Chapter 29

Chapter 29

By the grace of God, I'm able to check out of the hospital tonight. As long as I have someone looking after me, my doctor told me I was free to go. I can't stay in this hospital any longer. What pains me the most is that my children have to stay. The Mama Bear I was when they were in my womb is much stronger than it was before. There's not one moment when I'm not thinking of them. They are the only source of positivity in my life right now. Otherwise, I swear I don't know when I'm ever going to be happy again. That hurts me even more.


I feel like my personality has diminished over the years. The joyful woman I once was is truly no more. Every single year with that man dimmed my light in one way, shape or form. I never even realized it was happening. That's the crazy thing.


Michael and Milan will be here for a while. I look forward to the day I'm able to bring them home.


"Do you need anything else?" Varg asked as he helped pack my belongings.


I shook my head no. "Where's Carol?"


"She went ahead to the hotel. She wanted to make sure everything was okay before your return."


"Okay." I nodded. "You made sure to tell the hospital staff that I need a quick and efficient exit out of here, right?"


"Yes, ma'am."


I sighed. "Okay. Just take me to go see my babies before we leave." I swung my legs over to the side of the bed. Varg helped me up and over to a wheelchair.


There are so many things that I would have never imagined when I pictured the birth of my children. This wheelchair is one of them. I didn't expect Varg to be my right-hand man in all of this. Besides my...husband, I expected my mother, Katherine, and my sister by my side. I need so much feminine energy right now. The healing that comes from being with women who have given birth before me, offering all of their sound advice. Even though Mariah hasn't had children, her presence would have been much appreciated.


I expected this experience to be wrapped in love and the warmth of my own home. Not in a cold, bleak hospital. This was not the memory I wanted in bringing my children into this world...


By now, I'm sure my family and Michael's have heard the news. Each and every one of them is probably wondering why they had to find out from the media instead of from one of us.


I can't even bring myself to turn on my mobile phone. I don't know what to expect. Either way, whether I decide to call everyone now or a week from now, I'm going to get chewed out. I have enough to deal with. The last thing I want to hear is why I gave birth so soon in Vegas. Hell, I don't even know. Yet here I am.


I already know my mother and Katherine are raising hell finding out the birth of their grandchildren from the media.


At least Joseph was there. His presence was comforting. Despite however the media portrays my father-in-law, he was as doting as I expected my own father to be.


Joseph offered a listening ear, a kind heart, and sound advice in a situation filled with so much stress, uncertainty, and heartache. While he has done his own dirt, he has come to terms with it. And while he loves his son, he understands any anger I feel toward him. He understood a scorned woman as he experienced the same with Katherine. They may still be married, but they live separately. I admitted to Joseph that I will never understand that dynamic, to which he responded that she will always be "his Katie." While endearing, I refuse to be in that same predicament.


Michael has already shown similar characteristics with how he's trying to smooth over the situation and sweet talk his way back into me. The way his father did Katherine all too many times. While I admire my mother-in-law, that's just one thing I can't respect. If my mother ever caught my father cheating, she'd have left with no questions asked. I don't understand what's keeping Katherine. It hurts to know that she feels so deeply about her church's opinions that she'd choose to stay. And I'm afraid to say that it might be because of status. Because she's so wrapped up in the brand of being a Jackson, birthing the Jacksons, and being the main person who keeps the family together, she couldn't bear to publicly divorce Joseph. There is too much at stake.


Varg finally wheeled me into the NICU. Earlier today, the twins were knocked out. Now they were struggling to keep their eyes open amongst the bright lights. I just want to pick them up and hold them, but I can't even do that without risking one of their tubes becoming unattached.


I stood up to stand between their bassinets. They're perfect in every way... I'm never going to get tired of saying that.


Despite the ugly situation, I still managed to produce two beautiful beings.


"Hi..." I ran a finger along Michael's tiny arm. Thank God they have all their fingers and toes. Sometimes premature babies are born with birth defects, and I am blessed to say that my children have none. Michael looked at me with those big brown eyes, causing me to melt instantly. "Wow." I swallowed. "You look just like your father," I say that while his features haven't even fully formed yet. But I've seen enough of Michael's baby pictures to know that I only carried this little boy for him to come out being his father's twin. I only pray that neither one of my babies have vitiligo or lupus. Traits that have unfortunately passed through Michael's bloodline.


And Milan... I don't know who she looks like yet. She's the perfect combination of Michael and me. It's incredible how genes do that. Got one child looking just like his father, while my baby girl is a nice hybrid of her daddy and me... Ugh. She's going to be such a daddy's girl. I can already see it.


I stroked Milan's leg with the back of my finger. It breaks my heart that they have to stay in this godforsaken place. I just want to take my babies home. Where they'll be warm and loved. Not cold, poked and prodded over.


"Mrs. Jackson, are you okay?" Varg came over to me.


I wiped an escaped tear from my cheek and nodded. "I'm fine. I just don't want to leave them in here. Who's to say these people aren't taking photos of my babies to sell them to the press?"


"Mr. Jackson already took care of that."


I inhaled deeply. "Oh... Glad to know he did one thing right. He went back to wherever he came from, correct?"


"As far as I know."


"Good. I don't want to see him anytime soon." I went to sit back in the wheelchair, watching my babies as Varg wheeled me out.


"Any special requests?" A nurse asked me as we came out of the room.


I pressed my lips together. "No pictures. Please. Respect our privacy... Um, how long do they have to be here?"


"They're doing so well! Tomorrow, we'll be able to take them off of their oxygen, and then they'll be transferred to Intermediate Special Nursery. Because of that, we're looking at maybe one to two weeks."


"Oh!" I clutched my chest as I swear the wind got knocked out of me after hearing that I won't be able to take my babies home for two weeks.


"They'll be fine, Mrs. Jackson." She smiled to reassure me. "It shouldn't really be two weeks at all. That's just a guesstimate. We just need to make sure all the IV's can be removed, they can maintain their own body temperature, take a bottle by mouth for two days, and they just need to pass the car seat test. That's it. Some babies have to stay for up to five weeks."


I frowned. "Five weeks?"


"Yeah, but Michael and Milan will be just fine. I promise. You'll be able to take them home before you know it."


"Okay." I closed my eyes and nodded. "Prayerfully, they can be out in a week."


"Yes, prayerfully." She smiled.


"Thank you so much. Please... No pictures. The last thing I want to see is my babies all over the 'National Enquirer.' What's your name again?"


"Gina. We got you covered." She nodded.


"Gina..." I made a mental note. "Where's the nearest exit?" I looked around.


"So, the exit we have set up for you is actually right out back. Go to the receptionists' desk and they'll be able to escort you out."


"Thank you," I said as Varg wheeled me away from my babies. That's another thing that I never would have imagined. Leaving my babies alone for weeks at a time when I never even got a chance to form a bond with them.


"There aren't any paparazzi outside, right?" Varg asked the receptionist.


"Sir, we did the best we could to ensure a speedy exit from the premises. The local authorities could only do so much." The receptionist shook her head as she escorted us to the back. That's a no. I sighed and reached into my bag to pull out a pair of sunglasses. The last thing I want is pictures. I should have expected this, though.


"Are you going to be okay, Mrs. Jackson?" Varg asked me.


I shook my head no. "Just get me out of here." I'd rather see these idiots than Michael, and that's saying a lot.


"If you ever want to come and visit, you're welcome any time." The receptionist said as she opened a door leading to the exit.


"Oh, you'll be seeing a lot of me around here." I don't trust these people for anything. They'd risk it all for a photo that ensured a fifty-thousand-dollar check.


The receptionist opened the final door for us to be greeted by waiting paps, quickly taking any photo of me that they could.


"Congratulations, Mrs. Jackson! What are the babies names?"


"Shayla! Are you and Michael moving to Las Vegas?"


"When are we getting pictures of the babies?"


"How does it feel being the mother to the King of Pop's children?" That question stunned me. Now I'm just reduced to Michael's baby mama? Like, I haven't been this idiot's wife for thirteen years? Like, I just got pregnant to give this man some kids and bounce?


"Any plans for more kids?"


"No." I finally answered, causing them to take more photos even faster than before as Varg helped me into the back of a waiting GMC. More children after this? After what I've just been through?! No. I will not be having any more children with that man or any man after that.


VII


Upon entering my suite, Varg and I heard indistinct chatter coming from behind the door. Whoever Carol was speaking to has her heated. I just wanted to go back to peace and quiet. Not whatever the hell is going on in there. I don't need anyone else's problems. I've got enough of my own.


I opened the door to not only see Carol but Michael sitting on the couch arguing with her. I could have died right then and there. The last thing I wanted to do was see him.


"I've been trying to get him to leave for the past hour, Shayla. He got here long before I did." Carol had a hand on her hip as she watched Michael stand up and walk over to me.


"How did you get in here?" I asked. How did he even know where I was staying?


"I have a key. Can we go to another room and talk for a moment?" He sighed like he was impatient.


I just stared at him. The audacity of the cheater wanting to explain his actions to the cheated on is baffling to me. What could he possibly want to tell me? "Varg?"


"Yes, Mrs. Jackson?" Varg put my bag down on the floor.


I stared Michael in the eye as I said, "please escort him out of here."


Michael's eyes widened in shock as he held his hand up to stop Varg from walking over to him. "Shayla, the manager already knows I'm here. I've already checked out of my hotel. I'm not going anywhere until you talk to me."


"Then I'm leaving." I turned to walk out, only for him to grab my hand to prevent me from leaving. My once still beating heart began to race as anger took over me. Does he not realize what he's doing?


"Just talk to me. Please!" He begged.


I looked at Varg, who was ready to do whatever I requested. I'm heartbroken, and the same man who broke my heart wants to fucking talk.


"Michael," a lump in my throat had grown, causing two tears to roll down my cheeks. "I just want to go to bed. That's all I want to do. Haven't you done enough?" I turned to face him. His once hardened features softened as he became sympathetic to the emotions radiating off of me. "I just need some space. Please. That's all I ask. I can't- I can't do this anymore. I just need some space."


"How much space do you need? How long? I just want to fix this. I want to fix us. But I can't do that without you, baby."


I shook my head no. "We can't fix this. I don't care where you go. I don't care if you get the room right beside this one. I just need you out of here."


He nodded slowly. "Tomorrow? Next week?"


"Just focus on the twins right now."


"Shayla, I-"


"Just go."


The saddened expression on his face told me that he finally understood. He could do nothing but nod as he got his mobile phone to probably dial Jamess and leave.


I closed my eyes and let out a deep exhale; several tears streamed down my cheeks at the release.


As soon as Varg shut the door behind us, Carol rushed to my side.


"I'm sorry, Shayla."


I shook my head. "Varg, we need to go somewhere else. I can't stay here."

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