Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Captain EO is over and done with. After such a long-time helping Michael with lines and being on set with him from time to time, it's all ended up being worth it. Frank has it to where Michael is single in public. While it bothers me, it also keeps the attention away from me. The paparazzi is virtually uninterested in me anymore. While that takes a load off of me, it only makes them ten times worse for Michael. Which actually isn't even that bad right now since he's been keeping out of the public eye for a little over a year now. If the paparazzi ever sees me it's just to ask how I feel about Michael's success, but other than that, I don't have a gang of paps on my back anymore. By the grace of God, we've found a place that no one can get to at the moment. Literally, no one knows where we live beside Frank and our family. For that, I am eternally grateful.


"So, doc, what is this thing used for?" Michael asked the doctor as he, Frank and I viewed the hyperbaric chamber.


"Well, Michael, this is mostly used by divers. Its main purpose is to increase the ambient pressure on a person to treat decompression sickness or air embolism by eliminating bubbles that have somehow formed in the body," Dr. Cole responded.


"It looks like a bed for an astronaut or something," Michael laughed.


"It does, doesn't it? Many divers rave about the effects after using the chamber."


"Can I get in it?" He asked.


"Get in the chamber?" The doctor asked.


"Yeah. I mean, don't turn it on. I just want to see what it's like to be in it," Michael shrugged.


"Uh, sure, why not?" The doctor opened the chamber for Michael to get in.


"Hey, Frank, take some photos for me," he instructed Frank. Sometimes I'm thankful for Frank for putting the focus on Michael and his career and keeping everyone off of me, but sometimes I feel as though he does not like me. And he especially hates when I come with Michael anywhere. Frank got his camera out and started taking pictures once the chamber was closed with Michael inside. Michael lay on his back as Frank took a couple of shots and then turned on his side, his face facing the camera with his eyes closed as Frank took a couple more shots. Once they were done, Michael got out. "I want you to leak these photos to the press. Tell them something along the lines of 'Michael Jackson preparing for his role as Captain EO'or 'Michael Jackson as Captain EO.' Something like that. I need it to promote the film as we premiere it in Epcot tomorrow. I feel like I can tell the press anything about me and they'll buy it. We can actually control the press! So, I need you to send this out for everyone to see. Make sure there are big headlines talking about me preparing for Captain EO. I don't want this story to go unnoticed."


"Sounds good to me, Michael," Frank shrugged. Frank looked at me, "are you going to the premiere?"


"Well, I planned on it. I-"


He cut me off, "just make sure you're nowhere near Michael, okay? We don't need the press thinking you're his stalker ex or something."


"I'm sure they wouldn't feel some type of way if I came as a friend, right?"


"Sweetie, they still see you as the groupie he had in and out of his house. They'll never see you as just a friend. They'll just equate you with being a stalker at this point. We don't need that. We need the attention on Michael for the premiere, okay? So, if you show up, wear a crazy disguise or something. Just don't draw attention to yourself."


Michael stepped in, "Frank, you don't have to talk to her like that," he came to my defense. "I want her there. I want Shayla to be able to attend the show with me somehow. You make sure she arrives safely. You make sure she arrives as herself. I don't want her in a disguise. I want her to come as herself. Even if that means sneaking her in at the back of the theater shortly before the film begins. I don't want the press to disrespect her and I don't want you to disrespect her. You work for me, Frank. Remember that," he shot him a look.


Frank looked back at me and sighed, "I'll figure it out, Shayla."


"Thank you," I responded. Frank can be such a pain in the butt sometimes and I can't stand it, but he's getting Michael places and that's all that matters.


Once the doctor left, Michael walked up to Frank, "I'm getting tired of you disrespecting my wife, Frank. She is an extension of me, so when you disrespect her, you're disrespecting me."


"Michael, I'm not disrespecting her if I'm telling her how it is! The press will see her as some stalker ex. Especially since they haven't seen her with you in a while. And it doesn't help that you're such a recluse now. Everyone knows they'll catch you once every blue moon since you've been working on this album. They've only seen her, what? Maybe five times within the past year since I've been your manager? If they see her with you, they'll think she's a stalker. I'm just being honest."


I sighed, "would it be best if I just didn't show up at all?" They looked at me. Frank said yes. Michael said no. They both looked at each other. "If this is causing such an uproar between you two, I just won't go. It'll save us all the headache." I gathered my things.


Michael made his way over to me, "I'm sorry, babe. Look, I don't want to make you upset okay? Where are you going?"


"Home."


"Can I discuss this with you once we get home?"


I sighed, "sure." Michael tried to kiss me, but I walked off. I feel like this single public persona Frank devised for him is causing a rift in our marriage. I want to be with Michael during his achievements, but Frank won't let me and if I do support Michael, Michael finds a way to sneak me in like I'm some secret. It's so confusing.


VII


I called mom as soon as I got home, "hey mom," I sighed.


"What's wrong, Shayla?" She asked.


I sighed, "nothing. It's just this premiere Michael has tomorrow. I don't know if I'm going or not."


"You're not going to support your husband?"


"I want to, but his manager really doesn't want me to go."


"Forget the manager, Shayla! This is about you, Michael and that movie."


"It's more complicated than you think, mom. Michael wants me to go, he just wants to sneak me in. You know he's single to the public, but once he comes home, he's a married man," I rolled my eyes.


"He better not let that 'single husband' persona get to his head. Let me find out he hurt you, Shayla."


"Oh, mom... I'm not worried about that. I just feel like because of this persona, I can't celebrate Michael's public achievements with him. I feel like an outsider... I don't really like his manager and his manager definitely doesn't like me. Sometimes, I think he wishes I was gone..."


"He wants Michael to get rid of you?"


"That's what it feels like," I sighed. Everything Frank wants, Michael does it. They both swear it's in the name of Michael's career. I get it, but I feel like I can be involved somehow.


"What is Michael doing about this? Is he sticking up for you, Shayla or is he letting Frank run the show?"


"He sticks up for me. He never lets Frank disrespect me. Ever. Michael just does what he can for his career."


"Don't let them run over you, Shayla."


"I'm not... Anyway, new topic. I found something else to do in my free time!"


"Like what? Vacation in the Bahamas?" She joked. While my mom understands why I don't work, she's worried I'm getting spoiled with the lifestyle Michael has provided me with. She thinks the trips, dinners and the shopping are too much.


"No, I've actually taken up sewing!" I smiled.


"Sewing? Girl, I tried teaching you that when you were ten. How come you want to take that up now?"


"Because I have all the time in the world to learn now," I laughed. "Michael's been paying for my sewing lessons, my vocal lessons, and my acting classes."


"What doesn't he pay for?"


"Um," I thought about it.


"Don't answer that. I'm glad he's taking care of you, sweetie. I hope with everything he's doing for you, you're storing up a secret account or something."


"Huh?" I looked at the phone. "Mom, I thought you didn't believe in that."


"I didn't. But with Michael living the single life in public and being a husband to you in private, you never know when he may actually become single again, Shayla. Leaving you with nothing but everything you learned in those classes he's been paying for."


"Mom, don't think like that. Michael would never do that to me. We love each other too much."


"I'm just saying, Shayla..." The conversation turned awkward. I've never expected anything when it came to money from Michael and I don't want to have that thought planted in my mind either. We love each other too much to allow this "single husband" persona get in the way of our marriage.


The front door opened. I turned around to see Michael, "hey mom. I'm going to talk to you later. Michael just got back. Love you, bye!" I hung up just in time as he planted a kiss to my lips.


"Hey, babe. Who was that?" He sat beside me.


"Mom. She's worried about me."


"What for?"


"Well, for one..." I looked at him. "I was telling her about you being a 'single husband.' Single to the public and husband when you come home. It only bothers me when I can't support you in your public achievements. I want to be there for you during your successes, but I feel like I'm always being pushed to the back. But she's worried you're going to cheat on me with this new persona you have."


"Cheat on you?! Why would she think that?"


"Because you're single outside of the house and a husband in the house."


"That's not true. I'm only single to the media, Shayla. I would never jeopardize our marriage. I love my fans dearly. That's the only reason I agreed to this single persona to the media. Frank said that I need to be open to the fans so that they at least believe they have a shot at me. Although we know that's not true and never going to happen... Other than that, we all know I'm married."


"Literally, no one outside of our inner circles knows that we're married, Michael."


"Babe... Give it time, okay? We'll announce it at the right time. I promise you," he smiled, kissing my hands.


"What are you so excited for?" I laughed. He reached back in his pocket and pulled out one ticket. "What's this for?"


"For you! It's for the Captain EO premiere tomorrow at Epcot. I want you there and I've devised a plan to get you there."


"How?"


"A fake contest. You won, and you get to sit with me at the viewing! You also get to play with me at the parks," His voice was filled with excitement.


"Like, a fake fan contest?"


"Yeah! Great idea, right?"


"I mean, yeah... But how would your fans feel? I'm sure if this contest were real, millions of fans would have signed up."


"Babe," he rolled his eyes. "You're thinking too deep into it. I want you there. I found a way to get you to go with me in public. And you're going. All you have to do is act like a fan."


"A fan? Seriously?"


"I mean," he smirked. "You are one of my biggest fans anyway. With the stuff, you be doing with that mouth, girl... Ooo! You've got 'Michael's #1 Fan' in the bag for the rest of your life."


"Get out of here, Michael!" I laughed.


"So, does that mean you're coming?"


I sighed, "when do we leave?"


"In a couple hours, Bill will be here to pick us up, so let's go get packing!" He picked me up from the couch and ran upstairs.

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