From Rosemont to Dallas to Minneapolis, Michael had a show pretty much every night. We were glad to meet up with Prince at the Minneapolis show. No matter whatever beef the media managed to construe between Prince and my husband, they were simply just friendly rivals. Prince came to show his support and thoroughly enjoyed the show. I hadn't seen him in a while either, so it was great to see him. The friendly banter between the two was always amazing to watch. They discussed their Grammy losses and how the Academy apparently doesn't have good taste in music anymore. I can somewhat agree, because Bad and Sign o' the Times were such pleasant albums that I feel were both robbed. Prince, of course, congratulated Michael on his book but wondered why I hadn't been mentioned. I had to tell him that Michael and I want to announce it together. While he understood, he also felt it was about that time that we announce it. In his words, we were too beautiful of a couple to keep under wraps. The world deserved to know. It felt good to hear that kind of encouragement, but we're still gonna wait a little bit longer. Our time is coming soon.
Michael and I looked out the windows of the car as we drove through the winding road leading to our ranch. Our stuff has already been moved here; it was just a matter of moving everything where we wanted it moved or replacing what we wanted to be replaced. I didn't want anyone to put our things where they found fit. I wanted Michael and me to be able to do it ourselves. Michael insisted on some kind of help, but I feel like that takes away from what is ours. I want to place our art on the wall I want it to be on. I want to push our bed up against the wall we wanted it up against. There are just certain aspects of his life that I feel we need to do on our own. Renting the houses, we've rented, I had no problem having help. Now that we owned a whole three-thousand-acre ranch, I want to do as much as I can on our own. Decorating our house was one of them.
"Are you excited?" Michael looked over at me.
"You know I am. You've worked so hard for this."
"We've worked so hard for this," he corrected me. "This is my gift to you, Shayla. You deserve the world."
"Baby," I blushed. "This was your dream. And it's finally come to life."
"Yeah, but you're the reason why I even have it. Neverland wouldn't be what I've always dreamed it would be without you. You know that... So, this is my gift to you..." As if on cue, we pulled up to tall black gates. Neverland was written in gold letters against a black arch.
I gasped, "when did you have time to do that?" I asked him.
He smiled, "it's not even finished yet. I had them work on it once the purchase was complete."
"That's absolutely beautiful!"
"It's only the beginning," he raised my hand to his lips to kiss it. He rolled down the window to put in the security code to open the gates. On my side stood a post for security. The security guard waved at Bill through the window. "The code is our anniversary. Four. Three. Eighty-Three," he said as he pushed the buttons. The gates then opened inward toward the ranch, giving us access to go in. Bill drove through the gates up another winding road surrounded by grass and trees. I hadn't been here since my birthday. Now we actually live here. It took a while, but it's truly a dream come true. "Can you believe that I've had this idea for years and it's finally come true?"
"I remember when you sent me the drawing all those years ago."
He sighed happily, "yeah..." We looked out the car windows as we drove past a series of trees and more grass. It was like it never ended. "That's where we're going to have the fire station," he pointed at an area on my side.
"Mmmhm," he nodded. "We've got to keep safe around here. I can't just have the Santa Barbra fire squad in here. We need people we can trust," he informed me. As extra as it seemed, I could see where he was coming from. We can't trust everyone. And at the magnitude of his celebrity, there were only certain people no matter the stature of their importance, that he wanted in or near our home.
"Here we are," Bill parked in front of a two-story Tudor style house. It was simply beautiful. It reminded me of Hayvenhurst in a way. It just looked so homey. It wasn't over the top. Michael can be pretty eccentric, but when it came to the house, he just wanted it to be home and it was evident. The house was surrounded by several tall trees and beautifully maintained landscaping. Large windows were everywhere it seemed, but I loved it. It didn't matter much anyway because no one could get in here no matter how much they tried. Along with our security code, there was security in front of the gates and surrounding the premises.
"Ready to go in?" Michael asked me. I nodded. He opened the door and walked over to help me out. He held my hand as we walked toward the front door. I couldn't help but look at our new house in complete awe. No more renting expensive mansions. Now we literally had our own house and own little world to ourselves. We had far more than the forty acres and a mule our grandparents and great grandparents had been promised and reneged on. We owned all of this. I almost want to cry, and I haven't even seen the rest of the ranch in its entirety yet. Michael pulled the key out of his pocket and unlocked the door, opening it to reveal two lines of smiling housekeepers and chefs. He looked back at me and smiled, "this will be the last time we'll be crossing the threshold together."
I laughed, "you sure about that?" We've crossed many thresholds together since we've been married. More than he and my family members combined. They only did it once, but Michael was adamant about us crossing the threshold together no matter how many times we moved.
"I promise. Third times a charm. We won't be moving again. This is home," he picked me up in his arms. As skinny as my husband was, he sure was strong. He picked me up with no strain whatsoever. When he stepped one foot into our new home, the host of housekeepers and chefs erupted in applause. Interesting how we suddenly had an audience. Michael put me down and kissed my lips, "ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us. Neverland wouldn't be what I plan it to be without your help. This is my wife Shayla-Elizabeth, which I'm sure you've all heard about when you signed your NDA's. We plan to announce our marriage very soon and-"
"Hi everyone," I waved, interrupting Michael's little speech.
"Hello, Mrs. Jackson," they said in unison. I really hope for the best with this staff. Thankfully, Michael brought back Alice and Chef. They each looked like they were the head of their departments. Good. That's exactly how it should be as they've been with us the longest. They know everything we like.
Michael playfully rolled his eyes at me, "Shayla is my wife. She is an extension of me, so what she says goes as if you heard it from me. Thank you all so much for being here. I'm sure it'll be a pleasure having you all around."
"Well since that's the case, Michael and I won't be needing any help fixing up our belongings around here."
"Babe," he groaned. "The house is already furnished. Our things are put away."
"Where they belong!"
"Our clothes, art, and furniture are already put away?"
I side eyed him, "we'll see if I like the placement or not."
"Here we go," he rolled his eyes, causing the staff to laugh. "Well, my wife and I are going around to look at the house. She'll be nitpicking and moving things around, not me. I'm sure everything looks great. Thank you all again for being here."
"I want to see our bedroom!" I said excitedly.
He laughed, "let's save the best for last, shall we? Let's go look at the living room," he escorted me through the two lines, making a left into the living room which was adorned in all of our art pieces, my white leather sofa set, and Michael's piano. The house was adorned with chandeliers and a short staircase from the dining room leading into the living room. Right in front of the sofa set was a lit fireplace. I can only imagine the beautiful Christmases Michael and I will have in here. "You see the patio out there?" Michael pointed outside to our vast backyard. No longer do we have a fence blocking off where our backyard ended. Our backyard went for miles and miles on end. "Come here. Let's go look at the kitchen," he led me into our new kitchen.
"Michael," I gasped. "I've never seen a kitchen I'll never use myself so beautiful," we laughed.
"Oh, you'll be using it, alright," he laughed. Double Ovens. The entire kitchen was plastered in gold and dark mahogany wood, which made for a beautiful combination. While smaller than the living room, it was still beautiful. It also featured a fireplace with a newer living room set in cream leather. Michael knows me all too well because that's the exact color I would have chosen for this room. We just have to make sure people don't eat on it. Leather or not. It's still technically white and it'll still stain. "Right through those doors are where the staff can sleep. We don't have to look at that if you don't want to."
"Yeah, I'd rather not. I'm sure it's beautiful."
"Great. You will fall in love once you see our library," he led me through the dining room which had two separate tables. One long rectangular table and another round one. Why we needed that many tables and chairs, I have no idea. But I'm more than excited to invite our families out here for the holidays and birthdays and all. The staff had already dispersed from the entrance hall when we walked back through. We went through another set of doors revealing our library which featured books upon books upon more books. "Do you like it?" Michael smiled.
"You know I do," I sat down on a brown love seat. "And look, another fireplace," I laughed.
"That's the one thing I didn't want to be changed about the house is the fireplaces. They just fit so well in every area; it was impossible to get rid of them." The library also featured large windows peering into our vast backyard. Praise God no one was allowed on the property that we didn't want here because the paparazzi would have a field day with all of these windows. I could only imagine rocking our child to sleep in here or even just spending time in here just to get a piece of mind. "Upstairs, there are other bedrooms, but we can see that later. I want to show you our bedroom," Michael reached his hand out for me to take to help me get up from the seat. We exited the library through another door and made a left to face two large mahogany colored doors. He let go of my hand and opened the doors, pushing them open revealing a new California King Bed adorned in white and black sheet and comforter sets with matching pillows. He helped me down the three steps as I observed everything our new bedroom had to offer. Large windows and a door leading to the outside was on the right-hand side of the bed. A day bed sat right in front of the windows. Sitting before the large bed was yet another fireplace and one white tufted loveseat.
"You went above and beyond, didn't you?" I went over to sit on the bed.
"Do you want to change that daybed? I personally don't like it," he shrugged.
"I think it's fine. Maybe a different color, but I like it, nonetheless. Where's the bathroom?" He stood over by another door. I got up and walked through it to find the bathroom adorned in gold and Mahogany just like the kitchen. "I really like this color theme we've got going on around here. It makes the house feel so warm, ya know?"
"I figured you'd like it," he smiled. "Come on. There's something else I want you to see."
"There's more?!" He took my hand, leading me around the bed to yet another door revealing yet another bathroom, but straight ahead, there was a jacuzzi tub. Something I just know we'll have absolute fun in. Large windows surrounded the outer parts of the jacuzzi tub revealing a stonewall fence to keep out any onlookers we might have. "Oh, Michael. This tub is simply beautiful!"
"I had to keep that too," he blushed. "For many reasons."
"We should use it tonight," I winked.
"Great minds think so much alike. Here's a lovely walk in closet I'm sure you'll like," he opened a door revealing a chestnut wood colored walk-in closet. Our clothes had already been hung up color coded. Our shoes sitting perfectly inside the little cuticles. I walked into the closet, turning left revealing another part of the closet. "Oh, and here's a secret door," he bent down pushing open a little door with enough space to fit four people.
"What's this for?"
"Just in case," he shrugged.
"Just in case?"
"People are crazy, babe. Even if not for that, you've got an extra storage space." As odd as it sounded, you can never be too safe, I guess. "Come on," he took my hand leading me back to the first bathroom, pushing a door out the way to reveal a staircase. I followed him up the stairs to find yet another bedroom.
"Anotherbedroom, Michael?" I laughed, taking in the second California King Bed adorned in a red and black comforter and sheet set with matching pillows. Unlike the rest of the house, this part of our bedroom did not have any windows. I can see us only spending so much time up here. Maybe on special occasions or something. But definitely not often.
"Before we view the rest of the ranch, do you want to christen our new bedroom first?" He smirked at me.
I blushed, "upstairs or downstairs?"
He shrugged, "whichever you want. Whichever one we don't do it in now, we'll do it in the next one tonight."
"Is that so? Right here then. We can do it downstairs later on."
"I like that idea. I'll be back. I'm gonna go lock the doors," he hurried downstairs to lock our bedroom doors. To know that this was only part of our home was a dream in itself. This was worth the wait. It was worth supporting his dream of this place instead of saying it was impossible like others may have. I've supported Michael on this since the beginning and I'll continue to support him on anything else he decides he wants to achieve. This was only part of his accomplishments. I can only imagine what other goals he has and what else he has in store.