Chapter 22

Chapter 22

With the way I'm feeling right now, Michael is about to get a smooth slap upside the head from me. Lord knows, I don't argue. I don't like fighting either. But listen, I'm not even about to play fire with fire and give him the silent treatment like he's being doing me for a while now. He sure does know how to make someone mad without actually saying something or doing something to them. Now, I wouldn't divorce him for something as simple as this, but if he were to ever continuously do this, at some point, I just may leave. Not leave him, but damn, if he wants to continue to play this game, we may as well live separately. Swinging my legs off the edge of the bed, I got up to get the readymade breakfast that chef just got finished preparing. It's so weird having the entire hideout to myself. An entire mansion all to myself only reminds me of how alone I really am. And Michael thought it was a good idea to leave me here? Wow. Chef pulled out a chair for me as I sat down in front of the healthy breakfast he prepared, which included a breakfast quesadilla filled with spinach, egg whites and a glass of fresh orange juice. "Thank you, chef," I offered a weak smile.


"Anything from Michael?" He sat across from me. I shook my head no. "Please don't take this the wrong way, Mrs. Jackson, but I don't think it was right for the boss to just leave you like that."


"I know," I sighed.


"Especially in this big old house all by yourself. If you ever need anything, I am more than open to helping you."


"Thank you," I nodded as I ate my food. "This is really good by the way. You've got to teach me your ways, you know that?"


He smiled, "a good chef never reveals his recipes."


"I'm sure you will eventually. Once you get big and famous, I expect to see a world famous cookbook with your name on it."


"I don't care too much about the fame, Mrs. Jackson. I enjoy cooking for people. You and Michael are my favorite people to cook for at the moment."


"At the moment?" I teased.


"Well..." he smiled playfully.


"We're not letting you go. That's for sure, so Michael and I should be your best clients forever!" We laughed. Suddenly a knock came to the door. I looked at chef who in turn looked at me. It can't be Michael, because he doesn't knock. If I were to be expecting anyone, it would be Michael, so who could this be? I wiped my face clear of any crumbs and got up to go to the door. Looking through the peephole, I saw Bill on the other side of the door. I opened it quickly, "where is Michael?" I folded my arms.


"Shayla, go on and pack your things. We have a plane to catch," he told me.


I shook my head, "not until you tell me where Michael is and why you've been keeping all these secrets from me. And why did I see another photo of Michael with Diana Ross in the paper? He can go out with Diana, but continue to ignore me?!"


"Shayla, we don't have time to talk about that now. Go on and pack at least three weeks' worth of clothing. We've got a plane to catch," he pushed past me and ran upstairs.


"Where are you going?" I followed him.


"Michael asked me to pick up some things for him. Quit asking questions, girl. Pack your clothes!" Bill is old enough to be my father, so I'm going to try my absolute best not to continue to argue with him over the matter and just go ahead and pack my clothes.


Chef followed me up the stairs, "is everything okay, Mrs. Jackson?"


"Yeah," I said as I got a suitcase. "Apparently, I'm leaving."


"For how long?"


"Three weeks, I guess. Don't worry. You'll still get paid as this is something I didn't expect."


"Oh, I wasn't worried about that. Just making sure you're okay is all."


"Thank you. Go ahead and go home and have a great couple of weeks," I hugged him and went to get some clothes to fill my suitcases. I'm sure Michael is up to this. Oh, he doesn't know he's about to meet his match today.


VII


We landed in New York City, New York. Bill answered as many questions as he felt he could answer. Michael was not mad at me. He was annoyed with Mariah. He didn't call me because he was busy. He's been at the studio every day. He doesn't want me to be mad because he went to a concert with Liz. Oh, and he wasn't cheating on me. However, despite all the questions I had, he chose not to answer where Michael stayed throughout his duration of leaving me alone. Instead saying Michael would have to be the one to tell me. That's fine. I'm going to make sure he tells me every last detail. We've got plenty of time to talk about it since he felt he didn't have to discuss it with me all this time.


"Shayla, don't nag him, okay? The guy just needed some alone time," Bill told me as we rode in a limo toward out destination.


I looked at him, "Bill, would you expect your wife not to nag you after you left her for damn near two weeks?"


He sighed, "I'm just saying, Shayla. He's been under a lot of pressure lately."


I scoffed, "as if I haven't."


"Shayla, you know you and Michael are like kids to me. I don't want to see you all arguing about something so stupid. I know you, Shayla. You don't argue. Don't let this be something you argue about."


"Bill, he left me with no concern for my wellbeing or his own! He didn't call me to tell me he was okay. He didn't call me to ask if I was okay. And then to top it off, every time I called you, you're telling me he told you not to tell me anything as if I'm some groupie or something. That's enough to piss me off! Do you not see where I'm coming from?"


"I know where you're coming from..." He sighed. "But come on. You're going to have to learn to expect this from Michael-"


"Oh no I will not. He can be that big celebrity and ignore everyone else and walk out on everyone else if he wants, but I am his wife and I will not allow him to do this to me ever again. Y'all got me messed up if you think I'm going to continue to put up with this."


"I'm just saying," he shrugged. "Don't be surprised if it happens again."


"And y'all don't be surprised when I begin to exhibit the same energy. I don't understand why you're backing him up on this, Bill! You've got to be kidding me right now! This is not right! And for you to tell me I should expect this kind of behavior from him is ludicrous. You're out of your mind!"


He sighed, "Come on. We're here. Don't worry about your bags. The bellboys will bring them up," he got out of the car, coming over to my side to open the door. I got out, looking up at the tall building to see that we were staying at the Helmsley Palace Hotel. Now Michael and I have stayed in many hotels, but I know this one certainly surpassed them all when it came to quality. I followed Bill to the elevator that would take us to our room. "Shayla, please don't make a scene," he told me once he got in the elevator.


"Why do you keep telling me this as if I'm some hood rat that's going to cuss Michael out? I know how to tell Michael what I need to tell him without being aggressive."


"I'm just saying he's going to be really happy to see you after all this time. You wouldn't want to ruin the moment."


"What? He has a surprise for me or something?"


"That's exactly what I'm saying," he looked me dead in the eye.


"I can get the surprise after I tell him what's on my mind." He and Michael think some surprise is just going to fix everything? They thought wrong. Bill could only shake his head. The elevator opened to the penthouse on top of the building, which only gave a breathtaking view of New York City.


"Hey, baby," Michael smiled holding a long rectangular box.


"Don't 'hey, baby' me. We need to talk," I grabbed his hand and led him to one of the bedrooms. Michael looked back at Bill.


"I tried to tell her," I heard Bill say as I shut the door.


"Who do you think you are, Michael?!" I asked him.


"Baby, I-"


"You left me for a week, Michael. A week! Damn near two! You couldn't call me to tell me you were okay? You couldn't call to see if I was okay?"


"Baby-"


"You left me alone in that big old house all by myself with absolutely no one, but my endless thoughts constantly wondering where you were and if you were okay. And to see that photo of you in the newspaper with Liz was a slap in the face, Michael. Do you know that?"


"Baby-"


"That was selfish, Michael. You think that I wasn't hurt by what Mariah said either? You let me get through that alone. We're supposed to be a team. We could have got through that together, but you chose to get through that alone and let me do the same. Do you know how I felt?"


"Baby!" He grabbed me by my shoulders. "Listen!"


"What?" My heart was racing. "What could you possibly have to say to me?"


"I'm sorry," he looked at me.


"Sorry isn't going to cut it, Michael. You're lucky I don't knock you upside the head right now. That's how pissed I am."


"I was upset..." He led me to sit down on the bed. "I was upset and to be quite frank, Mariah was really getting on my nerves. That was the final straw when she felt like she could tell me about myself in my own house. I felt like a ticking time bomb. You don't know how ready I was to leave and that did it."


"But you're supposed to talk to me about that, Michael. You don't make decisions on your own and just walk out on the people you love. That's not how marriage works. I don't know what you saw between Joseph and Mother, but in my household, I would never witness my parents walking out on each other. They communicated. That's the only thing that really keeps a marriage going. Communication. If we don't communicate why we're sad, angry, irate or annoyed, we're never going to get anywhere. Michael, we started our entire relationship on communication. What made you feel like you couldn't communicate with me? What made you feel like you couldn't call me to tell me you were okay or even to call and see if I was okay? You were so focused on yourself, you didn't even see that I was hurt by what Mariah said too."


He sighed, "Our communication hasn't been up to par lately, babe. With you being with Mariah 24/7 and me being at the studio all the time, when did we ever have the time to talk?"


"You make time, Michael. You make time for what you want and for people you love," I shook my head. I am so disappointed in him.


"I wanted to call you, babe, I really did. I don't want you to think I didn't care about your wellbeing."


I looked at him, "actions speak louder than words. And I'm more than sure you called Liz and Diana a couple of times. Otherwise, I wouldn't have seen you all in the newspapers with them. Damn, Michael," shaking my head. "You couldn't even call your wife? Diana and Liz are more important than me?"


"No, no, no, no, no," he shook his head, pulling me in for a hug. "I don't ever what you to think that. You mean the world to me, Shayla."


"Well, it sure doesn't feel like it. You can call them and go out with them and I couldn't even get a 'hey, how you doin'?'"


"I'm sorry," he sighed. "I was just upset. And then, I felt like Mariah was still with you. I didn't want to risk the chance of talking to her or to even hear you talk to her in the background."


"Those are such poor excuses, Michael," I shook my head. "The bottom line is, if you ever pull some childish stunt like this again, I'm leaving you."


"What?" He looked at me, worry in his eyes.


"And I mean it," I looked him in the eye. "You don't leave your wife and don't communicate with her. That was childish. That was selfish. If you ever pull something like this again, you'll never see me again and that's a promise."


"Shayla... You wouldn't do that, would you?"


"I would. If you feel like you can just up and leave, I can very much so return that same energy and take it up a notch."


"That's not fair," he shook his head.


"And it's not fair for you to just leave me for weeks on end! Speaking of which, where were you staying? Bill told me he couldn't tell me. So, I want you to tell me. Where were you and why did you feel the need not to call?"


He sighed, "The only reason I didn't want Bill to tell you where I was is because I didn't want you to bring Mariah with you. Not because I was doing something wrong to put our marriage at risk. I was literally just staying at a hotel in downtown LA." I took a deep inhale, rolling my eyes. "I just didn't want you to bring Mariah."


"You think I would bring Mariah? You know I could have dropped her off somewhere. Speaking of which, the same night you found yourself leaving me, I took Mariah to be with Joseph. She's been with him for a while now."


"I know... Bill told me."


I sighed, "out of all things you have done in these three years of marriage with you, Michael, this has to be the worst."


"I'm sorry, baby. Is there any way I can make it up to you?"


I looked at his pleading eyes. Ugh. I hate him right now, "promise me you won't do anything like this again."


"Done."


"Pinky promise," I held out my picky.


He hooked his pinky with mine, "I promise I'll never do anything like this to you again. And like I said, I'm sorry, Shayla," he offered a smile. "Now, will you please open this gift I got you?" he pushed the long velvet rectangular box toward me.


"What is this? 'I'm sorry' jewelry?" I picked it up.


"Open it," he smiled. I lifted the lid to see a charm bracelet with a silver heart attached to the middle of it that simply had the letter M engraved in it. "Flip it over." I flipped it to find the letter S. "Do you like it?"

I looked up at him, "this still doesn't erase the fact that you left me for damn near two weeks."


"Shayla, what's with all this cussing? I swear, I've never heard you cuss this much in all the time I've been with you."


"I'm still mad at you," I took the bracelet out of the box and put it around my left wrist.


He took my wrist in his hand and helped me latched the hook then kissed my hand, "I'm sorry, baby."


"Sorry, doesn't cut it, Michael."


"Well, tell me what does... I missed you," he kissed my neck. I sighed, rolling my eyes. He's lucky I miss him too.

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