Say I'm Yours (Page 3)

I didn’t really like Cooper. Sure, he’s always been good-looking and funny, but he was always looking at me as if I were the annoying little girl. Which in all fairness, I was. However, Trent and Cooper were always together when we were younger. And by then, I developed feelings for the oldest Hennington.

Now, though, I’m done with Trent, and it’s Cooper who is in front of me.

His arms are around me as he holds me close. It’s striking how different he and Trent are from each other. Cooper has dark brown hair, green eyes, and his five o’clock shadow doesn’t make it easy for any girl to look away. Plus, he’s freaking huge. He’s tall, and his body is beyond words. The farm has done his body good.

“So?” Cooper calls my attention back to him. “Have you thought any more about my offer?”

I was hoping this wouldn’t come up again. My heart has been torn apart. Agreeing to a date with Cooper would change so many things. Trent and I have only been separated for a week, and I’m not even sure I’m ready to date again. I’m definitely not ready to make a decision. I just had another spat with Trent—one that ended with his lips on mine. I needed time.

“I thought about it, but I don’t have an answer.”

“I can wait.”

I sigh, and he spins me around again, completely undeterred by my evasion. “You might be waitin’ a long time.”

“I’ve been waitin’ a long time already.” He moves our intertwined hands between our chests. “I can be patient when it’s something worth being patient for.”

The honesty hangs on every syllable.

“What if all we’ll ever be is good friends? What if what you think you’re feeling is wrong?”

“Well,” Cooper grins, “what’s the worst that happens? I get to go on a date with a hot chick.” He’s teasing me, but his eyes grow heated as he looks me over.

I roll my eyes. “Whatever.”

“Seriously, Grace. Not every girl has dark brown hair and light blue eyes. You’re like my fourteen-year-old Xena fantasy come to life.”

“I’m not sure if I should be flattered or insulted.” It’s kind of nice to know he thinks I’m hot. “So, all I am is a conquest? A way to feel better about yourself after dating Betsy?”

Last year, Cooper dated Betsy Barker. It wouldn’t be a big deal, except it’s very well known that they hate each other. Always have. Betsy’s mom somehow got Vivienne Townsend to send him on a blind date with her.

Of course, Presley and I knew who was on the other end of his date, but Cooper didn’t, which made it all the more entertaining to watch.

He shudders. “You’re a close second to the She-Devil. I’m not sure if you’ll live up to that level of disgust. Although, you just might.”

I slap his chest and smile. “Jerk. But seriously, I need more time to think.”

Cooper’s olive eyes grow serious. “That’s what you need to stop doin’. You think too much, and it’s time you start takin’ action. Listen to your heart for once.”

“And you think my heart is saying it wants you?” I ask, letting my smile fade to seriousness.

“I guess we’ll have to see, won’t we?”

As Cooper turns me again, my gaze meets Trent’s. “Yeah.” I don’t break my stare. “I guess we will.”

Chapter 2

Cooper and I finish our dance, then I head over to the bar. “So,” Presley’s voice comes from behind me, “you and Cooper, huh?”

I let out a heavy sigh. “It was a dance, Pres.”

She puts her hands up while shaking her head. “I’m not sayin’ it’s a bad thing, honey.”

Maybe she isn’t, but it sure ain’t good. I’m not sure Cooper and I can ever be anything more than what we are now. Not only because my heart definitely isn’t free but also because it would cause major issues in the town if things didn’t work. All our mothers are best friends, Presley is one of my best friends, Cooper deals with the Hennington boys for business . . . it’s a recipe for disaster. I’d be sitting right in the eye of it all. No, thank you.

The bartender hands me the drink, and I chug it before asking for a glass of water. “It isn’t happening.”

“Y’all looked cute out there.”


She looks over at him and back to me. “He’s liked you for a while, you know?”

I knew that, but I didn’t know that she did. “When did you figure it out?”

She grins and hooks her arm in mine. “When I first got back home, he was lookin’ at you differently. Remember the night we went out after I got back to Bell Buckle?” I nod. “I noticed it then. I thought maybe it was my imagination, but when you and Trent got back together, he stopped. Then, when you made it clear you were done again, it was obvious he really liked you.”

Jesus. I didn’t realize it. “A while ago, when Trent and I were on a break, Cooper asked me out,” I confess.

I wanted to tell her sooner. She’s my best friend, and we don’t have many secrets between us. My even considering dating Cooper felt so wrong, though, which was why I decided that if it felt that way, it probably was. Then it was her being a basket case with her wedding coming, Angie moving back to town—for good, and the more time that passed, the weirder I felt about telling her.

“But you said no?”

“He’s your brother!” It’s comical, really. “And he’s friends with Trent, who is your new husband’s brother. I mean, could we make things any more complicated?”

She looks around the room wistfully. “I learned not so long ago how precious life is. We’re not promised anything. We have no guarantees that we’ll get jack shit. I stand here, lookin’ around, and I’m in awe. I haven’t done anything life altering. I don’t save lives or teach children.” She nudges me with her elbow. “But here I am with two unbelievable kids and a man I don’t deserve. Why are you any less deserving of happiness, Grace? Why should you have to be alone because a man you love won’t get his big head out of his ass?”

I have no answer for that.

Presley continues, “I’ll tell you this, if you let an opportunity pass you by, I’ll kick your skinny butt.”

I am mid drink at her last comment, which is so absurd coming from her that water shoots out my nose when I laugh. “Presley!”

“I’m serious!” Presley hands me a napkin as we both giggle. “You’re one of my best friends, and I love you far too much to see you give up a chance. So, go date Cooper. Who knows, maybe y’all will hit it off. What if he’s the man you’re meant to be with?”

I look into her green eyes that gleam with love and understanding. “What if things go bad?”

She shrugs. “Well, there’s no way you’re going to find out if you don’t try, is there?”

My eyes travel over to where Cooper is dancing with his mama. His smile is bright as he effortlessly spins her around the dance floor. I remember the feel of his strong arms under my hands, and I think about what Presley said. What if he is the guy? What if I spent all that time waiting for Trent to mature, only to miss out on a man right in front of me?

Cooper’s gaze shifts to mine, and I duck my head quickly. Of course, I’d be caught—again.

I slowly lift my eyes toward my best friend, avoiding Cooper at all cost, and Presley stands there biting her lip. “Don’t say a word.”

She raises her hands. “My lips are sealed,” she says, smiling at me.

“I’ll think about it. Maybe,” I relent, even though I know I shouldn’t. The last thing I need right now is another man. Then add in that he’s Cooper Townsend, and it makes it the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.

“All right,” Presley grins. “Now, let’s dance!”

The music shifts to a line dance I know all too well. She grabs my hand and we rush out.

I spend the rest of the night smiling and enjoying my best friend’s joy, because if anyone does deserve this day—it’s her.

“Grace!” my mother yells into the receiver. “Is that you, sugar?”

Mama went away on her girls’ trip with Mrs. Kannan, Mrs. Townsend, and Mrs. Hennington. Once a year, they take a vacation, drink God only knows what, and pretend they’re still young. It’s adorable and a little ridiculous when they get back to show us pictures. The image of my mother getting a lap dance in New Orleans will be forever seared in my brain.

“Yes, Mama. I’m here, there’s no need to yell. I’m not deaf—yet.”

“Well, we’re all the way down here in Mexico.”

No matter how many times I tell her, she doesn’t grasp that I can hear her no matter how far away she is.

“The phone works just fine in Mexico. Are you havin’ fun?” I ask as I flop onto my couch.

“Of course we are!” She scoffs, as if I should know better by now. “The girls and I are going on some kind of parachute sailing tomorrow. Macie said it was either that or snorkeling. You know how I feel about gettin’ my hair wet, so I said fine to the para-thingy.”