The concert just ended and now we're on our way to St. Louis, Missouri. Despite everything that is going on with Shayla, I still have to continue to tour. I can't just stop because my personal life is in awry right now. The fact that I had to sleep alone and the fact that it was the first concert of my solo tour without Shayla cheering me on, waiting for me beside the stage was bothering me. I've slept alone without her before, but this is different. This is after a major argument that I couldn't fix whatsoever. I still have to figure out how I'm even going to fix this with Shayla. I've wanted Frank and Shayla to get along, but did I really expect that to happen with how Frank came into his position completely ignoring Shayla as my wife in order to force this single image upon me? I really wish I had just put my foot down in the beginning, but I didn't and even when I tried to, Frank was far from interested in taking me seriously. And I never made him take me seriously... That's my problem. I'm just getting sick of Frank in general. I've been feeling this way for a while, especially with Frank's constant demands. So much so that Bill would have to remind Frank that he worked for me and not the other way around.
I can't blame Frank for everything wrong in my marriage. I had a part in it too. Tatiana for instance. I let my attraction to her give her too much leeway. It didn't help much of anybody and only caused problems in my marriage. I gave her too much advantage and opportunity to be near me, although I may have wanted her there, my loyalty was to my wife. Tatiana was merely just eye candy. I can admit that, and I hate myself for it, but at least I never pursued anything with her or actually cheated. Shayla would have definitely left me, and I would hate myself forever for ruining my one and only chance at true everlasting love.
"Hey. Have you called John today about the ranch?" Frank asked me.
"Yeah, I called him before the show. He's still working out the kinks. It should be mine pretty soon. Before this month is out actually."
"That's good to hear. You deserve this. You've worked so hard. You deserve a place to call your own."
"Yeah... It'll be our own little world."
"Yep. Your own little world... How many men can say they own three thousand acres?"
"How many couples can say they own three thousand acres? Somehow, you're erasing Shayla in all of this."
"Am I? Well, she hasn't been here. Somehow, I've forgotten all about her," he shrugged.
"It's only been twenty-four hours, Frank."
"Be honest with me, Frank."
"You've never liked my wife, have you?"
"She's a sweet girl. I just think you're ten times better without her."
"Why do you think that?"
"She's a burden on you, kid. Too needy. Always wanting your attention when you should be focused on your work. She's probably why this album didn't do as well as Thriller. Do you see where your brothers are? No where near the success you have. They let their wives drag them down."
"Shayla isn't the reason Bad didn't do all that well. Why would you even say that? You know how hard we worked on that album. Don't do that. Don't disrespect my wife or my album like that. And my brothers are doing exceptionally well."
"Oh, yeah? Tell that to the millions of people lining up to buy their latest albums."
"You don't have to talk about my family like that. We're all successful in our own way."
"Yeah, well, if their marriages were as private as yours, I'm sure they'd be just as successful as you." I'm beginning to no longer understand this whole obsession with this single image. It's done more harm than good. While I understand how it makes the fans feel like they have a chance with me and that I may be accessible to them, I don't understand why Frank keeps comparing that and my success with my brothers, simply because they chose to go public and I did not. I'm beginning to question Frank's intentions honestly. He likes to feel like he has the upper hand and the mastermind of my career and I'm really getting sick of it. I feel like Frank treats me like a cash cow just like Joseph did. The similarities were uncanny, besides the fact that Joseph was actually accepting of my marriage. Frank wanted Shayla gone and crazy enough, he actually got his wish to an extent and I let him...
Over the past couple of weeks, I haven't been able to get in contact with Shayla. I've called her parents' house only to get told that Shayla is fine and that she's not staying with them so I should stop calling, but I only have their number and no one else's. I've done two concerts in St. Louis and now I have one in Indy tomorrow. I've called her parent's house every day since I've left New York to no avail. I want Matt's number, but I'm being repeatedly told that Matt's fiancée doesn't know of me yet and they'd like to keep it that way. At this point, I don't even care. Let the girl know. I just want to talk to my wife. More than likely, she's hiding out at Matt's house anyway since they're the closest. Her parents were nice enough to relay some messages back and forth, but they continue to tell me she needs her space and that she'll contact me when she feels it's okay to. I can't believe I can't even talk to my own wife. She's literally avoiding me at this point. But can I really be mad? She's upset and I caused this. Plus, she just might be getting me back for abandoning her for those couple of weeks way back when. The only exception is that I know that Shayla is okay through her family. I was being such an asshole that one time, I told Bill not to tell Shayla anything about me... I'm grateful she hasn't done that. I wish I hadn't done that to her though. She didn't deserve that.
"Have you been able to get through to Shayla?" Mother asked me.
I sighed, "no, ma'am. She's still upset. I think she's avoiding me now."
"Or maybe she just needs her space. I don't think she would avoid you. If she were avoiding you, you probably wouldn't be able to get through to her parents."
"Yeah... I just feel so bad. I've put Shayla through a lot, Mom."
"I've kept Frank around who has only disrespected her and our union. I continued to keep a girl around me who's been stalking me until everything just hit the fan. Since the marriage leaked, the media has been having a field day with the 'affair.' They've been searching for Shayla every time they see me. They're always asking me about Tatiana and Shayla. It's just a big mess. Thankfully, she's in Ohio now, because these past couple of weeks with all these tabloids talking about the 'affair' has really been bothering me. That would have just made things worse between me and Shayla."
"Do you think people believe the marriage?"
"It's still up in the air. Since they haven't seen Shayla, they don't really have much to believe. But that story along with the Tatiana story causes a lot of buzz, so they're holding onto it like it's gold or something."
"What happened with you and Tatiana and why did you let it get so far as to kiss her?"
I sighed, "I was attracted to her and I kept her around longer than I should have. Shayla told me to drop her, but I didn't. Things got a little complicated when Shayla went away for a week and Tatiana dropped by one of my closed sets. I just really wish I had let her go when Shayla told me to. But I let my attraction to her get the best of me."
"You didn't have relations with her, did you?"
"No! I would never do that. I couldn't hurt Shayla like that. No one deserves that kind of pain."
"Okay. Good," Mother sighed a breath of relief. We finally pulled up in front of my grandfather, Prince's house. Since we were in Indiana, we figured why not drop by and see him. It's been a while. There's nothing like seeing family. I got out and opened the door for my mother and helped her as we walked up to the porch. Mom took her key out and unlocked the door, "daddy? It's Kate!" She called into the house.
"Katie?" I heard him call from another room. We walked further into the house to find him in the kitchen.
"Hey, Daddy," mom went over to hug him. My grandfather is eighty-one years old and still operating like he's a man in his twenties.
"I see you brought Michael Joe with you," he said as I went over to hug him. "How are those concerts going for ya?"
"I've got one every night it seems," I smiled. "You know I have one in Indianapolis tomorrow if you want to come."
"It's going to be too loud. I'm good," he waved off the thought.
"We've got earplugs," I suggested.
"Well... That doesn't sound like a bad idea. Count me in then. How's your wife?"
"She's doing great! She's an author and her book did really well this year. We'll send you a copy."
"Shayla-Elizabeth is her name, dad. She's a great writer," mom told him.
"Oh, yeah? Well, I look forward to reading it. How's Joseph doing, Katie?"
"He's doing well. Always has some business deal going for him."
"Still trying to get the brothers back together?" he and Mother looked at me.
I shook my head, "I don't do music with my brothers anymore. I'm solo from here on out."
"Why is that? Y'all started together. Why not continue together?"
"We're all grown, grandpa. Do you really think in thirty years, people are going to be asking for Jackson's concerts anymore?"
"I don't even know if I'm going to make it that far," he laughed.
"Daddy don't say that," mom rolled her eyes.
"Well, it's true, Kate! And you never know, Michael. You Jackson boys are cemented in music history. They're gonna want to hear your music forever."
"I'm just doing my own thing right now," I shrugged. I didn't want to tell him that I don't do business with my family anymore. It would only hurt him and my mother. But that's where my mind is. I'm just focusing on my own career. I wish my brothers did the same and quit worrying about a reunion. It's not happening.
"Joseph and I are working on getting the brothers together to do a series of shows in Japan. It's just a matter of convincing Michael."
"It's not happening, Mother..." I sighed.
"You say that now, but we'll see."
"Okay..." This is my first time hearing about this. I'm sure it won't be my last, but I'm just going to have to keep declining until my family gets the point. I have more important things to worry about. Like finishing this tour. Getting rid of my manager and fixing my marriage. I could care less about joining my brothers for a reunion show. They can do that themselves for all I care. They don't need me. I could bet money on the fact that whoever is organizing this isn't paying out anything unless I agree to do the shows. I hate to say it, but the fans would be paying to see me more than they'd be paying to see my brothers. Like I said, I have other things to be worried about.