Too bad you can’t outrun destiny
About Four Years earlier
The first time I met Cash, I was in my sophomore year of college, attending Alabama State University. I was pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Development. I had pulled an all-nighter, trying to prepare for an exam. I looked at the clock and realized it was after ten in the morning, and I still had a few things to go over. I was in major need of coffee if I was going to be able to process any more information. I was still in pajamas, my newly-dyed bright red hair in a crazy mess, so I took off my nightclothes and dragged a dress over my head. I grabbed my dad’s old sweater off my desk chair, pulled it on, and shoved ten dollars, my key, and my phone into my pocket.
The weather was warm, so the streets were busy with college kids and young families who lived in the area out enjoying the beautiful day. When I arrived at the small café, there was a woman with a stroller trying to maneuver through the door. I jogged up to the door, pulling it open and letting her enter before me. Suddenly, I felt a chill slide down my spine. That’s when I heard the loud rumble.
I looked over my shoulder as a large black truck was pulling into a parking spot in front of the shop. I watched as two men jumped down from the truck; the driver was good looking, but it was the passenger who gave me pause. He was tall, and his skin was golden brown, as if he spent hours in the sun. I could make out the definition of the muscles of his torso under his tight white t-shirt. His hair was dark brown and sticking out along the edge of his red baseball cap. When I realized I had been staring, and that he was watching me, I felt my cheeks get red, so I turned quickly and walked into the coffee shop without even holding the door for them. The coolness of the air conditioning and the smell of coffee helped to ease some of the tension that had coiled around me from seeing the guy. I wasn’t someone who was used to those feelings. Lust was something my friends talked about, but I had never experienced it firsthand until that moment.
“What can I get you?” the pretty blonde behind the counter asked, pulling me out of my thoughts. I looked at the menu board behind her. I didn’t even know why I bothered; I never changed my drink.
“Can I get a large iced coffee, dark, skim milk, with three Splenda?” I gave her my order, watching her eyes get large. I felt heat hit my side. I didn’t have to turn my head to know who was standing next to me; I could tell by the look on the girl’s face that it was the guy from outside.
“I would like a large iced coffee, black,” he interjected. The girl’s eyes glazed over at the sound of his voice. I turned my head to look at him, wondering how pompous someone could be. “Here, sugar, we’re together, so just take hers out of that as well.” He slid a twenty across the counter towards the girl, who hadn’t taken her eyes off of him.
“We are not together.” I clenched my fist; who the hell did this guy think he was?
“We are; I’m paying.”
I was so flustered by this guy that I could feel my always-calm temper start to slip. I didn’t know if it was the lack of sleep or what, but when the coffee girl handed us our drinks, I turned on the guy. “Here,” I said, shoving the ten in my hand into his chest, making him stumble back into the person behind him. The lid on his coffee popped off when he squeezed it in his hand, making it go down the front of his shirt. "Crap, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean for that to happen.” Just my luck that something like that would happen. I felt so bad that I turned around, grabbed a few napkins from the dispenser behind me, and began patting his chest down, trying to sop up the coffee. It had made his T-shirt tighter, the wetness showing off his ab-muscles. I could feel my face growing redder by the second. "Why couldn't you just let me pay for my own coffee?" I asked. He started to laugh, making my head come up to hit his chin so hard that I heard his teeth crack together. My eyes watered in pain. “This is so humiliating,” I whispered, feeling the tears as they began to fill my eyes. My hand went to the top of my head, where a large bump was forming.
“Let me see your head, babe,” Mr. Hot Guy said quietly, pulling me towards him. He took my coffee out of my hand, and handed it to the guy I had pushed him into. He held my wrist, pulling me over to the side. “You know, now I need your name and number for insurance purposes, right?” It took a second for me to realize what he said, and once I got it, I started to laugh.
“I hope that’s not a pick-up line.” Looking around, I noticed a lot of people were watching us.
“Do you live around here?” He pulled my chin in his direction, forcing my eyes back to him.
“Yeah, I go to school here.” He nodded, biting his lip.
“What’s your name?”
“You look like a Lilly.”
“Yeah.” He chuckled, taking a piece of my hair and tucking it behind my ear. “I’m Cash.”
My eyebrows drew together. “Is that a nickname?”
“Nah, Ma named me Cash, after Johnny Cash.” His hand came up again, this time to run along my jaw. I thought it was odd that he kept touching me, but I couldn’t find it in myself to tell him to stop. “So, I’m going to need your number.”
“Well, I need to call you to make sure that you haven’t got a concussion.”
“I think I’m okay.” I laughed, looking over at the guy he came in with. He was looking down at his phone, smiling.
“Here, come meet my brother.” He didn’t give me a chance to say no; he grabbed my hand, dragging me with him to where his brother was standing.
“What’s that smile for?” Cash asked his brother, who finally looked up from his phone. I had no idea what these guys’ parents looked like, but good Lord, they were seriously hot.
“Nothing, Liz messaged me.”
“This is Lilly. Lilly, this is one of my brothers, Trevor.”
“Nice to meet you,” his brother said with a slight smile, but I couldn’t think of anything except the way Cash’s hand felt against my lower back.
“Hi,” I took a breath, trying to get a grip. “Um, I need to go. It was nice meeting you both. Again, I'm really sorry about the coffee and the head-butt.” They both laughed at the same time.
Cash’s fingers grabbed onto the back of my sweater, holding me in place. “It’s fine. I’ll walk you out.” Trevor handed me back my coffee. I gave him a small nod, leaving the shop with Cash. Once we were outside, he let go of my sweater, grabbing my hand. I didn’t know how to react to this kind of attention. It felt like a hive-full of honeybees had taken flight inside my stomach.