3:12 p.m.


Athena looked around in nervousness. There was no way he was doing what she thought he was doing. It didn’t even seem like he wanted to get married again.


“I want you in my life forever,” Michael began. “I want you to be the mother of my children. You’re such a beautiful woman both inside and out. When I first laid eyes on you, I was finally convinced that ‘love at first sight' was real. I knew you were the one right then and there, and sometimes I wish I had found you sooner. But it makes sense that I didn’t, because had I? I may not have treated you the way that I should have. The way that I do now… You complete me, Athena Joy. The love that I’ve received from you is like no other, and because of that unconditional love that you have for me, that I too have for you, I must ask… Athena Joy Aldridge, will you do me the extraordinary honor of marrying me?”


Athena’s lips quivered. She was speechless.


Being with Michael was like living in a real-life fairytale. She had experienced more with him than she had with anyone else. But that was not why she loved him. She loved him because he was kind, patient, and selfless, and he was humble amongst all of his accomplishments. 


His public persona portrayed him as “perfect” and almost like he was a god sometimes because his kindness for the world and its children was not how “normal” people operated.


Behind the scenes, he wasn’t like his “perfect” persona. Yet, how he was in his everyday life often seeped into his public image.


His love for children? Real.


His selflessness toward the world? Real.


Humble despite his accomplishments? Real.


Shy unless onstage? One hundred percent real.


While he wasn’t worldly “perfect,” he was perfect in the eyes of those who loved him. Because he was just like the rest of us, and he used his image for good.


Athena had seen Michael beyond the glitz, glamour, and fame. In fact, she was lucky enough to meet him in the latter part of his life when none of that even mattered anymore.


She saw him at his lowest of lows. Even when he was wrong in some areas, she still loved him. 


He made himself a single parent, whereas she did not. But they both understood single parenthood.


She loved Prince, Paris, and Blanket as her own children.


Never in a million years did she think Michael would pop the question. When they began dating, he told her he was done with marriage, and she was okay with that. If he wanted to be lifelong partners, she was okay with that. She, too, had been married before, and it didn’t work out, so she understood.


But after two years of dating, something in Athena must have changed Michael’s mind.


Athena believed in love, but she would have never thought she would have found it in Michael Jackson.

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