Chapter 13

(Shayla)


I walked out of school to find a deeply tinted vehicle waiting. I assume that's Michael. He definitely didn't drive this car to drop me off this morning though. Someone got out and opened the rear door for me. Oh, it's the driver.


"Good afternoon, Mrs. Jackson. How was work today?" He asked as I got in and buckled up. I waited for him to get back in the car. Why isn't Michael here? He told me he'd be here to pick me up, not the driver.


"Work was pretty good. Where's Michael?"


"He's at the house getting ready for the concert."


"Oh, ok. He told me that he was going to pick me up after work today. That's why I'm kind of confused." I sighed.


"Don't worry. I'll get you back to your house before he has to leave."


"Are you going to the concert?" I wondered.


"Yes, ma'am. I get free tickets for every show they're doing."


"Have fun." I guess I'm the only one that won't be going to the concert. Literally all of Michael's family is going. That's not fair, but I understand his reasons...


"Here we are, Mrs. Jackson. Michael told me to drop off and pick up here." The driver opened my door to let me out.


"That's fine. Here's something for your troubles." I handed him a twenty.


"Thank you, Mrs. Jackson. No troubles at all. I do this for the family all of the time. I've got nothing but love for the Jackson family."


"Thanks." I smiled. "Have a great day and have fun at the concert!" I began to make my way back to the house. I guess he's been working with the family for quite some time. Wow. I'm a Jackson. Sometimes that can be so surreal for me. I wonder what my life would be like had I never written Michael... It would never be like this; I tell you that! I probably wouldn't be married either. Look at what one letter did, huh? I'm married to the man of my dreams. I smiled to myself. I would have never thought it would have happened, but it did. Thank you, God. I unlocked the front door and walked in to music blasting out of each and every speaker we had in the house. "Michael!" I called. Is this what he does when he's getting ready for a concert. I swear, my ears are ringing already. "Michael!!" I called again. Where could he be? I went upstairs to our room and didn't find him there at all. I understand why he got the speakers installed now. I took off my clothes and got into something more comfortable. "Michael Jackson!" I called again as I made my way to his dance room to find him dancing hard as ever. I stood in the doorway watching his every move. Each twist, turn, pop, lock, jump... He's an incredible dancer! I know he's tired too. My, oh, my. That's my husband. As soon as the song stopped, Michael had his hand up in the air breathing heavy, eyes closed. I walked up behind him and wrapped my hands around his waist. He was sweaty, but I didn't care. I saw a smile make its way across his face in the mirror in front of us.


"Hey, baby." He continued breathing heavily.


"Hey, Michael." I smiled. "Getting ready for the concert, huh?"


"You know it." He put his hand down and placed his hands on mine as he looked at my reflection in the mirror. "You just got back?"


"Yeah, just about ten minutes ago."


"Really?" He looked shocked.


"Mmmhm."


"I'm sorry, baby."


"You're fine. I enjoyed watching you dance anyway." Michael turned around to face me and kissed me on the lips. "I know why you got the speakers installed all around the house now." I laughed. He smiled and kissed me again.


"I hate to leave you alone while I go to the concert, but look, I'll make it up to you once I get back, I promise."


"How?"


"We can go out to dinner. I can call ahead and see if a theme park will stay open a little later if you want."


"Oh no. You're definitely going to need your rest, baby. I'll be fine. The best way you can make it up to me is just by coming home."


"No, I've gotta do something for you, Shayla."


"All you've got to do is come on home, get in that bed with me, cuddle and take your behind to bed."


"Babe..."


"Seriously, Michael. Go have fun at your concert, alright? Tell me all about it once you get home. Promise?"


"Shayla..."


"Promise?" I held my pinky up.


"Promise." He sighed as he hooked his pinky with mine.


"What time are you leaving?"


"Thirty minutes."


"Wanna snag a quickie?" I smirked.


"Word?" He looked at me.


"Come on. You've only got-"


"You do not have to tell me twice. Come on, girl." Michael swooped me up and hurried up the stairs.


(Michael)


I looked straight ahead at the audience as they screamed as my brothers and I took our sunglasses off. Randy was to my left and Marlon was to my right. As soon as I moved, the beat to "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" played. Randy and Jermaine slapped hands as I continued to stare ahead at the screaming audience. At the sound of one beat, we all made a move, then got in formation and began to dance to the beat as one. I started to sing the song without a care in the world. Performing was my passion. Music was my love. Dancing and singing were a gift bestowed upon me that I have to do for the rest of my life. It's what I love doing and it is what I will continue to do. I love to perform, but I've always hated touring, yet I love my fans. This tour has been the most interesting not only because I'm married and I want to keep my wife happy. But the tension between me and my brothers has been entirely too much for me to handle at times. I know Joseph wanted the tour to go on because of the money. That's the only reason this tour is still going. That's why he wants to take it all the way to Europe. As I turned I caught a glimpse of my mother singing along with the songs backstage. Latoya and Janet sat on both sides of her. I feel bad for not letting Shayla come, but it's the best for both of us. Let the media catch a beautiful young woman making her way backstage and everything is going to be exposed.


As soon as we got to "She's Out of My Life," I instantly thought of Shayla and when we lost contact with one another. That was so hard for me. I was starting to move on too, that's the crazy thing. I thought she wanted nothing to do with me, so I began to move on. I'm so glad I didn't move on too much though, because had I done that, we would never be where we are now. "Can I come down there?" I called to the audience. In response, I got so many screams. I began walking down the stairs of the stage. I got to the edge of the platform and began singing to some of the fans up front. So many reached their hands out to me. I grabbed one woman's hand and began singing to her, then I grabbed another woman's hand and began singing to her as well before it was time for me to get back on the stage. Once the song was over, I hurried back stage as Jermaine began his segment. I had to call Shayla just to check on her and how she was doing. I asked Janet for her phone and dialed the home phone.


"Hello?" Shayla answered.


"Hey, baby! How are you?" I asked breathlessly.


"Michael? What are you doing? Aren't you supposed to be performing right now?" She asked.


"It's Jermaine's segment right now, so I don't necessarily have to be onstage."


"Why not? I thought you all have to be on stage."


"Not really. Anyway, you doing okay?"


"Yeah, I'm doing great, just catching up on some grading. How's the concert going so far? I know you're having fun, huh?"


"Yeah, it's alright. I can't wait to get back home to you though." Someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to see Marla hold up seven fingers. Seven minutes. Ugh! Just a little more time, please? Jeez!


"Aww, you'll see me in due time. You won't be back until tomorrow, huh?"


"Yeah, pretty much."


"I bet all the girls are screaming for you, huh?" Shayla laughed.


"Guys too."


"Really?"


"Oh yeah. Everyone screams here, it's definitely not just the women." I laughed.


"Oh my. That's interesting. Never seen a guy scream for another guy."


"Me neither, but hey." We laughed. "Babe, I gotta be back on stage in five minutes, so I'll call you as soon as we get done, okay?"


"Alright, baby. Have fun."


"You too. I love you."


"I love you too." She said and hung up. I hurried back to give Janet her phone and watched as Jermaine continued to sing. Jermaine has some good songs, so I know he'll be able to handle himself well as time goes on. All of my brothers are great, but for some reason this tour has all tensions rising and it's too much for me. Marla pushed me towards the stage and I ran out and began dancing and singing along with Jermaine. I came back on stage like it was nothing. That's what it's like sometimes. Do what you have to do and then give your fans what they want.


As I was finishing "I'll Be There," I really began wishing Shayla was here. She would love the classics segment. This was my adlib time. I loved doing the end of "I'll Be There" and transitioning into "Rock with You."


"There...." Fans began screaming. "I'll..." They continued to scream. "I'll... Be.... Oh no no no no no no, baby." Fans continued to scream as I adlibbed. "Hee hee hee hee. Oh yeah! Oh yeah!" My brothers began to join in. "Oh yeah! Oh girl! Oh my! Oh yeah! Oh no! Oh yeah! Oooo!" Fans began to join in as well. This was my absolute favorite part. I cannot wait until Shayla witnesses this part. It was a time that wasn't rehearsed. It was time for me and the fans. It was just me, the fans, and the gift God gave me. That's why I loved doing this part so much. It was so intimate. I started stomping and began to beat box the beat to "Rock with You." "I think I wanna rock!" I said. The beat to the song began playing and I began to sing. Shayla would love this. I'm letting her come soon. Just thinking of Shayla seeing me on stage makes me the happiest person in the world. I have to concoct a way to get her here without everyone being suspicious though.


By the time the show was over mother and my sisters hugged and kissed each of us, congratulating us on how well we did. We had to rush backstage so that we could meet fans and sign autographs, take photos and everything. While this can also be tiring, it's also great to meet each and every one of the fans who have supported us. I love the fans more than anything, because without them we wouldn't be where we are now. Isn't it crazy that I married a fan too? Without her... I don't know where I'd be.


"Michael!" Fans screamed as we entered the hallway where fans were able to enter. I smiled as my brothers and I made our way through the hallway. "Jermaine!" "Tito!" "Randy!" Fans began screaming my brothers' names too. Knowing my brothers, one of these fans are going to a hotel room with them tonight. I sat in my seat and my brothers sat in their seats. I took a peek at how long the line stretched. This is going to be a long night...


(Shayla)


"Shayla, you mean to tell me you weren't allowed to go to the concert at all because Michael said so?" My mom asked. I honestly have no idea why she's still up. It has to be two a.m. over there by now.


"It's not because he doesn't want me to go, mom." I tried telling her. If only she'd let me get the whole thing out, she'd know.


"Pssh. Yeah, right. Any man who doesn't want his wife going where he's going, is doing some sneaky stuff."


"Not always mom. Michael's just protecting me."


"Protecting you from what? What could he possibly be protecting you from?"


"Mom, Michael is all over each and every magazine you read."


"So!"


"You don't get it do you?"


"No, explain it to me, Shayla."


"He's a superstar. Michael is and always will be all over the news and the magazines probably for as long as he lives. He's been in this business since he was a kid. He knows how the media is. Once they see him and I together in the slightest bit, I'll be everywhere just like him. You know how private I am mom, I don't want to be all over every newspaper."


"Then why'd you marry him then?!" She laughed. I laughed a little too.


"Because of love." I sighed happily. "It was nothing, but love. I've got nothing but love for this man. Plus, mom, I knew him before he became this huge superstar. Before Thriller, he was not this big. Thriller has definitely boosted his career status."


"You're right about that."


"I don't think of him as 'Michael Jackson the superstar.' Ya know? I didn't marry him. I mean I did, because I married Michael with all of who he is, but I think of him as him, ya know? He's a young man who still has the whole world ahead of him. Still has the whole world in his hands, and he's doing a lot with it too." We laughed.


"Now, is 'Michael Jackson the superstar' different from lil ol' Michael Jackson from Gary, Indiana?" She wondered. "He doesn't switch to superstar sometimes, right?"


"I mean, it happens, but to me, he's always 'lil ol' Michael Jackson from Gary, Indiana' as you say." I laughed.


"When he is 'superstar Michael,' what happens?"


"Honestly, mom, I see so little of it, that I can't even tell you. I'm sure I'll have a lot to tell you once I see him on stage."


"You guys don't get advanced seating or perks or anything?"


"I mean, he's had an entire theme park shut down for just him and I to have fun at. It's small stuff like that that he uses his superstardom for."


"'Little stuff like that?' Girl, I oughta smack you. I wish your dad would shut down and entire theme park for me. 'Little stuff.' You're funny, Shayla. California got you thinking different now, huh?" She laughed.


"I mean; it is little compared to other stuff I've gotten." I laughed.


"Yeah, okay, Shayla-Elizabeth. Little my foot. Well look, I have to get some sleep, you know it's almost three over here, so it's about time I go ahead and get some rest. You do the same okay, Shayla?"


"Yes, ma'am, I will."


"Don't you go waiting for Michael to get back home. No telling how long he's going to be up there at that stadium signing autographs and whatnot."


"You're right." I sighed. It was almost midnight, the show ended around ten thirty. He'll definitely be out for a while. That or he's on his way back to his hotel.


"Goodnight, Shayla."


"Goodnight, mom. Tell Mariah and Daddy, I love them."


"I will. Love you."


"Love you too, mom." I hung up and started to get comfortable under the covers. Thank god it's Friday. I'll definitely be sleeping in tomorrow. I think I deserve it.


(Michael)


I went back to the hotel with my brothers and went to my room. I hate to leave Shayla alone tonight, but I'll be back right after tonight's concert. It's pointless to go back home now and then rush back up here for the show tonight. After tonight's show, I at least get a break before the last couple of shows for this leg. It's one o'clock. Shayla's probably sleep, but I'll call her anyway just to let her know I'm alright.


"Hello?" She answered. She sounded so tired. I loved her voice when she first woke up. It was the purest thing to me.


"Good morning, baby." I smiled. "You sound so tired."


"Hey, baby..." She sighed. "Yeah, I literally just want to sleep."


"Really?"


"Yeah, just got off the phone with mom an hour ago."


"How's she doing?"


"She's good..." She sighed. She sounds so breathy when she's on the phone after first waking up. I love it.


"That's good. Look, baby, I was just calling to let you know I got to the hotel alright and the show was great. Plus, you know I love hearing your voice when you first wake up."


"Aww, babe... I'm glad you got to the hotel alright. When are you coming home?"


"After the show tonight, I promise."


"You promise?"


"Pinky promise."


"Okay, babe..."


"You sleep well, okay? I'll see you tomorrow. I love you."


"I love you too. Sleep well."


"Goodnight!"


"Goodnight..." She sighed and hung up the phone. Her "just woke up" voice is the purest thing. I smiled. I turned on the television to find nothing but garbage. Where are the cartoons? Maybe it's best that I just go to sleep. I need to anyway.

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