Chapter 22

(Shayla)


Friday


Entirely too much has gone on this week. This spa treatment is definitely needed. I love my students, but you could tell they were ready for winter break as much as I was. Class management was harder on me than it has ever been. Everyone has been calling me about Michael, because Michael has yet to call any of his siblings although mom insisted he do so. I'm just glad Hazel called this wives' date, because I am pooped!


I walked into the building to find Carol and Dee Dee sitting in the reception area. "Hey!" I smiled as I walked over to them.


"Shayla, I'm so glad you could make it." Carol jumped up to greet me. She and I were the closest out of all the wives. "Any word from Hazel while you were on your way here?"


"No. I just got off of work and rushed over here. Hey, Dee Dee," I hugged her. "Have you heard from Hazel?"


"I called her before I came over. She told me she'd be running thirty minutes late."


"We won't be late for our appointment, will we?" I asked. I was such a stickler for time, it would literally irritate me if we were late for our appointment.


"Oh no. The appointment isn't until five. She just wanted everyone here early."


"So she could show up late?" Carol wondered.


"Look... it's Hazel we're talking about." Dee Dee sighed.


"She can't be that bad." I offered.


"You're new to the Jackson wives' club." Dee Dee said. "I assume you have yet to actually really acquaint yourself with Hazel?"


"I've spoken to her once or twice... That has nothing to do with the fact that I'm new to the 'Jackson wives' club.'" I air quoted the "Jackson wives' club" and laughed.


"Actually, it does." She paused. "Hazel is a different kind of lady. You'll see once she gets here." Dee Dee rolled her eyes.


I gave her a look, "what's her problem?" I asked Carol.


"She's always been that way. Don't worry about her. How was work?" Carol tried lightening up the mood.


I glared at Dee Dee before I gave my full attention to Carol, "work was okay. It was the last day before winter break, so the kids were definitely haywire." I sighed.


"I bet you're glad to get out of there, huh?"


"For two weeks? Of course!" We laughed. Suddenly a woman walked up to us.


"Carol?" She tapped on Carol's shoulder.


"Hey, Enid!" Carol gave her a big hug. I'm hoping she's really cool too. Janet did warn me about everyone, so I'm making sure to take Janet's words to heart. Definitely going to steer clear of Dee Dee and I'm definitely going to pay close attention to what Hazel says before accepting anything. "Have you met Shayla?"


"I think I've seen you once, but I've never been able to speak to you. Michael always has you hidden somewhere." Enid laughed before she pulled me in for a hug.


"Yeah, I've definitely seen you maybe once or twice." I laughed. Enid was so sweet!


"Hey, Dee Dee! Where's Hazel?" Enid asked.


"She'll be here in twenty minutes or so. She said she'll be late." Dee Dee responded.


"That's cool. So Shayla, what do you do?" Enid asked me.


"I'm a teacher." I smiled.


"A teacher?!" Enid and Dee Dee asked in unison.


"Yeah..." My smile beginning to fade away.


"You could have any job in the world and you decided to be a teacher?" Dee Dee furrowed her eyebrows.


"It's been my dream since I was a kid. I've never thought of doing anything else." I shrugged.


"Does anyone know who you're married to at your school?" Enid asked.


"No..." I responded.


"Oh, well you're good. But I would have never guessed that you'd be a teacher." Enid chuckled a little.


"I don't even know why you'd choose to be a teacher. You're married to a superstar and you chose the simplest job out there. You must be a country girl." Dee Dee rolled her eyes.


"Where I'm from has nothing to do with it."


"Well, it must have something to do with it, because I'm from the city, and I would never have thought to be a teacher. And I'm married to Tito? No, you're not about to see me be a teacher. You'd find me making something of myself like I am now."


"I'm from the city too. Where you're from has nothing to do with it. I've always wanted to be a teacher. We're two different people. God made people different for a reason. I'm glad you're making something of yourself, Dee Dee. I am too and I like having my own money like everyone else does in this world. I'm not about to let me being married to Michael stop me from wanting my own money and doing what I love." I can't believe she is doing this. I don't like to think of myself of above anyone, but I'm definitely above arguing over nothing and arguing with someone who has had a funky attitude from the jump.


"What money? Teachers don't make a dime. You go ahead and be a teacher-"


"Hey, ladies!" Hazel smiled as she walked up to us. I'm so glad she came when she did because going back and forth with Dee Dee was beginning to give me a migraine.


"Hey, Hazel!" Carol sighed a breath of relief as she hugged Hazel.


"Shayla, I'm so glad you could make it!" Hazel smiled as she gave me a hug.


"Thank you for inviting me." I smiled back. I was still irritated at Dee Dee trying to come for me the way she did.


"Girl, you know I had to. You're a Jackson wife! We gotta get you acquainted with the other wives! Let me go check us in, and I'll be right back." She hurried over to the reception desk. I didn't even look in Dee Dee's direction, but I could feel her staring at me. I do not need that negative energy right now.


"What do you do, Enid?" I tried sparking up conversation.


"Me? Oh, honey, I'm just a housewife."


"You don't work?" I wondered.


"Honey, being a housewife is work." She laughed.


"Don't think of yourself as above anyone just because you're on someone's payroll, Shayla." Dee Dee interrupted. "Remember that little teacher's salary of yours isn't paying any bills."


"Dee Dee, for real?" Hazel came back over. "Cut her some slack. Y'all ready?" She picked up her stuff and followed one of the employees to the back. I'm not about to let Dee Dee take me out of myself. She clearly has issues.


VII


Once we got to the back, we were directed to the locker rooms to take off our clothes and put on a white robe. When we did, we followed the employee to a dimly lit room with five massage tables set out. I laid on the massage table between Enid and Carol. There was no way I was about to be by Dee Dee and her negativity. Soft music was playing as we got our hot oil massages. I felt like a queen. I didn't realize how tense my body was until the masseuse kneaded all that tension out of my muscles. I was beginning to feel so rejuvenated and relaxed. I didn't know how much I needed this.


VII


When we were done with that, we all went over to the manicure area and got our nails done. I wasn't about to get anything spectacular like the rest of the girls, so I just got a pretty peach nail polish to get painted on.


"You're not going to get acrylics?" Hazel asked me.


"Nah, it's too much to keep up with." I chuckled.


"Suit yourself." She shrugged.


VII


Once we were done with the manicures, we all went over to the pedicure massage chairs. I made sure to sit beside Enid and Carol again. Dee Dee and Hazel sat across from us. I chose purple for my toe nails and watched as the nail technicians did my feet.


"So how did y'all feel about what Michael said on Sunday?" Hazel asked.


"Jackie is still pissed. I'm so glad you called this date, Hazel. I had to get away from him." Enid rolled her eyes.


"Tito is pissed too. I can't get him to stop being upset. He's been trying to get a hold of Michael, but you know Michael doesn't pick up." Dee Dee scoffed.


"Marlon isn't too happy, but he's not too upset either. He's trying to get a hold of Michael as well, but hey." Carol shrugged.


"Shayla?" Hazel asked me.


"Huh?" I raised my gaze and looked up at her.


"How did you feel about what Michael said on Sunday?"


"I was as shocked as you guys were. I didn't even know he was planning on going solo like that."


"Yeah, right." Dee Dee scoffed.


"Believe it or not, Dee Dee," I looked directly at her. "I didn't know until that night like you guys did. Michael didn't tell me anything as far as that went. I didn't know he was thinking about leaving the group or anything."


"I believe you, Shayla." Carol assured me. I guess she could tell Dee Dee was really getting under my skin.


"Him and I had a long discussion as to why he didn't tell me and to make sure nothing like that happens again. I'd like to know before the rest of the world knows next time. So believe me when I say, I didn't know anything about him breaking from the guys like that."


"Well," Hazel started. "I thought it was selfish of Michael to do that, if you ask me. Jermaine and I have been together for a long time and I've watched the guys grow into the men they are today. I think Michael let the success of Thriller get to his head."


"Michael didn't let the success of Thriller get to his head. It was time for him to make decisions on his own like the rest of his brothers have been doing for years. I don't understand why everyone is so upset with Michael when Jermaine decided to stay with Motown while the rest of the group moved on. Michael was upset about that, but no one considered his feelings."


"That's just my opinion though, Shayla. You don't have to agree with me. I just think Michael got the big head. When Jermaine chose to stay with Motown he did the right thing, because my father was the one who made them who they are today. The Jacksons should have never left Motown to begin with." Hazel shot back.


"Look, I wasn't with Michael when that happened, but look-"


"We know." Dee Dee rolled her eyes.


"Okay, you know what, Dee Dee? I can't put up with this. I'm not about to let you take me out of myself, but you know what? I'm going to need for you to shut up, because your mouth has been slick since we got here and it's the first time I've ever really spoke with you, let alone hung out with you. Just zip it, because I don't need your negative energy. Especially in this place of serenity." I shot back at Dee Dee.


"Look here, Ms. Shayla," Dee Dee sat up in her chair. "What you're not about to do is-"


"Dee Dee!" Hazel chuckled as she nearly choked on her drink. "Dee Dee, chill out! Calm down."


"No, what you need to do is tell that newbie to calm down." Dee Dee spat back.


"You probably deserved it." Hazel laughed out loud. "You always come off with an attitude."


"Well somebody should have let little Ms. Thing know that I am not the one! One of y'all should have warned her. Ima let you slide, Shayla. But next time, it's over." She stared at me as she relaxed back in her chair.


"Trust me, there will not be a next time. I'll make sure this is the last time I see you." I told her.


"Anyway!" Enid tried bringing the conversation back. "Y'all know that Michael met with mom and told him to talk to the guys. He still hasn't done it."


"Because he's been busy." I shot back at Enid. "Can we not talk about my husband? There's a lot going on right now and there's too much negative energy. I do not want to hear any negativity about my husband. Hazel, what do you do? We've already established that I'm a teacher, Dee Dee is self-employed, Enid and Carol are housewives. What do you do?"


"I'm a housewife too." Hazel laughed. "But unlike, Enid and Carol, I don't have a side hustle or anything. I'm pretty self-sufficient though." She smiled to herself.


"That's awesome. So Michael and I are the only ones who don't have kids, huh?" I laughed a little.


"Do you all plan on having any?" Carol asked.


"We haven't talked about it. We're both focused on our careers right now. I'm sure we'll have children in the future though."


"It'll be pretty soon, I bet, because Michael loves children." Hazel said.


"I know..." I blushed. It's crazy that we've never really talked about having our own children though. We've just been visiting children instead of working on our own. But I know we'll have kids soon...


"Girl, you better hurry up while he's in his prime. You never know..." Hazel laughed as she took a sip of her drink. She has a slick mouth on her too. Hazel took another sip of her drink and stirred it slightly, "Jermaine slept with hella women on tour."


"He told you?" Dee Dee gasped.


"No. I just know. You know he can't keep his dick in his pants." Hazel rolled her eyes.


"How'd you find out?" Carol asked.


"I found this." Hazel took a note out of her robe pocket and passed it around. "He's actually keeping in contact with these tramps." Once it got to me, I read the contents to find a phone number with the woman's name and a personal message to Jermaine about how well his "head" was. Wow. "You'd think he'd get tired of messing with these tramps, but no." She shook her head.


"I made Jackie tell me about any infidelities he may have had on tour." Enid rolled her eyes.


"Did he tell you?" Hazel asked.


"He sure did. Told me when and where. I made sure his ass got some tests. I can't help what he does on tour, but I sure as hell can help what he may bring back into my house."


"You've got that right." Dee Dee laughed. "Tito just out right told me that he had slept with some women. Get this." We all looked at her. "He called me on tour and told me right after it happened. I guess he'd rather hear me cuss him out on the phone than see it in person." Dee Dee laughed. That's the first time I've even seen her crack a smile.


"What'd you say to him when you saw him?" Carol asked. She was quiet for the most part. I noticed she only spoke when she felt like she hasn't spoken enough. She's not into the drama. We're alike in that aspect, but I definitely had to handle Dee Dee when she got to be too much for me.


"I made his ass take a test. Don't bring that dirty dick into my house." Dee Dee high fived Hazel.


"What about Marlon, Carol? Has he messed around yet?" Hazel inquired. I could tell she lived for the drama, especially drama that went on in other people's lives.


"I've got Marlon on lock." Carol laughed.


"Oh, so you're saying we don't have our men on lock?" Enid asked.


"No... I'm not saying that. I'm just saying, Marlon has yet to mess around on me."


"Oh. Is that what he told you?" Dee Dee laughed.


"No. Marlon just isn't like that."


"I feel you." I agreed with Carol. Michael wasn't like that either. I could see why Carol and I were so close now.


"What do you mean, 'I feel you?'" Hazel asked me.


"Michael isn't like that either." I told her.


"Oh, really?"


"Really." I nodded.


"You really think Michael hasn't messed around on you?" Dee Dee asked.


"I know he hasn't messed around on me." I looked at Dee Dee.


"Hmmm." Hazel took a sip of her drink again before setting it down.


"What?"


"Before you or during you?" She inquired.


"Before me is none of my business. During me, he never has." I was standing on my word. These girls were not about to break me.


"Nah, Hazel," Dee Dee interjected and looked at me. "During you or during the time you guys stopped talking, you think he hasn't messed around on you?"


"How do you know we stopped talking?"


"Oh, girl, please." Hazel rolled her eyes. "Everyone knew about that. We couldn't not know about it, no matter how much we tried."


"Oh..."


"You really think Michael stayed faithful, Shayla?" Enid asked.


"Yeah." I looked at her. "Why do you guys keep asking me? Michael is not the messing around type. He just isn't." I laughed. "No matter how much you want to try to question me about whether I think he messed around or not, I know he didn't."


"Michael is not as perfect as you think he is." Dee Dee said. "He's a Jackson. There are no faithful Jackson men. Marlon is the only outlier to that."


"Michael is an outlier too." I said.


"You really think Michael is that perfect?" Hazel looked at me.


"I don't think he's perfect. We all have our faults. I just don't think he messed around on me."


"I'm sorry to be the one to break it to you, but you are not his first, honey." Hazel shook her head. "I mean; he's had some women before you. But during that little miscommunication break you guys had, he was shacking it up with everything under the sun."


"You're lying, Hazel." I rolled my eyes. For real? Michael isn't even the type to do that. He's always told me he's been finicky about who he has let close to him.


"You really think I'm lying?" Hazel asked me.


"I know you're lying. You're just upset because Michael said what he said on Sunday and broke up with the group. I get it, but don't start lying on my husband. That's low, Hazel. It's quite childish too, if I do say so myself." I rolled my eyes.


"Shayla, I would never lie to you. You have my word on that one. Michael asked me for one of my home girls numbers after he saw me hanging out with her one day and he shacked up with her. She told me every last detail that I should not know about my brother-in-law. I've watched Michael grow up. You are definitely not the only one. You remember Ola?"


"Yeah..." I nodded.


"He had sex with her too. Call her up. Ask her. That's my other home girl's sister. Let me ask you this, Shayla. How good was he the first time you all made love?"


"Come on now, Hazel. Leave the girl alone." Enid interjected.


"No, no. I want to know. How good was he, Shayla? Because if you were his first and vice versa, he wouldn't be good. I know my brother-in-law. I've been around much longer than any of you have." Hazel pointed to all of us. "I know the Jacksons. Y'all know we go way back. Michael may play the innocent role when it comes to you, Shayla. But he's definitely sown his royal oats. And I'm not telling you because I'm angry. Because, trust me, honey, I am far from angry. Jermaine can handle himself and I damn sure can handle myself. I'm just telling you woman to woman. And I'm telling you as someone who has known the Jacksons' since they were boys. Michael is not this perfect little husband you think he is. He has definitely had his share of women prior to you and during your miscommunication break."


"Hazel, you're lying." I shook my head.


"You want me to call Jermaine to co-sign? Because trust me, Michael told Jermaine everything. Jermaine has all types of receipts and he told me, why? Because I'm his wife. You go ahead and think I'm lying. I'm calling Jermaine as we speak." She pulled her gigantic phone out of her purse and held it up to her ear. I couldn't believe what I was being told. Janet told me to watch what Hazel says and I held onto that. But now Hazel is telling me all of this stuff about Michael and it's supposedly the truth because she's calling Jermaine about it. Part of me is upset that I was so naïve to believe Michael when he told me he didn't sleep with anyone when we lost communication with one another. Another part of me is upset because Hazel is seriously going out of her way to make me angry all for the sake of loving drama. "Hey, Jermaine. I just wanted to ask you if I'm lying when I say Michael has slept with countless women." We all paused as we waited for a response. She smiled, "thank you, baby. I'll see you once I get home." She hung up the phone and put it back in her purse. "I wasn't lying." She smiled as she took a sip of her drink and stared right at me.

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