Chapter 46

Image-empty-state.png

I don't want to focus on the accusations today. The amount of energy Anthony and I have put into this whole thing was beginning to get to me and I had to take a break. After not seeing Remi in a while, I greatly appreciated her asking me out for lunch. We needed to catch up and I desperately needed some girl time.


"I don't want you to think that it was me who wanted you to add your husband into your novels. It was all DoubleDay." Remi assured me.


"I knew it wasn't you. It just hurt that they even requested that of me. I know you'd never do anything like that. You know how hard I work."


"I told them time and time again that you wouldn't go for it, but they begged me to ask you anyway. They called themselves being upset at me when I told them you said no. You know I reminded them of the deal you and Michael had with them."


"They weren't happy, huh?"


"Not in the slightest bit."


"It's whatever. The fact that they even asked me about that bothered me so much that they now have one strike with me. Three strikes and I'm leaving, Remi. I promise."


"No hard feelings if you do." She nodded.


I sighed. "Besides, I've got bigger things to worry about. This family Michael and I have been helping flipped the script on us and feel the need to lie on us."


Remi looked confused. "Lied on you for what?"


"Because Michael didn't like the father's screenplay. He's trying to go into movies or something."


"Just because Michael didn't like his screenplay doesn't mean they have to lie on you..." She took a sip of water.


"He asked Michael for ten million dollars."


Remi's eyes widened in shock. "Ten million dollars?!"


"That's what I said."


"Oh, he lost his mind. What does he need that kind of money for?"


I shrugged. "I don't know. But because Michael said no to the screenplay and the money, he feels the need to concoct this whole scheme against us. But he's got another thing coming because we have receipts and everything else we need in order to sue him for defamation of character and extortion."


"Couldn't you all tell this family was a bunch of leeches before it came to this?"


"That's the thing. I told Michael time and time again about that family. From the time we met them up until now. But you know he's all caught up in that whole 'Heal the World' stuff. He thinks he can help every and everybody and he can't. Not everyone needs our help and most importantly, not everyone is as grateful as others. Some people are just so greedy, and he doesn't get that. I don't know how or why, but he just doesn't get it." I shook my head. This whole thing is so unnecessary and if Michael had just listened to me in the beginning, we wouldn't be in this mess. "But Michael's got so much going on with the third leg of the tour coming up. I'm going to do my best to help prepare this lawsuit before we go on tour."


"Oh, so, you're going?"


"Yeah! Why not? It may be a hectic life, but I love going on tour with him."


"What about everything that's going on regarding your marriage being announced? Are y'all doing any interviews or magazine spreads?"


I smiled. "We've got an interview with Oprah coming up."


"Yes!" Remi squealed. "That's perfect! Oh, I know y'all are like best friends with Oprah now, huh?"


"Not really... You know Michael's people have been talking to Oprah's people. I probably won't meet her until a couple of weeks or so before the interview."


"I can't wait to see y'all on Oprah. You know her viewership has skyrocketed since the interview she did with Michael. I know she's going to be just as glad about the numbers when the interview with you and Michael happens."


"Don't I know it... It'll be our first and last. I want to talk about our marriage once and for all aside from a couple of magazines and that's it. No one really needs to be in our business like that." Remi continued to ramble on about how excited she was about our upcoming interview and although the interview is a couple of months away, I'm already nervous. What do I say to millions of people about what our marriage is like? Surely Oprah will ask invasive questions, but I'll do my best to answer them as if they don't offend me. Aside from the tour, the interview is one other thing that's helping me ignore what's going on with Evan. Although I can't totally ignore it, it's certainly a relief to be able to think about bigger and better things.


VII

August 18, 1993


Roland and I talked and watched as Michael rehearsed for the third leg of his tour. With everything going on, Michael was still performing like he had no care in the world. Probably because I said he shouldn't really worry about it so he could focus more on the tour. But still, you'd never know what was going on in his personal life. As Michael danced and lip-synched over "Dangerous," I found myself tuning Roland out just so I could focus on my husband's dancing. Choreography I had seen all too many times, but he hadn't practiced it in a while, so to see him do it again after all this time was mesmerizing.


"Did you hear me, Shayla?" Roland tapped my shoulder. "I said, would you like to..." As much as I tried to listen to him, I ended up tuning him out again as I watched Anthony walk on stage in the middle of the song. Everyone else continued to dance except for Michael who paused to listen to whatever Anthony was whispering in his ear. Michael's face drew pale as his eyes darted back and forth, intently listening to whatever Anthony had to say. Whatever he just said to him isn't good.


"Um, ladies and gentlemen," Michael's voice cracked as he held his hand up to pause the music. "We're going to end today's rehearsal earlier than expected today. I just got word of an emergency that requires my immediate attention. But before I go, I need you to know that whatever you hear about me in the tabloids isn't true." He opened his mouth to say one more thing but decided against it and went backstage. I stood up immediately to follow him with Roland right on my heel. I didn't even hear a word Roland had said. I'll get back to him after I talk to Michael. I opened the door to Michael's dressing room to find him sitting in front of the vanity leaned back in his chair in deep thought.


I shut the door behind me. "What did Anthony say?" I could literally feel the anger in the air. Whatever he was told really pissed him off.


After a while of silence, he finally said, "you were right about that family."


I sighed. "Did Evan say something to Anthony?"


"No... The news is out."


"What news?" I asked, but I already knew.


"The LAPD is opening a criminal investigation on me."


"What?" My heart dropped and just like Michael's, I could feel the blood draining from my face.

Michael collected his thoughts and words before he said anything else. "He said that they interviewed June about it, and she felt that I was abusing Jordie, but in the same breath she didn't know."


"We need to hurry up and sue. Where's Anthony?" I went to open the door.


"He said with the LAPD investigating me, there's nothing we can do right now but continue to put together our case and allow them to question me if need be."


"Nothing we can do? What does he mean? No. There's something we can do about it alright." I opened the door. "Roland, tell Anthony we need him." What does he mean, "there's nothing we can do?" Has he lost his mind? Telling Michael that there's a criminal investigation being opened up on him doesn't mean that we have to stop with our case against Evan. That only means we have to come harder than Evan is! Anthony opened the door and walked into the room. "What do you mean there's nothing we can do?"


"I mean," he sighed. "We have to let the police do what they have to do while we're getting our case together."


"That doesn't even make sense. Are you serious right now? No. We have to serve Evan and his attorney or something. I'm not about to just sit here and let my husband be investigated on a crime he didn't even commit!"


"But you have to remember," Anthony looked between Michael and I. "You're about to go to Bangkok in two days. What can we really do while we're getting ready for a tour? You all get ready to go to Thailand and I'll work over here to find someone more qualified to get this together. You don't have to worry about this. I got this. I just wanted to let Michael know what was going on."


"Thank you, Anthony." Michael nodded. "But there's really nothing we can do right now?"


"Aside from abiding by what the police want, there's nothing. But don't you worry about it, Michael and Shayla. We'll defend it and you know we'll win. The odds are in your favor."


"Are they really though? Something as serious as this can destroy my reputation, Ant. My career! I've worked so hard for this. All my life, I've worked tirelessly to get to the top and I refuse to lose it over some lie."


"You won't lose it, Michael. I promise you. We're going to fix this. But I want for you and Mrs. Jackson is to get ready to go to Thailand for this tour."


"But... if I go so soon, won't the police be asking about my whereabouts? Won't they look for me? I can't just leave while something like this is being accused of me. I'll have to postpone this tour until I sort this thing out."


"No..." Anthony shook his head. "You can't do that. I've got this. Don't you worry about it. I'll find the perfect person for the job." While I trusted Anthony, it did bother me that while an investigation was out on my husband, he pressed that we go ahead and leave. I get that we have obligations we have planned for the remainder of the year, but something as serious as this needs our immediate attention. I trust Anthony, but I also want to be smart about what we do regarding this whole thing.

© All Rights Reserved