Chapter 43

"Byron... hey, what brings you here?" I asked, still standing inside.


"I was just returning David's keys. Is he here?" Byron nodded toward the house, looking at Michael.


"No, he's not. I can give them to him though."


He handed the keys to me, "are you going to introduce me, Shayla?"


"Sorry. Byron this is my...fiancée, Michael. Michael this is Byron," It was my first time calling Michael my fiancée. It sort of felt odd to say. Michael and I walked out, so I could lock the door.


"Hey, man," Byron shook Michael's hand.


"How are you?" Michael asked. I could only wonder what Michael was thinking judging by the clench in his jaw.


"I'm good... You sound awfully familiar. Have we met?"


Michael shook his head, "no."


"Oh, well," Byron shrugged. "I've overheard Shayla talk about you."


"Good things, I hope."


"From what I've heard," he shrugged.


Byron squinted, cocking his head to the side, "are you sure I don't know you?"


"I'm almost certain we've never met."


"Do you have a thing for sunglasses or something?"


Michael looked up at the sky, "the sun is kind of bright today, don't you think?"


"Oh! I know! You're sporting that 'Michael Jackson' look like everyone else, huh?" Michael smiled a bit and I laughed. "What's so funny? Y'all don't like Michael Jackson or something? He's a phenomenal artist! Hey, Michael... I just realized you sound a lot like him actually." I laughed again.


"Really?" Michael tried to suppress a smile. "I never realized that."


"Do you get that a lot?"


Michael shook his head, "nope."


"Maybe it's just me. Anyway, where are y'all headed?" Byron asked me.


"I've got to show Michael something."


"Cool! Mind if I tag along?"


"I do mind actually. This is a secret."


"Okay, well, make sure you put me on the guest list for your wedding. Later, Mike. Bye, Shayla," he hugged me tightly and left.


"He's not bad. Just incredibly oblivious," Michael laughed.


"He's alright. Just a bit annoying," we went to the car and made our way to the secret destination.


"So, where exactly are we going?"


"It's top secret. Well, in my mind at least. I would hope no one knows about it."


"You're full of surprises, Shayla. I hope you're not kidnapping me."


"Who knows? I just might," I winked.


VII


We finally got to the park. I parked under the shade of the trees and got out.


"This doesn't look so top secret to me, Shayla," Michael looked around.


"Of course, this part isn't. Now come on. This is the best place in the world," I grabbed Michael's hand and pulled him into the forest with me. We walked hand in hand until we finally reached the very middle where there was a vast open field. "Here we are," I smiled. Michael looked around in amazement as he took off his glasses. I never realized how beautiful his eyes were when the sun hit them. I bit my lip out of nervousness, "Michael, I think we should, um, get married here. What do you think?" I hope he says yes. I believe we'll have a lot of privacy here, so paparazzi wouldn't find him.


"I love it..." he said. His voice trailed off as he looked around at the open field. "Are you sure no one knows about this spot?"


"Well, maybe some hikers know about it. Other than that, I'm pretty sure no one else would dare come in here."


"It's so peaceful and perfect, Shayla," he smiled in my direction.


"You think so?"


"Yeah! The chairs could be aligned here. The arch can be right up there. It's perfect! It's a great setting for a small or large wedding." I smiled. I'm so glad he likes it. I never thought he wouldn't like it, but I did think he would oppose the idea since it's out in the open.


I walked over to Michael and took his hat off of his head, putting it on my own, "I hope you don't mind if I steal your hat."


He shook his head, "I don't mind. Do you mind if I stole a kiss?" he pulled me close and bent down to kiss me. I put my finger to his lips, "only if you catch me first," I ran away.


"Not fair!" He laughed, running after me. I ran toward a tall tree to hide in. Once I reached it, I began to climb up. "All I want is a kiss from my fiancée. Is that too much to ask for?" Michael called up.


"And I'll let you, once you catch me," I laughed. He sighed and started to climb up, mumbling to himself.

Each time he climbed up, he looked up to make sure I wouldn't leave, "don't move," he warned.


"I won't," I sat on the branch, swinging my feet in the air.


When Michael finally got up to me, he smiled ear to ear, "finally! Come here, gir- Shayla!" He groaned as I jumped down. "I climbed all this way..." His words began to trail off as I ran to the other side of the field. I looked back to see that he had already jumped from the tree and ran off. How could he get down so fast? And, where was he?


"Michael?" I called, walking toward the middle of the field. "Where are you?" Oh gosh. He's hiding somewhere and he's going to try to scare me. Perfect. I sat down and began to play with a blade of grass. Listening closely, I concentrated on the sounds surrounding me, waiting to hear Michael's footsteps. As I waited, I began to hum "Human Nature."


Suddenly, I heard Michael singing along with me, "see that girl? She knows I'm watching. She likes the way I stare..." He sat down and wrapped his arms around me. "Finally," he whispered, kissing my cheek. "Now was it that hard to let me kiss you?"


"All you had to do was catch me," I smiled, relaxing into his chest. "Michael, I love you so much."


"I love you too, babe," he kissed my cheeks again.


"Do you mean having a big wedding?" I asked curiously.


He shook his head, "nope."


"What about a small wedding?"


"Nope."


"We might have to have a small wedding, Michael."


"I'm perfectly fine with that."


I turned around to face him, "are you just agreeing with me?"


He laughed, "mama always said, 'happy wife, happy life.'" He teased. "But, no, I really do like the idea of having a small wedding."


"Who would you invite?"


"My family and some close friends."


"Same here. I probably wouldn't have bridesmaids though."


"That's okay."


"Are you sure? You don't mind that it won't be traditional."


"No, babe. I don't mind. Now, tell me what ideas you have for the wedding."

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