Chapter 17

Today is the last concert of the first leg before we have to prepare for the second leg in Europe. This leg has gone by fast. This year has gone by fast! Shayla and I got married last year, shortly after I go on tour with my brothers, now we're here in December. Time flies! I checked the time to see that it was two p.m. I have a lot on my heart today. A lot to be said and a lot to be done. I feel like everyone is counting on me except for me. I have to do for me. I've been doing for everyone else for so long that now it's time to do for me. I prayed for strength. I prayed for mercy. I prayed for protection over me and my wife. I thanked God for love. I thanked God for the gift he bestowed upon me. I thanked God for my wife. There is a lot to be thankful for. By the grace of God everything will go smoothly today. I walked up the block to meet my driver. We drove over to Quincy's so that I could speak with him for a little bit. Just to tell him what was on my heart. Just to tell him how appreciative I was of him. Also to give him tickets for the show, to which he declined because he had plans that he had already made for the evening. I promised to tell him all about it once everything was over.


"Take me to the stadium. Give this to Shayla." I gave some tickets to my driver. "The tickets are for you. The other thing is for Shayla. Make sure she gets to her destination thirty minutes early, please."


"Thanks, Michael! I sure will!" He smiled. I nodded. There's so much that I have to think through and prepare myself for. I'm nervous and strong at the same time. I'm not sad. I just have a lot that is on my mind. I don't know how I'm going to pull this off, but when I do, it will be swift. I will be strong. I owe it to myself.


Driver finally got me to the stadium, "I know you can't pick me up right after the show, but please make sure someone does immediately after the show is over, okay?"


"Gotcha! I'm going to go pick up Shayla now."


"Thank you. Enjoy the show, okay, man?"


"You know I will! See you on stage, Mike!" He said as he drove off. I went upstairs and opened the door to find no one there, but the stage preparers. Good. I needed this time to myself.


(Shayla)


Michael seemed so off this morning, I could only imagine what was going through his mind. I hoped nothing was disturbing him. Maybe it's the fact that it's the last concert before they have to go on to the next leg to Europe. I really hope he allows me to go to Europe with him, but I doubt it. Maybe he's going to miss his brothers? Or maybe he's happy on the inside that the tour is going to be done for a couple of months. I don't know, but I'm sure he will be much better later on today.


"Ms. Shayla! My daddy has tickets to go see Michael Jackson tonight!" Little Timothy said to me excitedly. I was babysitting him while his parents were gone. Just another thirty minutes and they should be here. Sundays were definitely one of my days of rest, but I took up this baby sitting job for Timothy's mom, Sandra, since her normal baby sitter couldn't for the say.


"You're going to see The Jacksons?" I corrected him. It wasn't just Michael, it was definitely going to be him and his brothers.


"Yeah, but Michael is my favorite. Hey! You guys have the same last name, Ms. Shayla!" He laughed.


"I know, right? I feel so cool." I smiled.


"Are you his sister?"


At that, I laughed out loud, "Oh no, Timothy! I could never be his sister. I don't know how I could handle that." That's funny that that was the first thing he thought of. His sister? Ha! Far from it...


"I didn't think so. You guys don't look the same. Are you going to see Michael Jackson tonight?"


"Um... At the concert?"


"Yeah!"


"Oh no. I can't get tickets to that. I'd like to see him though." I sighed. It was so true. This really is seeming to get to me, not being able to see my own husband on stage. Meanwhile five year olds have tickets to see him.


"I'll tell you all about it next time, okay?"


"Please do! I'd love to hear all about it, Timothy." I nodded. I love children and all, but I just want to go home. I'm so beat. I feel like I didn't get a lick of sleep. I hope Michael gets here on time since he dropped me off. I do not want to be kept waiting. I swear, as soon as I get in the car I'm going to sleep.


"Timothy?" Sandra called as she walked in the door.


"Mommy!" He screeched as he ran up to her. I smiled. I can't wait until my own little one runs up to me like that. I imagine it's one of the greatest feelings in the world.


"How was he, Shayla?" Tim, Timothy's dad, asked me as he pulled out his wallet.


"He was great, Tim! He told me how excited he was to be able to go see The Jacksons tonight."


"Yeah, he was begging me for those tickets as soon as he got word that they were going on tour. I was lucky enough to snag the tickets for the last show. Are you going?"


"Me? Nah. I don't have the money for that." I shook my head.


"Ahh. If we had an extra ticket, I definitely would have given it to you. Here you go." He handed me fifteen dollars.


"Ahh, thanks, Tim. If only, huh?" I laughed a little.


"Thanks so much, Shayla! I know it was last minute, but thank you so much." Sandra came over to me and Tim.


"Anything for a friend, Sandra." I smiled. "Look, I'm about to head out of here, because I am literally beat." We laughed.


"Timothy will do that to you." Tim laughed.


"Literally!" I laughed. "But hey, I'll catch you guys later. My husband should be outside. Call me if you ever need me again, Sandra." I called as I walked out and shut their door behind me. I looked out to see if I could find Michael's car. It's literally nowhere to be in sight. Are you serious? I looked down at my watch to see that it was getting close to seven. Ugh! And I have work tomorrow. This cannot be life! Suddenly a black Bentley came around the corner and made its way down the street. I hope that's Michael. The car stopped in front of the house and someone came out of the driver's side. It was Michael's driver.


"Good evening, Shayla!" He said as he opened the back door.


I breathed a sigh of relief and made my way over to the car, "hey. Michael must be on his way to the concert, huh?" I asked as I got in the back seat.


"He's already there. He told me the situation and had me pick you up."


"Oh, well, thank you."


"Any time!"


"Just letting you know now, it's been a long day, so I'm going to be knocked out back here."


"That's fine by me." He laughed and began driving me back home. I seriously cannot wait until I get back in that bed.


(Michael)


"Go over that song one more time!" Joseph called from the front seats. No one got anything wrong or was out of line, he just wanted to hear the song again. We started doing "Things I Do for You" again better than the first time. I swear it was one of Joseph's favorite songs. Once we got done, I made my way back to my dressing room and sat in the makeup chair to get cleaned up and made up for the show in about an hour.


"Are you ready for the show to be over already?" Karen asked as she wiped my face of any sweat.


"Look, I've been looking forward to this day. I'm tired!" I laughed half-heartedly. "I'm so ready for this to be over, Karen. I just want to be in bed with my wife for the next couple of weeks."


"Doesn't she work, Michael?" She laughed.


"Winter break is coming up soon. So she'll be able to stay in for two weeks with me."


"Ahh, well there ya go, huh?" She smiled. I looked at my face. My cheeks were so red and there were white patches on my neck. I think I should start using that cream... I probably should be using it, but I'm so nervous that I don't want to just yet. Karen started applying make up to my face and neck, covering up the patches. I cannot wait until this goes away... If it ever goes away...


(Shayla)


I woke up to find that I was not at home, "uh, where are we?" I asked the driver.


"Well rise and shine sleeping beauty!" He laughed.


"Hey..." I sat up and looked at my surroundings. This looked like an abandoned area. Is he kidnapping me. "Where are we? Why aren't we at the house?"


"Calm down, Shayla. We're at the Dodger's Stadium. I was asked to drop you off here thirty minutes before the show began." He said.


"Before what show began?" I asked. What was he talking about?


"Michael didn't tell you?" He looked confused.


"Didn't tell me what?" I asked again. Why won't he just spit it out?!


"Here," He handed me a lanyard with a big card attached to it. "Put this around your neck and go through those doors." He pointed to the double doors right at the top of the steps. I looked down at the big card attached to the lanyard and read its contents.


"No. Freaking. Way." I stared wide eyed at the card.


"I can't believe Michael didn't tell you." He shook his head.


"I can't believe he told you before he told me! I'm not even dressed for this! Can you please take me back home or somewhere to at least get dressed for this?" I begged.


"Sorry, Shayla. Michael wanted me to get you here thirty minutes early and nothing more. Maybe Michael has something for you in there."


"Really? You can't take me to a store at all?"


"Really, Shayla. Hurry up and get in there before he thinks I made you late."


"Okay..." I sighed as I put the lanyard around my neck and got out the car. "Right through the double doors up there?" I pointed at the doors.


"Yes, ma'am. You should find Katherine in no time."


"She knows I'm coming?"


"I don't know. Hurry up, Shayla!"


"Thanks!" I hurried up the stairs and opened the door. It was super cold back here. I zipped up my jacket and folded my arms across my chest as I walked. I didn't know where I was going. People were staring the heck out of me, but didn't bother me because of my lanyard. I looked around to see many different people getting ready for the show. I didn't see Michael or his brothers anywhere. I didn't even see Joseph. Hopefully, I find Mother soon though. I walked through a door to find more people getting ready for the show. I also heard the audience chattering outside in the arena. I wish I could go see them just to see what Michael sees every night. Just as I was about to go through another door, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to find Janet. "Oh, Janet! Am I glad to see you!"


"Michael finally let you come, huh?" She laughed.


"Girl, this is all a surprise! The driver just dropped me off here, gave me this lanyard and told me to go through some doors. I don't know where I'm supposed to be going!"


"This is a surprise to me too! I didn't know when Mike would ever let you come."


"I know, right?"


"Follow me. I'll take you to where me and the girls are sitting." I followed close beside her. Janet knew her way around this type of stuff.


"What were you doing back here?"


"Girl, I just came back from the bathroom. I'm glad I found you! Who knows where you would have gone?"


"Right?" I laughed. We went up a couple of stairs and were finally on a steady platform. The audience was louder than ever. I wonder how many people are here!


"Here you can sit here right by me." Janet pulled a chair up beside hers.


"Shayla?!" Latoya smiled. "Oh my gosh! I'm so glad you are finally here! I was thinking Michael would never let you come!" She exclaimed as she hugged me.


"I thought the same thing. When does the show start?" I wondered.


"In ten minutes." Latoya assured me. We were so close to the stage; I would literally be able to see Michael's every move clear as day. I saw a glimpse of the audience.


"Am I allowed to just peek at the audience really quick?" I asked.


"When you say 'peek,' do you mean go out on the stage and stare at them head on or peek from behind the curtain?" Janet asked.


"From behind the curtain, duh!"


"Yeah, girl, go ahead." She shrugged. I made my way over to the curtain and look out at the audience. There were so many people! I was nervous just looking at them. Michael performs in front of an audience this large every night? I don't know how he does it. I wouldn't dare. I went back to my seat and sat down. "What'd you think?" Janet laughed.


"I don't see how he does it." I shook my head. Janet and Latoya laughed as I sat in disbelief. Just looking at the audience was overwhelming. "Hey, Latoya..."


"Yeah?" Latoya looked over at me.


"Do you guys think anyone was suspicious when they saw me come in?" I wondered. "The way people were staring at me when I walked in kind of made me nervous. They didn't bother me because of my lanyard though." Janet and Latoya looked at each other.


"If you're wondering if you're going to get talked about in the press, let's hope not." Janet sighed. "Was anyone around when you were being dropped off?"


"I sure hope not."


"In the case that no one was around when you were being dropped off, you'll be fine." Latoya assured me with a shrug.


"But not all of the crew and everyone else here know who you are. Let's hope and pray we don't have any money hungry people here." Janet added.


"I sure hope not." I sighed. I see what Michael meant now. I'm so nervous. I hope no one snapped a photo of me. I sure hope there aren't any money hungry people amongst the stage crew that will tell the press about me.


Suddenly the lights went out and the entire audience screamed...

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