Chapter 39

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I can't wait for me and Shayla to be on the covers of Ebony and Essence. Those covers will become staples all over America. We'll be one of the pinnacles of Black Love. When America thinks of Black Love, they'll think of us. Black, White, Asian, Hispanic. It doesn't really matter. We'll be the true definition of love and that's exactly what I want everyone to see. How much we love each other, what we've gone through these past ten years and how we've overcome it. Hopefully, we can be an inspiration to couples all around the world. That's my vision. I just need Shayla to see it. It's bigger than an announcement. It's bigger than just telling the world we've been together for so long. It's the joy we'll give people. The inspiration. The goals... She just needs to see that. She just needs to see that we'll be an example for people. Just like how we're an inspiration to our own respective fanbases, together we'll be an inspiration. That's all I want.


Shayla came back in the office and sat down.


Sandy looked over the brim of his glasses, "everything okay?" I looked at Shayla too.


She rolled her eyes, "Double Day wants me to include Michael to boost my book sales."


"What?" Sandy and I asked.


"Remi just called me about it. I said no. Why should I?"


"You shouldn't! No offense, Michael, but we all know Shayla made her books sell as much as they did, not you. Just like you made your own albums sell and not her."


I'm not even bothered by it. I shrugged. "None taken. Why would they ask you that? They can't disrespect you like that."


"Ask Remi. I don't know. They asked me to put more of you in my bio and an updated photo of us. I don't remember us collaborating on my books together."


"Me either. And Remi said this?"


She sighed. "Remi said this."


We wrapped up the remainder of the meeting and went to one of the hideouts. Why would they ask her something like that? Sandy wouldn't dare ask me to include Shayla in any of my music or when it comes to creating the booklet or anything. What happened to the agreement we had with Double Day? Did they feel as if that was suddenly out the window now that we've announced our marriage? The nerve of them to disrespect my wife's artistry like that. She's done fine on her own. Why do they think I need to be added to do what she's already been doing?


As Shayla went upstairs, I received a phone call on my mobile phone. I went to my office to take the call, "hello?" I answered.


"Hi. Is this Michael Jackson?" The male voice on the other end asked me.


I looked at the phone in confusion. "May I ask who's inquiring?"


The guy cleared his throat. "Evan. Evan Chandler. My son is Jordie Chandler. To my knowledge you've been spending a lot of time with him and his family?"


Why is he calling me? How did he even get my number? And I thought Evan wasn't present in Jordie's life... "Yeah... I've heard of you. Are Jordie and Lily okay?"


"Okay? Yeah, yeah! Jordie is right here actually. He was the one who begged me to call you. He's just been raving about how much fun he's had with you and your wife at the ranch. But when he told me that they had to leave abruptly after what his mother said, my son was pretty disappointed. Now, June... She can be a nutcase at times. I just want you to know that I believe my son and I ultimately believe you. I know you're not like that. My son told me that. And I know I can believe my son, so hey. But let me tell you, Jordie really appreciated those trips to your ranch."


I smiled. I'm glad to hear that. It seems as though June is the ungrateful one and Evan isn't as bad as described. I see why they got a divorce. "You know, despite what June concocted in her mind, the entire family was a pleasure to be around. Jordie and Lily had a ball and I really enjoyed being able to help out."


"Jordie really misses that. I usually only get him maybe once or twice a month, but as of late, we've been together more. We've been catching up on everything in each other's lives and when he told me he's been hanging out with you and your wife, I thought to myself, 'what are the odds that my son would get in contact with Michael Jackson?' He told me how you all met and how much you've helped him and his mother. I'm sure Jordie has thanked you a ton, but I also want to thank you on my son's behalf. He's beyond grateful."


"You all are more than welcome. I haven't met you though, Evan. I've heard many things about you, but I've never actually met you..."


"Hopefully you've heard nothing but good things about me."


I laughed, knowing I've heard nothing but the opposite. "I'd like to make my own judgment. Besides, it's so good to hear that Jordie is with you. He's expressed to me that he doesn't see you often."


"All that has changed recently. I've been spending so much time with my boy... Michael, when is a good time to meet you and your wife? And is it okay if I bring my other son, Nikki, along?"


"Of course! You're all more than welcome." Being that I had nothing else to do today. I told Evan I could come visit today if it was alright with him. Evan was ecstatic about being able to meet and gave me his address. I got off the phone and grabbed my keys. I can't forget to tell Shayla as soon as I get back. I don't want her to worry about me and I most definitely don't want her to tell me what to do. I just feel like meeting with Evan would have a much different outcome than how it was with June.


VII


I walked up to Evan's house and knocked on the door. Apart of me felt uneasy because of what I've heard about Evan, but I feel I just make my own personal judgment about this man. From what I know thus far, he's just a man who has blatantly chosen not to really be in his sons' life. But after hearing all that, why does he feel the need to be in Jordie's life now? I mean, I can't knock him for trying, but last time Jordie was over, he was still talking about how his dad doesn't see him often. Now that tune has suddenly changed? I just want to meet the guy and go. June lied on me and I'm sure she and Dave now have a bad taste in their mouths about me and my wife after we made them leave after that. Jordie has been innocent throughout this whole thing. It's only right I meet his birth father. Although I told Shayla we were done helping this family, that doesn't mean I have to stop helping an innocent child. It was his mother who was the lunatic, not Jordie.


"Michael!" Evan smiled as he opened the door. "Nikki and Jordie have been excited since I told them you were coming by." He welcomed me in, leading me into the kitchen. "It's crazy how you've been spending all this time with my son and his family and this is the first time we're meeting. Where was my invite?"


I laughed. "Neverland is open to everyone. I'm surprised Jordie didn't invite you himself."


"Well, that makes both of us! So, you've met my crazy ex-wife and her interesting husband. Now you can meet the one that isn't crazy. Jordie told me how you all met. Do you want some water or anything? Have a seat. Make yourself at home." Evan said as he made his way to the refrigerator.


"June and Dave were kind enough to rent my wife and me a car after our jeep broke down. Do you have any OJ?"


"Hey, Dad! Is Mi-" A little boy came running in the room. "Michael Jackson!" The boy exclaimed once he saw me.


"Are you going to introduce yourself?" Evan asked.


The boy walked up to me. "Hi, Michael... I'm Jordie's little brother, Nikki. Jordie's told me sooo much about Neverland. Do you think we can visit soon?"


I laughed. "If it's okay with your parents, it's fine with me."


"Nick, go get your brother, will ya?" Evan told his son. Nikki was quick to run off. Jordie didn't mention a little brother... Were they really not that close? "Congratulations on your marriage, Michael."


"Thanks." I nodded.


"How long have the two of you been married?"


"Coming up on ten years..."


"Ten years. Wow. And you're only just now coming out about it?"


"We wanted to work on our marriage before the public knew about it. You see how celebrity marriages go. We didn't want that."


"Good thinking. Your wife is beautiful, Michael. I can't wait to meet her. Jordie says she's a tough cookie, but she's a sweetheart."


I laughed. "That she is."


"You know when I married June, everything went smooth until it went haywire. We divorced when Jordie was barely five. I loved her, but you know some people grow apart. Glad to know you and your wife have stuck it through. Any plans on having kids yet?"


"We're trying to start our family now actually. I can't wait to have kids." I smiled.


"Well, at least you know by now that your wife is the right woman to have them with."


Did he feel that June was the wrong woman to have children with? I cleared my throat. "What do you do for a living?"


He sighed. "I'm a dentist by day, but by night I dream of going into filmmaking."


"So, do it!" I encouraged him. "Follow your dream."


"You know how much money that takes?" He lightly chuckled. "It's going to take a lot. But before I get into the big business of filmmaking, I've been writing. I have tons of screenplays written that are just waiting to see the light of day."


"Send them in to someone. I'm sure someone will read it, pick it up and turn it into the film you've always dreamed of."


He nodded. "You know what? You're right. I'm gonna-"


"The real question is, when are we going back to Neverland?" Jordie came into the kitchen with his brother in tow.


Evan looked between me and Jordie. "Uh... That's a good question. Michael, is it okay with you?"


"Um..." I was stuck. Shayla and I just put Jordie and the rest of his family on the ban list. Now, his father and brother want to come. If Shayla hears about the ban on Jordie being lifted, she'll have a fit. "I have to talk to my wife about it first."


"Oh," Jordie waved off the idea. "Mrs. Jackson is so cool, dad. She wouldn't mind. She doesn't like mom, but she loved me and Lily. We should be good. Don't you think, Michael?"


I nodded to assure Jordie he was right, but inside, I know it's going to be like fighting tooth and nail to get Shayla to understand that it's June we have the problem with and not the whole family. I'm not ready to have this conversation with my wife and quite frankly, I'd absolutely hate to disappoint Jordie, his father, and Nikki.

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