Chapter 34

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Michael and I smiled and waved at the fans as we made our way to the car. Once we made it over, Michael waved once more before opening the door. The smile on my face showed that I was happy, but inside I was pissed. Can he quit with the façade already so we can get in this car and go? I've been ready to go since we got here and he's making this last longer than it should have. Roland must have sensed that I was over it, because he opened the door for me, and I immediately slid into the backseat of the car. After what seemed like forever, Michael finally got in the car with the biggest smile on his face. He was pumped.


"Wasn't that fun?" He asked me excitedly.


I looked at him and folded my arms across my chest, "no."


His face scrunched up in confusion. "What do you mean, 'no?' They loved us out there!"


"You just had to do what you wanted to do, huh?" Michael looked away from me. A slight smirk formed on his face, which only infuriated me. "Because I wanted a small announcement, you had to pull a publicity stunt? How many of those paps were hired by you, huh? Were Bill and Roland in on this too?"


He shrugged as if it didn't even matter to him. "They were there for our protection."


"But they had to know what you had planned. You humiliated me out there. Do you realize that? I didn't know what to expect. You had me out there smiling like some idiot. Tugging me whatever way you wanted me to go. I'm not your puppet. I'm your wife. Nothing about me has changed, but clearly, something in you has."


"You didn't look humiliated. You looked like you were having a good time."


"Because I was about two seconds from cussing you out! That's why."


"Look, I'm the same man you married all those years ago. I don't know what you're so up in arms about. We had a good time." He said nonchalantly. He really doesn't care how much this upset me. Since he got what he wanted, that's all that matters at this point.


"No, you had a good time. Don't pull that with me. Take me home."


"We're heading to Hayvenhurst because everyone is excited that we finally announced."


"You probably have people waiting at the gates to take photos of us. I'll pass. Take me home."


"Mom would love it if-"


"I don't care. Take me to the hideout now."


Michael sighed and told our driver to take me to the nearest hideout. I'm so upset that I don't even want to look at him. Who is he to pull this kind of stunt when I clearly said I wanted a small announcement and that we could do one interview? That just wasn't enough for him, huh? He wants to parade me around like I'm some puppy. Thinking he can tell me what to do like I'm one of his little employees. I'm trying to figure out what in his mind switched to where he feels like this is even remotely okay. What the hell happened when I was gone all that time?


"I don't see the issue. You got what you wanted and I obliged. Now that I got what I wanted, you-"


"You didn't even talk to me about it," I interrupted. "You were visibly upset with me last night because of what happened after our small announcement. Then you go behind my back and pull this. So, yes. I am upset. And there's nothing wrong with it."


"I didn't go behind your back. I-"


"But you did. And you know you did. You called whoever you needed to get in contact with while I was asleep and planned the whole thing. Tell me. How did they get all those fans there, huh? Surely someone had to get that many fans there because I know for a fact that many people wouldn't just be walking all willy nilly out there at this time of day."


He shrugged. "You never know."


I scoffed. "Whatever."


"What do you want me to tell Katherine? I told her we'd be coming by today."


"You tell her that you blind sighted me and when I caught onto your crap I didn't want to come over."


"She'll be heartbroken that you didn't come."


"Who are you right now? Do you hear yourself? Don't try to freaking manipulate me, Michael. Your mind games won't work over here!" I could care less if he feels like his mother would be hurt if I didn't come by. My mother in law is the least of my concern right now. Going over there would only piss me off even more. I'll let him tell his family why I didn't come over. And he better tell them that he went behind my back and planned this whole publicity stunt. I have nothing to say to him. I'm not his puppet and I'm not going to allow him to think he can pull me wherever he wants. It never worked that way before. Why all of a sudden is he trying to pull that crap now? What has gotten into him? I just know that since he did this once, he's bound to do it again, so I have to nip this in the bud now.


I looked over at him, "don't pull a publicity stunt like that on me again. I know you probably have another one up your sleeve."


He continued to look out the window and sighed. "Okay, Shayla."


"I mean it, Michael. I didn't sign up for publicity stunts."


"You knew exactly what you signed up for when you agreed to marry me."


"You're right. I did know what I signed up for. I knew what came with being married to you, but you and I both know I didn't sign up to be your damn puppet or some trophy wife. I know what came with the territory of being with you. But publicity stunts weren't one of them."


He groaned and finally looked at me. "I've been pulling publicity stunts for years. Shouldn't you be happy that I finally included you in one?"


"Maybe if you had told me about it. Do you not understand that you set me up?" What is he not understanding?!


"When have my publicity stunts ever really been planned? I always think of them the day of. It's a surprise. That's what a publicity stunt is. You know that."


"You know what?" I threw my hands up in frustration. "I give up. You don't get what you did was wrong? Fine. I'm done having this conversation because it's clearly not going anywhere."


"I can't wait to see the photos they have of us."


"Are you serious? You're kidding me right now, right? That's all you can think about right now is those stupid photos? After I just told you I'm upset about this whole thing?"


"I was talking to myself."


"Yeah, well I'm talking to you. You said that shit out loud for me to hear it, Michael."


"Don't curse."


"Don't tell me what to do, Michael. I'm pissed. And you're not making it any better. You don't even care. You're more worried about how the public sees our marriage than what's actually going on. I'm mad, Michael. Mad! Can't you see that? You don't care that I'm mad at you. You're more worried that the photos came out right that makes us look happy instead of the angry wife right in front of you. Is that resonating in your mind right now? Do you see the logic? Are you getting it?"


He sighed and looked me in the eye, opened his mouth to say something, shook his head and looked back out the window.


"You're not going to say anything?"


"I have nothing to say."


VII


Bill and I pulled up to the gates of the Hayvenhurst residence. Fans and cameramen screamed at the sight of the car. I rolled down the windows and waved.


"Where's Shayla?" A cameraman asked me.


"She's at home not feeling well. She sends her love to our fans all over the world." I told them. Photo after photo was taken. Question after question was asked and I didn't even have time to answer them all. Without Shayla, I didn't want to answer all of their questions. Now I just wanted to be around my family to celebrate. The driver drove through the gates and dropped me and Bill off at the front door so he could get the car washed.


"What are you going to say when they see me instead of Shayla?" Bill jokingly asked, but his question was very serious.


I shrugged. "The truth." I opened the door to the sweet aroma of a home-cooked meal and the warm aura that came when you knew you were with family that loved you.


"Uncle Mike is here!" Yashi announced for everyone else to hear.


"Where's Shayla?" Carol stopped once she saw me.


"She didn't want to come."


"'Didn't want to come?' Why? We're celebrating the announcement. She should be here."


"We had a disagreement."


"Well," she sighed. "What's the use in having a get together over something that should have been announced years ago when Shayla isn't even here? I'm going to call her and see what's up." She walked away. I went to the living room to find my parents playing checkers with Janet and Brandi.


Janet looked up. "Hey, Mike! Where's Shayla?"


"She didn't want to come."


"Huh?" Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked up at me. "What do you mean she didn't want to come?"


"She just didn't." I shrugged and went to find a seat. "She told me to tell you guys the truth, so there it is."


"She just didn't want to come?" Mom asked. "I find that hard to believe. Did you and Shayla get into an altercation or something?"


"We had a disagreement."


"Over what?" Rebbie asked.


"Um." I sighed. "We had an event to go to today that I kind of made her go to without knowing. So, she's a bit upset with me right now."


"What did you do?" Randy asked.


"I just brought her along. That was it. She turned it into this big thing."


"What kind of event was it?" Mom asked me.


"Just something for the fans to see us."


Janet sighed. "A publicity stunt?"


"Just for the fans to see us. That's all."


"She didn't come because you made her go do a publicity stunt and she was upset with you because of it," Marlon said as if he wanted to understand what was being said.


"Yes."


"What'd you pull the publicity stunt for?" Joseph asked me.


I shrugged. "I just wanted the fans to see us."


"For what?" Marlon asked me.


"Because it's time. Don't you think it's time?"


"Did Shayla think it was time?" Janet asked.


"I don't know." I shrugged.


"You don't know if your wife thought it was time for your fans to see you together?" Marlon asked. Of course, he'd ask that.


"Look. I got it enough from Shayla. I don't need it from you guys. Can we just continue to celebrate the announcement? We could have another one when Shayla gets over it, okay?"


Carol came rushing in and shook her head once she saw me. "I can't believe you did that to Shayla. You humiliated her, Michael. What happened to you wanting to protect her from the spotlight? Now you're just putting her out there like that like her safety doesn't even matter anymore?"


"Bill and Roland were there!" I defended myself.


"I remember when you super protective about her even being scrutinized by the media. Now, you just want to put on a show."


"I've grown since then, Carol. Come on now. That was at the beginning of our marriage. We've grown past that now."


"I'm going to check on Shayla," she grabbed her purse and hurried out the door. I don't think it's that serious. Shayla got what she wanted. I got what I wanted. Now my family is upset with me. What about me and my feelings? It's my marriage too. Not just Shayla's. If I want the world to know about our marriage, I'm going to make sure they know. If Shayla wants our marriage to be a whisper. Fine. She can do that. We both have our own fanbases which I'm sure have now formed into one. Either way, we can choose to show our marriage to the world however we want to according to our fanbases. Why is this such an issue?

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