2:30 p.m.

What if Athena said no?

Surely, she wouldn’t… but what if she decided that she didn’t want to get married again? What if this is just a two-year long honeymoon phase? She was married to Jayce’s father until that proved to not last. So, if she swore off marriage, he’d somewhat understand.

What if… this doesn’t work out?

Just like his first and second marriage?

Actually, the marriage with Deborah didn’t even really count, as Michael neither loved her nor was he ever in love with her. She offered to give him the children that Lisa wouldn’t, and she fulfilled her promise. But Michael’s mother didn’t like the idea of her son bringing children into the world without being married. But what Katherine didn’t understand was that Deborah was a surrogate. He didn’t have to marry a surrogate. Still, per his mother’s request, they got married in a small ceremony in Australia. At the same time, Deborah was seven months pregnant with Prince.

When they divorced in 1999, no love was lost. She relinquished all parental rights to Prince and Paris, and that was it. But her wishy-washy ways proved precisely why they were never going to work in the first place. In 2004, when Michael was accused of child molestation for a second time, she sought to have the decision reversed. She was overruled. 

Aside from that, she went onto the stand as a witness during the 2005 child molestation trials, where Michael was found not guilty. In 2006, she sued Michael for a quarter of a million dollars to pursue a child custody case. Michael was ordered to pay her $60,000 in legal fees. After that, he ceased any further communication with her.

And Lisa Marie…

Lisa Marie…

After Stephanie Mills, Diana Ross, and Brooke Shields came Lisa.

Sure, she was the daughter of Michael’s mental competition, but none of that mattered.

In the beginning, while she was already married with two children of her own, she was kind, witty, lovely, and despite her upbringing, very down to earth.

That’s what Michael loved most about her. Although ten years her senior, Lisa gave advice that someone well beyond his years could provide. 

She never wanted anything from him. Nothing at all. When asked if she would give him children, she said yes with no hesitation.

In the early nineties, Lisa Marie was the one. Point blank, period.

Their friendship grew while her marriage to Danny Keough continued to diminish. However, after the first allegations, it wasn’t until 1994 that Michael decided to make Lisa his woman.

Shyly over the phone, Michael cleared his throat and asked Lisa if she would marry him.

She said yes so quickly that she realized how eager it made her sound and wished she could recant her statement just as soon as she had said it.

Michael’s line went quiet. He left the phone. Came back. Cleared his throat and said, “okay.”

They were married on May 26, 1994, and were inseparable for a while until Lisa went back on her word of bearing his children.

The media had already suspected that their marriage was only a publicity stunt. Sure, the timing was probably terrible, but publicity stunt it was not. Michael loved her with his entire being until, much like Flower, she wanted more from him than he was willing to give. 

Before Lisa, Michael was married to his music, his career, and his fans. If a woman wanted to be with him, she had to know that she would have to come second to all of that. Looking back on it, that was probably where he went wrong in the marriage, but Lisa should have known that she was never going to come before what made him the legend he is today.

From calling all hours of the day to arguing over little nothings, Michael became fed up. And when she decided that she wasn’t going to give him children by secretly taking birth control, Michael knew their time together was coming to a close.

He’d often leave for weeks at a time to “teach her a lesson,” only for him to come back to an even angrier wife.

Much like everyone else, Lisa kicked him when he was down. After collapsing from exhaustion in preparation for a "One Night Only" HBO special, Lisa served divorce papers to him on his bedside.

Their divorce was finalized on August 20, 1996. 

But that didn’t stop them from seeing each other. Following their divorce, they spent four years on and off. And while Deborah was pregnant with his children, Michael stayed intimate both physically and mentally with Lisa.

Toward the end of their four-year relationship, Lisa got engaged to musician John Oszajca, only to call it off when she met Nicolas Cage. By then, their friendship and any further relationship had come to a close.

The last time Michael spoke to Lisa was in 2005. She was a listening ear during the allegations. That same year Lisa and her mother, Priscilla, interviewed with Oprah Winfrey mocking the marriage and called Michael manipulative, calculating, and controlling. That cut him deeply because even then, he still loved Lisa Marie.

Despite his failed marriages and relationships, Michael believed in the possibility of him and Athena making this legal because Athena was different from the rest. She loved him better than Stephanie, Diana, Brooke, the artist, Lisa, or Deborah ever could.

Raising three children alone isn’t as easy as he thought it would be. Prince, Paris, and Blanket need an mother, and Athena is the perfect contender.

It was always crucial that whoever he seriously dated loved children just as much as he did. Athena was just that and then some. The bonus is that she had her own child, so she understood single parenthood.

Michael sighed to himself. “She’s the one. I know it.”

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