,” she says, more to herself than to Rebecca.

Rebecca can only whimper pathetically. “Keeley, I don’t know what to do here. Why would he do that?”

“I have no idea, babe. What does it… look like?”

“It’s one of those - disguised as a lipstick, ones. You know, for those situations where you don’t want anyone to know you’ve got a bloody sex toy on you.”

Keeley’s mouth, which has only just managed to shut, drops open again, and she begins to laugh so hard that Rebecca is certain the tables around them think she’s utterly mad.

“What? This isn’t funny!”

“No, I know, but-” Keeley hiccups. “Babe, he probably thought it was a fucking lipstick. Like, actual lipstick.”

It makes so much sense, Rebecca immediately feels like the world’s biggest idiot for not understanding. “Oh my god, you’re absolutely right.”

“I can’t believe you thought Ted would purposefully send you a vibrator.”

Rebecca threw her hands up in defeat. “I didn’t know what to think!”

”Ted being secretly kinky would be incredible, but they usually say it’s the quiet ones.” Keeley resumes eating her food. “Doesn’t exactly fit the bill with him.”

What Rebecca doesn’t say is that Ted is quiet when it comes to what really matters. But instead she nods and says, “Right. Exactly.”

 

 

Now that the whole mess is settled, Rebecca begins to actually enjoy Ted’s gifts. She eats the chocolates, sprinkles the bath salts into her clawfoot tub, and lights some of the candles to help herself fall asleep.

She texts him a thank-you, and when he expresses regret that it didn’t get to her until after Christmas Day, she doesn’t say anything.

Everything is normal.

 

 

Except it’s not.

Because Rebecca can’t stop thinking about that goddamn sex toy.

She should throw it away. Or burn it. Battery taken out first, of course.

She does neither of those things.

If it were just the toy, it wouldn’t be a huge deal. Maybe she could even bring herself to use it, once in awhile when she’s feeling the need for some extra stimulation.

It’s the fact that it’s mere presence in her home has made her begin to think about the person who inexplicably gave it to her. In an extremely unprofessional and non-platonic way.

She wakes up one morning burning hot and slick between her legs, images of a full mustache against her thigh and steady hands gripping her hips and pressing her down into the mattress. She slaps a hand across her mouth, horrified.

But also very clearly not.

Rebecca considers jumping out of bed and doing her absolute best to bleach her brain of such thoughts. But it’s been some time since she’s had the time or energy to enjoy herself, and she has nowhere pressing to be.

It’s not like anyone would ever need to know.

Terrible decision made, she scrambles out of her bed and finds the basket on her dresser. The device is still nestled at the bottom, just as she’d left it.

Throwing herself back onto the bed, she stares  at the lipstick for what feels like an hour, the uncapped toy practically mocking her.

Twisting the top, the vibrator comes to life with a whirl, and her stomach flips in anticipation.

This is crazy. This is crazy. This is -

She presses it to her clit and her eyes slam shut.

”Fuck,” she exhales, out loud, to the empty room.

Her thighs open wider, giving the tip of the lipstick better access. Her lips part in a pant as pleasure curls hot and heavy along her limbs, like a molasses drip.

She’s getting close to her peak, but there’s something that’s keeping her from toppling over the edge - a barrier that keeps her hanging, suspended, in place.

She’s terrified of letting it drop.

Because dreams could be explained away. But conscious action?

That’s another thing entirely.

But it’s too late.

Ted’s open, kind face appears behind her closed lids, his thick accent a deep bass as her imagination has him murmur filthy words into her ear.

It doesn’t take any more than that.

Rebecca comes with a bitten-off moan, her eyes flying open as she curls in on herself at the overwhelming pleasure.

The toy barely makes a sound as it falls to the mattress from Rebecca’s limp fingers. She stares at it, unmoving.

She’ll never be able to look Ted in the eye ever again.

 

 

Ted returns to England from Kansas just after the new year. When he enters her office and greets her like it’s any other day - a bit more enthusiasm infused in his voice than normal after being away as he sets her box of biscuits down - she knows for a fact that the vibrator was a mistake.

The dilemma now becomes; does she tell him?

She imagines how the scenario would play out - Ted? I regret to inform you that the lipstick you so kindly bought for me was not actually intended to be put on my mouth.

Not a chance in hell.

So she smiles, picks out a biscuit, and asks how his Christmas with Henry was. He doesn’t need any further prompting than that.

Still, she can’t help but take notice of how large his hands are, and how appealing his thighs look as he spreads them slightly sitting in the chair across from her. How her subconscious hadn’t quite captured the knowing way his eyes watch her from across the desk.

God, she’s so fucked.

 

 

She decides avoidance is the best tactic.

She can’t exactly tell him to stop coming to her office in the mornings without raising some kind of alarm. So instead, she makes sure to book meetings during the usual morning period he appears, sending Ted apologetic text messages after the fact to assure him that it isn’t intentional.

Even though it is.

She feels incredibly shitty about lying to him like this. But every time they interact, she can feel her face growing hot and her sentences running together, the tumble of syllables a dead giveaway that something is amiss.

So she gives herself a deadline, and swears that by next week, she will be over this stupid attraction, and their lives can go back to normal.

 

 

She doesn’t make it to the following week, and it’s all his fault.

Rebecca had known that Ted picking up on her bizarre behavior was a possibility, but had chosen not to confront it until a knock on her door interrupts her Saturday morning, and she no longer has a choice.

Because this time, instead of a package, it’s Ted himself that’s standing at her front doorstep when she sneaks a look through the peephole.

”Ted?” she asks, her heart skittering as she prays the warmth already blooming on her cheeks isn’t visible. “What are you doing here?”

He shuffles in place. ”Can i come in?”

She hesitates for the briefest moment before stepping out of his way and allowing him inside. ”Yes, of course.”

He follows as she closes the door behind him, and is strangely quiet as she leads him deeper into her house. The reason for his silence becomes far more clear when they stop in the kitchen - she opens her mouth to offer him something to drink, but he interrupts her.

“Rebecca, did I do something wrong?”

Her brain stumbles, and she works her mouth silently as she searched for an answer that will make any kind of sense.

His eyes are soft and sad, like a kicked puppy, and Rebecca hates herself for making him feel this way. Like he’s the one with the issue.

“No, Ted. Of course not,” she says.

“Then why have you been avoidin’ me?”

There’s still nothing she can come up with that will provide a plausible explaination, and as the clock on her wall continues to tick in the background, Rebecca comes to the realization that the truth is her only option here.

He deserves to know. If their positions were reversed, she would want to know.

So Rebecca throws caution to the wind.

Huffing, she instructs for him to wait right where he is, then rushes to her bedroom. Yanking her nightstand open, she finds the device, then pulls the original gift basket out of her closet and throws it inside.

No use in admitting everything to him.

When she returns, he’s leaning against her counter, and with a bravery she doesn’t even remotely feel, Rebecca sets the basket down on the counter next to him.

Ted’s eyes grow wide as he recognizes the basket. “That’s the one I got you.” When he notices her watching him expectantly, his eyes grow wide. “Wait. Did you not liike it or somethin’? Was it too much?”

“No, Ted, listen.” Rebecca takes a deep breath. “The lipstick.”

He furrows his brow, then glances back down at the basket. “Um. Yeah? Was it not… your color?”

Rebecca heaves a sigh before pointing at the gift.

Seemingly understanding her cue, he moves to rifle through what’s left of the basket’s contents to pull out the tube. He looks up from it, brow creased.

He still doesn’t get it.

“I don’t think that’s what you meant to give me,” Rebecca manages.

He’s stil confused, but as he glances back down and scans the device, spinning it slowly and uncapping it, he absentmindedly twists it, and when it buzzes to life, his whole body stills.

Rebecca has to bite her cheek to keep from making an embarrassingly maniacal sound as Ted slowly begins to look up, a kind of dazed horror encompassing his features.

“Oh no,” is all he says.

Rebecca can’t stop herself, then, and has to clap a hand over her mouth as a sort of screech explodes out of her.

Ted looks at her, terrified.

“Rebecca, I - Oh, man, this is not at all what I meant to - “

“I know,” she rushes to interject. “I know you had no idea. Obviously.”

Ted appears vaguely placated, but his eyes are still jumping around the room, very intentionally not looking at her, and there’s pink high on his cheeks.

“What I would very much like to know is how, exactly, you even managed to - find it, without... meaning to,”

Ted throws his hands in the air, the gesture an utterly helpless one. “It was on the same list of ‘gifts that she’ll love’ as all the rest of it! Clearly I didn’t... read any descriptions all too closely. Mighta left the whole thing a little last minute and just wanted to make sure it ca- ah, got here in time."

“But surely," Rebecca insists, the absurdity of this conversation not lost on her, "the packaging said what it was? You didn’t notice once it arrived?”

He frowns. “Well now that you mention it, it did have the word ‘vibe’ but I just thought they were using it in, like, the way kids refer to an atmosphere nowadays.”

Rebecca has to turn away from him at this to keep her hysteria at bay. But it's no use - the bubbling sensation is climbing up her throat and it's only moments before she succumbs to it, doubling over as she laughs so hard that tears form behind her eyes.

Ted begins laughing too, and there's a long moment where the two of them are just lost to it, a relief filling the air at the resolution of such a misunderstanding.

When they both calm down, Rebecca sags down on the couch, still shaking her head in mirth.

“To be fair,” she snorts as she wipes at her watery eyes, “the card did say the basket was to help me relax, and it most certainly lived up to the task.”

Rebecca doesn’t often say things she regrets - never let them see you sweat being a saying she generally took to heart. But she’s never regretted anything more as she realizes just what she’s unintentionally admitted to.

“I mean,” she says, but there’s no salvaging that.

Ted’s smile has been wiped away, and he’s now looking at her with a strange look. One she’s never seen before from him, but it makes something in her stomach drop and her breath stutter.

He’s looking at her like he’s just discovered a brand new species out in the wild, and he wants to categorize every last microscopic detail of its form.

“Oh. So you… tried it out?”

The tone is casual, almost like an aside, and her world tilts. “I-“ she stammers.

Oh god. Oh shit. Oh no.

He watches, head tilted in an innocent curiosity as though it’s any other day and he’s asking any other meaningless question rather than the friendship-toppling query that he is.

”I wouldn’t - want any of your gifts to go to waste,” is what she finally comes out with, offering a shrug that she hopes looks blasé.

“Did it, uh…” Ted scratches at his neck. “…do the job all right?”

By this point she’s so fucking bright red that Santa Claus could easily use her as a guide for his sleigh. “What… I mean… Sure, it was fine. Standard.”

Ted makes this odd sort of hum in acknowledgement, before his gaze returns to the device on the counter. As if in slow motion, his hand creeps up, and his long fingers curl delicately around it.

Her throat is dry as the goddamn Sahara, and every cell in her body is frozen as she watches his digits slip a single centimeter in opposite directions. It’s all the encouragement the toy needs to buzz back to life.

”That all it does?” Ted asks, an eyebrow raised.

Rebecca has to lick her lips in order to speak - her voice comes out rough and low regardless. “It - goes higher. Two more.”

”Ah.” Ted nods. “Did you try those, too?”

When she merely blinks at him in reply, he shrugs. “Not a very useful instrument if you can’t experience the full range.”

They’re playing a dangerous game - so, so fucking dangerous - but Rebecca really isn’t even sure if she’s dreaming at this point. So she says, “No, I - No.”

With thoughts of him filling her mind, the lowest setting had been enough.

Ted tuts, almost disappointed, as he switches it back off.

”Can't let them go untested, can you?”

He lets the toy settle in the center of his cupped palm, and moves to stand just in front of her still seated form. He extends his hand out to her, the silver of the toy's bottom half glinting as it hits the light.

Ted waits, palm outstretched, for her to take it from him.

Heart in her throat, Rebecca lifts her right hand, and picks it up, her fingertips brushing up against the hot skin of his palm.

She releases a shuddering breath as she sits back, device clutched in her grasp.

Ted drops his hand, sliding both it and the other one into his pockets and putting on an unaffected air. His posture is lax as he regards her.

"Go ahead, then." He pauses. “Unless me being here would… impede your research. I could leave.”

She doesn't understand what's come over them - what strange force has moved them into this heady space.

But his eyes are darker than she's ever seen them and there's no mistaking the look they're conveying - desire, pure and simple.

So she meets his gaze and says, “You can stay, Ted.”

No turning back now.

Rebecca brings her hand down to unbutton her jeans and eases her hand underneath the thin band of her panties. Ted’s eyes sharpen as her lips part, a breathy sound escaping her as her fingers graze across her clit.

Ted Lasso, in her home, looking at her like that - it would be unbelievable if she hadn’t wanted it so much.

When she turns on the toy, to the middle setting instead of the first, her whole body jolts from the sudden bolt of pleasure.

”Oh,” she croaks out.

With his eyes on her and the vibrations sparking through her, it doesn’t take long for her to start climbing towards her peak.

She doesn’t immediately notice in the haze of her pleasure, but Ted has crept closer and closer to the couch, and is now standing almost directly above her.

His hand circles her wrist, and presses it down harder.

The effect of the new and increased pressure is instantaneous - her spine snaps ramrod straight and she’s coming with a silent cry.

When Rebecca drags open her eyes and looks up at him, his pupils are blown wide and he’s breathing so heavily it sounds like he’s just run a marathon.

”Amazin’ what a little thing like that can do.” He’s a bit slurred as he tugs her hand up and out of her underwear, his fingers sliding between her own wet ones.

She doesn’t manage a response, still caught up in the fog of her climax.

Ted gently slides an arm around her back, supportive, as he scoops her up into his arms. "Mind if I give you a lift?"

"Go right ahead," she says, her limbs still heavy. She drapes an arm around his neck and let’s out an appreciative sigh as his muscles shift underneath her.

It takes some guesswork, but he's able to locate her bedroom without much delay.

He approaches her bed and gently sets her down on the soft sheets.

She’s surprised to realize that she’s still holding the lipstick, and when Ted eases it out of her hand, she thinks he’s going to set it on her nightstand.

But he doesn’t.

Instead, he keeps it tucked away in his fist, a mischievous glint in his eye.

“Mind taking this off?” he asks, tugging gently at her impossibly soft cashmere sweater.

Swallowing hard, she nods, and lifts the fabric up and over her head. Ted looks awed as she’s left in only her lace black bra, a stark contrast to her pale skin.

He bends forward to mouth kisses across her sternum, and when he unclips her bra and carefully pulls it off, he wastes no time in sucking at her pert nipples. Her head falls back in a groan as his tongue flicks deliciously at the sensitive bud.

He shifts their positions so that he’s laying between her spread legs, and before she even realizes what’s happening he’s flipping the device in his hand back on and pressing it back up against her slippery clit.

Rebecca surges upwards, a startled yelp dissolving into a long moan at the sharp burn that’s spiking her blood. He leaves it pressed against her as his other hand moves to push two fingers inside of her, pumping them slowly but steadily.

Ted moves the toy away from her, and Rebecca tried to gasp in a breath at the momentary relief. Only to collapse once more when he hikes up the speed another notch and replaces it onto her clit. Rebecca throws her head back, the muscles in her neck straining as she pleads nonsensically, voice shot, for something. More, less, harder, release - she doesn’t fucking know.

But somehow, by some miracle, he seems to understand.

He curls the fingers that are inside of her and rubs at her inner walls, and it’s enough to send her flying over the edge with a wail.

Rebecca lays, sprawled out and panting, as Ted crawls up her body and cups her cheeks, the smell of her own arousal heady on his still-slick fingers.

When her eyes finally open to meet his, they’re sparkling with a pure wonder that makes her breath catch. He lets out a low whistle.

”Gotta say, that was pretty remarkable.”

She laughs, dazed. “It’s a pretty strong toy, yes.”

”Wasn’t talkin’ bout the toy.”

He kisses her, and it’s far more tender than she’s expecting. Her heart beats wildly as she returns it, smoothing a hand along his neck and into his hair.

When they pull apart, Ted glances down at the front of his trousers - Rebecca swallows hard at the sight of the tented fabric.

”Would you mind if I, uh…” he trails off.

Rebecca smirks. “Fuck me?”

He flushes. “Yeah, that.” He looks back up at her, directly in the eye, and tries it out, his slow, deep drawl making the words roll decadent over her body. “Fuck you.”

Her cunt squeezes around nothing, and she yanks him to her in a brutal kiss.

They discard the rest of their clothes, and Rebecca can’t stop touching each new inch of his bare skin that’s revealed to her. He’s soft yet strong, and her mouth waters at the thought of sucking bruises into every last millimeter.

When he enters her, he goes slowly, and each second he stretches her further makes it harder and harder to get air into her lungs.

When he finally bottoms out, Rebecca’s nails are digging so deeply into his back can already picture the angry red marks that are most certainly forming.

But she can’t help it - the pressure is just too blindingly perfect, and she has no other outlet for the stampeding emotions welling up inside of her.

”Okay?” Ted asks, strained, his forehead pressed to her clavicle.

Rebecca takes a second to evaluate, then nods. “Yes. Move. Right now.”

Ted begins to shift his hips, thrusts growing surer and more purposeful as he goes. Rebecca can’t stop the embarrassing, breathy noises that escape her as she tilts her hips up to meet his angle.

Sex with Ted, turns out, is better than she could have ever imagined.

The piece of hair that’s always out of place is flopped on his forehead, and Rebecca has the urge to lean up and lick the sweat there as he continues to snap his hips at an increasingly punishing rate.

”Did you think about me?” He asks, breathlessly, as a particular thrust hits a spot inside of her that makes her mouth drop open. “When you used the present I got you, we’re you thinking about us, like this?”

”Yes,” she gasps, clinging to him even more tightly with her legs around his waist. “I was. You were the one… who was making me come…”

“Watching you come is the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. Gosh, Rebecca.” He’s mindless, words spilling out so uninhibited she could cry.

She’s wholly unprepared for the toy to make a reappearance, Ted pressing it to her sensitive clit in an unexpected move that has her seizing, her third orgasm overtaking her.

”That’s it, sweetheart,” he mutters, still working his cock inside of her and prolonging her climax.

When she’s come down, breathing still harsh, he flips the two of them so she’s on her stomach, and he’s pressing in from behind. All she can do is spread her legs and take it, whimpers escaping her every so often despite being spent.

"So good feeling you come around me, honey. Want you to do it again.”

Rebecca shakes her head weakly, face pressed into her pillow. "I don’t think... it’s too much..."

"Think you can. Come on, 'Becca, one more for me..."

He ratchets the toy up to the highest possible setting and hikes her up at her hips to press it between her thighs.

She shouts as the almost painful, scorching heat slams into her, and despite her protestations, she can feel herself heading for another peak. What does it is a perfectly timed thrust combined with a twist of his wrist with the toy. She shatters, the tight band in her belly snapping in half sending her soaring.

He follows her over the edge soon after, a long grunt escaping him as he comes inside of her.

He pulls out and flops down next to her, breathing ragged with exertion as he absently curls around her limp form.

”Feeling relaxed yet?” he asks, a hint of a laugh mixed in with his exhaustion.

Rebecca throws an arm out with the intention of smacking him lightly, but her limbs are so liquified that it simply falls limply against his bare chest.

”Hush, you.”

 

 

The following year, when Keeley innocently asks the two of them what they’re getting each other for Christmas, neither one of them can meet her eye.