Chapter 27

Michael and I pulled up to the school after everyone had gone. No sign of paparazzi, parents or students. Just Mrs. Walker's vehicle and another I didn't recognize, but I think we'll be fine. Michael had on a subtle disguise. It wasn't like he had to disguise himself too much anyway. Everyone knows who I'm married to by now. As soon as we got to the door, Mrs. Walker greeted us.


"Hi Shayla." She forced a weak smile. "You must be Michael?" She reached her hand out to shake his. She was so red in the face from excitement. Michael was quick to shake her hand and followed me to my classroom. I dare her to ask him for an autograph after firing me for being married to him. Byron greeted me by my door.


"Shayla." He half-heartedly smiled.


"Hi Byron." I sighed. I suppose that was his vehicle outside. Just my luck.


"I heard you're leaving."


"Yeah. You won't be seeing me around here anymore."


"That's a bummer." He managed to say as he stared at Michael. "I finally get to meet the man of the hour without any craziness. How are you, Michael?" He stretched his hand out to shake his. I watched as he interacted with my husband.


"I'm okay. How about yourself?" Michael shook his hand, but you could tell by the look on his face that he was extremely uncomfortable.


"Ecstatic!" He beamed.


"You're excited." I pointed out. "What's got you so happy, Byron?" He was not rubbing me the right way.

"Oh nothing." He chuckled. "I'm meeting Michael Jackson right now. That's crazy."


"You've met him on multiple occasions. You just didn't know it."


"Exactly. Now I know why you were hiding him as much as you were. No wonder you didn't want to be with me. You're married to a celebrity!"


"Or I didn't want to be with you because I was in a relationship. It doesn't matter who I was in a relationship with."


"Right... right..." He nodded. This is strange. "Well, let me know if you need any help."


"Sure..." I took Michael into my classroom and shut the door behind us. "That was strange."


"You think?" Michael was just as confused as I am. "I hope you don't take this the wrong way, babe, but in a way I'm kind of glad this happened. That way you're not around this creep anymore."


"You're telling me..." We started to pack away my things. I can't believe I'm leaving all my students. I've grown to really enjoy their presence. It's bittersweet. I don't even get a chance to say goodbye...


"You okay, baby?" Michael came over to me.


"I'm fine." I wiped my face. "It just hurts, you know? I don't even get a chance to say goodbye to my students."


"I know..." He hugged me. "But look on the bright side. You made a large impact on their lives in so little time. They'll never forget you. If anything, they know it wasn't your choice to leave."


"Yeah..." I nodded. "I have to think positive. Tomorrow, I need to contact all of the private schools. Maybe I could get in somewhere."


"I'm sure you will. Come on. Let's finish packing up so we can get home and relax."


VII


After what seemed like hours of packing, a knock came to the door. I went to open it to find Mrs. Walker.


"How's everything going?" She asked.


"It's going. We're just about done. All I have to do is sweep." I sighed.


"Take your time. I just wanted to let you know how honored I am to have had you as a teacher here. Your students truly love you. Here..." she handed me a stack of cards. "They're from some of the kids that came in today. They asked me if they could write you a card or something. I didn't tell them you were leaving or anything. I guess they just felt you needed the encouragement after being outed. I, um, I'm going to tell them you won't be returning once we come back from the new year break."


I looked down at the stack of cards, "thank you."


"You're more than welcome, Shayla. I wish you the absolute best, okay?"


"Yeah, thanks." I forced a weak smile.


"Mr. Jackson?" She looked at Michael coyly. "I know this probably is not the best question under such circumstances, but is there any way you could sign something for me?" Michael looked at me as if to ask permission. I stared at Mrs. Walker. I knew it was coming sooner or later. I can't let Michael deny a fan an autograph. I tore my gaze from her and nodded at Michael.


"Actually, I can sign something for the students of Shayla's class. Do you have a school photo or something?" He asked.


Mrs. Walker was a little taken a back, but quickly decided that was better than nothing, "yes! Of course! Why don't you all sweep and I'll meet you guys up at the office?"


"Sure." He nodded as she hurried off.


"The nerve!" I grabbed the broom.


"Calm down, baby. I know you're upset."


"I'm pissed!"


"I know. Just let it go. We'll be out of here in no time."


"I'm done. Let's just go now. I'm sick of being in here. You go ahead and sign that stupid picture. I'll meet you in the car." I gathered the last of my things and made my way out.


"Bye, Shayla. It was nice knowing you." Byron said as I passed him. I ignored him. He's acting like a complete weirdo. He's been acting weird since I told him off. I swear he has issues. I didn't even stop at the office to say goodbye. As soon as I walked out of the front doors, paparazzi was everywhere snapping photos of me and yelling different questions. My heart was racing. How did they know I was here? I hurried back into the building to warn Michael. Just as I turned the corner to get to the classroom, I bumped right into him.


"You okay, babe?" He was just as startled as I was.


"There's paparazzi outside! How are we going to get out of here?" I asked him. By the look on his face you could tell he was annoyed and upset. It's very clear that our anonymity is completely over with. The whole world probably knows at this point.


"I'm going to go sign this photo and we're just going to have to leave." He sighed.


"But how?"


"Through the front doors. That's the only way."


"You've got to be kidding me. We can get out through a side door or something."


"And we're going to have to walk right up here to get to the car... Trust me, babe. We'll just walk right through, okay? I won't let anything happen to you. I promise." Michael assured me.


"I'm going to go with you. I don't want to stand here while paparazzi continues to take my photo." I followed him back to the office. Mrs. Walker was beaming as she waited for Michael to finish signing the photo. I'm disgusted.


"Thank you so much for your service with us, Shayla." She said as Michael and I began to leave.


"I wish you the best." I told her as Michael and I headed back to the front. The paparazzi was even more excited about seeing Michael.


"Everything will be okay, babe. We're just going to the car. Hold my hand. Don't stop to answer questions. Just follow me."


"Okay." I nodded. Michael pushed the door open. People shouted questions at me and Michael.


"Michael, is that a new girlfriend?"


"Michael, is that the fling of the week?"


"How long have you all been seeing each other?"


"How did you meet Michael Jackson if you're just a teacher?"


We ignored the questions as we continued to push our way through the crowd. They only continued to follow us to the car. I held Michaels hand tightly as I followed him as close as possible. The questions they were asking were so ridiculous and annoying. I can't continue to deal with this. Once Michael and I got to the car he helped me in and hurried to his side. Our vehicle was surrounded by the paparazzi. It wasn't until Michael had to slowly start backing out that they finally decided to move so they wouldn't get hit. I wanted to cry. I wanted to yell. I wanted to scream profanities, but I had to keep my composure, because if they get photo or video of me acting in such a manner, Michael and I would be ripped to shreds. The ride home was silent. Michael held my hand up to his lips and kissed it. I guess it was his way of telling me everything would be okay...

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