Chapter 2

Chapter 2

To clear up any confusion: Michael is in regular font, Shayla is in italics, when they speak together, it's in bold.


VII


I was failing miserably,
but on the outside I was winning.
The world hadn’t the slightest idea
of what my wife and I have gone through,
but to them I’m the King of Pop.
I’m married to a New York Times Bestselling author.
I created Neverland for us.
I’ve given and done everything for the betterment of us as a couple.
I’ve done all of this for her. Doesn’t she see that?
How many times do I have to be the one to say sorry?


He didn’t do this for me.
He’s done it all for himself.
All of this is a cover to mask how he’s felt
about everything.
I never wanted any of this.
I just wanted my husband.

I have a picture.


A projection
of what I wanted our relationship to look like to the public.


I feel trapped in a life I didn’t even build at this point.
That I didn’t even want,
but I accepted it because
he was my husband.


And while it looked perfect on the outside,
we were crumbling miserably on the inside.


It’s been so much that wasn’t me that I was living.
So much inauthenticity.
I’ve been with this man my whole life
And it seems like I don’t even know
who he is anymore.
At this point, I’m convinced there’s a stranger in my house.
Because he wouldn’t have treated me like this ten years ago.


All of this I’ve done for her and it doesn’t even suffice.


I feel like I’m living in a golden cage.
Pristine on the outside, but so alone on the inside.
Alone and misunderstood.
How can a woman have everything she ever wanted,
but feel so alone?


Where have I failed in this marriage?


He failed me in this marriage, and he doesn’t even see how.


I’ve done everything right.


He thinks he’s done everything right,
but he hasn’t the slightest idea.


Where did I go wrong? How did I not see the signs?


The signs have been there.
Either he never cared to see them or whatever he thought
he was doing blinded him from seeing it.


I did everything perfect.
I married her.
I gave her the world.
Any woman would be lucky to be with me.
And she knows that.
Does she not realize how many women I’ve had to pass up?
Being married young had its pros and cons.
But through it all, I stayed faithful.


The sex…


Is robotic.


Is nonexistent.
I don’t know if it’s because we got older…


…or if he doesn’t want me anymore.


Ever since the miscarriage


She hasn’t wanted me.


I didn’t feel ready to open myself up in that way again.
For a long time.
Six months.
Too long, I guess.
Because right when I was ready to get back into the
swing of things and attempt to get my marriage
back on the healthy side of things-


I didn’t know what she wanted anymore.
She wouldn’t let me touch her for six months.
And when I finally was able to touch her-


I swear I didn’t even know who he was anymore.


Excuse me for missing my wife.


I didn’t take it as he missed me.
Either he had been with someone else
or he was thinking of someone else.


She accused me of cheating on her.
After all we had been through.
I waited six months to make love to
my wife again.
I never touched anyone else.
I haven’t touched any woman outside of my wife
since we’ve been married.
But now she wants to accuse me of cheating?!


I couldn’t even look him in the eye.


She pushed me off of her.
After six months of waiting patiently.
She pushed me off of her.
My frustration forced me to finish myself off,
as I had done for the past six months.
I can’t make her happy anymore.
How do I make her happy?


He doesn’t understand me.
I’m not the same woman I was when I was in my twenties.
I’ve matured.
I’ve gone through shit with him and without him because
he made me go through it without him.
Do I even make him happy anymore?


I feel like she’s beginning to suck the life out of me.
The same way the life was sucked out of her.
It wasn’t fair to her.
To US.
And it isn’t fair to me.
She doesn’t understand how much I want children.
After the miscarriage, she didn’t even care to try again.


I didn’t even know if I could trust my body to try again.
Now I think I can, but…


She’s too old now.


You’re never too old.
My mother is a living testament to that.


She NEVER considered how the loss of our child
affected me.


It was clear the loss of our child hadn’t affected him.
He never wanted to talk about it after he “gave” me that
week after it happened.
He buried himself in his work.
I couldn’t try to talk to him about it if I tried.


I was hurting too.
But no one would know that,
because it’s been about her from day one.
Yes, I understand she was the one who had to carry.
But I was the one who planted that seed.
And I’m still hurting from it.
But I’m the bad guy.
That’s why I chose not to come back that night.


What he will never understand is that although
I beat the shit out of him that night, I was hurt.
And furthermore, in my pain and after that incident,
I needed him.
Even after shattering his nose.
Even after him letting me go home by myself.
He should have come home to meet me.
But instead he chose to leave me alone to mourn.
To be angry.
To curse him.
To blame myself.
He will never, ever understand how bad it hurt to be
left alone in one of the most vulnerable states
I’ve ever been in in my life.
A piece of me died with Dee Dee, because she was family.
A piece of me died on Michael’s birthday with our child.
And I’m almost positive all was lost that night he used me as a prop.


Was I wrong for the kiss?
Yes.
Was I wrong for leaving her after I told her
I would never do that again?
Yes.
But everything had blown up in my face.
How was I supposed to deal with that?
I needed to be alone.
Did she really expect me to come home after she shattered
my nose into a million pieces?
Any man with common sense wouldn’t come back
to a scorned woman after that.


After that happened, I’ve often wondered who I am anymore.
I’ve been trying to find myself in the midst of all of this
and I swear it’s become so hard…
In the beginning I was just Shayla-Elizabeth.
I’ve been Shayla-Elizabeth Jackson for thirteen years now.
A wife.
That’s my role.
Somewhere along the lines,
I lost myself.
Does he even know who he is anymore?
It’s become apparent to me that he has struggled with
his sense of self.
He’s been in control of everything his entire life.
His music.
His career.
His image.
Me.
But does my husband even know who he is?


I’m Michael Jackson.
Does she not realize how lucky she is to have me?
All that matters is that the world won’t forget who I am
after all is said and done.


How did we get here?


I love this woman.
I love her more than anything.
But in the past couple of years,
it’s been about nothing but her and I’ve tried
so hard to make it up to her to no avail.
Her own selfishness has blinded seeing what
all I’ve done for her and it just isn’t fair.


I love this man.
He’s my world.
But this entire marriage has been about nothing but him.
And I’ve tried to get him to see that to no avail.
His own selfishness has blinded him from seeing
where our marriage went wrong.


She doesn’t understand fame.


Why does everything have to be about fame with him?
That shit should have died out in ninety-two.
His prime was in what?
The eighties?
We get it.
You’re a legend.
Let’s work on you now.
Let’s work on our marriage.
Let’s finally have those children.


I probably should have married someone who understood fame.
No matter how much I teach her,
she just doesn’t-


He’s taught me more than enough.
I’m just tired of being forced out there.
I appreciated those ten years behind the scenes.
The world knows we’re married now.
Okay.
That doesn’t mean we have to flaunt it.


I just want everyone to know I haven’t been alone.


He was never alone in this and he knows that.
Why does he have to prove that to the world?


Because of my fans.


He’s never put our marriage first.
It’s always been about the fans.


My fans made me.


I matter too.


You would be nothing without me.


VII


As I made my way into Sandy's building, I continued to beat myself up about even coming here. I didn't want to be here, but it was imperative that John and the board members of Sony made this merger official. All the talk about it and now the deal finally had to be set in stone on paper.


"Hey, Michael!" Shana smiled as I made my way up to her desk.


"Hey..." I pushed my sunglasses up the bridge of my nose. "Who's all up there? Do you know?" I whispered.


"Well..." She looked over her clipboard. "John Branca came in about forty minutes ago. Michael Schulhof showed up an hour ago. The rest of the board showed up... Sandy is of course up there."


"You think I have any chance of getting in and out of there?"


She shook her head no and smiled. "I doubt it, Michael. What's this meeting about anyway?"


I shrugged. "The usual business stuff. Sony has been after me for years about this, so I figure at this point, why not go ahead and make a joint venture?"


"Is it that catalog I've heard Sandy whispering about?" I nodded. With the help of John, I purchased ATV Music eleven years ago, and to be honest, that was the best purchase I ever made in my life. My wife and I are set. Our future children are set. Generational wealth was instilled in me long ago and acquiring the catalog makes it so my bloodline will never want for everything. However, after my acquisition, I swear things were just fine with me and Sony, but then all of a sudden, they wanted a share in my acquisition of the catalog. I understood why. They're a prominent music company. I own practically all the music in the world. Plus, I'm one of the biggest artists. It made sense. But it also made sense for me to make more money with them. With me deciding to give them fifty percent of a stake in the catalog, it only further proved how set my family and I would be. I'd serve as company director for this new merger and there we go. "Well, congratulations on the merger."


"Thanks. I just want to get in and out, Shana." I made my way to the elevator and pressed 'up.' "In and out..." I sang. Who knows how long this meeting will be? I barely got any sleep last night with Shayla yapping and carrying on. The interview was great, and the tabloids were certainly eating it up this morning. Our families called congratulating us. After this meeting, I just want to lay my head down and give it a rest. I've got a short film planned that we still have to cast for. There's just too much going on at once for me right now. I haven't had a break in a while it seems.


"Michael! We've waited so patiently for your arrival." Michael Schulhof stood up as I entered the board room.


"The meeting started at two, right?" I looked up at the clock to see that it was two ten. "Surely, I didn't miss anything in the last ten minutes."


"Of course not. We were just discussing all that would be acquired in the venture."


"Hmm." I nodded as I took a seat beside John.


"They're still getting used to the idea of you showing up ten minutes late." John found it necessary to whisper to me.


"What did I miss?" I ignored his comment and asked the room.


"We were discussing but had to wait for you to confirm the purchasing price of $110 million for the fifty percent stake." Michael began. For some reason, $110 million still didn't make sense to me. I paid upwards of $48 million of my hard-earned money when I originally purchased ATV. Half is worth far more than $110 million. I tried to make it $150 million. They weren't going. Actually, for the past year, we've been going back and forth on the price. But they weren't biting, and neither was I. However, I knew how big of a venture this was. And the problem was that they knew how much I knew how big of a deal this was, so they were set on their price and didn't plan on budging. "We want to confirm that you want to sell half of the ownership of The Beatles songs as well as others."


"Everyone else's, except mine. My catalog isn't included in this deal." I confirmed.


"Everyone got that?" Michael asked. The board nodded and wrote it down in their notes.


"So, you're confirming that we're selling fifty percent stake of ATV Music for $110 million to Sony Music Publishing?" John asked me.


"That's correct." I nodded.


"It's set then. Sign here, Michael." He slid the documents over to me and handed me a pen. I've made history in more ways than one over the course of my life. Not only will I be known as the greatest artist of all time, but also one of the smartest men in music history. Singing and dancing is cool. But what is it worth when royalties only go so far? Granted, I'm still getting the royalties from when I was a child, but if there's anything else Joseph taught me, it was to be a businessman.


"It's been a pleasure doing business with you, Michael." Michael cheesed as he came over to give me a firm handshake.


"You too." I nodded.


"We do have other things to discuss concerning what all this venture will entail," John mentioned.


"Mr. Jackson?" Shana opened the door. Causing everyone in the boardroom to look at her. "Your wife is on line one."


The corner of my top lip twitched. "Tell her I'm in an important meeting and I'll call her once I'm done, please?"


"She says it's urgent."


Shayla knows I'm in a meeting. Come on now. It can't be that urgent. She's fine. "Tell her I'll call her once I'm done."


"Okay..." Shana left to hurry back downstairs. She isn't dying. She's not pregnant. If anything, she's probably bitching about how the tabloids are tearing up the interview. It can wait. If it was that urgent, she'd have paged me. It's not that serious. She just wants attention.


An hour had gone by and the meeting was finally over. Papers would be faxed to ensure the acquisition. More papers were signed. Pictures were taken. Everything was great in the business world. Now, it's time to get back to my reality.


"You got me in trouble, Michael..." Shana shook her head once she saw me come out of the elevator.


"With who?" I wondered.


"Shayla."


"It couldn't have been that bad."


"She chewed me out. I mean, not me, more so, you. But she was not happy."


"What'd she say?"


"You wouldn't believe it if I told you."


"Try me."


"She just wishes you paid attention to her more. She said you keep burying yourself in your work and it isn't fair to her."


I rolled my eyes. She says that, but when I show her this check Sony just gave me, all will be well in the world. "Don't mind her. She's fine."


"She didn't sound fine, Michael... I saw the interview last night. You all looked absolutely beautiful up there. But I could tell when the questions got hard pertaining to your marriage, neither one of you really wanted to answer."


Yikes. "How old are you, Shana?"


"A lady never tells her age..." She blushed.


"No, seriously. You're like what? Twenty-two? Twenty-four?"


"Twenty-five."


"I was close. Look. At twenty-five, marriage looks easy. It's not. It's probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. But I make it work. We're making it work. Some things are hard to talk about, but I'm glad we were able to talk about it. Prayerfully, it gave more insight on our marriage and helped others in their own marriages."


"I wouldn't be surprised if it did."


"Our marriage isn't perfect, but we love each other very much."


"Aww!" Her eyes twinkled with glee. "See, this is why you all are my marriage goals. I can't wait until I get married. A girl can only dream."


"It'll happen for you one of these days... Let me get out of here. I have to see what Shayla wants. I'll see you soon, okay? Tell Sandy to call me around seven tonight. I need to talk to him about some things."


"Sounds great. See you later, Michael." Shana said as I made my way out the front door. My pager beeped. It was Shayla. See? If it were that urgent, she would have paged me sooner. But she decides to wait a whole hour and a half to page me after calling Sandy's office. Some emergency this must be.

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