Chapter 44

(April 4, 1983)


"Lauren, in an hour my wedding starts, and my hair still isn't done! This is horrible!" Shayla whined.


"No, you being a drama queen today is horrible. You've got your dress, shoes and everything else together and you're stressing out about your hair?! Girl hurry up and get in that bathroom! I'll do something to it real quick," Lauren said, rolling her eyes in frustration. She was Shayla's right hand woman when it came to planning the wedding and apparently, Shayla had picked up on Lauren's habit of being overly dramatic.


"I'm sorry, Lauren. It's just that it's my wedding day. The most important day of my life right now and I want everything to be perfect," Shayla walked into the bathroom.


"Shayla, the day will be perfect if you stop stressing out. I'm pretty sure Michael isn't stressing out about it."


VII


"I can't do this," Michael paced around the room.


"What do you mean you can't do this? I thought you were in love with this girl!" Jackie asked him.


"I am in love with Shayla. I'm not saying I'm not ready to marry her, because I am, trust me!"


"Then what are you so worried about?"


"My ride isn't here yet. What if I'm late to the wedding? Shayla will hate me for ruining the best day of our lives. Her weird friend, Lauren, will assure Shayla that she was right about me all along. My shoes are the wrong size. Who picked this out anyway?!" Pacing around the room, Michael was irritated for numerous reasons. Number one being that the resort he wanted to have for the honeymoon, still couldn't find him an unreserved honeymoon suite and he didn't have a plan B.


"Mike, you picked out those shoes. Anyway, stop stressing. I'll take you... Well, I would if I had my car."


"Oh, my goodness! I don't want to be late," Michael looked at his watch.


"I'll just call Jermaine, okay? Stop stressing! Damn!" Jackie picked up the cordless and dialed Jermaine. Meanwhile, Michael couldn't wait to finally make Shayla his wife. He really couldn't wait until the home he bought was set in stone too, that way he and Shayla could have their own spot together instead of residing at the Hayvenhurst residence. And on top of all of that, Michael could barely believe he was getting married. He vowed to himself to never get married after watching what each of his brothers was going through with their spouses, but when he met Shayla, she changed everything. "Jermaine is on his way. Are you ready?" Jackie asked. Michael checked his tuxedo one last time and put on his sunglasses. "Are you ready for this, Mike? Marriage is a big step, you know." He asked, following Michael down the stairs. "By the way, who the heck chose to have the wedding in the middle of the forest?"


"Shayla. I told you that," Michael reminded his brother for what seemed like the hundredth time.


"That's right," Jackie laughed as the two of them waited at the door.


VII


Lauren turned Shayla around and showed her what she had done. Lauren had put all of Shayla's 4B hair into a high bun, braiding a strand to wrap around the base of it. With Shayla's edges laid and her curls popping, no one could tell her anything. Lauren complimented the bun with small diamond pins on the braided strand.


Shayla gasped, "thank you so much, Lauren!"


"You're welcome," Lauren smiled proudly. "Now, we've got to get you to your wedding. Are you ready?" Just as they got up, a knock came to the door. "I'll get it. You sit right there on the couch and stay pretty." Shayla ignored Lauren's command and followed her to the door. "Hello...?" Lauren asked as she opened the door.


"Is Ms. Johnson here?" A man in a white tuxedo asked.


"Yes..." Shayla pushed her way past Lauren.


"I'll be your driver for the day as requested by the groom," the man moved to the right and pointed out the white Rolls Royce, which just so happened to be Shayla's all-time favorite car.


She gasped, "are you serious?"


"Yes, ma'am," he nodded.


"Ugh," Lauren scoffed. "This is so cliché," she rolled her eyes.


"So, what? You don't have to drive anymore! You can ride with me in the 'carriage.' Don't you want to ride with me, Lauren?" Shayla smiled.


Lauren looked back at her with an annoyed look on her face, "fine," she sighed, rolling her jealous filled eyes.


"Thank you, Lauren," Shayla smiled.


"Right this way, Ms. Johnson," the driver said, walking back to the car to open the door.


"I have to lock up first," Shayla went back inside to retrieve her purse and keys.


"I'll lock up," Lauren offered. Shayla was quick to give her the keys and climbed into the spacious Rolls Royce. Lauren climbed in afterward and was amazed.


"Still cliché, Lauren?" Shayla giggled.


Lauren quickly straightened her face, "yeah. I was picked up by a Rolls Royce for prom. This is no big deal." Shayla shook her head and looked out the window. This would certainly be the best day of her life...


VII


"Mike, Jackie! Come on!" Jermaine repeatedly pressed the car horn, waiting for his brothers to come out.


"Thank you so much, Jermaine," Michael thanked him as he slid into the front seat. "Who's already there?"


"Mom, Joseph, Janet, Toya, Tito, Randy and Shayla's family had just arrived when I left. Some of your friends are there too," Jermaine thought about who else might have been there but couldn't remember.


"Marlon and Rebbie haven't arrived yet?" Michael asked.


"I overheard Joseph saying that they were on their way before I left," Jermaine assured him.


"Did you see Shayla?"


"No, I didn't."


"Not even her crazy friend, Lauren?"


Jermaine shook his head, "nope." Michael began to worry but quickly assured himself that Shayla would arrive.


VII


"Here we are!" The driver parked underneath the trees and walked over to open Shayla's door.


"Thank you so much!" She smiled.


Lauren got out, "Shayla, you know you're not walking in the grass with that dress, right?"


Shayla sighed, "I know, I know..."


"Come on! You've got to make your grand entrance."


"Lauren, I can't. What if Michael sees me? That's bad luck."


"Well, what do you want to do then? We're outside. You can't hide in the bushes!"


"I realize this."


"Well, if you realize this, then what are you going to do?" Shayla thought to herself. If she made a grand entrance, she could greet everyone and hopefully not run into Michael. If she didn't make a grand entrance... where would she go?


"Excuse me," Shayla ran over to the driver's side.


"Yes, Ms. Johnson. Is something wrong?" The driver asked.


"Just a little bit. I was wondering if you could take me right where we're having the wedding. It's right through those trees. We won't be driving through all those trees. There is a driveway."


"Of course!" He got out to open the door for Shayla and Lauren. Once he got back in and started the car, she left him to the sight where they were having the wedding...


~ ~ ~


When they pulled up, all the guests were there, socializing amongst themselves.


Lauren gasped, "Shayla! Is that Jackie Jackson?!" She pointed as he got out the car with Jermaine.


"Please try not to get star struck, Lauren. They're regular people just like you and me," Shayla rolled her eyes.


"But it's Jackie Jackson, Shayla! You have to introduce me!"


"Introduce yourself. This is my wedding, remember? When do you think-" LaToya, Janet, and Rebbie knocked on the car window. Shayla smiled, excited to see her new sister and opened the door.


"Shayla, you look gorgeous!" LaToya gasped, embracing Shayla.


"So, do you!" Shayla smiled.


"Are you excited?" Rebbie asked.


"Yeah, but I'm nervous too. Is Michael here yet?"


"He just arrived with Jackie and Jermaine," Janet pointed. Shayla looked in the direction Janet was pointing and locked eyes with Michael. They shared a smile, but Shayla looked away with a quickness.


"He just saw me!" She gasped, "that's bad luck!" She crouched down.


Lauren rolled her eyes, "Shayla, the only one who believes in bad luck is you. You'll be fine." She assured her. "Hi, I'm Shayla's best friend, Lauren," she extended her hand out to Rebbie.


"Oh, sweetie. No one told you? We're huggers," Rebbie laughed, pulling Lauren in for a hug.


"The wedding starts in five, Shayla. Are you ready?" LaToya asked.


"I am, but how am I supposed to get to my spot as we did in rehearsal?" Shayla asked.


"The same way we did in rehearsal, duh!" Lauren grabbed Shayla's hand...


VII


"Alright, Mike. We've got to get you to the back without seeing Shayla as we did in rehearsal," Jermaine told him.


"I already saw her... She's beautiful, guys," he swooned.


"Snap out of it, man! Come on!" They walked to the back of the audience. "Ready?" Jermaine whispered as everyone became quiet. Michael took a deep breath, smiled and walked down the aisle. Family and friends snapped photos of him and recorded videos on their camcorders. Once he got to the arch, he took his rightful place by his best man, Jermaine and waited for Shayla to make her way down the aisle. Before she walked out, Shayla's little sister, Mariah, walked out throwing red flower petals onto the white carpet. A series of "awe's" rang through the crowd as more people snapped photos. Once Mariah finished her duty, Shayla and her father, James, stood at the beginning of the aisle. Everyone rose from of their seats as "Here Comes the Bride" began on the harp and violin. Michael held his breath as he watched James walk Shayla down the aisle looking so beautiful. She smiled, bit her lip and pressed her lips together over and over again which only indicated how nervous she was. Once they approached the arch, Shayla's father kissed her forehead and sat down as Shayla stood before Michael. Michael reached out to hold her shaking hands and mouthed, "it's okay." She smiled trying her best not to be so nervous. As the officiant began to speak, Michael could only focus on Shayla, not hearing a word the officiant said. He began to think of how they first met, how she stood out from any woman he had ever met, how unpredictable, beautiful, forgiving-


"Michael?" The officiant whispered. Shayla gave Michael an odd look. "Michael?"


"Yes?" Michael asked, clearly not paying attention.


"I said, do you take Shayla-Elizabeth Johnson, to be your lawfully wedded wife? To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse-"


"Oh, yes! I do, I do, I really do!" He blurted out, causing the audience to laugh at his overt enthusiasm.


"And Shayla-Elizabeth Johnson, do you take Michael Joseph Jackson to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do you part according to God' holy ordinance?"


Shayla smiled looking in Michael's eyes, "I do." Jermaine handed Michael the ring and he slid it onto Shayla's finger and Shayla did the same, slipping the gold band onto his finger.


"I now pronounce you, man and wife," the officiant smiled. Michael bit his lip as he pushed back Shayla's veil exposing her tear stained face.


"Sorry," she laughed, wiping her cheeks. Michael caressed his wife's face and kissed her, causing the audience to erupt in applause and cheers. The two walked down the aisle hand in hand.


VII


"Come here, Shayla-Elizabeth," Katherine smiled as she pulled Shayla in for a hug. "Welcome to the family, baby!"


"Thank you," Shayla smiled. Shayla's mother just so happened to do the very same thing, welcoming Michael into their family with open arms. Robert, David, and Matthew also welcomed Michael into the family, warning him to take care of their sister. After Shayla and Michael had their first dance, they left for the airport. "Michael, where are we going?" Shayla asked curiously.


"Don't worry about it, baby. You'll love it. Trust me," he kissed his wife's cheek, "Mrs. Shayla-Elizabeth Jackson.


Shayla blushed at the sound of her new name, "did you know Lauren has a crush on Jackie?"


"No wonder she was all up on him at the reception. She better calm down, before Enid finds out."


"She wanted me to introduce them. I told her to introduce herself and that's exactly what she did," she closed her eyes. "I'm so tired, baby. Wake me when we get to wherever we're going."


"Will do," he assured her and kissed her forehead.

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