Chapter 46

Chapter 46

(Day 2 of "Leave Me Alone" filming)


I walked on set with Bubbles on my hip. Sunglasses and a black coat helped disguise me although it was hot as fire outside. I removed my glasses once we walked inside scanning the scene. Tatiana was talking to Jim. What's she doing here again? I mean, I'm excited to see her since she's the only person I can have a real conversation with here. But who keeps letting her in? I put Bubbles down and held his hand as we walked over to her. Once Tati saw us, she smiled, excused herself from the director and walked right over to me with open arms.


"Michael," she smiled. "Isn't it a bit too hot for that coat?" She asked as she pulled me in for a hug.


I hugged her back tightly, "it's part of my disguise."


"Oh, yeah? Are you sure people aren't going to look at you crazy for wearing a big coat like that in August?"


"Believe it or not, no one actually looked at me crazy."


"Oh, really?" she looked up at me, still hugging me.


"Really," I laughed. I looked down at Bubbles who was staring up at Tatiana. "Bubbles, this is Tati," I introduced him to her. She bent down and said hello. She was all smiles. I'm surprised she even wanted to say help to him. The only other woman even remotely comfortable around Bubbles was Shayla. But then again Bubbles was like our baby, so I wouldn't expect anything different from Shayla. Glad to see Tatiana liked him as well though.


"He is too cute!" she stood up to face me. Her perfume was as potent as it was the last time. Not as potent as Shayla's though. I'd know Shayla was in the room without even seeing her. Tati's perfume was only powerful if you were in her face.


"How'd you get in here again?" I wondered. She definitely knows someone on set, and I have to figure out exactly who that someone is. If they let her on set, they could easily let someone else on set, so someone is about to get fired.


"I've got my ways," she winked. Her answer somewhat bothered me. She's protecting whoever got her on set, but I'm going to get it out of her one way or another. "Bubbles is so well behaved. How'd you get him to be so well behaved?"


"He's been with me for a long time. It took some training, aside from that, he's generally good. He's the coolest chimp you'd ever meet."


"He's the only chimp I'll ever meet," she laughed. "Do you like my costume? Sherri let me try one on," Tati did a 360 turn to show me the red carnival jacket and black pants she wore. She wears it very well!


I smiled, giving her a golf clap, "you look good! You should model more often. I've seen your portfolio. That's the main reason I chose you," I winked.


"I am. I have some shoots lined up for some catalogs. But I want to be bigger than some JC Penny or Macy's catalog. I want to walk the runway with the likes of Beverly Johnson, Iman, Grace Jones, Waris Dirie and Naomi Campbell..."


"I think you'll fit in perfectly. All those beautiful women walking the runway. I know you'll do amazing."


"Thank you, Michael."


"My pleasure," I nodded.


"Where's Shayla, if you don't mind me asking?"


"In Ohio."


"Why?"


"We had her sister for a year, so it was about time to take her back."


"And you didn't go with her?"


I shrugged, "she has security. But I have to be here for the short film and the tour rehearsals."


"Being married to you, I'm sure she has all the time in the world and then some."


"Eh," I shrugged. "She works."


"Oh, really? What does she do?"


I smiled to myself, "she's a writer." Despite her debut, I'm proud of my baby. This book is only a bump in the road to greatness.


"A writer..." she nodded. "So, she doesn't really work then. That's a leisure activity, so I know you're the breadwinner in the house."


Her comment took me by surprise, "I don't think that's any of your business."


"You're right. I'm sorry. Just trying to make conversation."


"We can make conversation without discussing my wife and finances. Tell me about you."


She laughed, "oh, so we can talk about me, but I can't ask about your wife?"


"My wife is really none of your business. You are actually one of the few people who know about my wife. Is there any particular reason you continue to bring her up despite the nondisclosure agreement you signed?" She honestly made me wonder. If she's so free to flap off with her gums to me about Shayla, she must be talking to others about her as well. I wouldn't put it past her. "Are you talking about me or my wife to other people?"


She shook her head no quickly, "oh, no. I may talk about you every once in a while, but I would never talk about your wife. I don't have money like that to be sued," she laughed nervously.


"What do you have to say about me?"


"Just that you're kind. You're the sweetest man I've ever worked with and you're not as shy as my friends see on television," she tried to lessen the awkward tension that was suddenly in the air.


"Not as shy?" I giggled. "What do you mean?"


"Michael, you are not shy!" she laughed.


"What makes you think that?"


"I worked on set with you for a whole week."


"Maybe I just felt comfortable with you. I could still be shy."


"Hmm," she smiled. "Maybe... Michael, do you like me?"


My eyes grew wide in shock, "whaaaat?"


She smirked, "you heard me."


"Tatiana, I am a married man," I showed her my left ring finger.


"You can still like me and be a married man."


My heart raced. I could feel my cheeks getting hot, "Tati... that's a very inappropriate question."


"Well, I'll tell you what. I like you. So, what are we going to do about that?"


My eyes widened in surprise and shock, lips pursed in anticipation. This girl was bold! Bill was right. She could give a flying flip if I was married or not, "nothing!"


"Nothing?"


"Nothing! Tatiana, I'm surprised you would even ask me that. I've told you time and time again that I'm married."


"And you've also shown me time and time again that you like me."


"Or maybe you read me wrong."


"Or maybe I read you right and you don't want to admit it." I'm not about to argue with a woman that's not my wife. She's got some nerve. Walking onto my closed set calling herself telling me about myself. She must be crazy.


"I have to go on set," I took Bubbles' hand and led him over to the director's area. Tatiana is mighty bold. I mean I knew that to begin with, but she took it overboard with that one.


"Everything okay, Mike?" Frank asked me.


"No," I shook my head. "That girl is trouble. Who invited her on set?" he shrugged. "Find out for me. If nobody talks, I'll find out. Someone is getting fired today." Tatiana crossed all boundaries. Business and personal. I don't know what she thinks she's going to get out of me, but it's not happening. She's lucky I don't fire her before the tour starts. I'll find someone to replace her with no problem.


"Where is she? I'll tell her to leave if you want."


"It's okay. I'll handle it."


"If she's getting to be too much, man, you've got to let her know."


"I just did."


"Then why is she still here?"


"I got it, Frank. Don't worry about it. I need to figure out who let her in here and so do you."


"Got it," he walked away. I turned around to find that Tatiana had made her way over to Craig. Now, what could she be talking to him about? Craig was my friend. I've considered him a friend for a long time now. I should probably warn him about her. He could likely get caught in her lies as well.


"Michael, you alright?" Jim walked up to me.


"Yeah, why?"


"Frank told me you were uncomfortable with Tatiana being here. This is your closed set. I can ask her to leave."


"No, I got it. I want to figure out who got her in here in the first place."


"Now, that, I don't know... But I'll try to find out for you."


"Thanks, Jim. I appreciate it."


"You're welcome," he nodded. "Are you sure you don't want me to have security escort her off the premises?"


"I'm positive. The least I can do is let her leave with her dignity."


"Okay, man. We'll need you for photos in a little bit, so you can probably go get changed."


As I walked to my dressing room, Tatiana came running behind me, "getting ready to go on set?"


"Bubbles and I have to get dressed."


"I can dress Bubbles for you."


"It's okay," I winced.


"Come on... It'll be a load off of you," she offered a small smile.


"No, it's okay. Thank you though, Tatiana."


"Are you mad at me?" she asked. A little irritated, yes. But mad? No.


"No, why?"


"You get upset every time I mention your wife."


"Do I?"


"Yeah, like you don't want to talk about her. Any man who loves his wife wants to talk about her all the time..."


"I love my wife a great deal. She's been there for me through it all. I just don't want to talk about her with you. You're completely disrespecting my union by asking me if I like you and asking me what I'm going to do about you liking me. You're crossing all kinds of boundaries there, Tatiana and you know it."


"I apologize. I just thought..."


"I take my marriage very seriously. It may not be public, but it's still sacred and I would appreciate it if you respected that."


She looked at me in shock. Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Tatiana opened her mouth to say something then closed it after a much-needed thought. She cleared her throat and straightened her posture, "you're right. I'm sorry, Michael. I don't ever want you to feel like I'm disrespecting you or your union. Ever. It was never my intention. But I'm glad we're nipping it in the bud now."


Well... That was easy. "Thank you... Who let you on set?"


"I told you I invited myself."


"Well, someone had to let you in the doors because this is a closed set, so you have to know someone in here."


She thought about her answer. I'm sure she's nervous to say who let her in, but I hope she realizes it's either that or her career with me is over, "Craig."


"Craig?" I asked in confusion.


"Yeah. Craig told me all about the set. Told me how you told him you liked me and so on and so forth. Gave me the address and the rest is history," she shrugged. Damn it, Craig. I can't trust anyone here. No matter how hard I try. I told him once. Once. That I thought I was attracted to Tatiana, but despite the attraction, I'm still married, and I want to remain loyal to my wife. I didn't expect him to be an accomplice with whatever she was conjuring up in her head.


"Craig," I called him over. "Thank you, Tati. Excuse me, I have to have a word with him." I walked past her to meet with Craig.


"Yeah, man, what's up?" He asked me.


"Why did you invite Tatiana on set?"


"Uh..." He stammered. I would honestly like to know what kind of logical reason he had for this. "I mean, you told me you liked her, Mike. I thought you wanted to see her again before the tour."


"Whether I like her or not, you cannot invite her onto a closed set. You definitely don't just give out my whereabouts to just anyone. You don't know if she's a stalker or what!"


"Tatiana a stalker?" He laughed a little. "Yeah, right."


"Man, she sent me a card and she's been here for not only day one but day two of my set."


"A card is nothing, Mike. Don't get so worked up."


"I'm serious, Craig. I told Frank if I found out who invited Tatiana on set, they'd be fired." He stopped laughing then. "I didn't tell you to invite her. Now, I have to deal with everything that comes with her."


"I can tell her to leave."


"No, I'll tell her to leave. You just stay put. I have to clean up this mess myself. Consider this a warning, Craig."


"Sorry, man. I didn't know."


"Didn't know what? That I was married? You, Tatiana and Frank, are the only three people on this set that know I'm married. Don't act like you didn't know."


"My fault, Mike."


"Don't you let her on this set tomorrow, you hear?"


"Loud and clear," he nodded. I sighed walking back to my dressing room. Tati and Craig got me all riled up. Now I have to calm down before this photoshoot. Can't have anger and irritation showing all through these photos. Sheesh.

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