The Best Man

Dancing with Barney made Robin feel….alive. There's no other word for it. At Lily's insistence, she had been about to tell him they could never have a future together. Chemistry was one thing, but they just didn't work out; it had already been proven. They had tried once and it ended in disaster. You'd have to be a fool to try that again, to even want that again.

Twenty seconds into the dance, she was a fool.

It was dangerous to want him the first time, even more so now. But he put his arms around her and he coaxed her. He dared her to remain unmoved, and she couldn't be. His enthusiasm was infectious. Before long she was smiling with him, bending with him, moving with him in perfect harmony.

Whether it was dancing, or teasing banter at MacLaren's, or sneaking around the exhibits at the Natural History Museum, or having sex in her bedroom so loud and wild Ted complained, they always had the right rhythm, just exactly the right chemistry to make it work.

So when she found herself in his lap, and then he was running to her, kneeling in front of her, literally taking her up into his arms, she was suddenly sure that – foolish as it was – she wanted this. She wanted it so much. And the way he looked at her made her think he felt it too. The way he looked at her made her ready and willing to follow him anywhere – including upstairs to his hotel room.

His hands were on her waist and hers were in his hair, and she forgot everything – the noise, the crowd, her fears. She forgot herself for a moment. And as her hands slid down over his shoulders, as her lips inched closer to his, she was ready to tell him. She was actually ready to tell him.

Now she's so glad she didn't. One ring of his phone changed everything.

And here she stands in limbo, like the fool she is. She hears him tell her how he not only called Nora but called her five times. Her little bubble is burst, and all she wants to do is walk away – run away – but she can't help it. She can't resist his plea that just once he'd like to see what it's like to not screw things up. She knows how that feels; she's lived her whole life with that feeling. But she also knows Barney doesn't mess everything up. Case in point: the last four minutes she spent with him were absolutely perfect.

And so she gives in. She loves him that much, a peculiar and terrifying realization.

She tells him what she'd been about to say before the phone call, feeds him the lines that come straight from her heart but instead deliver his over to another. And when he smiles at her so happy, so pleased, she has to get away before she makes a complete fool of herself.

They may have chemistry, but timing has never been on their side. So she has to deal with this blow to the heart alone. She has to find the nearest bathroom stall to burst into tears in private, like the self-respecting woman she is.