Until Lilly, p.1Part #3 of Until series by Aurora Rose Reynolds
Copyright 2013 Aurora Rose Reynolds
Edited by Hot Tree edits
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used factiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons or living or dead, events or locals are entirely coincidental.
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Table of contents.
Until Nico sneak peek
Something else you may enjoy.
This book is dedicated to little brothers everywhere
I love you
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 laug
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.
“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 fucking 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.”
“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; th
“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.”
Until Lilly by Aurora Rose Reynolds / Romance & Love / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes