Chapter 38

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"Did you give June that bracelet set?" I asked Michael as soon as he locked the door. Seeing June with that jewelry set that I hadn't seen on her all weekend pissed me off, especially when she told me Michael gave it to her. I do what my husband says and help him with this family. I'm kind to them. I ignore June's sly comments. But this? This was the icing on the cake.


"Yeah. Why?" Michael came over to me. He has no shame. He doesn't see why that's so wrong to reward the person who lied on him in our own house. The house we allowed those opportunists of a family in and lay their heads. Let them roam around our property as if it were their own. She lies and she gets rewarded for lying? I just can't seem to wrap my mind around it. In fact, when did he even have the time to- Oh. He must have had someone pick it up.


"You bought her a Cartier jewelry set after she just lied on you in our house?" I tried to make sense of his idiotic gesture.


"Yeah. I didn't want any hard feelings between us because of this."


"You didn't want any hard feelings between you two after she just accused you of allowing her child in our room?"


He sighed. "Babe, it's not that deep. I know she was wrong. You know I was just as upset about it as you are, but it's water under the bridge now. We won't be seeing them anymore. Let's leave it alone, okay?"


"Leave it alone? Michael... You rewarded her for lying on you."


He looked taken aback. "Rewarded? No. I just gave her a goodbye piece."


"Did you give Dave a 'goodbye piece?'"


"No."


"The kids?"


"No."


"But it made sense to give June one?"


"I didn't want any hard feelings. Forgive and forget. I forgave and now we can forget. Can we forget it, babe? I know you're upset because I'm still upset about it. I just don't want to talk about it anymore." I didn't know what to say. I understand forgiving them, but right now, I can't forget this. I've been telling him that something was crooked about June this whole time and now that its' happened and he brushes it under the rug like it means nothing, I can't help but feel so confused right now. "I don't want to talk about it anymore. I'm going to call security, put them on our ban list and things will go back to normal. How does that sound?" He kissed me on my forehead. "I'm sorry. You were right. We're never seeing that family again." He pressed his lips together, caressed my face then went to our bedroom. I almost feel empty. Something as serious as that was just brushed under the rug and he doesn't even want to talk about it anymore? I get we're banning them off the property, but we're not going to address the issue at hand? We're not going to call June and Dave and talk to them about how awful of a lie that was that June made up? We're just gonna brush it under the rug and ignore it? What if she feels the need to bring up this whole sham of a lie to the press just because? Brushing this under the rug makes me feel uneasy and quite frankly, I don't know what to do when this issue is bothering me so much and my husband doesn't even want to talk about it.


VII


"Shayla! I've been telling Michael that I couldn't wait for you to come back to the office!" Shana squealed once she saw us walk in Sandy's building. "Could you sign my book for me? It would mean the world!" She neglected the ringing phone on her desk, grabbed her book and hurried over to us. "This book is my favorite," she beamed as she practically shoved 'The Beauty within the Madness' in my face.


"Do you have a pen?" I asked her.


"Yeah!" She hurried back over to her desk and came back quickly to hand it to me. "How did your book tour go?"


"It went well," I told her as I signed her book. "It had its' good and bad moments, but I especially loved meeting my fans."


"I'm sure they loved meeting you too. You're so pretty and so sweet. I bet they couldn't wait to take a photo with you."


"After a while, I had to limit the picture taking," I handed the book back to her. "More of Michael's fans began attending so only so many of my fans ended up actually coming."


She gasped. "Really? Was it bad? This was before the announcement, right?"


"Way before. It was...interesting." I nodded, recanting each and every moment I had of Michael's fans asking me question after question of my relationship with him.


"Well, I'm sure you all are glad it's out now, huh?" She smiled, looking between Michael and me.


I looked at Michael who in turn looked at me. "Yeah... Is Sandy upstairs?"


"Ah!" She hurried back behind her desk and picked up the phone. "I'll tell him you all are coming up right now."


"Thank you, Shana." Michael led me to the elevator doors and pressed 'up.' "She really couldn't wait until you got back."


"After all the times she's seen me up in this office and she just now wants an autograph?" I laughed.

He shrugged. "Maybe the book tour got her excited or something. I don't know." By the time we got upstairs and went into Sandy's office, he took one look at us and sighed. We took our seats in front of his desk.


"The impact of the announcement was cute at best. It wasn't what I expected, but it was cute."


"That was all you and Shayla's doing." Michael felt the need to remind us.


"It still made an impact though." I reminded both of them.


Sandy shrugged. "The cat is finally out of the bag. But the impact was slim to none." Hearing him say that made me feel so small... "That stunt you pulled at the park with the fans, Michael, bumped up your impact. But now it's time for the photoshoots, the printed and televised interviews. The glitz and the glamour!" I guess it was only a matter of time before the whole small announcement thing would be overrun by what Michael really wanted.


Michael smiled and clapped his hands together, sitting up in his seat. "That's what I'm talking about!" I rolled my eyes at him. Everything has to be a show with him.


Sandy pulled out his notepad and put on a new pair of reading glasses. "People Magazine called as soon as the news broke. They want a photoshoot, wedding photos, and an exclusive interview."


"What about Vanity Fair? Did they call?" Michael eagerly inquired.


"Um," Sandy looked through his notes again. "They're interested in knowing what dress Shayla wore to the wedding."


"Even though that was a whole ten years ago?" I asked.


"It's the dress Mrs. Michael Jackson wore to her wedding. Of course they still want to know. They're also interested in a wedding photo and your love story. Not exactly an interview. Just your love story. Maybe you two could write something together and it'll be published in there. I don't know."


"I'll give Vanity Fair an exclusive over People any day. Tell them we have other people who really want an interview with us, but we'd be more than happy to give an exclusive to Vanity. Is that right, babe?" Michael finally asked me.


"That's fine." I honestly don't care. I'm just ready for this freak show to be over with so that we can at least try to get back to our normal lives.


"Oprah's people called," Sandy said.


Michael gasped, "Oprah?"


"She wants a follow-up interview with you and the Missus."


"That's perfect!" Michael enthused. "I already know her. She'll finally get the chance to meet you. Call Oprah's people up and discuss potential dates." Maybe doing an interview with Oprah would be alright. Michael's already done an interview with her earlier this year. Why not do a follow up with someone we're actually familiar with? Plus, it would be like a part two to his previous interview with her. "How do you feel about Oprah, babe?"


"She's familiar. I don't mind. Aside from the odd questions, I think the interview you did with her went well, so if we did one together, it would be just as good."


"Great!" Michael clapped his hands together. "Discuss dates and we'll confirm."


"Okay..." Sandy wrote down something in his notes. "Essence and Ebony called and-"


"Book 'em."


I sucked my teeth, "you didn't even let him finish!"


"Who cares? It's Ebony and Essence. I've done business with them for years. They've treated me and my family like royalty. There's nothing to discuss. Book them. In fact, I almost want to give them an exclusive interview... It's something to think about." Okay. He's right about Ebony and Essence. In fact, I agree. I'd want to give them an interview first over everybody else. We're black first and celebrities second. We have to support our own. My parents always taught me to support black businesses. Mom has just about every issue of each magazine in the house. If there's one thing I would actually be excited about, it would be working with those two magazines since they're such a big part of our culture and my family in particular. Heck, I even remember the Ebony Jr. magazines. I never got them because I was too old, but Mariah got her fair share of copies every once in a while. One thing I know for sure is that I would absolutely love to work with Ebony.


Just as I was about to answer, my mobile phone rang. I took it out of my purse to find that Remi was calling. "I have to take this." I exited the office and sat in the hallway.


"Everyone wants to know if you're going to make a statement," Remi said as soon as I answered.


"About what?" I asked.


"You and your husband."


"No... Why?"


Remi sighed. "Your sales have skyrocketed since the announcement. They want to know if you'll say something on the matter."


"No. What is there to discuss?"


"Oh, you know... How happy you are and that you should elaborate on the bio you've had in your books for years."


"There's nothing to elaborate on."


"Yeah, well, everyone else thinks there is."


"It's not happening," I told her firmly.


"Well, they also want to know if you'll update your photo in your books to a new photo of you with Michael."


"Hell no! I wrote those books, not Michael! Why would I change my photo to a photo of me and my husband? For what? We never wrote my books together."


"To show that you're happily married and because the world finally gets to see the husband you discuss in your bio."


"They can see him any time they want. That doesn't mean he has to be in a photo with me in my book. You don't see me in his album booklets with him. It's just him because he worked on those. Not me. No! What the heck? Why do they want this now? This doesn't excuse the agreement we have with Doubleday about mentioning him. Remi, tell them I said no and that's final."


"I knew you were gonna say that. I'm not surprised."


"Why even ask me then?"


"Because they wanted to know. As I said, since you've finally been announced as a Jackson Jackson, they want to show that connection. Oh, and they might want you to change your bio to include him."


"He is included."


"His name."


"No."


"Say less." She hung up.


The audacity of Doubleday! Granted, Michael got me there, but I busted my ass to keep myself in there. Writing for hours on end, getting amazing advice from editors, writing outlines, changing outlines, changing dates, developing my characters... And they want me to include my husband's image simply because of who he is? Because at the end of the day, that's all it is. They never asked anyone else to include their spouse. Why me? Because my husband just so happens to be the greatest entertainer on earth? Because the announcement of our decade-old marriage boosted my book sales as if before the announcement, I wasn't selling books on my own without his likeness? They done lost their minds! I don't see Sandy breaking his back to make sure I'm included in Michael's music. He won't and never will. I understand that Michael's name garners attention all over the world, but I made my book go number one. Not him! Just as he made his albums go number one without me time and time again. The nerve of Doubleday! Michael only wrote two books under them. Two! I give them plenty and they think I need Michael's likeness to continue to boost sales. This is bullshit.

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