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Chapter 45

The tour is coming up as well as rehearsals, but before all that, I have to get the "Leave Me Alone" short film out of the way. It's going to be like nothing anyone has ever seen. Stop motion. Carnivals. The whole shebang. And I'm ready. As I talked to Jim, I heard a familiar giggle across the set. I turned around to see Tatiana talking to one of the cameramen. Confused, shocked and excited, I excused myself and made my way over to her. "Tati?" I smiled.

"Michael!" Her eyes lit up as she smiled that gorgeous hundred-watt smile of hers and came over to hug me.

"What are you doing here? This is a closed set..." As happy as I was to see her, I could only wonder how she got on a closed set.

She scratched her head, "Frank invited me."

"He did?"

"Yeah! I was surprised that he did given all that crap that happened," she rolled her eyes.

"Right..." I nodded. Why would Frank invite her? Especially given the situation. He along with Bill were the main ones calling themselves reminding me that I'm married. That just doesn't make sense to me. "Excuse me," I went to find Frank. Why on earth would he invite Tatiana? Especially with everything that went on with her. I just don't get it. "Frank?"

"Yeah?" He turned around to face me.

"Why did you invite Tatiana onto the set?"

"Invite who?" He narrowed his eyes at me. He looked as confused as I was.

"Tatiana. What did you invite her for?"

"She's here?" He looked behind me in search of her. "I didn't invite her. How'd she get on a closed set?"

"You didn't invite her?"

"No! Why would I? That girl gets you in nothing but trouble. I'll be damned if I help you get in trouble either. It's bad enough she's going on tour with us."

"How'd she get here then?" I asked myself.

"We can get her off the set for sure. That girl is sneaky."

"No... No... It's okay. I'll just ask her," I waved off the thought.

"You sure? You know I'll do it."

"I know... I got it," I made my way back over to her. Did she lie to me? Why would she lie to me like that? And then to lie on Frank like he wasn't going to expose her? What is it with this girl? "Tati," I walked up to her. "Frank had no idea you were here, so what's the deal?"

She giggled, "I actually found out about the shoot and invited myself."

"How'd you find out about it?" It's not like I have fliers or anything advertising for dancers or actresses or anything. I'm the only one featured in it, so she must know someone on set who was too slick with their mouth.

"I have my ways," she winked. "Aren't you glad to see me? I missed you! Did you get the card I sent?" she quickly changed the subject.

I nodded, "yeah, I got it. Thank you." This girl can get me in trouble and she knows it. "Excuse me, I have to be on set," I lied, proceeding to walk past her.

She grabbed my arm, "you're not needed for another hour," she reminded me, her arched eyebrows raised. "We have a lot to catch up on, don't you think?" She just caught me in a lie. I guess I can stay and chat. I swallowed. Guilt creeping up my spine. "How's your wife doing?"

"She's doing well. We're doing absolutely great. Thanks for asking."

"She's a lucky girl..."

"And I'm a lucky man."

"I'm sure... Thank you again for inviting me on tour with you. I've never been on tour before."

"You're more than welcome. I really look forward to working with you again."

"Me too! We had so much fun on 'The Way You Make Me Feel,' didn't we?"

I nodded, "we did."

"Bet you thought that was going to be the last time you'd see me until the tour, huh?"

"To be honest..." I nodded.

"I knew you'd miss me. So, I just had to surprise you."

"That was quite the surprise... You really make your way around Hollywood, don't you?"

"Is there any other way to stay booked?"

"But you're not booked here..."

"I just wanted to surprise a friend. Is that wrong?"

I shook my head no, "not in the slightest bit." She was a friend, I guess. A sweet girl. Could be a stalker, but hey. If she gets to be too much, I'd definitely let her or someone else know. "I really hope this tour helps you get further in your career."

"Me too! I want to be a world renown dancer or an actress of some sort. There are so many endless possibilities out here in Hollywood."

"Very much so. If you put your mind to you, you can do it. I believe in you, Tati," I took her hand in mine.

She blushed, "Thank you. It's nice to have someone who believes in you every now and then."

"Well, with me, you don't have to worry about that. We all need friends who believe in us."

"I believe in you too! You're already the greatest star in the world. I know you'll just continue to skyrocket! You'll be the greatest entertainer known to man." It felt good to hear her say that. It reaffirmed that although I wasn't out in the spotlight, people still saw me as the greatest since Thriller. I wasn't some child star who went solo only to stop at my sixth solo album. People still believed in me. "So, what's it going to be like to go on tour with you?"

"Well, for one, you'll get the superstar treatment."

She shook her head no, "yeah, right. I doubt that."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because your wife will be getting the superstar treatment, not little ol' me."

"Oh, you both will, and I'll make sure of it."

"You will?" she perked up.

"Yeah. You deserve the absolute best, Tati. I wouldn't do you like that," I smiled.

"Sure, you wouldn't, but with a wife like Shayla, she'd probably make sure you'd treat me like some gutter rat."

I winced at her comment. I'm mostly offended that she thinks Shayla is like that. And once again she's talking about her in a less than flattering way, "Shayla's not like that."

"You sure about that?" An arched raised eyebrow accompanied her question.

"I know my wife. She'd never act like that. For you to think that is actually disrespectful."

She raised her hands in surrender, "my bad. I just know how territorial women can be."

"Yeah, well, she's territorial, but she'd never treat anyone as though they were beneath her."

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you or your wife."

"Michael, you're needed on set," Jim called me. I grabbed Tatiana's hand and let her to set with me.

"Go get 'em, tiger," she kissed my cheek. She just doesn't care, does she?

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