My phone pinged and I looked at the name that flashed across my screen. “oh boy, this is going to be trouble,’ I said to myself. Michael, my first love, and ex-boyfriend was coming to a conference in my new city.

Our relationship ended because we wanted different things from life. He wanted to settle down in the same small town he grew up in and I wanted nothing more than to leave it. Michael wanted marriage; I wanted a relationship with my best friend. He wanted kids; I wanted a dog. Michael wanted the traditional white picket fence life, and I’m still not sure what I want. Despite all of our differences, I never stopped loving him.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to meet him. After all so much has happened since I last saw him. Jeremy. James. Chris. Justin. My core wants and desires haven’t changed. I still don’t want kids, and I’m pretty sure he still does. But for old times’ sake, and perhaps against my better judgment, I agreed to meet him.

We met for dinner and the conversation flowed easy. Five years older, hopefully wiser, I wondered if we were more compatible. He wasn’t Jeremy. And definitely not James. He was Michael and being with him felt like familiar flannel shirt.

I put a twenty on the table as Michael flagged down the server for the check. He pushed my money back towards me.

“I’ve got this,” he said as I got up to leave.

“Wait, let me walk you to your car.” he called out.

Walking next to Michael, I felt the familiar butterflies in my stomach, and that disconnected from my body feeling I sometimes get. It’s been a long time since I had butterflies. I never had them with Justin. Come to think of it, Chris gave me occasional butterflies–when we weren’t talking about work stuff.

Michael and I made small talk, but I don’t remember anything we said. “Well, goodnight,” I murmured, putting my hand on the car’s door handle.

Michael put his hand over mine and his other encircled my back. I leaned into him sideways, resting my head on his shoulder. He smelled like soap, clean and nice. We stood that way for a minute or so before, turning me towards him, he framed my face with his hands, and placed his mouth on mine. I leaned in, kissing him back.

Michael’s touch was strong and gentle, confident. We kissed again.

Separating, I looked up at his face. His gaze was soft. I imagine it mirrored mine.

“Now what?” This time he was murmuring.

“I don’t know”

Actually, I did know. If I followed him our reunion would be exactly like our last meeting, and if I didn’t, well nothing would happen. Either choice would end in my heart breaking all over again, but one choice would give me a night where the weight of loneliness wasn’t crushing my soul.

Taylor Swift: I Knew You Were Trouble

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