“Well, the gesture was nice, I agree, but your execution was horrible.”
“I guess I was off my game.”
“Is that what you do? I mean, do you often try to hit on women in coffee shops by buying coffee for them?”
“I can tell you with one-hundred percent truthfulness that I had never done that before.”
“Never?” I asked. He shook his head. A look passed over his face. I don’t know what it meant, but I didn’t like it.
“Do you date a lot?” I asked quietly, wondering if he thought I would just be some kind of conquest.
“I haven’t dated.”
“You haven’t dated?” I looked him over again. He must have thought I was stupid. Guys who looked like him must date a lot.
“I have never had to date.”
“What does that mean?”
“If I want to sleep with someone, I don’t need to date them.”
“What?” I breathed; that is not at all what I expected him to say. “You’re the guy who can get any girl he wants without ever putting any kind of effort into it.” He shrugs; the gesture made me feel sick, and at the same time, I wanted to kick him in the nuts. Maybe the red hair did make me have a temper.
“I never lead anyone on, or tell them things they want to hear.”
“So that makes it okay?”
“I don’t know if it makes it okay, but it’s who I am.”
“Well, I am glad that this is coming to light now, rather than later.”
“Oh no,” he shook his head, “this thing with you is something completely different.”
“Yeah, I know,” I told him, crossing my arms over my chest. “It’s different because I will not be sleeping with you.” I leaned forward. “EVER.”
“Well, I guess we answered the question about redheads and their tempers, didn’t we?” He smiled, showing off both dimples. “But trust me when I tell you, I would not have driven almost three hours just to sleep with you; that’s not what I am looking for.”
My pulse sped up when he repeated what he said earlier, “This thing with you is something different, something I’m looking forward to exploring.”
“We can be friends, but that’s it. I will never be some guy’s passing conquest, or a notch on a bed post.”
“Did I ask you to sleep with me?” He smirked again. He didn’t, but I saw guys like him all the time around campus, and I had avoided each and every one of them. “When we do sleep together, it will mean something to the both of us.”
“Did you not hear what I said earlier?”
“I heard you. I also know you should never say never.” He looked at me like he knew something I didn’t, making me feel uneasy. “You ready to go?”
I was not ready. In fact, I was sure I’d made a huge mistake. My brain was going a million miles an hour, trying to figure out what the hell was going on. He held out his hand to me, and I looked down at it. He had nice hands; they were large and masculine, and his fingers were long. But I felt like this was some kind of test, one that I hadn’t prepared for.
“Hey,” his fingers went to my chin, lifting my eyes to his, “we can take this slowly.”
“What is this?” I asked. His eyes went warm, making my pulse speed up.
“This…is the beginning of us.”
“Are you a vampire or something?” I half-joked. He looked at me possessively, making me feel warm. He started to laugh, his head thrown back, showing off his square jaw. When he lowered his head to look at me, he shook his head.
“No, not a vampire. I just know what I want.”
“You’re kinda freaking me out.”
“Join the club,” he said under his breath, as he turned to open the door to my apartment. He held it open for me to step out. Once I was in the hall, I turned to lock the door behind me. He took my hand into his; his palm was slightly callused, and I wondered what they would feel like running over my body. The thought caught me off-guard. I grew up in a very small town in Alaska—my graduating class was thirty-five people. I had one boyfriend when I was sixteen, and all we ever did was kiss. For me, the only reason we even did that was because it was what you did when you had a boyfriend. I had no idea what to do with the feelings of lust Cash brought out in me.
I took a few deep breaths, trying to calm my nerves. The feelings of nervousness completely disappeared when we got out into the parking lot and stopped at the side of a large red truck. He opened the door, and when I went to get in, I realized there was no step-thingy and no handle to grab onto in order to swing myself inside. I turned to look at Cash, who was smiling.
“How am I going to get up there?” I hitched my thumb in the direction of the cab of the truck. His smile grew bigger; he took a step towards me, his hands going to my waist. He gave a slight squeeze before I was lifted up. My hands shot out, grabbing onto his shoulders; the position reminded me of Dirty Dancing when Patrick Swayze picked up Jennifer Grey when they were practicing on the log in the rain. Our eyes were locked, and I had never in my life wanted to kiss someone more than I did in that moment. He sat me down in the seat; his eyes dropped to my mouth, and then came back to mine.
He tilted his head towards his shoulder. “You can let go now.” His voice was slightly rough; I moved my hands quickly and turned my legs into the cab of the truck, placing my hands in my lap and noticing they were shaking.
Three months later
“I hate leaving you here. I hate I have to be without you,” Cash said quietly. We were lying in bed. Cash had just made love to me, and it was more beautiful than I ever thought it would be. He was so gentle with me. Well, I guess he was always gentle with me. It was something else—it was like in that moment, we were one, and not just in a sexual way. It was something different. I knew we loved each other—he told me he loved me all the time—but now feeling it, knowing he was my first, and that I had given him a piece of myself that I could never get back…it connected me to him in a way that made it even more perfect. I cuddled closer to him, his hand running lazily down my side to my hip. My hand pressed to his chest.
“I hate it too,” I told him, lifting my head, my chin going to his chest, and our eyes meeting. I searched his face, wondering what he’d think about me moving to Tennessee and going to college closer to him. I wanted to be with him all the time. I wouldn’t have moved in with him or anything crazy like that, but if I could be a thirty-minute drive instead of a three-hour drive, I would have loved that. I hated that I could only see him on the weekends. And I didn’t like that he had to travel so far to come see me. I was just about to say it when I realized that it would be stupid. It was too soon. I just gave him my virginity; we weren’t getting married or anything. Maybe if things kept on like they were, then I would see what he’d say about me moving closer. I came back to myself when his hands touched my face.