Chapter 19

The ride home was quiet. I wanted to ask Michael so badly why he did what he did, but I'll respect his wishes and ask him tomorrow.


Once we got into the house, it was quiet as well. I went upstairs to get ready for bed and he stayed downstairs.


"Michael, do you want anything?" I called from upstairs after I got out the shower. The phone rang and I went to get it.


"I got it, Shayla!" He called from downstairs. "And no, thank you, babe. I'll be up there in a minute." He called back. I went back into our room, got dressed and got ready for bed. This is the last week before Winter break. Winter in California is so odd. I'm so used to heavy snow and the extreme cold of Ohio around this time. Here it's seventy degrees. It's far from Winter here and I've never really liked it since I've moved. I want to know what prompted Michael to even say something like that. Judging by Joseph's reaction and Jackie and Marlon's reactions, no one knew about it.


Michael made his way to our room and avoided eye contact with me. Either he's that upset about it, or he's too nervous to even look at me because he knows that I'm curious about the whole ordeal as well. He made his way to the bathroom and turned on the shower. I don't want to go to sleep just yet until I get a chance to talk to him about it at least once before tomorrow.


Once he was done, he walked out the bathroom, put on a pair of boxers, turned off the light and got in bed beside me.


"I love you." He said as he kissed me on the cheek, turned his back to me and went to sleep.


"I love you too..." I sighed. How could he not talk to me about this?


(Michael)


I woke up just as Shayla was leaving the house to go to work. It's too bad I didn't get to wish her a good day at work, but it's alright. I'll call her during her lunch time. I got out of bed and went to the bathroom to relieve myself. Last night was a night; I tell ya. The phone rang off the hook last night and I'm sure it will be off the hook again today. I don't even know how to wrap my head around what happened at that show last night. I guess I just figured it was time. Things happen for a reason, so there was a reason why I said what I said and there was a reason why I said it then. There was a reason I didn't tell anyone about it either. I didn't even have the guts to tell Shayla about it yesterday. It was weighing in on my heart all day. It had to be done. I don't want to talk to Joseph about it because he's going to eat me alive. I don't want to talk to my brothers about it because they're probably just as pissed off as Joseph is. I wouldn't mind talking to my sisters about it, but I know they are pretty shocked and biased about the whole ordeal as well. I wouldn't mind talking to Mother about it right now, but I probably broke her heart when I announced the last tour with my brothers. Shayla is the only person of reason I could talk to about it. She will see both sides, but I'm sure, or at least I hope, that she will understand my side more. I don't think she'll be biased towards one side or the other. She will definitely understand both sides. That's just how Shayla is. She'll take into account of both sides of how everyone feels about it, then will make her judgement once I'm done talking to her about it. I'm just going to avoid my family for a little bit. The mere fact that everyone is pissed off of at me makes me want to stay away right now. If I had talked to them about it, everyone would have told me why we shouldn't stop touring together. This is a decision that I needed to make. I needed to make a decision on my own and act upon it. So I made my decision and announced the end of an era.


(Shayla)


I didn't want to wake Michael up this morning, because I just knew he was too tired from doing shows all weekend. Plus, I just knew his announcement was getting to him one way or another. It was best that I had just let him sleep. We're definitely talking about his announcement today, whether he wants to or not. Mother called me about it this morning and only expressed how sad she was about the whole situation. She didn't think it was right for Michael to have announced his departure from the group in that manner. I think it could have been done better in a private manner, but maybe Michael knew best about how he was going to announce it and why he chose to announce it publicly like that.


"Mrs. Jackson?" Byron knocked on my door and made his way into my classroom. Thankfully, it was lunch time, because I would not have liked if he came in while my students were here.


"Hi, Byron. What's up? And you're calling me by my last name now?" I laughed. He's always called me by my first name, I don't understand why this time is different.


"I have a question." He took a chair and sat it in front of my desk.


"Yeah?" I kept my eyes on the papers I was grading. What he had to ask was probably not that important anyway.


"Had you not gotten married, would you have given me a chance?" He wondered.


I looked up at him and made a face, "Excuse me?"


"I'm just wondering because we had such great chemistry in Sacramento. We were doing so well, then once you got back in contact with Michael, you totally blew me off. I just knew you would have been mine at some point, but then he came back and..."


"Byron, this is inappropriate." I shook my head.


"I'm sorry, Shayla, but you're so perfect to me. You're everything I've ever wanted in a woman. I even came down here to LA thinking that our friendship would blossom into what it was before Michael came back."


"You seriously thought I was going to cheat on my husband?"


"I didn't think you guys would last as long as you have. I'm so sorry." He shook his head. "It's just eating me up inside that he can have you and I'm sitting here like a loser, because I could never have you like I wanted to."


"Byron, you have to leave. We cannot be having this conversation." I told him.


"Shayla, can you please hear me out? I've had this on my heart for so long. I just need to let it go, so I can move on, please?" He looked up at me with pleading eyes.


"Byron... No. You have to leave. This is highly inappropriate." I stood up and made my way over to the door.


"Shayla, please?" He begged.


"No! This is unhealthy, Byron. I'm happily married. I'm married to a wonderful man who loves me and respects me with all of his heart. You knew that, so I don't understand your reasoning in moving down here to LA to be near me or whatever your reasoning. I thought you sincerely got a job opportunity down here, but you got a job here to be next to me? That's unhealthy, Byron. Please, just go." I said sternly. This was the final straw. I could not put up with this man anymore. I can't even fathom a friendship with him. I refuse to!


"If only you understood." He shook his head as he walked out.


"No, if only you understood. Please do not speak to me again."


At that he turned around with a heartbroken expression on his face, "are you serious?"


"Very serious. It's unhealthy. Have a nice life, Byron." I shut my door and went back to my desk. It was fun messing with his mind for a little bit, but that could only go so far. I didn't think he would have gotten crazy over me the way he did.


Suddenly, my classroom phone rang, "hello?" I answered.


"Mrs. Jackson, your husband is on line one." Shirley told me.


"Thank you." I said as I clicked over. "Michael?"


"Hey, baby. How are you?" He asked.


"To be completely honest with you, I'm irritated. How are you?" I sighed.


"Why are you irritated?"


"Byron just came in here thinking he was going to pour his heart out to me. He asked me had I not married you would I have given him a chance. I had to tell him never to talk to me again."


"What was your answer?"


"I didn't answer. It was rude and disgusting of him to ask me a question like that. He went onto say that he moved down here just so he could be closer to me. That's stalker qualities right there."


"Are you serious?" He gasped.


"Yes. This entire time I thought it was because he had a serious job opportunity. Nope, he was being a creep."


"Oh, that's sick. It's time for you to get out of that school, babe. I don't think I want you around that guy."


"No, it's okay. We've got break and six months left. I can't just leave in the middle of the year, it's fine, Michael."


"Babe... He could be a dangerous stalker. I don't want you around him."


"What is he gonna do, Michael?" I laughed.


"You never know!" He exclaimed. "Shayla, I'm serious. I do not want you around him."


I could tell he was serious this time, "Michael, how about we wait six months? I can't just leave in the middle of the year. I'm under a one-year contract. It doesn't work like that."


"Are you serious?"


"Yes. You know how contracts go. I can't just leave whenever I want to. Plus, it would be unfair to the kids, the school, and me."


He sighed, "okay..."


"Alright? Everything will be fine, Michael, I promise."


"Okay."


"You never told me how you were doing." I offered.


"I'm fine. I just need to relax. I can't wait until you get home either. I need you."


"I'll be home in two hours."


"That's not quick enough."


"I'll be back as soon as possible, okay?"


"That's not quick enough."


"Okay," I laughed. "What's quick enough?"


"You coming home right now."


"I can't do that."


"Babe, just get here as soon as you can, okay?"


"I promise." At that, the bell rang signaling the students to come back to class. "Michael, I've got to go. My class is about to come back."


"Alright. I love you."


"I love you too. And we've got a lot to talk about once I get home."


"I know. See you in a few hours."


"I love you, baby! Bye." I hung up and welcomed my class back in. Byron stared at me from across the hall. What is with this guy?

© All Rights Reserved