Michael and I arrived at The Forum for his tour rehearsal accompanied by Roland, Bill and of course Bubbles. I'd never been to The Forum before and I honestly feel like I'm on holy ground. Michael and his brothers, of course, played here. But so, has Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand, The Bee Gees, Diana Ross, Quincy Jones, and Queen. Now here we are where Michael is going to rehearse for his World Tour. Isn't that something? I wasn't even afforded the opportunity to attend the rehearsals for The Victory Tour because I was getting ready to work in LA after getting married and having to move down here. There was just so much going on. I wasn't even allowed to attend The Victory Tour not just because I was working, but also because Michael was so nervous that people would find out about us that he didn't want to risk the chance. I'm sure Frank would have loved that. But I'm glad things have changed. I get to accompany my husband all over the world as he performs to thousands of people every night. It's a dream come true. 1984 me is definitely jealous of 1987 me. As we walked through the hallways to get to backstage, I couldn't help but stare in awe at the pictures of celebrities on the walls who also walked down this very hallway. Once we got backstage, everyone who would be on the tour was standing there waiting for Michael. I recognized some faces like Greg, Rory, Karen, and Tatiana... Of course. Everyone else was new. They all had sheets of paper in their hand. Nondisclosures I assume. Michael introduced me to the crew like he's done many times before with people he works with, told them about the nondisclosures and made sure they signed it. If they didn't sign it, they simply would be out of work. He made sure it was that serious. I can't wait for the time when people Michael works with don't have to sign anything pertaining to me like I'm some big secret. I can only dream of that day though, especially if Frank is going to be around for a while. Tatiana came up to Michael and me with the biggest smile on her face.
"Hey, Michael and Shayla! Michael," she looked at him. "I just want you to know I'm so excited to go on tour with you. I just feel so blessed. How often do people get the opportunity to say they went on tour with Michael Jackson?" She smiled.
Michael nodded, "oh. You're welcome." Michael seemed so disinterested in her. Which actually made me happy. He's truly washed his hands of her.
"Shayla, how was your vacation?"
Eyebrow raised in confusion, "how did you know I was on vacation?"
"Michael told me."
I looked at Michael who turned his gaze from Tatiana to someone to his left to avoid the conversation, "When?"
"Last week while we were on the 'Leave Me Alone' set. He didn't tell you?"
"No, he didn't tell me. Why were you on set? Wasn't it a closed set, Michael? And I thought the short film only had you in it," I nudged Michael.
Michael finally looked at me, "huh?"
"Michael, you didn't tell her?" Tatiana asked him.
"Tell her what?" He turned to look at her.
"That I was on set with you."
"Oh, uh..." he stammered. "I think I actually heard Frank call me. Excuse me, ladies," he hurried off toward Frank who never called him in the first place.
"Well, what happened on set, Tatiana? Michael didn't even mention your name when we talked about it," I asked her.
"We had a gang of fun, girl! He was kind enough to help me with my portfolio. We caught up on a couple of things. Your husband is a really good person and an amazing friend."
"I know... But how'd you get on set? It was closed, right?"
"Someone invited me."
"Onto a closed set that had nothing to do with you?"
"Yeah," she shrugged. Michael must have invited her because I don't see why anyone else would. Tatiana must have noticed the shift in energy because she excused herself as well to talk to the dancers. Here I am with him at rehearsal looking like a fool while Tatiana is acting all coy when I know she and Michael are attracted to one another.
"Mrs. Jackson, are you okay?" Roland tapped my shoulder.
"No, I am not. Did you know Tatiana was on set with Michael?"
"No, ma'am. I was with you in Ohio, remember?"
"Right... But Michael didn't tell you anything?"
"No, ma'am. I'm your security, not his." Okay. Roland doesn't know anything. I don't know why I would expect that he would. But I bet Bill does. You know what? This is neither the time or the place. I want to ask Bill, but I know that's not going to get me anywhere. I'm just going to have to wait to ask Michael. Why didn't he tell me she was on set with him? What was the point in keeping that a secret? Did he think I would have thought he was cheating on me or something? Because now, I actually do. I've been gone a whole week and there is no telling how long Michael and Tatiana were together on and off set. If he was going to cheat, you'd think he'd be smart about it. Like, make sure Tatiana doesn't talk to me about certain things or even to have her on tour. He can't possibly be cheating on me. Can he?
"Roland, can you please just take me to my seat so I can watch this rehearsal?" I asked him. He led me and Bubbles to our seats in front of the stage. I sat down with Bubbles on my lap. Roland sat one seat away from me. I thought we squashed this Tatiana thing back in June. What is it about this girl that she keeps coming back? My husband has touched her in places he shouldn't have. Tatiana has kissed him. You'd think after Michael and I talked about that, he'd leave her alone, but no. Of course, the first chance he gets, he's inviting her places when I'm gone. I thought Michael was smarter than this. I watched as Michael and the rest of the crew made their way onstage. Michael directed each of them to their spots. All four singers were to stand here. Band members were there. And when it was time for the dancers, they were to come in from either the left or the right, depending on the song. After everything was situated, Michael took his rightful place front and center and looked out at the sea of empty seats, eventually locking eyes with me.
"Babe, are you okay?" he asked over the microphone. All eyes were suddenly on me, which only made me shift in my seat out of nervousness and irritation. He jumped down from the stage and hurried to my seat, "will you excuse us for a moment, Roland?" Roland stood up and went to the very end of the aisle. "What's on your mind?" Michael asked me.
"Are you cheating on me with her?" I looked him in the eye.
"No!" He asserted.
"Then, why didn't you tell me she came onto your set? You completely omitted that. You never mentioned her name or anything."
"I didn't want you thinking it was something that it wasn't. Craig was the one who let her on. I had no idea she was going to be there." Craig? Michael just fired him because he said I didn't fit Michael's image. Why would Craig let Tatiana on set? I searched Michael's eyes for the answer, until it hit me. Craig meant Tatiana fit Michael's image better than I did. Wow. Talk about backstabbing.
"How often did she come on set?" I wondered.
"Twice, unannounced. I made she didn't come for the rest of the shoot though."
"Why was she there in the first place, Michael?"
"I don't know!" Michael threw his hands up in the air. "Craig told her where I would be. He was why she was there in the first place. I hadn't seen her since June. I wasn't even thinking about her."
"Did you want her there?"
"How come Tatiana told me how much fun you all had on set? Why didn't you kick her off set?" Michael swallowed, looking around for an answer. He's guilty. Wow. I shook my head, "go on up there and do what you have to do. We'll finish this conversation at home." My heart was racing.
"You're leaving?" he put his hand on my thigh as if to stop me if I were.
"Leaving you and Tatiana alone? Do you really think I'm that stupid?" I asked him. Michael looked defeated as he stood up to meet his crew on stage. He had nothing else to say. What could he say? His little girlfriend outed him. Just when I was telling my dad everything was okay over here... Apparently, it's not. My husband took the first chance he got to do something behind my back.
Michael instructed the band to start playing "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'." He and the dancers did their own dance moves according to the beat. I can't even watch the rehearsal anymore knowing this girl is here. Knowing that Craig and Michael betrayed me. It seems Michael fired the wrong person. Or maybe he didn't think he should have fired Tatiana too. Everyone sees the chemistry they have. Craig did, which was why he got fired because he wanted it to go further. Frank does. Bill does. Michael does. I do. How long will Michael allow this to go on? He's already admitted to me that he likes her. Wouldn't the logical answer to that be to leave her alone or not to work with her anymore? I'm about two seconds from telling Roland to take me home, but if I leave, who knows what Michael and Tatiana will get into? And why all of a sudden do I have to feel like I can't even trust my own husband? Either Michael is firing her or I'll get Frank to fire her because this is too much.