Chapter 23

"Hazel, why'd you have to do her like that?" Enid asked. I just kept staring at my toes while the nail technician finished them. I was in utter disbelief. Although it was a while ago when this happened, I just recently asked Michael if he ever slept with anyone when we lost contact. He denied it with ease.


"I just had to tell her about her husband. Michael is not as perfect as he makes himself out to be." Hazel shrugged, laughing. Janet told me to watch what I say around Hazel and to watch what she says. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything when Carol was talking about Marlon. No, I can't blame myself. Hazel is childish for even bringing all that up.


"But you didn't have to break it down like that." Enid shook her head.


"She needed to know." Dee Dee commented. Once the nail technician was done with my toes and put the flip-flops on my feet he told me to go sit under the foot dryer.


"It's okay." I forced a weak smile as I gave him a tip. "I have to go."


"Where are you going?" Hazel asked as I got up. "We're going to dinner in a little bit."


"You know what, Hazel?" My blood was boiling. It was literally taking everything in me not to go off on her. "I'd rather not go to dinner with you ladies. I had a great time here at the spa. Hopefully, I'll see you all sooner or later. Thanks again for inviting me." I forced another smile.


"Oh, so now you're upset? You can't be mad at her for telling you the truth." Dee Dee teased. I turned around to address her but decided she wasn't even worth it. I'm not even that kind of girl. I'll just leave her and her bitterness alone.


"Have a great day, ladies," I said as I hurried back to the locker rooms to get dressed.


"Shayla," Carol followed after me. "That was so wrong for them to do that. I feel responsible because I should have warned you Hazel and Dee Dee were like that."


"No, you're fine, Carol. Janet already warned me about those two." I took deep breaths.


"You're so good for not going off on them," Carol assured me.


"Girl, it's still taking everything in me not to go back there and take flight on them. I don't understand why people find joy in other people's sorrow. I really don't." I shook my head.


"I know... You want to go out to dinner with me? I know you're not about to go home to Michael after hearing that..."


"Carol... What they said... Is it true? Did he really get with Ola and all those other women?"


"You want me to tell you?" Carol's eyes got big.


"I trust you, Carol. Just go ahead and tell me." I sighed.


Carol sighed, "Ola and Michael weren't a thing. But everyone knew they were messing around." My heart sank. I never asked Michael about Ola except to know if that was his girlfriend, in which he denied. Carol just confirmed how true that is, but they messed around? Seriously! Now that I think about it, Michael was too good in bed the first time we made love. I'm so stupid!


"Part of me wants to go back home and give him a big piece of my mind to be completely honest with you."


"And what about the other part of you...?" Carol was anxious to know.


"The other part of me wants to simmer down and go with you to dinner."


"I think you should do that. Come on. There's no use in you going home after coming out of the lion's den."


"I know, but there's so much I want to say to him, Carol."


"If you clear up your thoughts and come with me to dinner, you won't be talking to him out of sheer anger..."


"I'm not even angry. I'm hurt because he didn't tell me. I had to find out from those two." I rolled my eyes.


"Well look, just come on with me to dinner and we can talk about it."


VII


"Tell me something, Carol," I started as we sat at our table. "Have Dee Dee and Hazel always been like that?"


"I can't recall a time they weren't like that." Carol sighed. "Hazel has always lived for the drama. I learned not to say much around her as time progressed. That's why I kept my mouth shut majority of the time. To be honest with you, I only came because she told me she'd be inviting you, plus I needed a spa day." We laughed.


"I've met Hazel and Dee Dee at the wedding and at other events, but other than that, I never saw them. Let alone spoke to them on a personal basis. People really don't think about the first impression they give off. That or they just don't care. Because going to the spa with them today was really their time to shine for their real first impression. All those other times were just, hi's and bye's." I shook my head.


"Well, I'm sure you won't be speaking to them anymore, huh?"


"I'll be cordial with them, but to spend a day with them? Hell no." I made a face. "Not even if we were the last people on earth." We laughed. I looked around at the restaurant. There were so many vintage items that I was just falling in love with. Carol knows me all too well.


"Shayla..."


"Yeah?"


"I'm sorry I didn't tell you about Michael and Ola."


"Oh, girl," I waved off the thought. "First of all, it's not your place to tell me. Second of all, that was way before we had gotten married. I'm just upset he didn't tell me about it being that I asked him when we got in contact again if they were together. Plus, I just recently asked him if he had been with anyone when we didn't speak. You are not responsible at all."


"I still feel bad though. I mean, they were messing around a lot. When you guys got back in contact, I could have told you or something."


"Don't worry about it." I laughed. "It's not your fault. But I will ask you one thing."


"What's that?"


"You think I should ask Janet about it? She had to have known, right?"


"Okay..." Carol took a deep breath. "There's no doubt that she has known about it. But what would you be getting out of asking her about it?"


I shrugged, "just to ask why she didn't tell me either."


"Big mistake." She shook her head. "Confronting Janet about it will only make matters worse. Okay, she's his sister and she knew. Big deal. But she wasn't the one in the relationship with you. Michael was. Keep it between you and Michael. Do not bring his sister in it. If you come to her about it, you better kiss your favor with her goodbye. Sisters will always stick with their brothers no matter what. And to her, he was single, so it's not a problem with her. If you want to talk about it with someone, talk to Michael about it and Michael only. It's a huge mistake if you even mention it to Janet."


"You're sure?"


"I'm positive. Don't do anything stupid like that." Carol warned me.


"I'll keep that in mind." I sighed. I feel like I should be upset with him, but then again I feel like there is no reason for me to be upset with him. This was before he and I got married. This was when we weren't talking for a moment in time. He told me he was starting to move on with life. Why should I be upset about it? Nope. I can still be upset about it because Michael told me he wasn't messing with anyone. I've got to confront him about this. I have to. Who knows what else he has lied to me about?


VII


I walked into the house to hear the television in the living room. Michael rarely ever watches television. I wonder what makes him want to do so now. To be honest, I don't even want to face him right now. I'm still hurt. But I have to confront him. I have to ask him. I have to get to the bottom of this. I cannot let this blow over. I walked into the kitchen and placed my keys into the key bowl. Michael turned around.


"Hey, baby! I didn't know you were here." He smiled.


"I just got in," I said flatly.


"How was your day with the girls?" He asked as I walked in and sat adjacent from him in the love seat.


"It was interesting." I shrugged.


"What happened?"


"Just girls being girls." I shrugged again. I don't want to just jump to it, but the way he's acting all happy and whatnot like he has no care in the world makes me want to just jump right into it.


"Well tell me. I want to know what happened, babe. They didn't eat you alive did they?" He laughed.


"No. You wanna know what they talked about as soon as we all got a chance to actually converse together?"


"What?" He wondered.


"You." I sighed.


"Me?" Michael made a face. "What about... Oh... What'd they say?"


"Hazel thinks you were selfish. All of your brothers are upset. No one is happy, Michael."


"Hazel thinks I'm selfish?!"


"Yeah." I nodded. "She thinks you let Thriller get to your head."


"Why does everyone keep saying that?" He groaned.


"I don't know." I shrugged. "Guess what else we talked about."


"What?"


"The guys being unfaithful while on tour."


"Really? Who started that conversation? Was it Hazel?"


"Bingo." I sighed.


"She has nothing else to talk about, huh?"


"Nope. Not at all."


"Well, at least you know I was faithful on tour. No one had anything bad to say about me, did they, babe?" Michael smiled a little.


"I wouldn't say that..."


"Huh?" His smile disappeared immediately. "They told you I was messing around on tour?"


"No."


"Ohh." Michael sighed a breath of relief. "That's good. You know how pissed I'd be if I knew they lied on me like that, babe?" He shook his head.


"Hazel actually told me about the many women you've been with." I finally said looking him directly in the eye. Daring him to lie to me.


"Huh?" He looked taken aback.


"Now, the women you were with before me has nothing to do with me. I have no problem with that. That was before me. I can't do anything about that. What was brought to my attention though was the fact that when we lost contact you moved on in more ways than one. And I have no problem with that either; however, what I do have a problem with is the fact that you completely denied having any kind of relationship with Ola Ray when we got back in contact."


"Huh?" He asked again.


"Come on now, Michael. Don't play dumb. All the girls confirmed it with me today that you and Ola were messing around and everyone knew it." I rolled my eyes. He can't be that shocked to know that I found out. I was going to find out sooner or later.


"Why would they even bring that up to you...?" He asked.


"So, you're not denying it... You and Ola were messing around, huh? Even after I asked you when we got back in contact if you all were together."


"We weren't together, Shayla. We never were." He shook his head.


"But you all messed around...?" I wondered.


He sat quietly for a moment, "what made Hazel even bring that up?"


"As I said, we were talking about the guys being unfaithful on tour. Carol mentioned that Marlon wasn't unfaithful on tour and I made sure to chime in as well. I just knew you wouldn't be unfaithful. But then Hazel and Dee Dee just had to try me and wanted to know if I thought you were completely faithful to me. Hazel ended up calling Jermaine to back up her word."


"She called Jermaine?!" I could tell by the look on his face he was getting more and more upset. "I should have warned you Hazel was so messy, Shayla." He shook his head.


"As mad as I am at them and how messy they are; I'm mostly surprised at you... Why did you deny being with Ola, Michael?"


"I didn't deny anything. Ola and I really weren't a couple. You asked me if she was my girlfriend, I told you the truth. She was not my girlfriend."


"But you all did mess around?" I wondered again.


"I mean..." He was beginning to become flustered. "Shayla, we messed around a couple of times, alright? But I was hurt, okay? You and I had lost contact. I wasn't sure if you and I were ever going to get in contact again. She was the only girl I talked to at the moment. So yeah, I'm not going to lie to you. We messed around, Shayla. I'm sorry to put it this way, but it's the truth."


"Why did you lie to me when I asked you a couple of days ago? I literally just asked you if you were with anyone else when we lost contact. Why did you lie to me? I just don't understand that."


"It wasn't a big deal, okay? Clearly, I must have forgotten. Messing with her was nothing to me. It slipped my mind." Michael shrugged, I could tell he was getting so agitated.


"You don't just forget who you have sex with, Michael. That's serious stuff right there." I rolled my eyes.


"You forget the ones who weren't serious. You forget the ones who weren't that special in the first place."


"You had sex with that many women?!" Did he just admit that to me?


"It wasn't that many. I can literally count on my hands how many women I've slept with, Shayla."


"As if that's still not a lot... I can count on one hand, Michael. The only person I've slept with is you. Why didn't you tell me this before?!"


"It's not that big a deal, Shayla..."


"It is when I realize I'm not the only person who has been with you, Michael. Yeah, two hands may not be a lot to you compared to other people out there. But it's a lot to me, considering that I'm just now finding out other women have had my husband."


"I wasn't married then... I was a kid. I was dumb. They weren't important. I married you, Shayla. All that matters is we're going to be with one another for the rest of our lives. I'm sorry I didn't tell you before... I just didn't think it was important."


"So, I just wasn't supposed to know? You were going to keep that from me for quite some time, huh?"


"I wasn't going to keep it from you on purpose... Shayla, it's not that big of a deal. Can we stop talking about this?"


"I just want to know why you lied to me." I shook my head.


"I told you. I forgot. It slipped my mind."


"Why do I find that so hard to believe?" I rolled my eyes and began to make my way upstairs.


"Shayla..." He got up and grabbed my arm.


"Can you sleep in the guest room or something?" I sighed.


"Are you serious?" He looked at me like he had seen a ghost.


"Yes. Please."


He looked at me again with a look of disbelief, "alright. Fine." He let go of me and hurried off. I walked up to our room and prepared a shower for myself. I never thought that I would ever have a conversation like that with him. I'm so hurt right now. It's not that I thought he was this perfect guy... No one is perfect. It's just that he was perfect for me. I didn't think I would ever go through this. I heard the front door slam. As upset as I am with him, I just hope he doesn't do anything stupid.

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