Chapter 8

Ra91e23ef2b92d8c0062f89c5ff4d0078.jpeg

Nothing I do is private, nor will it ever be.


Dining at The Ivy never fails to get someone caught up.


Drew and I were front page on just about every tabloid.


My publicist called me to see if I wanted her to do any type of damage control, but I just told her to ignore it. 


While excited about hearing about our outing, Amala was just as shocked as I was to see him and me all over the papers.


And my parents were blowing up my phone, wondering why I hadn’t told them I was dating.


If my parents heard about it, there’s no doubt in my mind Michael has heard.


Now I might have to deal with the repercussions of that, and I don’t even want to explain it.


Michael had met Andrew on several occasions because he was inspired by his work in real estate. I never met the guy. He’s a big name so, I’d heard of him. I just never met him or much less thought of him in the past. And when I sought his companies’ services, the last thing I expected was to meet him. He was never on my radar until recently…


So, if I hear anything from Michael about how I was plotting on Drew or anything, he’s going to get an earful. Our outing isn’t his business, but since it was all over the news, all he must know is that we were meeting for business, and that’s it.


“Mommy,” Mimi called from the backseat. “What’s a ‘tabloid?’”

 

“Garbage,” I mumbled to myself.


“Garbage?” she repeated.


I cleared my throat. “Yes. It’s just lies. Remember what mommy told you about lies?” I looked at her through the rear-view mirror. She nodded. “They’re bad, and they hurt people’s feelings whether you realize it or not. Where did you hear about a tabloid?”


She shrugged. “Mala said Daddy wouldn’t be happy seeing you in the tabloids like this. So, people are lying on you?”


Amala must be more careful about what she says around the twins. I sighed. “Yes.”


“I hope Daddy didn’t see it. I don’t want his feelings hurt like yours. Are your feelings hurt, mommy?”


“Um. They’re not hurt. I just wish people wouldn’t talk about things that I do.”


“What did they say?”


I shook my head. “Nothing, baby. Y’all ready to go see the baby?”


MJ finally looked up from his coloring book and pouted. “Is he going to cry like the last time?”


“No, Mikey! He was sleepy last time!” Mimi corrected her brother.


“Oh,” he went back to his coloring book.


“Mommy, do you think I can hold him this time?” Mimi’s eyes lit up in excitement.


“We’ll ask Alejandra, okay?”


“Okay! I hope she lets me!” My daughter turned to look out the window, kicking her legs in excitement.


Alejandra had another child for Jermaine, and although they’ve been married for six years now, Randy still can’t get over it. I wouldn’t necessarily expect him to, but for the sake of the children involved, everyone wishes he wouldn’t make comments about it as often as he does.


At the end of the day, my only job is to make sure my children have relationships with their cousins. While crazy, what the adults have done has nothing to do with the children.


Although, I am still confused as to why Jermaine decided to name that baby Jermajesty…


As soon as we got to the house, the twins raced to the front door, each taking a turn to knock.


As I made my way behind them, Jermaine opened the door to be greeted with hugs to the legs.


“Oh!” He almost buckled but maintained balance. “Hey, twins!”


“Is the baby awake?” Mimi looked up at her uncle.


“Yes… Alejandra is- Walk, Milan!” He called after her as she ran to find her aunt.


“Where’s Jaafar?” MJ asked.


“In his room. Go play with him.” Jermaine nodded in the direction of his son’s room.


In contrast to his sister, my son walked calmly to his cousin’s room. The absolute difference between the twins still amazes me. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get over how they’re literally like night and day.


“Hey, Jermaine,” I pulled my brother-in-law in for a hug. As long as Michael and I were married, even if we didn’t have children, I don’t think I’d ever been able to completely separate myself away from his family. His siblings will always be my in-laws, no matter what. 


“Hey, Shayla. How’s everything going on with you and the kids?” He asked as we made our way to Alejandra.


“We’re good. This constant back and forth between the east and west coast is getting old, though.”


“Michael’s still out there?”


“Yeah… Still working on that album. Next week, I’ll be taking the kids to New York. I can’t wait for him to wrap up and come back home.”


“How do the kids feel about traveling this much?”


“Ha… They asked Michael why we couldn’t just be together.”


“Oh!”


I pressed my lips together. “Yeah. Hey Alejandra,” I went over to hug my sister-in-law and kissed Jermajesty on the forehead.


I never agreed with what Jermaine and Alejandra did to Randy. Nor will I ever. Did it taint my image of her? Maybe. But one thing’s for sure, I’d rather deal with her than Hazel any day. 


“Mommy, Alley said I could hold Majesty,” Mimi beamed as she sat patiently on the couch.


“As long as you’re gentle,” Alejandra reminded her. “Hey, Shayla,” she smiled at me. “Where’s MJ?”


“He went to play with Jaafar. He didn’t come in to say hi?” I asked only for her to shake her head no. “That boy,” I rolled my eyes. With Jaafar being so close in age to MJ, the two were like two peas in a pod. They were becoming more like brothers than cousins. But he still should have said hello to his aunt.


“Let the boy play. He hasn’t seen his cousin, in what? A month now?” Jermaine shrugged.


“Has it been that long?” I asked Alejandra.


She nodded. “Jaafar’s been asking about MJ, but y’all been traveling so much.”


“Every time I have the twins, I’ll try to make sure they come over. That okay with y’all?”


“Girl, you know Jaafar and MJ are like this,” Jermaine crossed his fingers. “Bring him over as often as you like. Or shoot. Take Jaafar,” he laughed. “We won’t mind.”


“If Mommy takes Jaafar, can I stay here with Alley and the baby?” Mimi asked politely.


We all laughed.


“Sure, Mimi,” Alejandra smiled. “You ready to hold him?” My daughter’s eyes lit up in excitement and nervousness as she peered over at me as if to ask if it was okay. I nodded. “Here, hold your arms out like how I have them.” Once Mimi got in a comfortable position, Alejandra carefully placed Jermajesty in her arms. “Got him?”


“Yes, ma’am,” Mimi nodded as she looked down at her cousin in amazement.


How on earth did I get blessed with the sweetest children?


“So,” Jermaine cleared his throat. “Does Michael know about Drew?”


I shot him a look. “Not around the kids.”


“Please… She’s not even paying attention. Mimi,” he snapped. “Mimi!” He snapped again.


“Don’t snap at my daughter like she’s a dog.”


“She’s not paying attention.”


“So. I’m not having this conversation around her.”


Alejandra stood up and took my hand. “Come on. Watch Mimi, baby,” she told Jermaine as she led me into the kitchen. “You okay?”


“Yeah, I’m fine. Just remind him not to snap at my children like they’re dogs or something.”


“No, I mean… About the tabloids. Sit,” she sat at a barstool and instructed me to do the same. “It’s everywhere.”


“Is the whole family talking about it?”


She twisted her lips to the side. “Kinda… Yeah… Michael called Katherine.”


“Ugh!” I slapped my hand against my forehead. “Seriously?”


“It didn’t take too long for everyone else to find out.”


“So, why is Jermaine asking me how Michael feels if he knows how Michael feels?”


She rolled her eyes. “That’s Jermaine. How did you and Andrew meet? Michael feels like you might have been-”


“See, no. I knew this would happen. I never met that man while I was married to Michael. I only just met him last year when I sought the help of his company for my new building. That’s it. I just got lucky enough to have him want to take my project on personally. It’s all a big coincidence.”


“Are you dating him?”


“Not yet.”


She smirked. “So, there’s a possibility?”


“I’m not gonna lie and say that I’m not attracted to the man. He’s fine, divorced, and charming.”


“Did y’all go to The Ivy on purpose?”


I sighed. “He made reservations without realizing that that was a paparazzi breeding ground.”


She sucked her teeth. “See, that’s what everyone is finding hard to believe. He knows you’re Michael’s ex. Everyone, no matter if you want to be in the spotlight or not, knows you’ll be seen at The Ivy. And you guys were outside? Everyone’s convinced that Andrew set you up.”


“Set me up?”


“Come on, Shayla. There’s no way he didn’t want to be seen with you.”


“Drew doesn’t even like the spotlight. Nobody sees the man unless he wants to be seen.”


Exactly! Excuse me,” she cleared her throat. “The Ivy. Rodeo Drive! Come on now, Shayla. Think logically here.”


If Drew wanted to be seen with me, he would have done it the first chance he got. But he didn’t. He said he just enjoyed the food at The Ivy. And Rodeo Drive isn’t even that far from the restaurant. If this was a setup, I would have been able to smell it a mile away.


“Don’t get me wrong. You and Drew would make a cute couple. We’re just saying that we find it odd that a real estate giant like himself would lessen himself to the likes of The Ivy. Rodeo Drive is acceptable, but The Ivy, Shayla? The man wanted to be seen with you.”


“I mean, it makes sense. I just feel like if he truly wanted to be seen with me, he would have done it sooner. I met him last year. We’ve been out to view existing properties in highly visible places. We weren’t caught then. And trust me, we were very much so out in the open. In my honest opinion, I just feel like this is a coincidence. I’m not going to act like I know Drew entirely because I don’t. But seeing as though he stays out of the way most of the time, and if he is seen, it’s not on his own accord, I don’t think he set me up. For what? What would he have to gain from that? The ball is in my court. Trust me. If I noticed anything that was even slightly off, I would have left him alone.”


Alejandra pressed her lips together and nodded. “Okay,” she shrugged. “Just be careful. We’ve got your back. You and Michael may not be married anymore, but you’re still family. If Drew even looks at you crazy, we got you.”


“Thanks…” I only just barely let my guard down. If Drew really did what everyone is accusing him of, I might have to put it back up.

© All Rights Reserved