Chapter 15 of Open Heart finally ended the slow burn romance between Ethan Ramsey and MC. And it did not disappoint. When I first read it, I was left in disbelief. Did it finally happen? For real? I took time to process it before replaying the scene, and–sure enough–it did and Ethan was glorious. It has been a long time coming, but the focus here is on Ethan and how he displays his love for MC in this scene. The way he is with her is telling of the type of lover he is, and this scene sets up their future intimate interactions.
Note: My example of MC is female, so I will refer to MC as she/her.
1. A Lover Who Takes Control
Ethan is the type who always needs to be in control. We have seen this in his work and why he has taken Naveen’s loss so hard. He couldn’t find the answer to Naveen’s infection, so he couldn’t control the situation like he has always been able to during his career. But this is when he is performing as a diagnostician. We can now see how he takes this need to be in control in the bedroom as well.
Ethan’s physicality is the ultimate representation of his need to be in control. We can witness this as he uses his physical strength to dominate and position MC’s body. This is not a negative form of behavior at all. This is him finally letting go and both of them giving into each other. MC has always been the one trying to get Ethan to finally submit to his feelings, so it is rightful in his choices that he takes the lead here. And MC is welcoming of it.
This begins when he is restraining MC against the kitchen island and using his strength to move her to the bedroom. He is making all the choices for them, showing MC that he is no longer hesitant about them being together.
His physical strength symbolizes the stability as they both fall. They have been falling for each other for a while now, and his holding MC to himself is the support they both needed. They are still falling, but they are no longer falling without a clear direction. Ethan is now controlling the fall, where they are both in a state of acceptance and expression of their love for each other. Ethan is physically supporting MC and providing a more direct and definite course towards their relationship. And it just so happens to be in the direction of his bedroom!
Ethan is also making many of the decisions during this scene. The first major decision was how he chooses to take it slow, savoring every kiss and touch as both of their arousals grow in unison. This shows how much he feels deeply for MC. He doesn’t want something quick. He wants something that allows him to explore his feelings physically with her, study and absorb every sensation she gives him and the feel of her body.
The other decisions are clearly shown in what he does to her. These actions are key indicators of his taking control. He is patient in this regard and wants to be the one to please her and make her feel an overpowering sense of ecstasy. The three main actions are the fingering, the oral, and the missionary position. All of these actions are him taking control over MC’s body as she allows him to explore and feel her. He is learning what she likes and what areas of her body pleases her the most.
MC: “Feel me, Ethan. I need you to feel me.”
Ethan: “I feel you.”
This is in clear contrast to the scene in Miami where MC was taking more of the lead. This is because at that time, Ethan was hesitant and unsure about the situation with her. Although he wanted her—needed her—there was a large part of him that was reluctant.
Ethan: “What are you doing to me?… I’ve never done anything like this. Ever.”Open Heart, Chapter 10, Ethan Diamond Scene
Now, he is not. The major issues that he felt made their relationship complicated no longer exist. This is why we now see Ethan confident and in charge, and MC is in a state of bliss to be on the receiving end of his physical affection.
2. A Lover Who Is Giving and Responsive
MC never takes any physical control during the entire scene. She may pull off Ethan’s clothes, but she allows Ethan to take the lead. In this case, Ethan shows how giving and responsive he is to MC’s needs.
MC expresses her needs to Ethan at times, and Ethan complies. Although Ethan wants to take it slow, MC is growing impatient. Thus, Ethan is responsive to her needs. This proves that even though Ethan is mostly in control of the situation, he puts MC’s needs before his own.
When talking about sex, giving refers to wanting to please the other more than the other way around. And this is exactly what Ethan does throughout this scene. It goes along with his responsiveness to MC’s needs. She wants him. She’s impatient. And he gives in one of the most intimate ways: oral.
For someone who likes to be in control, his being giving and responsive to MC’s needs arouses him. Knowing he is the one making her moan and writhe against his touch, brings him his own form of pleasure.
3. A Lover Who Is Passionate
As we remember back to the Miami scene, we had clear insight at the passionate and intense love they have for each other and how much they both wanted to express it. Now, that Ethan has no inhibitions, his kisses and looks are described as passionate. The man is all fire: lit up, hot, and burning with desire.
I want to talk about the following description. This is my favorite description in the entire scene, and it truly represents the passionate lover that is Ethan Ramsey.
How many times has Ethan physically reached out to MC the more they grew closer in the book? And how many times did he pull away or cockblock himself with pain and regret lingering in his eyes? Too many! This scene represents how now Ethan is no longer retreating.
Ethan trails his thumb over your cheek, coming to rest on your lips.
The lips are connected to kissing, which is a symbol of love. With Ethan’s thumb resting on MC’s lips, it is not only an affectionate and passionate act during their intimate moment, but a gesture showing he loves her and isn’t going to pull away. Not this time.
You catch it between your teeth…
In fact, MC’s actions scream that she will not let him go again. She is holding onto him, and he is no longer resisting her due to his telling response.
…thrilled by the hungry way he looks at you.
And Ethan’s response is “Damn straight. I’m not going anywhere again.” And this “thrills” MC. He is finally all hers. She is finally all his. He can express the passion behind his hungry eyes as MC has captured him literally and metaphorically; she has captured his heart. He has finally opened his heart up to her, and he is ready to show her just how much he has wanted her, how much he has needed her, how much he means to her, and, ultimately, how much he loves her.
4. A Lover Who Is Considerate and Respectful
As mentioned before, Ethan takes MC’s needs before his own. He is considerate. He listens to what she wants, he waits for her permission, and he is thoughtful of her needs and feelings. The part of the scene that truly shows his consideration is right when he is ready to go all the way.
Now this shows consideration and respect when being intimate with another person. He waits for her to make the decision. Although he has been the one to guide their actions, penetration takes consent, and he’s not going to take any action without respecting what MC wants or doesn’t want.
And if you choose not to go all the way, he respects it. He doesn’t become upset because he has waited so long to be with MC. He respects her and puts her needs above his own. The “if it happens” is a telling statement of his mental state, but I’ll get to that when we talk about self-love.
5. A Lover Who Is Connected
When Ethan loves, he loves deeply. And this can be seen in how connected he and MC are with each other.
First, we can also look back at when he is pleasuring MC orally. He doesn’t break eye contact with her. This shows how comfortable they are with each other. This sense of comfort and trust fosters their connection.
Then, when Ethan finally enters MC, their responses are described as “in unison” and “simultaneously”. They have always had a deep connection in the book. They were always in synch with each other. Now this can be seen as they are sexually intimate: their bodies responding similarly as they climax together.
Ethan also knows how to please her. It’s as if he is already well connected to her physically. The reason for this is because Ethan is reacting to MC’s responses to his touch. As a diagnostician, he is very observant and reads people easily. This skill also helps him in the bedroom. Each moan, each groan, each twitch of the body, each tensing of the muscles, each time the heart races is how he knows what he is doing is working. He reads her whenever he feels or hears her response. It’s as if he is exploring her body and memorizing every area that brings her pleasure. And this is how he is able to easily connect with her and give her what she needs.
6. A Lover Who Is Supportive
After they have finally submitted to their feelings for each other, his support for her is more important now than ever as he has finally become honest with his feelings.
The strongest example happens after they have sex. He holds her in his arms when they are finished. This is a comforting and supportive gesture that he gives to her afterwards. And this leads to pillow talk. He has always been supportive of MC, and now that they are together, even more so. He made the mistake of not being there when he knew of her hearing, but now that everything is out in the open, he wants to support her in any way he can.
Finally, we cannot talk about support without mentioning support in the context of sex. The way Ethan holds MC, the way he gently lifts her, and the way he tenderly kisses and touches her are all examples of how he supports her during sex. He makes her feel safe and special, and this is an important aspect of how his love is manifested in his actions during sex.
7. A Lover Who Is Romantic
I’m just going to say it. Ethan Ramsey is one romantic beast. I’ve read that research has shown that in heterosexual relationships, the longer two people are in a relationship, the man tends to become more romantic, while the woman becomes more rational. Take that as you will.
Let’s just let his words explain what doesn’t need to be explained.
When Ethan wants to make the experience special for MC…
When Ethan admits to his wet dreams…
When Ethan is a sap…
When Ethan’s love of MC makes the city view look more beautiful to him…
And that folks is a man in love.
8. A Lover Who Needs to Learn Self-Love
Self-love is something that Ethan currently does not have for himself. When it comes to MC, his love is sincere, deep, and real. When it comes to himself, it is non-existent. How can Ethan love MC when he can’t even love himself? It’s possible. Many people tend to put others before themselves. They can love others deeply, but they may not know how to love themselves. Ethan is this type of person. His love for MC will run deep; he will protect her, support her, and put her first, but he will tend to dismiss anything about himself. And this all stems from his own difficult situation with Naveen’s case.
This was seen when MC became upset because he didn’t reach out to her about the hearing. He’s been trying to push MC away because he does not value himself. We all know the meaning behind when he calls MC by “Rookie,” her first name, or her last name. Each name gives a different insight into Ethan’s feelings for MC based on the situation they are in. He resorts to the distant behavior when he refers to MC by her last name.
This distant act is because he feels he cannot help MC. Ethan is still struggling with the loss of Dolores and not being able to save Naveen. And this is the first time when Ethan actually admits his feelings for MC. He has put her in the same category as “the people he gives a damn about.” Thus, he believes it’s better to push her away than to keep her close because he can’t be there for her either based on his track record.
His lack of self-love can also been seen after they have sex. Ethan is in his head afterwards, and this worries MC. She thinks he believes he has made a mistake.
He places blame on himself for what has happened to her. Going back to when he quit, he felt he wasn’t the doctor she thought he was. He was facing serious self-doubt, which has led to his own lack of self-love. How can he love himself when he is lost about who is his and everything he has done that led him to his current situation?
An important aspect of what he said is “But time will tell.” This shows that he thinks that maybe some time in the future, his failure will catch up with them and ruin what they have. It also relates to MC’s hearing. Because he knows his love for her is preventing him from testifying in support for her, she could end up losing her career.
In Ethan’s mind, he believes that his love for her is what led to him failing her. This is what he was trying to explain to MC in Miami.
And because of this, he can’t help her because he knows what Harper told him was right. Harper most likely knows he cares for MC, but we don’t know the extent to how much she truly knows about his feelings. But regardless, Harper knows he would be biased towards MC, and this is what Ethan agrees with. As a result, he can’t testify and help out another person that he loves. And this breaks him. And this is his source of having no self-love for himself. You can see that he is in the anger stage of the grieving process.
But MC tries to reassure him.
The thing about this scene is that even if MC tries to convince him otherwise, it probably won’t be the catalyst that changes how Ethan feels. Ethan’s lack of self-love runs deep due to all of the loss he has experienced. It could bring a sense of tension at times in their relationship, but as we have seen, MC doesn’t give up on him. She will support him until the very end. And now that Ethan is no longer her boss and they have expressed their feelings for each other, I don’t believe he will not be there for MC again. However, for Ethan to truly find happiness, he will need to learn to love himself.
Final Note: Playing Devil’s Advocate
As much as I loved that they finally physically expressed their feelings for each other, I found the option of MC leaving to be the more appropriate option based on the context of the scene. She had just found out that Ethan knew about her situation, and she believed he would have been someone to be there for her because of their feelings for each other.
It’s understandable why Ethan did not respond in the way MC expected. He’s going through a tough time as he doubts himself and does not have the self-love as described above. However, MC feels hurt and angry because she’s not just some intern to him. They both know it no matter how much Ethan has tried to deny it. Thus, it’s also understandable that MC truly believed he would have at least reached out to her knowing the difficult situation she was in. This is why I felt that this scene fit the context better because this is when MC actually has the right to feel disappointed in the man she has come to love. Even though they both realized they had the opportunity to finally be with each other, MC’s hurt would have been more dominant and would have been what controlled the situation, not the feelings of their longing for each other. Her anger towards him could be the kick in the butt he needs to refocus before they can finally be together. But then again, that’s why it was a choice.
Ethan is still dealing with some serious self-doubts and self-love issues. One could argue that their slow burn should have continued because Ethan still wasn’t in the right frame of mind, which was evident during their pillow talk. However, others could argue that the decision was mutual based on how the scene was written. They both needed each other at that moment, and the result ended with them finally choosing to be together. Ethan’s behaviors as a lover truly focused on putting MC’s needs first, and it was something they both enjoyed. The sex wasn’t shown as desperate or angry. It was shown as two people showing how much they truly love each other. Thus, their time together led Ethan to fully open himself up to MC and be there to support her at the ethics hearing. In the end, Ethan will continue to struggle with his issues, but now that he has MC’s love and the fact that she’s definitely going to save Naveen’s life, Ethan will finally learn the meaning of hope. And this will lead him towards a more certain path towards his own meaning of self-love and happiness. And with that, Ethan will continue being the type of lover whom MC values and loves.
And I’m still rooting for the Ethan-MC-Naveen-Jenner family when all’s said and done.
MVP: The Tickling Stubble
This part was too cute!!!!