Chapter 7

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I’ve always dreaded this moment.


I often wondered how I would go about everything once this moment came.


Would I confront her?


Am I even allowed to be upset? 


I put myself in this position. I should have known this would happen sooner or later.


She would find the man that would treat her far better than I ever did and move on like nothing ever happened.


Why am I even still hung up on her?


Why does my heart still ache for Shayla?


We’ve been apart for four years… But that doesn’t erase eighteen years of love. Four years is only a fraction of the eighteen years we’ve spent together.


Does she even feel the same way? Does she feel guilty? Doesn’t she know that because she’s my ex-wife, everything she does will be watched and scrutinized?


US Weekly. Frontpage. Smiling joyfully with a man I had only heard rumors about. “Are Real Estate Giant Andrew Hammond and Michael Jackson’s Ex-Wife Shayla-Elizabeth Jackson dating?”


This real estate giant has the whole world in the palm of his hands. And now he’s out at The Ivy with Shayla? And walking all up and down Rodeo drive with her? He can have anyone else. Why her? Why now? And how long has this been going on? Has he been around my children? When did they even meet?


“You good over there, boss? You been flipping through that magazine a bit too many times now.” Teddy called over to me.


“…yeah. I’m good. Did you know about this?” I showed him the cover of the magazine.


His eyes grew wide in shock as he twisted his mouth to the side. “No… Is this recent?”


“Just came out today,” I turned the cover back around as I dissected the joyful looks on both of their faces. “You’ve heard of him, right?”


“His contractors built my house out in LA. So, yeah. I’ve heard of him. Who hasn’t?”


“Exactly. You know how much this man is worth?”


“No. Do you?” He raised a suspicious brow at me.


“I mean, I’m worth far more than him. But he’s up there. How do you think they linked up?”


Teddy sucked his teeth. “I don’t know. Why do you care? Aren’t we supposed to be working on this album?”


“We’re always working on this album. That’s probably why she’s out there with him now, ignoring my letters. Ima take a break.” I stood up to leave.


“What?!”


“I’ll see you tomorrow.” I rolled the magazine up and headed upstairs.


Andrew Hammond wasn’t as lowkey as he tried to portray himself to be. Over the years, I’d heard of him and his company. His billion-dollar business never ceased to grow. He’d graced a couple of Forbes Magazine covers. One with his wife. Another with his family. And when the divorce happened, it was just him. In terms of real estate, I looked up to him at one point. I've always been inspired by his work. And when I had the pleasure of meeting him, it made my night.


“How in the hell did he meet Shayla?” I asked myself as I got in my car and threw the magazine into the passenger’s seat.


Did Shayla purposely go out with him? She knows there are leering eyes at The Ivy, hence why we never frequented the place. Did she want to be seen? Did he purposely want to be seen with her? They knew this was going to get back to me.


“My god. What am I doing?” I shook my head. 


Andrew Hammond?


“What does he have that I don’t, huh?”


Was she ever even going to tell me about this?


Get my approval?


Because I have to be okay with who she brings around my children. She can’t just have any and everybody around them.


I peered over at their smiling faces on the cover of US Weekly. 


The story inside showed exclusive photos of them walking hand in hand down Rodeo Drive. And a photo of them sitting on the bench engaged in conversation. 


She was smitten. I could tell.


We’re over.


She’s officially moved on.


My cell phone vibrated in my pocket. I carefully took it out and answered.


“Mr. Jackson, my name is Reginald Steele. A mutual friend of ours told me you’re in desperate need of pain medication for your head?” The doctor on the other end of the line replied. Arnie recommended me to one of his doctor friends for the excruciating pain I was under. After all these years, I still can’t catch a break from that fire accident.


I cleared my throat. “Yes, did Arnie send you my temporary address?”


“I’m parked right across the street.”


“I’ll be there in ten minutes.” I hung up and looked out at the open road before me.


When was she going to tell me?

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