What do you do when you accidentally-on-purpose kiss the guy you've had a crush on for ages but also really, definitely, don't get along with?
Or, alternatively: think about it constantly, never, ever get over it, and certainly don't freak out each and every time you have to see him again.
That night around the bonfire was all the beer soaked, summer stars, flickering fire of a bad idea. It was a couple weeks into Cooper's summer visit to the farm, so he and Whit were already starting to grate on each other's nerves. And if only Cooper could have focused on that fact, instead of the question that popped up daily of: ok but how bad of an idea would hooking up be? Cause Cooper's headed off soon and they won't see each other until next year. And it'd just be a one-off, fun fling of a night together. And then: back to normal. Right?
No, not right. Because even just that kiss was enough to send Cooper's head reeling for days. Every time he bumped into Whit in the barn, the house, the fields, both of them heading for the tractor at the same time, Cooper would be blushing and quickly scrambling backwards and laughing to cover his own discomfort and pretending oh-so-casually that nothing is going on everything is fine. Cause the only thing worse than nursing a crush on Whit? Whit knowing about it.
So if Whit thinks Cooper doesn't remember that night, Cooper's not going to clue him in. No, he's just going to act as natural as he can and never, not ever ever, get himself in that situation again. He'll be more careful around Whit, keep his eyes, his hands, and very definitely his mouth to himself. Maybe not spend as much time here at Two Pines and when he does, keep a far tighter hold on his feelings, his actions, and how many beers he tucks away when Whit's around. It makes sense that way - like knowing where a wasp is in the room, so he can steer clear. A handsome wasp. A very handsome, very beautiful, very annoying, but oh those abs - yep, Cooper'll be fine. Definitely. Probably.
And Whit. Whit, who was minding his own business one day years ago, during summer vacation in high school, at his friend Drew's farm, when a car pulled up. And out of it climbed a skinny, goofy blond, two years younger and way. too. cute. Who then proceeded to hang around the farm all summer long. And the summer after. And the summer after that. And the next and the next and the next and Whit is just trying to work. Not fight the fact that he should be annoyed by Cooper's constant talking and energy and incessant jokes - and is instead charmed. Especially when Whit should be able to focus, but ends up way too aware of Cooper every time he's on the property, let alone at all close by. It'll fade, right? Nope. Not that first summer and not any of the rest of them, so Whit spends springtime with gritted teeth, waiting for the day that Cooper hops out of a car and back into his life, and then each fall in a state of disappointed relief that Cooper's finally gone... but oh shit does Whit miss him.
But a guy like Cooper wouldn't like a guy like Whit - not fun enough for Cooper's sense of humor, not outgoing enough to match that same sociability, too serious, too particular, no sense of adventure - if Whit ever wondered, Cooper's sure to remind him of his myriad of failings. So no, better to steer clear of the jokes, the banter, even the friendship Cooper forms with Drew.
Though alcohol does what it does and blurs the edge of that boundary Whit tries to keep between them. Coaxes him into sitting with Cooper on the cooler, when he should be hovering at the edge of the fire. Dulls the sharp pulse of anxiety that should have him drawing back when Cooper leans in. Slows his reactions when Cooper's face comes so close, he's - oh he's really going to - oh. Oh.
But no. Because Cooper's only kissing him because he's drunk. Not because he likes Whit, wants Whit. It's a mistake borne in on too many empty bottles and too much time together. Better to gently push Cooper away and get on his with his life like it never occurred in the first place.
Especially since it won't ever happen again. Right?