Chapter 33

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The tension was thick as Michael and I got ready for bed. Michael said he had nothing more to say about the topic and I'm fine with that because I couldn't care less to continue this discussion. He was the only one who cared about how big this announcement would mean. I never cared. So, if he wants to be upset about it and not talk to me, by all means. I'm just glad that it's finally been announced. I don't think he understands what I've been through in the latter part of my tour because we hadn't announced our marriage sooner, but we made sure I was with him at every event. His name was already a household name, but he wanted our names to be a household name together before my tour. He succeeded in that, but I don't think either one of us thought of the consequences of it. Especially with my choice of going alone. I've been the only one getting flack about this. For some reason, he doesn't understand.


Michael had the television on Channel Seven just in case our names were brought up. I just want to go to bed. Even if they do have something to say about us, I'm sure it wouldn't be flattering to hear. The local anchors switched over to the gossip anchors just as I was putting on my nightgown and Michael was putting his hair up.


"And now the topic we've all been waiting to discuss..." I turned to look at the television. Michael stopped what he was doing and stared at the TV as well. I guess a small part of me still wanted to know what people thought of our little announcement even if it didn't mean anything to me. The female anchor chuckled in slight disbelief and so much shade. I knew that what I was about to hear her say wasn't going to be taken lightly. She adjusted herself in her seat, "Michael Jackson is married to the author he's been parading around everywhere."


"Ooo woooow..." The male anchor faked his surprise. "Who would have ever known?"


The female anchor laughed. "No seriously, John." She looked down at her paper. "They'll be celebrating ten years together next month."


"Okay. The ten years is questionable, but did we really believe that they weren't married this entire time? Did they really think we were stupid?" He looked right at the camera. "Newsflash Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, just because we're lesser and maybe not as rich as you, doesn't mean we're stupid!" He laughed and looked back at his co-host. "I mean, come on! The rings. Them calling each other 'soulmates' and all that other crap. You know what? With all of that build-up, I'm willing to bet that this marriage isn't even real."


Michael punched his fist into his palm. That must have made him snap. "See!" He looked at me as he gestured toward the television. "This is what I'm talking about. That little side note you wanted has people making fun of us." His voice was louder than normal. He never raised his voice at me, and I wondered why on earth this was so important to him to the point that he felt the need to raise his voice. The fact that he did that made me realize that while I knew that this was important to him in the beginning, it's much more serious than I thought. I understand why, but isn't there a point in time where you grow out of this? I get everything in his life has been big since he was a kid. He's always called the shots. Everything with him has been a big show, but is it really that bad that our ten-year marriage is just a teeny tiny headline instead of being front-page news all over the world?


I sighed and made my way over to the bed and climbed in. "So, you think your big show would make them not make fun of us?" I asked him calmly. This isn't even that serious. We knew people were going to say positive or negative things. We prepared for this. Big or small. Why does this matter so damn much?


"They would have taken us more seriously! This is why we needed to add our wedding photos. This is why we needed to do three interviews: televised, printed and radio. This is why I wanted your family to come out here." He stopped himself and took a deep breath. "Now we're just a joke to the whole world. Look at them laughing at us. I can't believe this." He shook his head in disbelief. He's going to blame these people's ignorance on me? Because I wanted a small announcement, this small nightly news backlash is now my fault? Am I missing something? Isn't this the same man who said less is more? Isn't this the same man who has been a recluse because he didn't want the world in his or our private life? Frank or not? Isn't this the same man who canceled my favorite show all those many years ago because he felt he was being too exposed and that it took away from what he really wanted to do? Isn't this the same man who won't host or present someone a freaking award, no matter how much he knows people would love to be presented an award by him, because he doesn't want to be too exposed? And now he wants to put on a freaking show just so the world will know how real our marriage is? When it's been real for the past nine years without them?


"I'm sleeping upstairs." He began to make his way to the bathroom that led to the upstairs bedroom.


"Good," I said matter of factly. I don't want to deal with this and I don't have to. I could feel Michael watch me as I got comfortable in bed. The tension in the room was thicker than before after I said that. I didn't hear him say a thing. The door opened, closed, and I could hear his size nine in a half feet going up the stairs. I turned off the television and clapped for the lights to turn off. Normally, I'd be upset or feel lonely when Michael chose to sleep upstairs, but not tonight. I'm glad. He has all that pent up negative energy over nothing and I just want to sleep peacefully.


VII


I woke up to Michael scurrying around in his usual "out in the town" garb. That infamous red dress shirt again, the black fedora, and his hair in a ponytail with two curls on either side of his face. As normal as it was to me, I also knew that he must have something on his mind. Something that I knew was important to him but wasn't even remotely important to me. Michael looked over at me to find that I was awake.


"Good morning!" His voice was rather chipper this morning as opposed to his slight hostility last night.


"Good morning." I stood up to stretch.


"I have an engagement planned for us today." He stood in the bathroom door frame as he brushed his teeth.


"What time?" I made my way over to him.


"Ten thirty."


"Where?"


"LA."


"What kind of engagement is it?" Los Angeles is a whole two hours away and he tells me now when I should have been ready to leave instead of getting ready? Why didn't he tell me this last night?


He shrugged. "A little bit of this. A little bit of that. I set it up earlier before you woke up, so don't go saying I could have told you earlier." He laughed between brushing his teeth and went back into the bathroom.


"This isn't a publicity stunt is it?"


He scoffed, "noooo."


VII


It was. Fans screamed at the top of their lungs when they saw us. Men, women, and children alike. There were no boundaries. Men have never been scared to scream when they saw my husband, so I doubt they were screaming at the sight of me. Everyone's face was lit up as if they were witnessing the second coming of Christ. Some had cameras out, but most were living in the moment. Taking it all in because they knew they would probably never get an opportunity like this again. And while everyone else, including my husband, was happy, I was fuming inside. Even though the fans saw me smiling as if everything was okay, I was livid. Michael wanted his show and he got it no matter what it took. I'm sure he figured it would be okay since I allegedly got what I wanted with the "small" announcement. I don't know why he thought it was okay not to tell me where we were going and what we were even doing here. But I can't back out now and he knew that. Because it would make us look bad. I didn't want to make him look bad. And most importantly, I didn't want to make myself look bad. Because I'd been there before, unknowingly, but now that I know, he knows I wouldn't want to put myself in a position like that again. He's in for a rude awakening when this is over though. Because now I'm onto his games. He said this was a big year for us, but I didn't sign up for this. I didn't sign up to be paraded around for the world to see. I didn't sign up to pull publicity stunts. I signed up to be in a marriage with one person, not the whole world. I knew what came with the territory of being married to Michael Jackson, but then again, am I still learning? Ten years of being with him and I figured he'd be the same man I wrote all those years ago, but perhaps this is a new person. They say time changes people. He's been through so many different phases and times of his life, that it would be nearly impossible for him not to change. Was he always this selfish? Or did it just get worse?


Michael put an arm around my waist, leaned in close and pointed to a gentleman out in the crowd holding a camera. "I'm going to let them through so we can all take a photo together."


"No, you're not," I said through the fake smile I effortlessly held. Michael ignored me and gestured for them to come over. The man looked around as if to see if Michael was pointing to him then pointed to himself to make sure he thought correctly. Michael smiled and gestured for him to come over to us. My heart was pounding. I can't believe he would ignore me when I said no and now, he wants a stranger to take a photo with us. Okay. Maybe not a stranger. He's a fan. But I specifically said no.


"What's your name?" Michael asked the man once he finally got over to us.


"Will!" The man cheesed.


"Will, my wife and I would love to take a photo with you," Michael assured him. I continued holding the fake smile although I was furious inside.


"Me, you and Mrs. Jackson?!" Will asked excitedly. I nodded to play along.


"Bill! Roland! Somebody come over here and take this photo for us!" Michael called out. Roland came over and took Will's camera. Will stood between Michael and me as we took several photos. "Promise me you'll send us a copy when you get these printed?" Michael asked Will.


"Yeah! For sure!" Will nodded excitedly.


"Roland will give you an address to send them to. It was nice meeting you, Will." Michael smiled. I smiled as well. I couldn't bear to say anything. I was afraid that if I opened my mouth, I would lash out on my husband for all the world to see. And I didn't want to do that. These fans needed to know we were happy and in love. Even the slightest frown could turn this publicity stunt into what Michael never wanted it to be. And it wasn't that I was smiling to keep Michael happy. No, I was smiling because it was all I could do. I was out now. I got what I wanted, and Michael made a point to get what he wanted. Even if it meant withholding information from me. But it's okay. Because he knows what's coming after this stunt he pulled on me. And it won't be pretty.

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