"Well kids, the wedding weekend wasn't over," said Ted.
Penny and Luke fidgeted in their seats.
"But Dad, is this the part where you finally meet mom?" said Penny.
"I feel like we've been here for an eternity," said Luke.
Ted looked at the clock, and realized it had taken him all day.
"I stopped to order pizza, didn't I? Okay, just a little bit more. I'm getting to the best part,"
Ted couldn't stop starring the bass player on stage. There was something about her. He just couldn't stop starring.
"Ted," said Lily, "Drool much?"
"Huh," said Ted.
Ted quickly wiped his mouth.
"I didn't actually, did I?" asked Ted.
"Not actually, but your puppy eyes are giving you away," said Lily.
Ted looked away, and focused on Lily.
"I should know better, I'm leaving tomorrow. I can't hit on someone tonight. My future is in Chicago," said Ted.
"Now I know you're not trying to make me cry," said Lily, "If you change your mind, I can introduce you. We met on the bus on the way here. Her name is... oh god I forgot. Yesterday we chatted. It's on the tip of my tongue. Don't tell me baby brain has set in already,"
"It's fine Lil," said Ted, "I'm going to miss you Mama Italy,"
"We're video chatting weekly, no daily, no hourly," said Lily.
She hugged him so hard, he would miss her.
"I need to leave early, I have some last minute packing to do," said Ted.
"Ted," said Lily.
Tears started to stream down her face, "It's not goodbye Lily. It's see you later," said Ted.
Robin came up beside them, "No, Ted. I refuse. You cannot leave our wedding early. It's against the bro code,"
"The bro code?" said Ted smiling.
"Yes. Living with Barney you think I don't know that thing inside out. Article 2.56 A bro shall not leave a bros wedding until sunrise. And since I think you are my best friend too, I say it stands. Rule number one, Bride wants it, it happens,"
"She has you there Ted," said Lily.
"Bro code," said Robin.
Barney ran into them.
"Ted, Ted, Ted, I found the perfect woman for you," said Barney.
"Ted is trying to leave early," said Robin.
"Bro-code Article 2.56 states-" said Barney.
"Already stated Husband," said Robin.
Robin laid a solid high-five to Barney.
"Marriage high five," said Barney.
"I have to catch the early train to finish packing," said Ted.
"Hell to the no," said Marshall, "The party is only getting started. Bro code stands. Especially since you are leaving us,"
"Guys," said Ted, "Fine. But you are getting me to the last train at 1am. Promise,"
"Fine, we promise," said Barney, "Now back to the perfect woman for you. The bassist is hot, and smart. I ran into her once when I was in a bad place about a year ago, I think she's single, she totally talked me into going after what I wanted. Robin,"
"Really," said Robin, "I need to buy her a drink,"
"It's open bar," said Ted.
"Technically I paid for that bar, so the sentiment stands Professor," said Robin.
"Crazy coincidence," said Lily, "I met her on the bus on the way here,"
"The bassist?" said Marshall, "She gave Marvin and me a lift here,"
"Lift?" said Lily.
"Long story," said Marshall.
"I literally ran into her before the wedding. I was freaking out and she gave me some pretty good advice," said Robin, "Plus we kind of got to second base."
"I missed it?" said Barney.
Robin just grinned at Barney. He may not be perfect, but he was perfect for her.
Ted couldn't help but be intrigued.
"What's her name?" asked Ted.
He looked at the groups blank faces.
"Didn't you hire the band?" asked Robin.
"Cindy's roommate had a band, Superfreakanomics," said Ted.
"Wasn't this the roommate the one you seemed super into without even meeting her?" asked Lily.
"Maybe," said Ted.
"Oh, Ted," said Marshall, "It's like fate."
"That's it, you have to meet her," said Robin, "Bride orders. I'm loving this in charge stuff,"
"I'll be your wing groom," said Barney.
They turned towards the band and saw the bassist had disappeared.
"Where did she go?" said Ted.
The group bounded towards the stage and asked the guitarist, "Where did your bassist go?"
"Tracy? She needed to catch an early train to New York, so we're taking over. Hope that's okay."
"Go after her man," said Barney.
"Weren't you just saying I couldn't leave your wedding early?" said Ted.
"You're Ted Mosby. You run after love. You're a hopeless romantic. We wouldn't ever change you," said Barney.
"Maybe I'm not that guy anymore," said Ted.
"Where's the poop Ted?" asked Lily.
"What?" said Ted.
"Where's the poop Ted?" said Lily.
"Fine, I want to find this girl. But how will I know this won't turn out like all my other failed relationships? I'm leaving guys," said Ted.
"Coward," said Robin.
"What?" said Ted.
"Coward. Ted you have to follow your heart. You have to take a chance that maybe moving to Chicago isn't the right choice. That maybe staying and finding out who this girl is might be the right choice for you Ted," said Robin.
"Is that what you all think?" asked Ted.
"I love you man," said Marshall, "But I think you have to have faith in yourself. You think by starting over life will be different, but it won't be. You will just be the same Ted, but you'll be alone Ted."
"You're going to Italy?" said Ted, "Barney and Robin will be in Argentina for 6 months after their honeymoon. You won't be there either."
"Fine," said Barney, "You're right. We won't be there for awhile. But we're going to be back. Robin and I talked about it. We're buying a place in New York to be our home base, we might travel together or apart, but New York is home,"
"Marshall and I talked last night. And yes we're going to Italy, but not for that long."
"What?" said Marshall.
"I know we talked about it last night, but I can't let you give up the judgeship," said Lily.
"But Lily, your art career-" said Marshall.
"Marshall, I called the Captain an hour ago. He knows I'm pregnant. I'm going to go to Italy for three months, and start up his collection. But only three months. Once I have the baby we can go back again limited. The Captain said we can make it work," said Lily.
Marshall just grabbed Lily and kissed her, "Are you sure Lilypad?"
"I am," said Lily.
"That means you'll all be in New York?" said Ted.
"Maybe not always at the same time," said Robin, "But it's home."
Ted thought for a moment. His reasons for leaving felt so far away. It had been hard seeing Robin and Barney plan for a life together. But he had let her go. He had let her go so many times. For the longest time she was his idea of the perfect woman. Bold, audacious, beautiful, and a best friend. Robin was all of those things, and more. For the longest time he thought, if only she wanted to and could have kids, if only she wanted to have a home with him. Those were the only things standing between them.
Then came Barney. Ted hadn't seen that coming. He had dibs. But then something about Barney and Robin just made sense. He couldn't fight their happiness just for his.
But now, he realized Robin wasn't his. And he was okay with that. He was more okay with it then he ever knew. When Robin in a panic offered to leave with him, he just said no. It wasn't for Robin. It wasn't for Barney. It was for him. He wasn't interested anymore. He was over it. He was over her.
They made great friends. He had more than just made peace with it, it was liberating. He wasn't waiting for her. So, why was he going to Chicago to work with Druthers? Didn't the sky line need him? Didn't his students need him?
"I've got to go catch a train," said Ted.
His friends hugged him before he ran off and it was as if they knew this would mean he was staying. Ted was back.
"And kids, I thought I missed that train, but there standing on the platform under a yellow umbrella was your mother. She was absolutely beautiful. I almost didn't run to her. But then I did."
The rain poured around him and he was wet as he ran towards the platform. There she was standing under a yellow umbrella.
"Excuse me, Hi," said Ted.
"Hi," said Tracy.
"I'm the-" said Ted.
"The best man," said Tracy, "Yah, get in here, get in here,"
She ushered him under the umbrella.
"Thanks here, let me," said Ted.
He grabbed the umbrella as he was taller.
"Okay, thank you," said Tracy.
"Great show tonight," said Ted.
"Oh, thank you," said Tracy.
"You're Cindy's ex roommate right? Tracy?" said Ted.
"And you are the Professor? Ted. I took one of your classes," said Tracy.
"Really? Which one?" said Ted.
"Econ. 305," said Tracy.
"Econ. 305... but I don't teach... oh no," said Ted.
"Oh, yeah," said Tracy.
"Excuse me," said Ted, "I'm just going to jump onto the tracks now,"
"No, no, no, no don't," said Tracy, "You were great. You were great,"
He paused and noticed the umbrella. It wasn't just any yellow umbrella. It was his umbrella.
"Wait a minute. This is my umbrella. I left this umbrella at Cindy's. You totally stole my umbrella," said Ted.
"What," said Tracy, "No I didn't. This is my umbrella. I bought this umbrella."
"Excuse me," said Ted, "It even has my initials on it, right here: T.M.: Ted Mosby."
"Uh, look again Ted Mosby," said Tracy, "Those are my initials, T.M.: Tracy McConnell,"
"No Tracy McConnell. It's T.M.: Totally Mine," said Ted.
"You're T.M.: Totally mistaken," said Tracy, "Because this umbrella has always belonged, T.M.: To me. Although, I did lose it for a few years there, um. So I went to this dance club-"
"On Saint Patrick's day," said Ted.
"On Saint Patrick's day," said Tracy.
"And you left it there," said Ted.
"And I left it there," said Tracy.
"And you never thought you'd see it again," said Ted.
"And I never thought I'd see it again," said Tracy.
They stood there in the rain, and both of them knew in that they weren't just talking about the umbrella. The air around them was electric. There was something about it that felt fated.
"Funny how sometimes you just find things," said Tracy.
And it was more than a lucky penny, or the best apartment in the the city. They both knew they had found each other for a reason.
"That early train never came and we talked until the 1am train, and then until we got back to New York. I asked for her number and called her the very next day. And that kids is how I met your mother" said Ted.
"Aww Dad," said Penny, "When you sat us down for the long version, you really meant the longest version."
"Did you really have sex with all those women before you met mom," said Luke.
"Luke," said Penny, "You are so gross,"
"That wasn't the point of the story," said Ted, "It's more about how I grew into the person I was suppose to be before I met her,"
"And banged a lot of girls," said Luke.
"Luke Robin Mosby," said Tracy.
Tracy was standing in the doorway holding bags.
"But Mom. Dad just spent the whole day talking about girls he slept with before he met you?"
"Is that all you got from that story," asked Ted.
"I'm 13 Dad, all I think of is sex," said Luke.
"Like I said gross. Grow up Luke," said Penny.
"Okay Pig-Pen," said Luke as he bolted off the couch.
"I'm going to kill you," said Penny as she chased after him.
"Don't kill your brother before dinner," hollered Ted.
"All the girls you banged?" said Tracy as she sat on the couch.
"I told them about how I met you," said Ted, "And it was because of Barney and Robin's wedding, and I wouldn't have met you otherwise. And I wouldn't have been at that wedding if I hadn't met Robin or Barney. So I started the night I met Robin,"
"Good choice, good narrative structure. And if I remember correctly, less R rated than the night you met Barney," said Tracy.
"I swore you to secrecy," said Ted.
"And I've never told a soul, well except Robin," said Tracy.
"Robin!" said Ted.
"Spousal privilege," said Tracy, "What two wives share about their husbands is between them,"
"Fine, but not too much sharing. How was your trip?" said Ted.
"Well Robin and Lily say 'Hi'," said Tracy, "Our trip to Florida was awesome. We even got hit on. Lily was very excited. Robin got recognized a few times, but not too much,"
"It's hard to be traveling with the top television journalist in New York," said Ted.
"It has it's perks. Although Lily did get a little jealous that no one was recognizing her," said Tracy.
"Well she's a children's book author/illustrator. It's not like people will see her and think Wigfeld the Bear," said Ted.
"Yes, but traveling with someone as famous as Robin can be hard I guess. Lily started wearing her Wigfeld tee shirt," said Tracy.
"She didn't?" said Ted.
"She did," said Tracy.
Ted joined Tracy on the couch and held her close.
"I missed you Snugglebutt," said Ted.
"I missed you too, Ted," said Tracy.
"Next vacation we are taking together," said Ted, "I say Disney Universe with the kids."
"Only if it's a road trip," said Tracy.
"Isn't it always," said Ted.
He held her closer and kissed her forehead. It had been a few hard years for them. Tracy had gotten sick about six years ago with breast cancer. They almost lost her. But she fought it, and they fought it. They couldn't have done it without their friends. Lily, Robin, Marshall, and Barney had all taken turns helping to watch the kids, or stay with Tracy during her chemo. But it had been a year now of being 100 percent cancer free. The girls had taken her to Florida to celebrate her 46th birthday.
"Is the gang still up for dinner?" said Ted.
"All aboard and accounted for," said Tracy.
Barney and Robin were heading down from their house in the Hamptons. Robin had reached her dreams. She had done so well has a foreign correspondent, and then as an investigative journalist, she was now headlining her own New York City based news show. But no one would ever forget her special a few years ago on bullfighting, where she had donned a red cape herself.
Barney had struggled in their first years together because he was no longer with the same corporation. Goliath National Bank offered to keep in on while they were under new management as a PR executive, but Barney realized he wanted something more. Barney and Robin had a a rough patch with all the time apart, but once he focused on what he loved it became easier. He opened Suit Up, an elite New York gentlemen's club. Cigars, Burlesque, and Jazz. As Barney often said, "It puts the ass in classy,".
Lily and Marshall had finally left the city and moved to the suburbs. They chose the same town as Ted. Lily quit teaching to focus on her kids and her art. Being with kids all the time, inspired her to create a children's picture book series. Marshall took the Supreme Court seat. He loved his job, but it also made him lose all of his hair.
Ted had gotten his job at Columbia back, after his attempt at leaving for Chicago. He even got to design another building in the New York City skyline. Tracey ended up creating a lifestyle blog (with Barney's help), kept being a part time wedding singer, and teaching kids music in her spare time.
FLASH FORWARD 2065
The rockers rocked on the porch.
"Boobs," said Barney, "I see boobs at twelve o'clock,"
"Barney, put your glasses on," said Robin.
"Oh, they were just melons. Actual melons," said Barney, "When we moved to Florida, I remember someone saying beach babes,"
"You're looking at one sexy," said Robin.
"You're still as beautiful as the day I married you," said Barney, "Although I do miss your rack,"
"Me too," said Robin. She kissed him softly on the lips.
"Would you two stop making out and finish the card game," said Ted.
"You are just grumpy, because I'm winning," said Lily.
"You're cheating," said Ted.
"But she always cheats," said Tracy.
"Marshall, ruling," said Ted.
"Judge Fudge allows it," said Marshall.
"Yes!" said Lily.
"Re-match in fifteen. I'm taking you down," said Ted.
"I have major news," said Tracy.
"Major News," said Ted and Robin.
"I just got a call from Penny and you won't guess what she bought," said Tracy.
"Don't keep us in suspense," said Ted.
"We're old now," said Barney.
"Speak for yourself," said Robin.
"Shh. Let Tracy speak," said Lily.
"Penny bought MacLaren's," said Tracy.
"MacLaren's," said Ted.
"Well the entire building, but she now owns the bar," said Tracy.
"The bar," said Barney.
They lifted their glasses of ice tea.
"To the bar," said Robin.
The gang echoed her cheer.
"That means we sort of own the bar now," said Ted.
"Ted. Ted. Ted. Puzzles. We can make Puzzles happen," said Barney.
"If she's changing the name it should be McConnells," said Tracy.
"Um, what's wrong with MacLaren's, it's classy like old scotch," said Robin.
"We can't re-name the bar," said Lily.
"It stays MacLaren's, Judge Eriksen final ruling," said Marshall, "Unless we call it Puzzles,"
They never did change the name of the bar. They never did find out what happened to that Pineapple. But then somethings are good left unsaid.