“Do you have a phone?” he asked, his body so close I could smell the light scent of his cologne. He smelled like the outdoors and sunshine, the warmth of his body absorbing into mine. I felt inside my sweater pocket, pulling out my phone. I couldn’t find my words because he was standing so close. His fingers slid my phone from my hand, his touch tingling through my system like a hot-wired fence. He started dialing a few numbers before his phone started ringing from his pocket. “Now I can make sure you ain’t got a concussion.” He smiled, showing off two dimples. I couldn’t help but smile back.
Shaking my head, I cleared my throat. “It was nice meeting you, Cash.” I took a step back, seeing his brother stepping out of the coffee shop and holding two coffees.
“Talk to you soon.” He looked like he wanted to say something else, but he stopped himself. I turned and walked back to my apartment. A few seconds later, my phone buzzed in my pocket.
Unknown: Let me know that you got home, okay? Don’t want to worry about you having a concussion.
I looked over my shoulder, smiling and shaking my head before I turned around, heading to my apartment. After saving his number with his name, I messaged him back.
Me: Don’t worry. I’m hard-headed.
When I got home, I tossed my sweater onto the back of the couch, plopped down, and leaned my head back. I thought about the last thirty minutes until my phone beeped again. My pulse sped up when I saw the name.
Cash: Are you home?
I looked around my small apartment before replying: Yeah, just got in.
Cash: Call you tonight when I get home.
Me: Where do you call home?
Cash: A small town in Tennessee, a little over two hours away from you.
My stomach dropped. That was really far, way too far to have any kind of relationship. Not that that’s what he wanted, or even what I wanted for that matter. I didn’t even own a car. I was in college on a full scholarship; I couldn’t even afford to eat anything that wasn’t microwavable.
Cash: Well, talk soon.
I looked at the phone in my hand for a second before replying: Sure, talk to you then.
I turned my phone on silent; I needed to get back to studying. The last thing I needed was to spend my day daydreaming about a blue-eyed, brown-haired guy with dimples.
Three weeks later
I was ready. I looked myself over in the mirror; my cream-colored skin had darkened with the Alabama sun, making my hazel eyes look more green than brown. I had applied a thick coat of mascara, along with some blush. My red hair was curled into waves, the sides pulled back into a clip. I had on my favorite pair of dark skinny jeans, black sandals, and a black tube top. “You can do this,” I told my reflection. It had been three weeks since I last saw Cash in person. Three weeks of phone calls and texting, and now he would be here any minute.
I was nervous and excited about seeing him again. I had learned a lot about him over the last few weeks. He came from a close family. He had three brothers. His mom and dad were still married, and they were still very much in love, according to him. He also had a niece who he adored, and another one on the way. His brothers and he owned their own business. He owned his own home, and he was working on fixing it up. The doorbell went off, making me jump. I looked in the mirror one last time before shutting off the bathroom light. The doorbell went off again just as I pulled the door open. I was unsure why I was caught off-guard. He wore a gray t-shirt, jeans, and boots. His hair, like the last time I saw him, was a little long and sticking out around the baseball cap he wore. His eyes darkened slightly as they roamed over me before landing on my face. I swallowed and took a deep breath, my fingers digging into the wood of the door. “Hi.” At the sound of my voice, he stepped into my apartment, his arms wrapping around my waist. His face went to my neck, and my arms hung at my sides for a second before going around his back, holding onto him.
“You smell so f**king good.” His voice was a soft rumble against my skin, making my pulse speed up and causing the place between my legs to tingle.
“Thanks.” I smiled, enjoying the feeling of being in his arms. I had forgotten the way he smelled, and how big he was compared to me. His head came up, his hands running up my arms to my shoulders and under my jaw.
“You ready to go?”
I nodded; my mouth had gone dry with him standing so close. I felt overwhelmed. He had to be one of the most attractive men I had ever seen. He looked like a hot baseball player because of his hat, just more bulky. “So, what are we doing?”
“I figured we could go to dinner and catch a movie.”
“Sounds good. Just let me get my bag.” I stepped out of his embrace and walked down the short hall to my kitchen, grabbing my bag off the counter. I checked to make sure I had my phone. Cash was still standing near the door; he was looking over the photos hanging on the wall.
“Are those your parents?” He pointed to a picture of my mom and dad standing in front of Childs Glacier in Alaska. My dad was holding my mom close, her head laying against his chest, looking at the camera. I took that picture right before I left for college.
“Yeah, that’s my mom and dad.” I smiled. He looked at me, then back to the photo.
“You look like your mom. Just the hair is different.” I reached up, automatically touching my hair.
“Since I was old enough to go to the drug store on my own, I have been changing it.” I smiled at the memory of the first time I got my hands on a box of hair color. “The first time I colored it, my parents came home to find me with black hair. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the towels, my hands, and the bathroom weren’t also black.” I laughed. “My dad says he can tell what kind of mood I am in based on my hair color.”
“So what does the red say about your mood?” He reached out, running his fingers through it.
“I don’t know.”
“Aren’t redheads known to be wild?” He smirked.
“Um…I…” I could feel my cheeks heat up.
“Or was it that they have fiery tempers?”
I shook my head. “I don’t think the color of your hair has anything to do with your temper.”
“So the day in the café—your temper then?”
“You were annoying.”
He chuckled, taking a step back. “I was letting you know I was interested.”
My eyebrows drew together. “By pushing your way into buying coffee for me?”
“I was being nice.”