I walked off the airplane and looked out at the tarmac. Michael stood beside the Rolls Royce. Fedora hat on. Sporting his infamous black shades and red blouse. Waiting for me. I smiled.
"Welp, I guess this is goodbye until you get ready to write your next book?" Remi asked me.
I sucked my teeth, "Remi, this isn't goodbye. You know that. Stop being dramatic."
She shrugged. "I'm just saying. Michael is gonna keep you on that ranch forever making up on all the lovemaking y'all missed out on."
"Girl!" I playfully slapped her arm.
"I'm just saying!" she laughed as we began walking down the stairs. "I won't see you until next year. He ain't about to play with you, girl."
"Anyway..." I rolled my eyes. "I'll see you soon, okay?"
"Love you, girl," she pulled me in for a hug. "I had fun traveling the states with you. Pretty soon, we'll be traveling the globe together."
"I look forward to it." I turned away from her and looked at Michael in all his splendor. I missed that man. Missed him to the core. Pretty soon, we'll be going on my book tours together just as I've gone on his tours with him. God, I can't wait for our marriage to be announced. I'm ready for this hype to be over. Michael smiled as I walked over. "Did you drive here?"
"Just me." He shrugged.
"Did you have to come here in your entire get up or...?" I joked.
"It looks like you like what you see, so... I think it actually worked," he smirked as he began to walk over to me.
"How was Boston?" he kissed me once we finally made our way over to each other.
"Your Boston fans are something else. Roland had to call a security company to help."
"Once we separated my fans and your fans, I was left with like fifteen," I laughed.
"Better than nothing."
"You're telling me."
"Where is Roland by the way?"
"I sent him on his way. We won't need him until the Soul Train Awards, right? We should be fine."
"Well... that's actually what I wanted to talk to you about," he took my suitcase and put it in the trunk. Once we got in the car, he started it and drove. "We're gonna need Roland around more than ever pretty soon."
"Why is that?"
"We need to announce our marriage soon."
"Why?" He made it seem like it was a life or death situation. The only reason I care to announce it at this point is so that Michael's fans could quit badgering me with questions about my husband. That and I guess it's about time. Despite the people we told, I'm over the media already speculating things.
"Sandy has been getting calls about us."
"He told me that... You want to announce our marriage because of Sandy? Not because of us?"
"No..." he shook his head. "You know we're announcing it for us. I'm just saying. You aren't the only one being affected out here. You're the main reason I want to announce it. We all know I'm not being affected by this."
"So, we have to decide when."
"You want to make this a big thing, don't you?" Knowing my husband, he wants fireworks, a televised show and possibly a full out spread in the papers announcing our marriage.
"Not unless you want to," he looked over at me.
"I just want to go about my daily life."
"Once we announce it, we'll just go about our daily lives. I promise."
"I'm serious, Michael. I don't want anything all that big. It's not even that serious to me. I know it's a big deal to you, but I just want to live my life with you in the spotlight now. That's it."
He nodded slowly as if he understood, but he had something else on his mind. "I know." I know for a fact he wants this to be a big thing.
I sighed, rolling my eyes, "how big do you want this announcement?"
He pressed his lips together and sighed. "I don't want anything but a spread in the papers."
"I figured. What kind of spread?"
"Oh, you know... Our wedding photos... When we met... An interview... Just small stuff like that."
"Small stuff like that. Yeah, okay... How soon?"
"Well, let's get you home first. I'm sure your feet are probably swollen, and you just want to lay in bed for a while. We don't have to worry about it. I just thought I'd bring it up to you."
"Good idea, because at this point this sounds like business and I definitely don't want to talk any more business."
"You've got my word on that," he took my hand in his and kissed it. I watched as he kissed my hand. He's making our marriage sound like some business strategy and I don't get why he would even want to do that. I understand the interviews. That will come with the territory, so I'm not worried about that. I have the option of accepting to do them or not. I'm going to do it because I know for a fact people are going to have many questions for us as a couple and that's the best way to end that for sure. But dang. We've been married for ten years and now this whole announcement thing is just a big old business thing for him.
"Have you talked to that family?" I asked. In all honesty, I'm curious. But in the same breath, I don't even care to hear about them. I just want to make sure they're no longer in the picture. June, not so much her husband or her children, just comes off as an opportunist to me.
"Nope. Not in a while actually. June had called to apologize to me. Other than that, I haven't talked to them in a while."
"Apologize?" I looked over at him. "Apologize for what?"
He shrugged. "The last time I saw them I let the kids choose anywhere they wanted to go. They chose Universal, so I set it up for them to go. When June found out, she actually sounded disappointed in her children's choice. She thought they'd choose somewhere she wanted to go. Dave apologized on her behalf, then a day after the Grammys, she called to apologize. She said she didn't mean to sound ungrateful."
I shook my head. No she didn't have the audacity to get mad that my husband decided to take her and her ungrateful family somewhere he didn't have to take them. I shook my head, "didn't I tell you? I hope you told her ungrateful behind I wasn't going to lunch with her either."
His eyes darted from side to side as he stared out at the road. "I told her you were looking into it."
I sucked my teeth. "Why did you tell her that?"
"Babe, you know I couldn't tell her you didn't even give it a second thought. Because you know you didn't."
"And? I don't think that gave you a reason to tell her I'm looking into it. Now she's expecting it to actually happen."
"Forget her. It's not about her anyway. It's about the kids. Jordie and Lily are the most well-mannered kids I've ever met. They got along really well with our nieces and nephews."
"What are you implying, Michael?"
He sighed. "I'm just saying I'm only being kind because of the kids. I could care less about June and her ungratefulness."
"Yeah, but you have to get through June to get to the kids. So, no. If it's really in your heart to help some children, I'm with you. You know that. I'm sure there's a long list of kids from the Make-A-Wish Foundation that are literally dying to meet you. No offense to the kids, baby, but I told you from the get-go those parents weren't any good. Aren't we supposed to be working on our own family anyway?"
"Now that you're back, of course, we can. I couldn't work on our family without you," he joked, successfully lightening up the conversation.
"I know..." I managed a laugh. "I'm just saying. You've spent how much with this family? I just think it's time we officially start on our own. You said that before I left, remember?"
"Yeah, I remember... We've got the tour soon though. I don't want you pregnant and traveling the world. I won't allow that. I need you stable, relaxed and all that other great stuff that isn't stressful on you and our baby."
"You're right... But uh... You better knock me up quick. I'm almost pushing forty," I jokingly warned him.
"I know, I know..." he shook his head, laughing. Being away from Michael has really made me think about having a child more often than not. I'm thirty-two years old. They say a woman's prime for baby-making is in her twenties and I've surpassed that. Apparently, thirty on up can either cause complications for my child or for me. And who knows about the possible fertility factors that men get the older they get in age. I don't want any of those problems. But one thing for sure is I want to have children. Not that I'm trying to rush myself, my body or feel like I'm too late. I just feel that I'm ready now. With everything Michael and I have accomplished, there's no way our child won't be well taken care of. I just feel it's time.