Chapter 68

Chapter 68

After almost two months of staying with my siblings and my parents, I figured it was about time to rejoin my husband on his world tour. Mostly because I'm tired of hopping from house to house and my family using me as an opportunity to babysit everyone. It's time for me to get back to my own life. Plus, I skipped out on my own anniversary. I miss Michael and I want to be with him now. We have to prepare to move into the ranch pretty soon. I'm so excited to move in. Wow. We've really been married for five years. We've known each other for nine. I can't wait to see him so we can get through that mishap together. I've healed and got the space I've needed and I'm sure he has as well.


"Shayla, you make sure to tell Michael if he ever puts you through something like this again, I'll take him out myself," Dad informed me as we made our way to the airport.


"You want me to tell my husband you're going to kill him?" I asked him.


"Now see, I didn't even say that. I said 'take him out' as in knocking him out one good time," he took his hands off the steering wheel for a moment to jab the air.


"Well, I'm sure this won't happen again. We've talked about it and we're going to talk more about it when I meet him in Rosemont. You guys know his book is coming out tomorrow," I tried to change the subject.


"Book?!" Mom looked back at me. "With all this touring and whatnot going on, when did he have the time to write a book?"


"He actually would have someone record him with a tape recorder as he told his stories. Someone else technically wrote it. But he still revised it and all."


"So, he didn't write it then?" Dad asked.


"Someone else dictated what he said and he revised what they typed. If you want to be technical about it, I guess you could say he was a co-author," I shrugged.


"Yeah, because with all the hell he's put you through and that tour, there's no way he had time to write it."


"Will we be getting a copy?" Mom asked me.


"I'll make sure he sends everyone a copy."


"Do you think he mentioned you in it?"


"I told him not to. If he wants to allude to our relationship, he can, but I want us to announce it together."


"The boy writes a book about his entire life and you still don't want him to mention your marriage?" Dad asked me.


"I just want us to do it together. I'm no Toni Morrison, but I'm somewhat of a big name in the literary field. He's a big name around the entire world. It would mean a lot more to me if we announced it together."


"I think your father means you're kind of endorsing this singleness too, Shayla. He writes a whole book about his life and you don't want him to mention you at all?"


"He can allude to our relationship. I'm not endorsing his singleness. In my books, it simply says that I live in LA with my husband and a host of pets," I shrugged.


"Do you think he said wife though?" She asked me.


I sighed, "since the book was partially Frank's idea, I highly doubt it."


"Exactly! So, how do you think he would have alluded to your relationship?" Dad asked.


"You'll just have to read it for yourself, dad, okay?" I sighed. How did they manage to turn a positive into a negative just like that? I'm grateful for my parents. I really am. And I understand their concern, but Michael and I have already talked about me being mentioned in his book or not. We're announcing it together. And at this point, that's final. I could only imagine what the media would have to say with the kiss, the alleged marriage and now all of a sudden the confirmed marriage in Michael's book. There's a time for everything and with everything that has gone on, that time is not now. It would make for bad press and I'll be damned if my marriage made bad press. Having to respond to so many questions and allegations would be annoying anyhow. I would actually be grateful that Michael didn't mention me in his book right now.


We finally pulled up to CVG to find a waiting Roland. I haven't seen him since early March. It was actually refreshing to see him; despite the fact that I swear he might've been flirting with me that one time. Seeing him only reminded me of how extraordinary my life is. I have a whole bodyguard to escort me around the world.


"Good morning, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson," he smiled at my parents as he opened my door. "Mrs. Jackson," he held his hand out for me to help me get out of the vehicle.


"How was your two month vacation?" I asked him.


"Never better! I imagine you're feeling much better now?" He asked me.


"Oh, yes. I needed the breathing room."


Dad got out to help with my bags, "Roland, you take care of my daughter, ya hear? And I'm not asking you to be my eyes and ears, but you let me know if Michael steps out of line." Roland looked at me. He was just as shocked as I was.


I gasped, "Daddy! Michael is my husband. Quit acting like Roland is, okay? He's hired by Michael to protect me from crazy people, not to protect me from Michael. Whew, lord," I huffed going over to open my mom's door to hug her. "Love you, mama."


"I love you too, baby. Your father is just making sure you're safe and that your husband is treating you right."


"Yeah, well, I cross the line at him acting like Roland is somehow better than my husband and that he should somehow protect me from him. His job is to protect me from anyone outside of my circle. Anything I allow him to know personally is up to me. And really he isn't even supposed to know anything personal."


"I understand, Shayla. Just try to understand from your father's point of view."


"Well, if he comes out of his pocket for Roland or some other bodyguard, then he can say that. Until then, that's disrespectful and he knows it," I went over to hug my father. "Roland is Michael's employee, dad," I hugged him. "You're being disrespectful to my husband."


"Is a father wrong for wanting to make sure his daughter is being treated with respect?" He asked.


"It's not in Roland's job description. And it's certainly not his place," I informed him.


"I just want to make sure Michael is treating you like a husband should."


"Yeah, well, I'll be the one to tell you that, not Roland. I understand that Michael's got you feeling some type of way, but you still have to respect him as my husband and Roland's employer. Michael apologized and it's between Michael and me. Not Michael, me, and Roland."


He sighed, "okay, sweet pea. You and Roland be safe on that plane and call us when you land, okay?"


"I will," I nodded. "Love you, daddy."


Roland gathered my belongings and put them on the luggage cart he had and walked into the airport, "Mr. Jackson must have really pissed off your father."


I sighed, "he'll get over it. He's just being a dad. He's just being disrespectful about it," I rolled my eyes.


"Yeah... Family or not, I don't think he understands that I'm under confidentiality. I'd hate to get fired over something as serious as that."


"This is still new to all of us. Don't pay him any mind."


"Other than that, how are the rest of your family doing?"


"Great! Nathaniel is the cutest baby ever. Robert and Mary just make the cutest babies, I swear. But then again, they're the only ones having kids on my side of the family, so," I shrugged.


"That's the new baby's name?"


"Yeah," I nodded.


"I know you're glad! You were gonna be pretty upset if she named him after Mr. Jackson," he laughed.


I laughed at the memory, "it's the principle, Roland."


"If you don't mind me asking when do you and Mr. Jackson plan on having children?"


"Um... when the time is right. We have a lot going on right now, as you can see. With Michael's tour and me with my career, we just want to wait. I mean, we're only five years in our marriage. We still have our marriage to work on and we still want to enjoy ourselves before bringing some little Michael and Shayla's into the world."


"Understandable," Roland nodded.


"When are you getting married and having children, Roland?" I wondered.


He smiled to himself, "when I find the right one. Once I find her, that will set the tone for everything else."


"Well, when you do find her, make sure I get an invite to the wedding," I teased. Ten years from now, I see Michael and me with at least two or three children, living in Neverland with no scandals, no lies, and no tours. Just our family. Basking in family life. Traveling around the world. And I can't wait for that to become a reality. Michael is going to make such an amazing father, but as of right now we clearly have a lot going on. Like him setting boundaries, understanding the power of the word "no," and standing his ground. As for me? Making a name for myself in my career, standing my own ground and becoming a better version of myself just like Michael. And just our marriage in general. There's always going to be some ups and downs in a marriage, but certain things like what happened last month, I'm glad we don't have children. I could only imagine being on tour with Michael with children while all that cap went on. Nine times out of ten, I'd take the kids with me instead of letting them stay with Michael on the road. Yeah. Things like that, I'm grateful it's just us right now. It'd all be one big mess, especially with our lifestyle at the moment.


VII


Once we landed in Rosemont, we immediately caught a cab to the hotel Michael was staying in. I'm excited to see him after all this time. We have a lot to make up on. Especially our anniversary. I feel bad for skipping out on it, but at the same time, I also needed time away... Michael was a little hurt, but he understood. Thankfully, we try to celebrate our anniversary all month as well. Although, it's nothing like celebrating that specific day. He understood. Did he really have a choice? He was the reason I left in the first place. Distance does make the heart grow fonder as well. So with me being away for as long as I was, I was healing, but I was also missing him greatly.


"Does Mr. Jackson know you're coming?" Roland asked me.


"Yeah, he just doesn't know what time. So, I hope that I'll be able to catch him at the hotel before his show."


"I'm sure he missed you greatly."


I blushed, "yeah. I can't wait to see him. You know, Roland, this is like our first major issue in our marriage?"


"In all the five years you've been married?"


I nodded, "in all five years..."


"Wow! I mean, that's pretty impressive. I mean it sucks that you all had that issue, but aside from that, you all have a pretty good marriage. I'd imagine if disagreements such as these were a constant thing, you'd have not made it to year two."


"Precisely... I mean, we built our relationship on friendship. I think that's incredibly important. I was a fan of his music. I never considered myself his number one fan, but apparently, I was a big enough fan since I wrote to him because I wanted to get to know him. He's my best friend."


"That's a love story for the ages. Simply beautiful, Mrs. Jackson."


I smiled to myself, "yeah."


"You know, Mrs. Jackson, this past couple of months I've spent with my family made me realize I just might be ready to settle down. And when I do meet that special woman for me, I sure hope she's as kind, thoughtful and exhibits the same kind of class that you do."


"Oh," I blushed immediately from embarrassment. "I'm flattered, Roland... Thank you."


"Don't take this the wrong way, Mrs. Jackson, but Mr. Jackson is incredibly lucky to have you and I hope I can find a woman who's at least a fraction of how you are."


I swallowed, "thank you, Roland..."


"I hope I didn't make things awkward."


Awkward? Most definitely! This is the second time Roland has made comments to me like that. I've got to nip this in the bud now, "you're kind of crossing a line right now."


"You're right. I apologize," he turned to look out the window. It's enough I feel like he was flirting with me that one time. I don't want to have to be put in a position to get rid of Roland, but if he continues to make these kinds of comments, I just might have to. It will suck because I feel like we've established an incredible rapport. So much so that I consider him a friend. While I'm flattered at his comments, it makes me slightly uncomfortable as well.


Once we got to the hotel, Roland got out to get a cart for our luggage. I got out the car mentally preparing myself for Frank. I sure hope Michael put him in check. If not, we'd be making zero progress. Roland got all of our luggage and followed me into the lobby. Getting on the elevator was kind of awkward considering the conversation we just had. I can't wait to get to my hotel room for two reasons. One being that I really miss my husband. The second being that I want this awkwardness between me and Roland to go away. I'm truly flattered, but whatever feelings Roland may be harboring inside for me should just be kept to himself. Michael wouldn't be too happy to know that his employee is flirting with his wife. In fact, Michael would probably be as quick to fire Roland as I wish he had been to fire Tatiana. After the elevator made its way to Michael's floor, Roland and I made our way down to the suite. I knocked on the door. Hopefully, he hasn't left for the venue yet. I knocked a few more times until the door finally opened. Michael's eyes grew wide at the sight of me, "I missed you so much," he pulled me in for a tight hug. I smiled, hugging him back. It felt good to be back in his embrace. "Thank you for keeping my wife safe, Roland," he nodded at Roland


"You're welcome, sir," Roland nodded. "I'm just going to drop off her luggage in here and then I'll give you all some privacy." Michael moved out the way for Roland to roll the cart in. He escorted me into the suite, holding my hand.


"You have no idea how much I've missed you," he pulled me in for a kiss.


"I've missed you too," I blushed.


"I've got something for you," he hurried off to the bedroom to retrieve something and came back out with a black velvet square box. "Here," he smiled, handing the box to me.


"What is it?" I looked up at him.


"Open it and see." I opened it to find a gold necklace with three different parts stemming from it. A gold heart with M etched on it. Another gold heart with an Setched. And a long rectangle etched with IV.III.MCMLXXXVIII.


"Michael, what on earth is this long roman numeral?" I laughed.


"It's our fifth wedding anniversary," he pointed at the symbols. "Four. Three. Nineteen-eighty-eight."


"Ahhh, I get it. It's beautiful, baby. Thank you," I kissed him.


"All done. I'll see you all later on tonight," Roland nodded and exited our room.


"I'm sorry," Michael raised my hands to his lips, kissing them each.


"For what?" I wanted him to say exactly what he was sorry for.


"The disrespect. Not listening to you. Not putting you first. Not noticing the signs that you were unhappy and felt neglected. I just really want to make it up to you. Can I?" He pulled me in for another kiss.


"You've got a lot of making up to do."


"I know, baby. I know," he kissed my neck.


"What are you doing about Frank?" There was no way I was about to give it up without hearing what he was about to do with his trash can of a manager.


"I'm getting rid of him. I promise," he looked me in the eye.


"When?"


"If it's okay with you... The tour isn't up until next year. I figured by the end of the tour; I'd cut all ties with him."


"Until then, what are we doing? I'm sure with all the time I've been gone you've been setting him straight?"


"We don't talk about anything but my career. He's not even allowed to talk about you anymore. I told him if he isn't saying hello or asking you how you're doing, there's no reason for your name to be in his mouth."


"If he does?"


"I can finish the tour without him," he shrugged. I'm slightly satisfied with that answer. It'll have to do for now. Franks days around here are officially numbered. "Anything else you want me to do, baby?"


I smirked, "I think we're good for now."


"Good," he picked me up and carried me to the bedroom. "Because I've missed you a great deal. Don't leave me like that again," he lay me on the bed, kissing my cheeks and neck.


"Don't give me a reason to."


"Trust me, I won't..."

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