Chapter 25

Chapter 25

January 3, 1997

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA


I listened as fans chanted my husband's name from every corner of Aloha Stadium. Tomorrow is the last show of the first leg. And while I came towards the end, it was still nine weeks too long.


Granted, touring with Michael isn't anything new, but touring pregnant is a whole different story of its own. These babies are well-traveled and they're not even out the womb.


As time grows closer, I get even more anxious. Once we landed in the states, I called my midwife to ask any questions I desperately needed to be answered.


Should I be scared?


Is it okay to be scared?


How bad will it hurt?


As a first-time mom, should I get epidural?


Can we even bring epidural to the house?


How big will the pool be?


I heard women poop while giving birth. Will that happen to me?


While the babies aren't due for another month, I'm already anxious about delivery day. I'm certain it will be my last, but who knows? This may be the beginning of a baby making season like my mother, my mother-in-law, and many other women who have done this before me.


While we're preparing for the arrival of our babies, I've been reminded of what kind of world I'm bringing my children into.


On Christmas Day, the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen was kidnapped and murdered. JonBenét Ramsey was only six. Six! That poor baby didn't even get a chance to live.


When Michael and I heard the news, we couldn't help but to think of our own children. As I'm sure many other parents around the world did. I couldn't do anything else but pray. Pray for my babies as I prepare to bring them into this cruel world. And especially pray for John and Patricia Ramsey. No parent should ever have to bury a child...


"One more day, baby." Michael kissed my cheek as we walked through the tunnel toward the underbelly of the stage, the fans chants growing louder at each step. "Then we're gonna get you and them swollen feet back home so we can get my babies outta there!"


"The swelling has kind of gone down, don't you think?" I teased. We've been in such a great place since I joined him on tour. It made up for his absence in the beginning of my pregnancy. All that matters is that we're together now and we've got pictures galore for the twins to look through when they get older.


"Thank you for coming to this show, babe. It really means a lot."


"They're the last two shows. Why not?" Sarcasm laced my voice followed by a laugh. "I mean, I've stayed in most of the time, if not all of the time. I better show up to your last shows."


He sighed, "right..." Michael stopped and took my hands in his. "When we get home, I'm devoted to you and you only. I love you so much, Shayla. And I promise when this tour is over, it's just going to be me, you, and the twins. This next chapter in my life is devoted to family. And I'd be a fool to mess that up." I could tell in the sincerity of his voice that he was telling the truth.


People say all the time that children don't fix anything when it comes to a broken marriage, but it's apparent that that proved false when it came to Michael and me. We needed this. We needed these children. We needed a family. I finally have my husband back and that's all I ever wanted.


"I love you." He pulled me in for a hug and kissed my forehead, nose and finally my lips.


"I love you more," I smiled.


"Mr. Jackson, are you ready?" A stagehand walked toward us.


"I'm right behind you." Michael assured him, his eyes staying on me. "Are you sure you want to watch from the audience?"


I nodded. "Positive. Varg will be with me. I'll be fine. I promise."


"I know... I just don't want all those people so close to you... You look like you're about to burst!" He laughed, rubbing my protruding belly. "I just want you to be okay."


"I'll be fine! I want to see you from their point of view. I'll watch you from the side of the stage tomorrow."


He sighed. "Are you sure?"


"Positive! The fans won't even know it's me. I'll come back here to meet you before they even get a chance to figure it out." He bit his bottom lip still unsure at the thought of me being so far away in the audience. "Don't be such a worry wart. I'll be fine. Come on. Let's get you on stage." I took his hand and started walking down the hallway.


"Varg is going to be with you?"


I laughed, rolling my eyes. "Varg is going to be with me."


"I'm just worried that you won't be safe, Shayla. You know how the fans can be. And you're carrying my babies, Shayla. My babies... I don't want anything to happen to either of you."


"I know... Babe, some of your crew will be down there. Did you forget that? I'm sure they'll watch out for me for you."


He sighed a breath of relief. "Okay, I think you're right."


"Exactly. I'll be fine. Now," I stopped short before the curtain that led to the underbelly of the stage. "You give them the show they paid to see. Your fans love you. I love you. Your children love you. Good luck out there." I pulled him in for one last kiss. The beckoning call of the fans continued as the spacecraft introduction started to come to a close. He finally departed from me, and hurried to put on his helmet. I watched as he climbed up the short staircase into the now standing spacecraft. Fans screamed even louder as they knew Michael was now in the spacecraft waiting to come out. I've seen this entrance a good amount of times at this point, I don't even care about missing it from a different point of view.


I walked back down the tunnel to find Varg leaning on the wall, waiting for me.


"Ready, Mrs. Jackson?" He asked, standing up straight.


I sighed. "Yep." The screaming fans echoed throughout the tunnel, telling me that Michael had finally kicked the spacecraft door open.


"What did Mr. Jackson have to say about the change in seating arrangements?" Varg laughed to himself.


I shook my head and smiled. "He's so protective."


"I bet!" He opened a door leading to another tunnel toward the stadium. "I figured he was going to have something to say."


"To be honest, he's not having it. But I want to take my own pictures to show the twins later on down the line."


"That's fair."


"See? You get it! But then again... I didn't tell Michael I wanted to take pictures for the babies. Oops." I shrugged.


"He'll understand."


"Who's all down there?"


"Peggy, Kenny, Bill, and oh! Sandy arrived."


"Bill is here?!" He nodded. "Oh, he's gonna be so shocked when he sees me." I laughed to myself. After retirement, Michael and I would see Bill every once in a while, but not as often as before. Even though we remained close, it has honestly been a while since I've seen Bill. Last time he saw me, I wasn't pregnant. Now, I'm bearing two children. I can only imagine what he's going to say at the sight of me.


Varg opened the third and final door into the stadium. The fans are so fixated on Michael, they wouldn't even notice if I come or go. Varg took my hand as he led me down the dark area to the VIP seating area. I highly doubt anyone is going to be using their seats. They never do.


We finally made it to my seat just as Michael went into his own version of a military cadence around the stage. I couldn't see Michael as closely as I could any other night, but I was right in front of the screen. So, it sufficed. It wasn't like I hadn't seen the show before. Varg stood on my right side, while Kenny was on my left side. I don't know what Michael is so worried about. I'm fine. I just want to see Bill...


I stood on my tip toes to look around my section of the audience to see if I could find Bill. He should be so easy to spot with that hat he always wears, but alas, I cannot find him.


"You alright, Mrs. Jackson?" Varg tapped my shoulder.


"Yeah, I'm looking for Bill. Do you see him?"


Varg looked around to no avail. "No. Do you want to look for him?"


I groaned. "Not really. I don't want to move around too much. I'm sure we'll see him after the show. I know he'll go backstage to say hi to Michael." I stood on my tip toes again to watch Michael on stage as he finished up "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'." He looks so tiny from here. But of course, on the screen, he seems larger than life. He opened his jacket and moonwalked in place to the beginning of "Stranger in Moscow." This song is easily one of my favorites from the HIStory album, because my husband was so vulnerable. I'm sure only the truest of fans would understand how vulnerable he truly was on this song.


It's so interesting seeing how much has changed since I first saw him on the Victory Tour. He has truly transformed. My husband went from performing with his brothers his entire childhood into adulthood to a phenomenal solo artist. Seeing that transformation unfold on stage from Victory to Bad to Dangerous and now to HIStory, is truly something spectacular. I couldn't be any prouder of him. Our children have a lot to be proud of when they finally realize their father is the "King of Pop."


A large white curtain fell from the top of the stage to the floor to make Michael appear large as he danced behind it so effortlessly. Much like the fans, I was enamored watching my husband dance behind that curtain. I smiled, watching Michael on the screen when someone tapped my shoulder. I looked to my left to find Shana.


"Hey Shayla!" She beamed, pulling me in for a hug.


"Shana! How are you? I haven't seen you since the 'Ghosts' premiere!"


"I know." She nodded. "Touring is such hard work. I didn't know it entailed so much."


"Oh, it'll take a lot out of you." I laughed. "I never got to ask you about the premiere. You did a great job in the short film. How'd you like it?"


She looked me up and down, her eyes stopping at my belly. Fans applauded in the background as "Smooth Criminal" ended going into "You Are Not Alone." "The premiere was great. I've been on the big screen before, so, it was cool to see myself up there a second time. I was in 'Kazaam.' Did you see it?"


"Yeah!" I nodded. "Michael took me to go see it for my birthday. I saw you credited in the film, but I didn't get to see you." Fans screamed as a lucky fan ran up to my husband and hugged him tightly.


"I was one of the 'Kazettes.' I was singing while Shaq rapped."


"Oh! That was you?"


"Mmhm." She nodded.


"Girl, that part went by so fast. I didn't even get a chance to see the ladies' faces." I laughed. She gave me a tight close-lipped smile as she looked me over again. "How have you been? Is it tough being away from home?"


She shrugged. "Nope! It's only me. I'm always working, so there has never really been any time to wallow over anything."


"You work like my husband. You went from working with him on 'Ghosts' to working on tour with him. Sounds like a workaholic." I laughed.


She fake laughed. "Ha. Something like that..."


"Did you enjoy working with him on 'Ghosts?' Michael sure can be something else, huh? I know he's a great reference for more work you plan to do in the future."


"Um," she looked down, then back up at me. "It was nice. He's a great person. I've been a fan since forever, so it was truly a dream come true when he asked me to work with him on the short film."


I smiled. "I'm happy for you." The lucky fan on stage fell to her knees before my husband as he continued to sing to her. You'd think I'd be jealous of antics like that, but I'm not even bothered by it anymore. "Shana, why didn't I see you at the baby shower? Everyone was invited. I kept telling Michael I couldn't understand why you weren't there."


"I wasn't invited."


"'Wasn't invited?' I made sure everyone on the crew was invited. I really wanted to see you there. While it celebrated my babies, I also wanted to give everyone a chance to step back from the stress of the tour."


She sighed. "Michael didn't invite me because he told you everything and he didn't want any awkwardness in the room."


"Awkwardness in the room? Girl," I waved off the notion. "When I found out you were the one blowing up his phone, I just ignored it. You're new. You didn't know the protocol. You're probably excited to be on tour. I just chucked it up to whatever and let it be. Everyone heard what I said in the meeting. Thank you for not calling him as much anymore after that." I touched her shoulder.


She nodded. "You're right. I'm sorry. I never got the chance to tell you that."


"It's no big deal. You know now! That's all that matters."


She shook her head, diverting her gaze away from me. "I never meant for that affair to go as long as it did..."


My eyebrows furrowed together as I looked at her. "'Affair?'" I looked behind her at Michael on the stage still singing, still caressing, still hugging the lucky fan.


Shana sighed and looked at me again. "He told me he told you all about us, which explains why I was never able to get a hold of him. I've felt so bad for not apologizing to you all this time, Shayla. He didn't tell me you were pregnant the whole time we were seeing each other. So, when I found out with the rest of the world, that's why I was blowing his phone up. He broke my heart and..." Shana's mouth was moving, but I couldn't hear anything else she was saying. Did she just tell me that Michael was cheating on me with her the whole time? I looked behind her to look at Michael talking to the fans. "You Are Not Alone" was now over and he wanted to have a moment to speak to his fans. I inhaled deeply as I tried to calm my racing heart. "...he told me he loved me, and I believed him. Now I know he was just using me. And I'm so sorry, Shayla. I just want you to have a happy healthy pregnancy. I'm so happy for you all, despite what happened between us. I am so happy. You all truly deserve to have a happy, healthy family..." She continued to talk, but between the loud thumps of my heart in my ear and the anger rising from the pit of my stomach, I had drowned her out once again.


He lied.


July 13, 1996


Shaq rapped on the screen with three backup singers behind him. It wasn't bad. I've heard him rap before. It's just kind of hard to put his rapping and acting together. One was clearly better than the other. Nonetheless, he still did an excellent job

.

I looked over at my husband to see him beaming and bopping his head as he watched Shaq rap. Why is he smiling so hard at Shaq? Is he that proud? He's heard the guy rap before. What's the big deal?

Once the film ended, we stayed for the credits as we always do.


"Loo-loo-look! That's Shana!" Michael eagerly pointed at one of the names on the list as the credits rolled

.

I tilted my head. "Shana, who? We don't know a 'Shana Renee.'"


"No, babe! That's her stage name! That's Shana Mangatal. Sandy's secretary?" He looked at me like I should have known.


"She was in this movie?"


"Yeah! She was singing while Shaq was rapping." I rolled my eyes. So, that's why he was smiling so hard.


He lied.


August 5, 1996


"If we're having a boy or boys, Michael has to have a namesake." I nodded and turned to look at my husband as he watched the babies through the ultrasound. He's so happy. I can see it in his eyes. I knew this would bring us together in one way or another. This is really going to be the start of something new in our marriage

.

Michael's phone rang loudly, echoing throughout the room. Dr. Rowe and I looked at him. He quickly pulled the phone out of his pocket, looked to see who it was and declined it.


"Who was that?" I asked.


He shook his head. "Someone must have gotten a hold of my number."


"Oh," I rolled my eyes and looked at Dr. Rowe. "Happens all the time. Guess we're due for another number change."


He lied.


August 29, 1996


"She's going on tour with you?" I asked as I read the random note Shana sent Michael.


"Yeah... Sandy is sending her as Jim's assistant."


My eyebrows knit together in confusion. "That was kind of her, but uh... Why did she send you that?"


He shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe she's just being nice."


I cocked an eyebrow as I looked at the mug. "How did she get our address? Did y'all get close on set or sumn?"


"After a month-long on set, wouldn't you get close?" He challenged. That still doesn't explain how she got our address. I get our home is on public record, but who was she to send send something to Michael personally through the mail? They couldn't have gotten that close. But then again, we have known her for years. It was only a matter of time before she became one of our acquaintances.


I shrugged. "Shana's a sweetheart. You can't really expect anything less than that, huh?" He shrugged. "I probably should have invited her and the rest of the gang at the office. Maybe next year."


He lied.


November 7, 1996


"Either you change your number now or we're having a meeting with the entire time about calling past business hours. No one should think they have access to you like this."


He stopped smiling and looked at me. "How am I going to change my number in a different country?"


I crossed my arms. "Guess we're having a meeting then."


"Guess so." He stood up to go through the clothes. Why would he allow the team to call him all hours of the night like this? Who's in charge? Him or the team? This is ridiculous.


I thought we worked on this. Him letting people run all over him should have been dealt with a long time ago What is this?


The crew has another thing coming when they see me. This is unacceptable. I know we're friends with some of these people, but boundaries must be made.


VII


As I looked at the familiar faces of whom admitted to having Michael's number, only one person wasn't there to plead her case: Shana.


She's new and probably embarrassed now.


I apologized to Karen and the rest who were close enough to have my husband's number. I should have known it wasn't them all along. While I should have a few choice words for Shana, I won't do it. She heard what I said. And she better heed the warning. No one should be calling my husband all hours of the night. Period. But I have to wonder, why does she even have my husband's number in the first place?


He lied.


November 15, 1996


I hadn't forgotten about Shana blowing up my husband's phone. 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 and over again as if she were trying to comprehend something. Something is wrong.


The tension in the air is so thick that it could be cut with a knife. What happened? She was nice enough to send him a mug and a handwritten note, but now Michael can't even look her in the eye?


"Twins, right?" Shana looked back at my husband.


We both waited for an answer only to get nothing.


I looked at Michael to find him looking down at his military jacket picking off imaginary lint. I tapped his shoulder.


"Huh?" He looked at me. Making sure not to lay an eye on Shana.


My eyebrows knit 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 bring 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...


He lied.


December 7, 1996


"Thirty seconds!" I called out as I watched everyone scribble down different names. I looked over to see that Karen had suggested "Essence Marie" and "Reagan Elizabeth." Aww, that's such a beautiful ode to my second name. And "Marie?" Oh my gosh! I've always loved that name.


"I'll be back." Michael tapped me ont he shoulder and excused himself. I nodded, but inside, I was over it. I invited Shana to our baby shower and because I called her out at that meeting, she's too scared to show up? But she thinks it's okay to continue to blow up my husband's phone? Where is the logic in that? If you're going to stand in your truth, stand in it! Don't be scared to show up to my event because I called you out. The least she could have done was show up and apologize, but no. I don't even get that courtesy.


"Alright, guys! Times up! Let's see what we have here..." I stood up. "Who has more than five names?" Everyone's hands raised. "More than ten?" Several hands went down. "More than fifteen?" A couple more went down. "More than twenty?" A good majority of hands went down except for two: Karen and Kenny. "Ooo! More than twenty-five?" I smiled. Karen was the only one who still had her hand raised. "Go ahead and tell me the names." As she rambled off the names, I looked over at the door Michael went out of. He still hasn't returned. Whatever Shana is talking to him about must be important. Shoot, it better be since she didn't show up.


"That's all thirty!" Karen smiled proudly.


"Wait!" LaVelle sucked his teeth. "How you thirty names in sixty seconds? I know yo wrist hurt from writing so damn fast!" Everyone laughed at LaVelle's outburst. But no seriously. How did she do that?

"Welp, we've got a winner! Ima go ahead and give you your prize now. Michael was being stingy with everyone else's prizes. I made my way over to the gift table to retrieve her present. Michael came back into the room and stood beside me, placing his hand on the small of my back. "Are you okay, baby?"


He nodded. "I'm fine."


"Who was that on the phone?" I asked, but I already knew.


"Shana. She apologized that she couldn't' attend. She said, 'congratulations.'"


"I still don't understand how she's the only person who couldn't make it." I shook my head. "She seems like she would have enjoyed celebrating with us." He nodded. Something must seriously be wrong. With the obvious tension and now she's purposely not showing up to events? The next time I see her, we're gonna have a long chat.


"Can we get a photo of the happy parents before they open their gifts?" Kenny waved behind a professional camera. Michael pulled me closer to him and smiled. Despite whatever is going on, at least we're still able to have a good time.


He lied.


I loved Michael more than anything. More than my entire life. The best thing I ever gave that man was sacrifice. Above all else, I sacrificed a lot for him. But I get this? This?


Shana's attractive, yes. But did that give him the right to cheat on me after all these years? I've been with Michael for more than a decade! Why do I deserve to be lied to and cheated on? Why?

If he wasn't happy, he could have told me that. He didn't have to hurt me in the process.


I looked Shana in the eye. This woman took my other half right from underneath me. Right under my nose. Was I really that oblivious? Was it always right there in my face and I just never realized it? Was I too blinded by own anger and resentment toward my husband that I didn't even notice? Was I too happy about my pregnancy to pay attention to the obvious signs?


I swallowed a growing lump in my throat. My bottom lip began quivering, so I bit down to stop it. What was once sadness has almost immediately turned into anger.


I want to scream.


Curse.


Choke the life out of this young bitch, but I have two lives growing inside of me. The people around me are the least of my worries. It's my babies who could be affected by my emotions right now that's daunting. One wrong move and I could possibly put my babies in danger.


I looked up at the screen to find Michael happily singing and dancing to "The Love You Save." I have to get out of here. I can't stay here any longer. Just looking at him makes me want to throw up or murder him and Shana. I don't know. I don't know.


I hurried past Varg down the corridor we came through once before. I didn't have to look back to know that he was following close behind me. How could he lie to me and smile in my face like everything was okay? Like, he hadn't done anything wrong? Like, he didn't betray me in the worst way a man could betray his wife? Shana didn't have to say they had sex for me to know they had sex. They had an affair. She fell in love. He used her. He was seeing her while I was pregnant. They were having sex. Cheating is already as low as it can get, but to cheat on me while I'm carrying your seed? I want Michael and that heifer dead.


"Mrs. Jackson, what's going on?" Varg shouted over the screaming fans. I could hear Michael's footsteps on the stage, signaling that he was about to go into "Billie Jean." How fucking befitting.


"I have to get out of here." I said without stopping.


"Do I need to get the limo?"


"Do what you have to do to get me out of here. I'm going up to the dressing room to grab my things. I'll meet you in the tunnel." I marched up a set of stairs that led up to the dressing rooms. He cheated...


Out of all of the heartbreaks I have ever experienced, this, by far, is the absolute worst. We were so happy! So, happy! What went wrong?


Several tears rolled down my cheeks. No matter how hard I tried to hold them back they just kept coming.


I know things were bad for a while, but why cheat on me when I'm pregnant, huh? If he wanted to cheat so fucking bad, he could have done it when I wasn't about to bring his children into the world. That way, I could have promptly divorced his ass before bringing forth any sort of life from this toxic union.


I swallowed, trying to control my breathing. My face suddenly tingly and numb as the pain from trying to hold back my tears subsided.


"Shayla?" Jamess happened to be walking toward me as I made my way to Michael's dressing room. "Are you okay? What's wrong? Did someone do something to you down there?" I ignored him and opened the door to collect my belongings. I want to get out of here before Michael even sees me. By the time he even finds out I'm gone, I need to already be on a plane. "Shayla, what's going on?" He asked again as he followed me into the room.


"I'm going home." I finally said after I got my stuff and tried to push past him.


He grabbed my shoulders to stop me. "Home? Why?"


"Jamess, let me go. I'm catching the first flight out of here." My voice cracked.


"What do I tell Michael?" He finally let go of my shoulders.


I threw my hands in the air. "Tell him to go fuck himself!"


"Tell him to what?!" He asked as I hurried past him to go meet Varg. I have nothing to say. Nothing to say to Michael. Nothing to say to Jamess. I just want to go home.


As I made my way to the tunnel, "Thriller" echoed down the halls. Michael was happy on stage. Oblivious. Probably still worried at the thought of me being in the audience. But one thing's for sure, he's not worried in the slightest bit about whether I had found out about his affair or not. That's the furthest thought from his mind right now. Idiot. Don't you know that what's done in the dark always comes to light?


This is by far the worst thing he has ever done to me and now I know for certain, I can't be with him anymore.


"Where to, Mrs. Jackson?" Varg asked once I met him in the tunnel.


"Get me the first flight out of here. I can't stay here anymore."


"Do we pass a message to Mr. Jackson?"


I sighed, wiping my tear-stained face. "No. If Michael calls you, don't tell him anything. Don't tell him why I left. Don't tell him where we're going. Don't tell him where I'll be staying. Don't tell him shit." Once the limo pulled up, he opened the door to let me in and slid in beside me.


He nodded, told the driver to take me to the hotel and looked back at me. "What happened while we were out there, Mrs. Jackson?"


My lip quivered as I turned to look out the window, avoiding his gaze. Hot tears streamed down my cheeks as my mind raced through everything Shana told me. "Just get me and my babies home."


VII


Instead of going home, I decided to stay at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Once Michael figures out I left, I don't need him thinking he can just come home and see me. No. This isn't that. I want to be as far as away from him as I possibly can. The only family I have out here is Joseph and occasionally Katherine whenever she decides to stay at her house here. If I need anything, I know who to call. But for now, no one knows I'm here and I need it to stay that way.


The five-hour flight here felt so much longer than it should have been. It was like I couldn't get far away from Michael no matter what I did. I couldn't not think of what Shana told me. And then for everything to line up with what she told me, it all made sense. It doesn't matter how long it lasted. As far as I'm concerned, it was my entire pregnancy! That's what burns me up the most! He wanted children so badly and when I'm finally able to give him the children, he desperately wanted; he cheats on me?

The thought of him touching her is what burns me up inside. To know he gave it to her like he gave it to me? Come on! And how am I to know that he wasn't fucking us simultaneously? He could have potentially put our children in danger. Did his stupid ass think about that? Why would he even risk that? Nah. He was too damn selfish to consider the consequences of his own foolish actions. Idiot.

He doesn't realize that in him hurting me, he's only hurting himself. Right after these babies are born... Shit, maybe even before these babies are born, he's going to be signing divorce papers. Because I refuse to remain in this marriage with him. He's got me fucked up.


I have put up with narcissism, selfishness, a disrespectful team, a fling with a fucking video girl that I haven't even heard about since she was in that music video, a stupid ass family that ended up lying on my husband to get money, being exploited, having security called on me because of something he caused and now I have to put up with an affair that happened while I was pregnant? No.


He can forget about seeing me or being a family anymore. He blew it. I'm done. I'm done. I'm done.

I want to call Remi, because I feel like she'd be the best person to talk to about this, but she just had a baby and we're not on the best of terms right now.


I couldn't possibly call my family... Not now at least. They'll want to kill him. Now is not the time. Not right now.


I picked up the hotel's phone and dialed Carol's number. I really hope she's awake right now. Even if she's not... This is an emergency.


As I waited for Carol to pick up, hot tears rolled down my cheeks again. He really cheated on me. Right under my nose! With someone we knew! I invited that bitch to my baby shower! My baby shower!

If something was wrong, he should have told me! He didn't have to cheat on me. He didn't have to betray me like this. I didn't deserve to have my heart broken like this. And as much as I'm trying not to let this get to me, I know this anger is affecting my babies...


What did I do wrong?


I've always been committed.


I've been focused.


I always paid attention.


Been devoted.


What did I do wrong?


If something was wrong, we could have stopped this love drought a long time ago. Now, my children will be born into complete and utter chaos. If anything, this isn't fair to my children! They don't deserve this.


"Hello?" Carol answered groggily.


I sniffled, trying to recollect myself. "Carol," my voice broke. "It's me."


"Shayla?" Her voice now alert. "What's wrong with you? What's going on?"


I sniffled again and closed my eyes, more tears streaming down my cheeks. "I left Michael."


"Why? What happened?"


I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. I couldn't tell her what happened. It was like I was stuck. Like, even uttering the words to someone else really meant that it actually happened. But it did happen, and I have to tell her... I swallowed back my tears and cleared my throat. "Michael had an affair."


"He what?!" She practically shouted.


"He cheated, Carol. Cheated on me with someone we knew. She was...right under my nose the entire time..." I stared at the wall. My husband cheated on me.


"Wh- Shayla, where are you right now? We gotta talk about this in person. Are you at the ranch? In Century City? Where are you?"


I swallowed again. "I'm in Vegas. I don't want to see him, Carol. I don't want to be at home right now. I just want to be alone..." My voice cracked. "I want to be alone right now. I have to be strong for my babies. I can't bear to see his face. I don't to smell his scent around the house. Nothing. I-" I covered my mouth as another stream of tears came rolling now. "My babies don't deserve this, Carol." Once I settled into the hotel, I let Varg have the next couple of days off. I truly want to be alone right now. There are plenty of people who I need company from right now, but what good would it do if I'm just crying every five seconds?


She sighed. "Oh, Shayla... I'm going to catch the first flight I can later on. I can't let you do this alone, Shayla. I can't. There's not a bone in my body that will allow me to let you wallow around like this. I'm going to come see you and I'll stay as long as you need me too, okay? You shouldn't be alone right now." As much as I want to be alone, she's right.


I shook my head, trying to hold back the tears that were already coming out full force. "This hurts so much, Carol... I wouldn't wish this kind of pain on anyone. Not even my worst enemy. And what's hurting me most is that I know this is affecting my babies. I just want them to be healthy. I don't want anything to happen to them because of what their father put me through. Michael put me through so much and that's why I lost the baby the last time. I don't want there to be-"


"There won't be a second time, Shayla. Those babies will come out fine and healthy. Don't you worry. They'll be fine. I promise!" She sighed. "I need you to get some sleep, Shayla. Please. For me? For the babies? Don't let this keep you up. Please don't let this keep you up."


I shook my head no. "I can't sleep, Carol. My mind is racing. I'm hurt. I'm pissed." I gritted my teeth. "Michael could honestly go to hell for all I care. I hate him."


"Oh... Don't say that, Shayla. We can get through this."


"Get through what? This man has put me through so much shit! There's nothing else to get through, Carol! Nothing! This is the final straw! The final straw should have been when he called security on my ass. But no. I was still being a good fucking wife. I still stood by my husband's side. Even though people painted me as crazy and abusive. I stood by that niggas side! And what does he do? He cheats on me! No! No! No, Carol." I shook my head. Now I'm mad, because ain't no way we're about to just "get through this." She got me fucked up on that one. "This is it. We're done. There's no coming back from this."

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