Chapter 23

Chapter 23

November 15, 1996

Australian "Ghosts" Premiere


"After all this time, I finally get to see the finished product of your film." I closed my eyes as a new make-up artist that we hired last-minute applied eyeshadow to my eyelids.


"You'll love it. I couldn't wait until you saw the final product." I heard the smile in Michael's voice as he sat in his own chair beside me while Karen did his make-up.


Because of all we were going through, I wasn't even remotely interested in attending the last day of filming to see the final product with the crew. But at least I'm seeing it now rather than never.


With no US premiere, "Ghosts" was just released with select prints of Stephen King's newest film, "Thinner" last month. I didn't too much care to see it played alongside another film. So, when Michael told me I'd finally be able to see it on a big screen all by itself in Sydney, I was all too excited.


In fact, it's exciting to me more that Michael is really delving into the film industry even more than before. Movies have always been of interest to him. So, to see him take on the likes of Eddie Murphy and play five characters in one film only makes me even more proud of him.


"Tell me what you think." My MUA moved out the way so I could check myself out in the mirror. This is the best I've looked since the photoshoot in Bangkok. The corny thing about being married is that Michael and I always matched in one way or another. With his black military jacket adorned in diamonds ensemble, I couldn't match him with a black dress accented in red with diamond-encrusted heels. When do we not match in public?


Michael turned to look at me just as Karen finished his make-up. "You look absolutely stunning." He looked at me in awe.


I blushed. "Thank you, baby."


"Had I known you'd look like this being pregnant, I would have gotten you pregnant much sooner and more often."


"I think that's our cue." Karen nodded at the other MUA and made her way out.


"Michael..." I shook my head. "Do you always have to be out of pocket?"


He shrugged and got up to help me out of my seat. "You...are the most beautiful woman in the world." He kissed my forehead. "How did I ever get so lucky?"


I wonder the same thing. You'd be nothing without me." I winked as I headed toward the door.


"Someone's cocky, I see." He laughed, holding the door open for me.


"The news died down a little." He held my hand as we walked down the hallway toward the auditorium. "In a way, I'm glad because all those think pieces on the twins were beginning to get on my nerves."


"You've got to admit that the Russian news saying Mike Jr. was gonna 'moonwalk outta there' was hilarious."


I rolled my eyes. "It was corny, to say the least."


"They took an opportunity and ran with it." He laughed.


As we made our way down the hallway, I noticed Shana walking quickly in our direction, checking her purse as if she forgot something. She looked marvelous with her hair done up, wearing a royal blue strapless dress. Ugh! I can't wait to get my body back. That way, I can go back to looking her age without being her age.


"Hey, Shana!" I waved enthusiastically. "We haven't gotten a chance to speak since I've been here." She stopped dead in her tracks and stared at my belly, completely ignoring anything I had said. "Shana? How are you, sweetie? Michael told me you were gonna be on tour with him."


Her gaze switched from my belly to Michael and finally to my face. "Yeah, um, I'm Jim's assistant."


"That's awesome! Have you enjoyed the tour so far?" I hadn't forgotten about her blowing my husband's phone up. In fact, after that meeting, the calls continued, but not as frequently as before. Now is not the time to confront her about it being that we're both going to such a high-profile event. She looked between my belly and Michael over and over again as if she was trying to comprehend something. Something is wrong.


"It's great." She cleared her throat. "Michael is doing a great job as usual..." she paused, finally boring her eyes into Michael a little bit too long. I looked between her and Michael, who just happened to not even pay Shana any mind. His gaze remained forward down the hallway, waiting for whatever kind of awkward moment this was to pass. Something is wrong, and someone is going to tell me what it is. "Um," she cleared her throat again. "Congratulations, by the way. I never got the chance to tell you that." She smiled, finally looking me in the eye. "Twins, right?" She looked back at my husband.


I looked at Michael only to find him looking down at his military jacket picking off imaginary lint. I tapped his shoulder. "Huh?" He looked at me.


My eyebrows drew together in confusion. "She asked if we're having twins, Michael..."


"Oh, yes." He finally looked at her. "Twins. We gotta go. See ya." He pulled me along as we hurried past a baffled Shana.


"What's going on between you and Shana? Something was off back there."


"It's nothing. Jim brought Shana along to spy on me when he couldn't because he knows I'm leaving."


"But Jim doesn't act like Shana just did. That woman acted like she just saw a ghost the way she was looking at me and my belly."


"Jim's closer to us than Shana is. He can handle it better than she can. She's still starstruck."


"But why was she looking at you and my belly like that, Michael? I can't even begin to describe how I think she felt when she saw us. You didn't feel that tension back there?"


He stopped and faced me before we exited the doors into the mayhem. "Let's talk about it at the hotel, okay? Tonight is about celebration." He kissed me on the lips and pushed the door open, bringing on the endless number of cameras and fans...



Aside from Travis, a dancer, Shana was the only cast member who got to attend the premiere. At the same time, I understand why I couldn't wonder too much because she's on tour with us. However, I can't help but beg the question of why she got such special privileges.


As I watched the film, I noticed Shana didn't even have any lines. Poor girl just stood back there with her mouth hanging open in every single shot. She couldn't help but keep her mouth closed if she tried. If anything, I did notice Michael look at her a lot in the film. Something happened on that set, and by the end of the night, I'm going to figure out what that "something" was.


My husband put on a show as he always does. The choreography done for this film was simply spectacular. If I could learn it, I would, but being pregnant hinders me from that. And don't get me started on the wonderfully crafted storyline. This film was undoubtfully about Michael and our lives at Neverland. And I love how he fought back by putting all of that into the film. If anyone were to ever ask me which was my favorite between "Ghosts" and "Thriller," I'd have to choose "Ghosts." Not only is it autobiographical, but it has more substance to it than "Thriller" ever had. "Thriller" is undoubtfully iconic and a Halloween staple, but Michael truly set the bar with "Ghosts," and I can't be any prouder of him.


Once the film was over, the entire audience, including myself, gave Michael a standing ovation. He really did what needed to be done in "Ghosts," and I hope the world sees the film for what it really is in all of the thirty-nine minutes they got to watch.


VII


"I'm proud of you, baby." I kissed Michael on the cheek once we got comfortable in the backseat of our limo.


"I did it for you." He smiled.


"I can't find any words to explain how proud I am of you. You outdid 'Thriller!'"


"That was the goal," he laughed. "That's all I kept telling myself. That I had to beat 'Thriller.'"


"And you did just that. You didn't know it, but I swear your kids were jumping for joy when the dance break happened. These kids are gonna stay busy once they're out of here." I laughed. Michael bent down and kissed my belly.


"How was life on set?" I asked. What he doesn't realize is that I'm about to get to the bottom of everything that happened on that month-long shoot.


He laughed to himself. "As you can see, it was amazing. We had so much fun, babe. We were like one big family there. The kids would come to my trailer and play videogames. The chemistry on that set was like no other. You would have had to be there to experience it."


I nodded. "And you and Shana?"


"Me and Shana? What? There was no 'me and Shana." He drew back, confused at my question.


I cocked a brow at him. "Are you sure?"


"Uh, yeah! The same relationship I had with Shana is the same relationship I had with everyone else on set. You can ask Travis." He scoffed. "Me and Shana? What is that even supposed to mean?"


"Nothing happened between you two?"


"No!" The passion in his voice convinced me that he was telling the truth.


I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. "Why was she acting so weird when we saw her earlier?"


"Because," he somehow choked and closed his eyes to recollect himself. "You remember that birthday card she sent to the house?" I nodded. "I never thanked her for it. That was my first time seeing her all tour. It seems like she was just shocked to see me up close and personal like that in a long time."


"And she's sad that you're leaving Jim and Sandy?" I reminded him.


He nodded his head quickly. "Exactly! And that's why I'm leaving. Because everyone over there is weird!"


"Okay..." I nodded again. I don't even know why I questioned it. There's no reason for him to lie to me.

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