Chapter 17

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Shayla being on the road for her book tour gives me a ton of me time that I didn't even know I needed. In eight days, Oprah is returning for the live interview. Four days after that is Valentine's Day and I still have to plan for that. But it's all good because Shayla isn't around to snoop on what I've got going on. After Oprah, I can finally relax until the next leg of the tour. No interviews. No shows. No concerts. No mini-concerts. No award shows. Just me and my wife once she gets back. But as of now, I have to mentally prepare myself for any questions Oprah may ask. I know she's going to ask personal questions. She's going to ask questions that the media has questioned me about for years. She's definitely going to ask about Shayla and while I don't mind answering questions about my wife, I don't want to announce our marriage to the media without her. So, to make sure it won't be outed before then, I'm not even going to wear my wedding band. I have to make sure to tell Shayla that, so she doesn't think I'm crazy for taking it off in the first place. In the meantime, I should be calling Sandy to discuss the interview. I picked up the phone and dialed his office number. Oprah and I made it a point not to discuss any questions she was going to have beforehand and I honestly didn't give her a list of things she couldn't talk about, so talking to Sandy about it would probably be my best bet.


"You've reached the offices of Gallin and Morrey. This is Shana speaking; how may I help you?" I heard the smile in Shana's voice as she answered the phone.


"Hey Shana, it's Michael. Is Sandy in?"


"Michael!" she giggled. "Yeah, he just went up the elevator actually."


"Oh, great. I guess I'll wait until he settles down. How have you been?"


"I've been great! Sandy has been awesome enough to let me go a couple of days out of the week to go on auditions."


"Oh, yeah? Like, what?"


"All kinds of auditions. Sitcoms, drama shows and whatnot. I'm so lucky to have a boss that lets me work on my dreams while working for him at the same time."


"Very lucky. Not everyone gets that opportunity. I really hope you get the part. You have the perfect look for television."


"Oh, really? You think so?"


"Of course! You'll be a household name before you know it."


"Thank you, Michael. I really appreciate that... Oh. There's a call coming through. I'm going to go ahead and put you over to Sandy. Tell Shayla I said, hello! Talk to you later, Michael," she said just before putting me on hold. Hiring Sandy as my manager was the best thing I could have ever done. He's an excellent manager and the people he has working for his office couldn't be any less of amazing. My only wish is that I'd found him sooner. But everything worked out in the end.


"Michael! What's going on?" Sandy answered the phone rather excitedly.


"Shayla's on her book tour, so you know what that means for me."


"Valentine's Day plans! If you need any help, let me know. I know that woman like the back of my hand."


"Ha ha ha, very funny," I rolled my eyes.


"I'm kidding!" he laughed. "Now, what's really going on? Oprah is in a couple of days."


"I know... That's why I called you. We chose not to discuss any questions she may have for me and I didn't tell her anything was off-limits. Do you think that was a good choice?"


"I mean... if you want the air to be cleared on a lot of the tabloid junk, I think that was a perfect choice."


"You really think so? I expect her to ask about my skin. That's a given. I'm not even worried about that. I know she's going to ask about Shayla. I've got that in the bag."


"So, you are not confirming it with Oprah?"


"Correct. Shayla and I are confirming it together and since Shayla won't be here, then there's no announcement. Speaking of that, I'm not wearing my wedding band on the show."


"You're not?!"


"No. I'm not giving her anything to ask about in terms of me being married yet. People I know may know, but the media doesn't know until I want them to know yet and I'm keeping it that way."


He sighed, "if you say so."


"Can you think of anything else she may ask about?"


"Besides Shayla?"


"Besides Shayla. I've got that. Trust me."


"Your childhood, most definitely. Any plastic surgeries you may have had. Oh and she just might ask you about Neverland."


"Anything else you can think of?" I asked.


"Nope." I sighed. He's right. I'm definitely going to have to talk about plastic surgery. I totally forgot about that. But I talked about what I had done in my autobiography, so I don't know what she would really have to ask about.


"Thanks... By the way, after this, I don't have anything else planned, right?"


"You just have the Grammys on the twenty-fourth and next month you have the Soul Train Awards."


"Ugh. That's right... And that's it, right?"


"As of now, yes."


"Okay..." I nodded. "Thanks, Sandy."


"Tell my love I said, hello!"


"I'll tell my wife you said hello, Sandy," I laughed. "Bye." How could I have possibly forgotten about the Grammys and the Soul Train Awards? With everything going on with Shayla's book tour and Oprah, I guess it just slipped my mind. Now I've got to figure out who I'm going to the Grammys with since Shayla won't be here. It's not last minute, but I would have much rather had asked last month or something. I'll figure something out. Shayla would have loved to attend the Grammys, but for all I know, she'll be clear across the country. I don't want her to have to come all the way over here just for a show. There will be plenty of other Grammy award shows we can go to together. I'm not even going to stress it. The phone rang loudly beside my ear and I was just as quick to answer it.


"Hey, baby," Shayla yawned into the phone.


"Long day?" I asked her.


"You don't even know the half of it. Today was a breeze. The San Diego crowd was much less critical than the San Francisco crowd."


"You didn't get another critical audience member?"


"Nope. Although, I kind of want one again. They give me something different to talk about."


"I don't think you're ever going to get anyone as critical as Mr. High and Mighty Baker though."


She laughed, "he wasn't on a high horse. He just knows good work, is all."


"Yeah, well, there's a better way of conveying it."


"How did your day go?"


"I... didn't do anything today. I've just been at home relaxing and thinking about this Oprah thing."


"Nervous?"


I sighed, "nope."


"Just don't stress, okay?"


"Oh, I'm not stressing. I'm going to give her honest answers. There's nothing to stress about. In fact, I called Sandy to ask him what else he thinks she may ask. By the way, he and Shana say hi."


"Who?"


"Shana... the front desk lady," I reminded her.


"Oh! That's right. She's so sweet. How's Sandy?"


"Sandy's doing well, I guess. But he gave me some ideas as to what Oprah may ask as well."


"You know I'll be watching you while you're on air, so don't do anything stupid."


I laughed, "I won't... Oh, I'm not wearing my wedding band on the show. I just wanted to let you know that."


"So, she won't ask about it, right?"


"Precisely."


"Sounds good. I was wondering what you were going to do about that anyway since we said we were announcing it together."


"I'm keeping my word on that. I'm not even going to give her the chance to ask about it."


"You never know. She might remember it and still ask."


"And I'll just tell her it means something special to me," I shrugged.


"...baby..." Shayla sighed.


"What?"


"I'm going to be in Louisville on the fourteenth."


"Okay...?"


"Which means, I can't come back home for Valentine's Day. You know that's like a five-hour flight. I'll have no time to fly all the way back home."


I sighed, "you're kidding me, right?"


"No... I'm sorry. I know how much it means to you that I be back home. I told Remi not to schedule a meet and greet on Valentine's Day, but she couldn't get around it for some reason. I forgot what she said about it." Well, this completely ruins any plans I had for us having a warm Valentine's Day. Now I'll just have to plan for cold weather.


"It's alright. I'll figure something out."


"If you have to postpone whatever you had planned, I'm sure it'll still feel like Valentine's Day."


"No... it's not the same. I'll figure it out. Don't worry about it."


"You sure?"


"Positive. How's Remi doing?"


"She's doing well since the whole Mr. Baker thing. Other than that, she's fine. Completely off-topic, but did you know the Grammys come on later this month?"


"Sandy just reminded me. I completely forgot all about it."


"It sucks that I can't be there. Are you going to find you a hot date?"


"It's going to take some searching. You know with everyone seeing you on my arm the past couple of weeks, whoever I bring won't even compare."


"You've got that right!"


I laughed, "I'll find someone though. I think I've got time."


"Yeah... hey, I love you, baby, but Remi is taking me out for some much-needed drinks. I'll call you tomorrow morning, alright?"


"Have fun! Love you!"


"Love you too!" she hung up. I sighed, staring up at the ceiling. It's so boring without Shayla here. I have the whole world in the palm of my hand. I can do anything I want, but I've done it all. Thirty-four years old and no children. I'd be lying if I didn't say it'd be nice to hear the pitter-patter of small feet running on the floor. I want children badly, but with everything going on, I just don't have the time. It'd be nice though. Especially for days like these when my wife is on tour. Shayla and I would make the best parents. I can see it now. My son or daughter running around the house as I chase them down for a bath or to get them ready for bed. It's a true dream of mine and I can't wait for Shayla to get back from her tour, because it's time for us to work on our family.

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