Chapter 12

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There is absolutely no reason why anyone should be knocking on our door this early in the morning. This better be important. I got out of bed as the person continued to knock on our door. "I'm coming!" I hissed as I hurried to put a robe on and opened the door to find Roland. "Roland, it's eight a.m. What's so important that you felt the need to wake me up?" I rubbed my eyes.


"You and Mr. Jackson are on the cover of just about every magazine out there."


"So?" You've got to be kidding me. He woke me up for this? "We expected this, remember? We've talked about this." Roland pulled out several magazines and a newspaper from behind his back that were all graced with a photo of me and Michael kissing at the Inaugural Gala. Every news source adding their own personal caption. "Thank you..." I shut the door and went to sit on the bench at the foot of the bed.


"What is it, babe?" Michael groaned.


"Nothing. Just go back to bed," I waved him off as I flipped through People Magazine. It's crazy how a small, endearing, congratulatory moment was plastered everywhere for the world to see. I should have expected this, but at the same time, not so soon... Especially not at the Presidential Gala. I mean, Sandy did warn us that we'd be more sought after than the President and his First Lady, but damn. Even a private moment was considered worldwide news? I read over some of the captions: "Michael Jackson in a lip lock with 'Soulmate,' Shayla;" "Lover kissed Michael after he sings for the President;" "Michael Jacksons' mysterious soulmate steals a kiss." Well, dang. You'd think they'd be a tad bit more creative than those headlines. Some of these aren't even accurate. I'm not a model. US Weekly is somehow convinced that I'm a hired "girlfriend." And People Magazine for some reason can't get my name right. It's Shayla, not Shyla.


Should I even be upset? Yes and no. It comes with the territory. We knew this was going to happen, but damn. Is it really that deep? Oh my gosh. Michael Jackson got kissed. Big deal. Wait 'til they find out I'm his wife. All hell is going to break loose. My heart dropped as I picked up News of the World. The definition of tabloid trash. They have the audacity to have a compare and contrast photo of the Tatiana kiss from freaking five years ago. I hurried to open the magazine to read just what they had to say about it. As cringe-worthy as it is, they're not lying when they say the kiss Michael shared with Tatiana was his first public one. But they note how willing and in love Michael looks with me versus how lustful the kiss looked with Tatiana... I mean, I guess this article is in my favor. But seriously? Did they really have to bring up some old news like that? Like, what kind of tabloid trash compares and contrasts a damn kiss?


I fixed my ponytail, grabbed the magazines and went downstairs to the kitchen to find Roland having coffee and chopping it up with Steph, our new chef for the hideout we had in D.C.


"Everything okay, Mrs. Jackson?" Roland asked me as he gestured toward the magazines.


I nodded, "everything's good. Good morning, Steph."


"Morning, Mrs. Jackson. Roland and I were just trying to figure out what you wanted for breakfast," she washed her hands.


"Just eggs with toast."


"With cheese?" she asked me. I nodded as I went over to get myself a glass of orange juice.


"Told you," Roland laughed and took a sip from his mug.


"What'd you tell her?" I inquired as I sat down beside him.


"I was telling Steph that you'd want eggs and toast this morning."


"And he was right," Steph shrugged.


"I was just telling her how it's been a pleasure being able to work for you all these years, Mrs. Jackson."


"Oh, thank you, Roland. You know it's a pleasure having you. You're like family."


"Exactly. Which is how I knew you wanted eggs and toast this morning."


"Don't say too much around Mr. Jackson, now," Steph warned.


"Right, Roland," I nodded. "You already know Michael's been keeping a close eye on you," I kind of joked, but I'm definitely serious.


"Is it a crime to know some things about the people you've been hired to work for?"


"I'm sure Bill knows everything there is to know about Mr. Jackson," Steph mentioned.


"What about Mr. Jackson?" I heard Michael ask as he placed his hands on my shoulders. "Morning, baby," he kissed my cheek.


Roland cleared his throat, "we were just saying how Bill and I know little things about you and Mrs. Jackson."


"Like?" Michael sat down beside me as he eyed the magazines in front of me.


"I already knew Mrs. Jackson was going to ask Steph for eggs and toast this morning."


"How is that?" Michael was curious to know as he slid one of the magazines to himself.


Roland shifted in his seat, "lucky guess." I looked up at Roland in confusion. He was just giddy to talk about it. Now all of a sudden, he's nervous? What s going on with him?


"Baby, what are these?" Michael began to flip through US Weekly.


"Roland brought them to me earlier this morning. Who would have known that a moment only meant for us is suddenly news for the entire world to see?"


"Roland?" he continued to flip through the magazine.


"Yes, sir?"


"Do me a favor."


"What's that, sir?"


"Unless it's a publication celebrating my wife and me, don't bring it into the house. I'd rather not see tabloid trash about me and my wife in the house."


"He was just showing me, baby," I interrupted.


"I get that, but this is only the beginning. It's only going to get worse from here on out. No more, okay?" Michael looked Roland in the eye.


"Yes, sir," Roland nodded. "My apologies. It won't happen again," he gathered the magazines to throw them away.


"Wait a minute. What's that?" he pointed at News of the World and took it from Roland. Oh, I know he's not going to have anything good to say about that one. That one is the worse one. "See?" he shook his head. "This is what I'm talking about. Junk like this. Comparing the kiss with my wife to the kiss of someone who forced it on me? No," he got up and crumbled it up to throw it away himself. "It's garbage. No more."


"You really think it's going to get worse from here?" I asked him.


"We'll get good and bad, I'm sure. Either way, I just don't want to see the bad in the house."


"Why do you think it's going to get worse? You said it's our year..."


"You saw that Tatiana comparison. They'll make up stuff that doesn't even make sense when it comes to us. It's best that I tell Roland to only bring in the good publications and not all of them. We don't need to see the trash that they'll have to say about us. And you know I don't play about you. I don't want to see them say anything ill about you."


"How will we combat that?"


"I've learned over the years that you can't comment on everything. Majority of the time, you have to ignore the rumors and act like they don't even exist. Unless it really calls for comment, don't even worry about it." I nodded in agreement. He's right. This is only the beginning and I'm sure it's only going to get worse. This is what I signed up for ten years ago though. This, unfortunately, comes with the territory and I have to prepare for the invasions of privacy. The ill comments and opinions and learn to have rhinoceros skin just like Michael.

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