Most Irresistible GuyBy: Lauren Blakely
I can’t stop staring at the best man.
As I walk down the aisle, strains of classical music rising in the church, my eyes are inexorably drawn to the man next to the groom.
That tux. That crisp white shirt. That bow tie.
Most of all, that smile. A grin I’ve never gotten over.
Clutching a bouquet of yellow tulips, I march. Hundreds of pairs of eyes are watching. Smiling. Tears welling.
Everyone loves a wedding.
My gaze is firmly fixed on the best man, the way the tux fits him, how it’s snug against his toned, muscular frame, how his soulful brown eyes lock with mine.
He’s looking at me.
My heart skids in my chest, pounding painfully against my rib cage as his gaze lingers on me, like he’s taking a stroll up and down my body as I approach the altar. With every step I take, tingles spread down my bare arms, and for several brief and torturous seconds, I let myself imagine I’m walking to him, and he’s mine.
Mine to link arms with. To hold hands. To brush a kiss to his cheek.
This is a game I play now and then. I can’t resist in this moment, even though I’ve learned how to live with this riot of emotions in my chest, like a flock of birds soaring to the sky all at once.
I learned to live with this wild sensation in my chest because I have to.
Cooper Armstrong isn’t my man.
Instead, he’s my best guy friend, and he’s my brother’s best friend, too.
He’s someone I’m incredibly lucky to have in my life. He’s supportive, and caring, and funny, and so damn easy on the eyes. When I reach the front of the church, I smile at him, then at my brother Trent, the groom. I take my place across from the best man. We turn as the wedding march begins and the bride glides down the aisle to marry my brother while I steal glances at his best friend.
When the vows are exchanged and the rings are slid on and when the groom kisses the bride, we all cheer. A wave of happiness rushes over me for my brother. He’s marrying Holly, the love of his life. They walk back down the aisle as husband and wife, the crowd standing and clapping for the newlyweds.
Cooper and I follow, arm in arm.
He leans in close, his lips dangerously near my ear. A shiver runs through me, and I try to hide it so he won’t know how he affects me, how he’s always affected me. “Save a dance for me, will you, Violet?”
I give him a playful little smile, so he knows he’s my friend, not the object of my desires. “I’ll see if there’s room for you on my dance card,” I say, adding in a wink for good measure.
“Then I’ll do my best to monopolize it.”
He can have every single dance if he wants to, but I can’t let him know that. I’ve been friends with him my whole life, and there’s no way I’ll jeopardize that for the dark-horse shot of something more.
For the record, I’ve crushed on Cooper for a long time.
Okay. A crazy ridiculously long time.
Fine, let’s call a spade a spade. Decades. Nearly two decades. After all, he was my first ever crush way back when I was in second grade.
Yup, I’m that girl.
But, in my defense, he is adorable.
He’s the right mix of a little bit cocksure attitude, a lot of charm, and a canyon of determination. Plus, he’s a total gentleman.
It’s impossible not to like him.
My crush that launched in second grade only intensified when we were teenagers. I might have enjoyed watching him work out on the football field in high school. I definitely liked the view when he took off his shirt. And sure, I’ve imagined what it would be like to kiss him, countless times.
But I’ve always kept my emotions in check. We’re friends. Great friends. We’ve watched movies together, gone for runs along the water, broken bread at his mother’s house. We’ve gone out with friends and sung karaoke together as a group—my brother and Holly, Cooper and me. For the record, I am most excellent at crooning “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” and Cooper kills it at anything Bon Jovi. We’ve also crushed it duet-style to Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me,” and the irony of the title isn’t lost on me.