by Lynetta Halat

every rose

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I was thirteen-years-old the first time Michael Bang told me he would be my husband; this sudden proposal was made during our first conversation, which, for me, mainly served to solidify his bad boy reputation. Despite feeling cynical about his intentions, I found Michael intriguing. I may have rejected his proposal, but I latched on to his unique friendship like a lifeline in my own turbulent existence.

Putting the friendship label on our relationship didn’t curtail Michael’s interest in me, though. Instead, he pursued me relentlessly for two years until he essentially dropped out of my life as suddenly as he had popped into it.

I was devastated without him and went on to make the worst decisions of my life. One decision would fracture our tenuous connection and have me facing devastating consequences.

I didn’t just lose it; no, I lost everything. My family, my friends, my hopes, my dreams. I simply quit feeling.

Everyone has to feel sometime, though; and by letting myself feel again, I nearly lose myself all over. But Michael is there and better than ever with his sage advice, caring soul, and unconditional love.

Once Michael reawakens me to life, I’ll stop at nothing to gain back his love, his trust, and his heart.


Michael hops out of his still running Jeep, and I can hear “Desperado” pouring out of his speakers. He makes his way back to my car, and I get out and lean on my door. He puts his hands in his pockets, pushing them down into fists and looks at me shyly. We just spent the entire night together and he’s shy! Typical Michael and his contradictory nature.

“When can I see you again?” I ask. I’m done being coy and shy and nonchalant. I know what I want and I’m going to get it. Afraid he may see all of that in my eyes, I look away a little.

“When do you want to see me again?” Oh, who’s playing coy now, Mr. Bang?

“Well, I’ll be home for spring break,” I tease and glance at him.

The look on his face says he’s done with coy. Good! Got his attention! “This afternoon?”

“I can’t wait,” I declare. “So, what is this?” I gesture between the two of us. “Is it safe to say that we are dating or that we are boyfriend/girlfriend?” I bite my lip. I couldn’t resist asking; but now that I have, I fear his response.

He shakes his head and grins at me. I fight the sudden urge to run my hands through that silky midnight hair of his. “Always so quick to label and categorize.  I guess that’s what will make you an excellent attorney. Assess. Label. Categorize. Add up the W’s. ” He leans in a little and whispers, “How about we just go with the flow? See where it leads us. Label later?” He raises his brows, offering my type-A dominant personality a direct challenge.

Caution to the wind, very atypical for me, I reply, “OK. I’m up for it.” Challenge accepted. “You?” Challenge returned.

“You bet, Lorraina,” he rasps softly.

He leans into my door and places his hands on top of mine. I’m suddenly quite anxious and ever so grateful for the door between us. My hands get clammy and my heart races. Blood races and pounds in my ears, making me feel very much awake now. One hand moves up to brush my hair from my forehead and moves down feather light until his knuckles brush across my cheekbone and lips. He pulls his thumb slowly across my lips. It’s excruciating. It’s exquisite.

Both of his hands come forward to frame my face gently, and he pulls me in for a kiss. A too quick kiss. It’s over before I realize it’s even begun. He gives me a half smile and turns and walks away.

“Michael!” My voice barely sounds human. More animal in nature. It’s raw with ache.

He turns and takes two long strides back to me. This time when he grasps my head it’s anything but gentle. He pulls my lip in and nudges my lips open with his. All rational thought escapes me. I mirror his grasp and enjoy the fullness I feel with him in my mouth. I give as good as I get. This kiss is nothing like our two before. I savor it.

When he pulls his lips from mine and turns to walk away, I release a long pent up breath. If he would’ve looked back, he would’ve seen that I was the one on my knees now.

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