While the twins are downstairs in school and Michael is in his office, I decided to tidy up around the house. After returning to the states, Michael and I reconsidered enrolling the twins in another school, but unlike schools in California that cater to celebrity children, these private schools don’t have a lick of security. We’ll probably reconsider in another five years. I often wrestle with whether keeping the twins homeschooled is good or not. Mimi gravitates toward older girls like her cousin Nova, which I now realize that we have Mariah 2.0 on our hands. Thankfully, I’ve already been through this before with the original. Because my daughter gravitates towards older girls, it doesn’t give her the opportunity to have friends her own age. It’s nerve wrecking to say the least, but we’ll figure something out.
Since Michael and I have gotten back together, our relationship is better than it was before and our family is everything that I always dreamed it would be. The only thing different about being with Michael is that he no longer works. I don’t have a problem with it because it was something that I always wanted, in a way, but it’s an adjustment for the both of us. I’ve never been with Michael for his money. It’s always been the furthest thing from my mind, but with me being the breadwinner this time around, it’s certainly different.
Michael isn’t broke, so to speak. Between being wealthy on paper and the random stashes of cash he always seems to have, he could never be “broke.” But since he hasn’t been working, the money is dwindling between the charities he continues to donate to, the cost of the ranch, the many storages he has all over the world, what he’s paid me in alimony, his employees, and our two year family world tour that he mostly funded. I truly don’t care if he ever goes back to work and I know he doesn’t either, but with the dependance now being on me more often than not, it’s definitely noticeable. While I was with Drew, I wasn’t writing, just getting my business together and collecting my alimony. It kept me afloat. I still haven’t given my readers anything new to read. Life happens and I’m sure they understand that, but I’m sure with me not publishing my own work in over a decade, it may have rubbed them the wrong way. When I broke up with Drew and got back with Michael, my book sales skyrocketed, which is mostly why I’ve been the breadwinner. Controversy sells even if you don’t mean to be controversial. Funding our lifestyle doesn’t bother me, but I know it bothers Michael sometimes. For him to have been the breadwinner most of his life, it came as a shock when circumstances slowly changed. His newest manager, Raymone Bain, has been trying to get him to do a Vegas residency since we landed back in the states, but he’s far from interested because he’s finally fulfilling another one of his dreams: having a family. Working nonstop again would take away from everything we’ve been building and the last thing either of us want is for that to happen, so Michael’s been ignoring each and every potential contract.
The mortgage on this house isn’t much, but there’s going to come a time when I’m going to want to go back to the ranch. Why continue to pay the mortgage here when we have twenty-seven hundred acres in California? Being home in Ohio is nice and it gives us a break from the chaos that is California, but pretty soon I’m going to propose going back to the ranch whether the twins like it or not. They ain’t paying for nothin’.
I made my way to MJ’s bedroom door and turned the knob, “oh, great heavens!” I immediately brought both hands up to cover my nose to block the godawful smell emitting from my sons room. The curtains being closed made his room dark and while it was mostly tidy, there were a couple dirty clothes right beside the hamper and three water bottles on his desk. His room smells absolutely terrible and I don’t know where it could possibly be coming from. He’s got to be immune to it, because I don’t see how he doesn’t see his room smelling like this as a problem. “My god,” I gagged as I stepped back out and closed the door. We gotta talk. Ain’t no son of mine smelling like that. I went over to Mimi’s bedroom door and turned the knob preparing for the worst only to be met with the complete opposite. Aside from a slight stench of must, my daughters room was totally different from her brothers. With the curtains drawn open, the sunlight bathed her pink and white bedroom beautifully. There was absolutely nothing on the floor and the smell to her room was far from overpowering like her brothers. What this tells me is that it’s time to have a talk with the twins. We have to discuss personal hygiene again, puberty, and sex… “The Talk.”
Is ten too young to talk about sex? When my Mother had “the talk" with me, she lumped everything together. I think I was around the twins’ age. I started my period around twelve, so there’s no doubt that Mimi’s may come around the same time. And I think it’s so important that MJ learns about menstrual cycles just as much as Mimi. There are far too many men out there that are still so immature when it comes to the menstrual cycle. Between that and the downright ignorance, I refuse for my son to be like any of those men.
I have three older brothers, so aside from my Mother, they weren’t taught yet because there weren’t any other girls in the house. Once I was born, everyone’s lives changed in more ways than one. When I became of age, my Mother not only sat me down to tell me what I was going to go through as a young lady, but both of my parents sat down all three of my brothers to discuss it. At the time, knowing that they knew what I was going to go through was incredibly embarrassing, but looking back on my tweenhood, my brothers were so kind to me during that time of the month. They’d catch onto the mood swings and emotional roller coasters and would already know what was going on. Of course they’d make fun of me from time to time, but mostly, they were the best brothers ever. Neither my Father or brothers would treat me with disgust like I heard many friends say. I’d heard of many brothers or fathers chastising or shunning my friends because of something they could not control. I remember being so shocked hearing of my friends experiences knowing that I was never made to feel embarrassed or ashamed by the male presence in my household. I can very proudly look back on my tween and teen years knowing that I wasn’t made out to feel nasty or like my cycle was taboo. I only want the same for Mimi. She will never be embarrassed in this household and I refuse to allow my son or her father make her feel that way.
“Michael,” I called from the hallway as I made my way to his office.
“Yes…?” He sang as I stepped into the room.
“We need to talk,” I sat on the edge of his desk.
He took the glasses that he swore made him look like Mr. Magoo off and looked up at me, “is everything okay with your Mother?”
“Yeah, she’s fine. I called them first thing this morning. She scheduled her appointment.”
“That’s good to hear. I’ll make sure to call and see if they need anything. What do we need to talk about?”
I sighed, “your children. I think it’s time we give them ‘the talk.’”
He nodded slowly, “I was just thinking the same yesterday.”
“So, I’m not the only one who caught a whiff of MJ’s room, right?”
His eyebrows scrunched together in confusion, “what’s going on with his room?”
“It stinks and Mimi is musty.”
He chuckled to himself, “his room stinks?”
“Yes! I don’t know what he’s doing in there, but it smells like somethin’ done died. Mimi’s room isn’t as bad but I can’t have my daughter out here musty. We gotta revisit personal hygiene, the birds and the bees, and everything in between.”
“Hm. When did you get ‘the talk?’”
“I think I had to be around their age. My parents were pretty detailed about everything. What about you?”
“Uh… Probably ten or eleven. Can’t remember, but like you, my Mother also noticed a terrible stench coming from me and Marlon’s room. Joseph and Katherine were pretty brief. Nothing detailed. After telling us the basics, they just kinda let us figure out things on our own. Pretty private people,” he shrugged.
“What’s ‘the basics?’” It’s so interesting knowing that other people were raised so differently. Even though we’ve been together for ages, it’s always so interesting hearing the differences in our upbringing. Since getting back together, he’s far from the man I once knew him to be. Nowadays, he could care less for the glitz and glamour that fame has to offer. He’s only “Michael Jackson” when it’s required of him. Now, he just wants to be dad and partner. He wants to be a family man. Work no longer serves him because I believe he feels his number one priority is us. He’s shown me that in the past three years, so I know it to be true. He’s been everywhere and done everything and now all he wants to accomplish is being the best father to our children and making sure their childhood is the absolute best.
“Well,” he began. “They both told us we couldn’t perform stankin’. It wouldn’t have been a good look for anyone. So they discussed the importance of personal hygiene and cleanliness. But when it came to sex…” he shook his head and winced. “Katherine didn’t want to talk to us about it. Which makes sense, I suppose. I think the only thing Joseph was very clear about was not sticking our dicks in dirty girls.”
“Yeah… ‘Wrap it up,’” he mustered up his best Joseph Jackson impression. “‘Don’t bring home no illegitimate children and stay away from dirty girls,’” he shrugged. “The basics.”
“I’m sure you needed to hear more than that.”
“Yeah, I’m nervous to talk to MJ about it, but I want to do a much better job than Joseph.”
I kissed his forehead, “you will. You wanna talk to them once they're finished with school?”
His eyes grew wide, “I haven’t thought of what to say yet!”
“Me either,” I shrugged. “We’ll be nervous. It’s okay. I’m sure our parents were just as unprepared.”
“Well,” he shifted in his seat. “What do you have in mind?”
“We can start by asking them what they remember about us teaching them how to wash their behinds.”
He laughed, “well, that’s a good opener. Are we doing this together or separate?”
“We can do everything together aside from talking about when Mimi gets her period. I’ll talk to her about it then we can discuss it with MJ. I don’t want Mimi to be uncomfortable talking about something so personal with her brother right beside her.”
“Why do you want to talk to MJ about that?”
I sighed, “because there are too many uneducated, immature men out there who should have gotten the talk but didn’t and continue to make women feel disgusting for something they cannot control. Our son will not be that way.”
“That’s fair. Well, I’m down to talk about it when you are.”
“Actually, let’s do it tomorrow. That’s one less thing we have to worry about,” I stood up.
He grabbed my hand, beckoning me to sit on his lap, “I was thinking we could go out on the town for a night.”
“Tonight. We could ask Nova to watch the twins and you and I could go to dinner, walk the Purple Bridge. Maybe go see a movie? We can get tickets for ‘Dreamgirls,’ ‘The Pursuit of Happyness,’ or ‘Freedom Writers?’ I was thinking ‘Freedom Writers’ or ‘The Pursuit of Happyness.’ Figured we’d save ‘Dreamgirls’ for Mimi.”
“You want to go to the movies on the Levee?”
“We can since it’s right there by the bridge.”
“Sounds like a date,” I smiled. “Although, I do think we should see ‘Dreamgirls’ before we allow Mimi to watch it. Not really in the mood to see any movies that’ll make me cry.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“Good. I think we’ll need a breather before talking with the twins tomorrow,” I stood up from his lap.
“Fair. We’ll leave at four-thirty, have dinner, see the movie, and walk the bridge. I’ll inform Bill and Javon of our plans.”
“Sounds good,” I excused myself from his office and retreated to the living room.
These past three years have been a whirlwind of getting used to each other’s parenting styles. I felt like quite the bad guy for a while when it came to the twins. Like most men, Michael is just a dad and children know they can get away with far more with dad than they can with their Mother. When we got back together, it was tough navigating our different parenting styles. I always had the twins on a strict schedule, Michael let them do whatever whenever. Because of that, not only were the twins confused, but so were we. We’ve since found a happy medium, but as the twins get older, we’re still adjusting our newfound parenting style.
“Auntie,” I heard my niece call for me from downstairs along with the loud slam of the front door. Ooo, I wish she’d stop slamming my door. I feel like every time she comes over, she’s always slamming that door. “Auntie!” She called again, her footsteps loud amongst the stairs as she raced up to find me.
I stood up from my vanity and tied my robe tight across my waist before opening the bedroom door, “Nova,” I got her attention as she went down the wrong hallway.
“Oh! Hey, Auntie! I was just letting you know I was here,” she came over to hug me.
“You forgot to take your shoes off,” I nodded toward her sneakers.
“Sorry, I was in a rush,” she slipped them off and held them in her hands. “How long are y’all gonna be gone? Uncle Mike told me to bring a change of clothes.”
“We probably won’t be back until two in the morning or so. I’d hate for you to go back home so late. That’s okay with you, right?”
“I mean, yeah. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have agreed,” she smiled. “But you know tomorrow’s my sixteenth birthday. Daddy’s taking me straight to the BMV tomorrow to get my driver’s license.”
“Your father just dropped you off, right? He didn’t come in to say hello?” I started to go downstairs.
“No. He let me drive myself.”
I stopped and turned to look back at her, “he what?”
“Yeah,” she shrugged. “He said since I’m turning sixteen tomorrow, it doesn’t make much of a difference anyway.”
I closed my eyes and exhaled through my lips, “I could strangle him…” Whether she’s turning sixteen tomorrow or not, that doesn’t mean she should have driven herself all the way out here alone. I may be able to excuse driving up the street or something. But all the way out here? Matthew has lost his mind! “Okay. Um. Listen. I trust you. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have you baby-sitting the twins. I’m glad you got here safely, but I don’t feel comfortable with you driving back to school tomorrow by yourself.”
“Daddy’s letting me skip school. My friends and I are having a fun filled day after getting my license,” she beamed.
“Your friends parents let them skip school too?”
“Yeah! It’s already been pre-arranged. Don’t worry about it, Auntie. You worry too much. Where’s Uncle Mike and the twins?”
“The twins are downstairs. You’ll see your Uncle shortly.”
“Alright,” she ran back downstairs.
Matthew has always been something else, but come on… I get Nova’s turning sixteen in less than ten hours, but that just wasn’t wise. Especially to have her drive all the way out here in Middletown. The police out here have a bit more time on their hands here than they do in the city. I’m just glad she got here okay.
I went back to my room and sat back in front of the vanity to finish my makeup.
“Was that Nova?” Michael walked out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist.
“Mmhm,” I brushed mascara through my lashes.
“You look beautiful,” his wet lips met my foundation covered cheek.
“Baby…” I giggled. “Now I gotta redo my face.”
“It’ll be messed up later tonight anyway,” he winked terribly. After all these years, he still hasn’t mastered winking.
“Let me at least look great going out, okay?” I picked up my make up brush to redo my face.
“Did I hear that Nova drove here all by herself?”
I sighed, rolling my eyes just as hard as my mother did yesterday, “yes.”
“Good for her! I’m glad she got here safely!”
I looked at his reflection in my vanity mirror, watching him unwrap the towel from his waist. Water slowly rolled down his spine. We’ve aged. Gotten older. Become seasoned. But we still look so good. His body is still so lean because he still regularly takes time to dance to himself and still eats so clean. He hasn’t changed a bit. And I really wish the tabloids would stop saying such things. He still looks just as he did ten years ago, but better.
“She’s fifteen, Michael,” I reminded him.
“She turns sixteen tomorrow.”
“That’s not the point. The point is that she shouldn’t be driving by herself until she has a proper license. That was irresponsible of Matthew and Rachel. But I won’t even say anything. He’s getting her license for her first thing in the morning.”
“That’s a good way to start your sixteenth birthday.”
“Yeah, well, just know I’m not allowing the twins to do any of that. They’ll be driving by themselves once they turn sixteen and not a second sooner.”
“You know this is why the twins say you’re no fun, right?” He smirked at me as he pulled a white v-neck over his head.
“At this point, as long as they know I love and care about them, I really don’t care if they think I’m the cool Mom or not.” I finished my makeup and stood up to take my robe off revealing my long sleeve black dress with a plunging V-Neck by Saint Laurent. I love the way this dress hugs each and every one of my curves.
Michael immediately looked over and shook his head, “wow…”
“What?” I turned to face him.
“I know for sure you’re going to be the most beautiful woman in the room. Whether at the restaurant or the theatre. It’s going to be such an honor for me to be on your arm tonight,” he walked over, placing his hands on my hips as he pulled me in for a passionate kiss.
I smiled against his lips, wrapping my arms around his neck, “we have to leave in fifteen minutes,” I said between pecks. “I’ll be downstairs.”
“You don’t want to walk down with me?”
“Then be patient, girl. Let me be in awe of you as I get dressed.”
“Where are we going for dinner?” I sat on the bench in front of the bed as I watched him pull on a pair of black slacks that had a slight shine like diamonds were embedded in them.
“It’s a surprise. I’ll give you a hint. Your family used to visit all the time.”
“That can be so many different places. You know what came to mind when you said that?”
“‘Homer’s.’ You remember that?”
He sneered in disgust, “the restaurant your family swore up and down was ‘good?’”
“You came when they changed their recipes. You can’t judge them off of their change.”
“I can and I will because that was my first and last experience. I can’t believe y’all subjected me to that mess.”
“I’m taking your children to ‘Homer’s,’” I laughed.
“Yeah? Well, don’t be surprised when they don’t like it. Because unlike you, they actually have taste,” he winked as he pulled a long black overcoat over his shoulders. “Do I look okay?”
“You look amazing,” I stood up and went into our walk-in closet to obtain his black aviators. “These should finish the look.”
“They do. Thank you,” he placed them on top of his head and went to brush his hair before grabbing my hand. “Ready?”
I placed my hand in his and followed his lead downstairs. What I love the most about being back with Michael is the fact that our children get to see their parents together and in love. Sometimes I hate that I brought them into this world to disfunction. We were separating and divorced and they only knew of us separately. Sure, it might have been slightly weird for us to get back together, but they acclimated well. They love seeing us together and I know it’s done a lot for them mentally in a positive way. Children deserve a healthy household. Whether we’re married or not isn’t the point like my Mother so desperately tried to make. A healthy household with two loving parents matter.
We crossed the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River into the familiar territory that was Covington, Kentucky. He’s right. My family frequented Covington a lot growing up. With Kentucky being right across the river, it wasn’t odd for my parents to have brought my siblings and I here for an outing. But now, aside from us going to the movies in Newport, I’m wondering why Michael is taking us all the way out here. He’s always found some kind of private place for us to dine any other time. I can only wonder where he’s taking us now.
Throughout our drive, we joked with Bill and Javon about them having to babysit us while we decided to have a Parent’s Night Out. They asked me so many questions about Cincinnati to understand why we decided to come back here out of everywhere else in the states. Like Michael, they agreed that it took us away from all the mayhem that every other state has to offer. It’s a big city with a small town feel, so who could turn down a place like this? Plus, the twins have grown up being so close to Michael’s family, it’s only fair to give them a chance to be close to my family as well.
We pulled into the parking lot right in front of the Raddison. My heart seemed to fall right into my stomach. Michael reserved a private room at 18 at the Raddison. I haven’t been here in eleven years… The last time I visited was when Roland made a reservation for us to meet here. I was pregnant with the twins and had excitedly told Roland. I haven’t spoken to that man in years. We grew apart for several reasons. The last time I spoke to him was well before I had the twins. The last time I heard from him was when he and his wife, Layla-Marie, sent me congratulations flowers for the birth of the twins. It’s been almost ten years since we’ve been in contact and eleven years since I’ve been here. Over the years, I’ve realized his infatuation with me was actually scary, in hindsight. Michael being my husband, at the time, did his due diligence in getting me security to keep me safe from any upcoming mayhem, and that security guard slowly found ways to get more involved with me than he already was. And I mean it’s my fault for letting him. In such an isolating world that was being married to Michael Jackson, I felt that Roland was the only other person who could understand me. My emotional support on him turned into an emotional affair while his infatuation with me preyed on my constant vulnerability. And his obsession went even further when after we parted ways because he acted on his desire, he found a woman who emulated me in every way. My God… When I look back on my younger years, I have truly been through a lot.
“You okay?” Michael rubbed my back. Javon was holding my door open and I hadn’t budged.
“Y-yeah,” I nodded as I gazed up at the round building. “You got a reservation for this place?”
“Yeah!” Michael smiled, gesturing upward toward the rotating restaurant. “We haven’t been here in at least twenty years! I figured while we’re in the area we may as well go down memory lane.” He was so proud of himself that I actually feel bad. His only memories of this place is when I bought him here twice. I’ve got memories of family events and the last time I visited with my former bodyguard/emotional lover. Sheesh… I can’t let him down.
“You’re right. Let’s go,” I took Javon’s hand and stepped out of the truck.
“You sure you okay, Ms. Jackson?” Javon asked me.
“I’m fine, I promise. I just need some food… And probably some wine in my system,” I smiled half-heartedly. A part of me actually doesn’t even want to be here. But I’ll suck up my own discomfort to make Michael happy.
While Michael rambled on to Bill and Javon about his memories of being here, I felt like like I was retracing the very steps I took in 1996. At the time, I just felt like I was meeting an old friend. Catching up on old things. Now, as I retrace these steps, it kind of seems like I was a moth to a flame burned by the fire. How dramatic of me to say, yet so true. I had no business visiting my emotional lover. I mean, looking back, Michael was doing his dirt on me at the same time anyway, but still. I had no business visiting Roland, catching him up on my life, and filling his head up with my own dreams of him being my children’s godfather. I was so young and foolish.
We were seated in a secluded part of the restaurant but still had an amazing view of both cities. Bill and Javon sat at the booth across from us while Michael ordered a bottle of Moët. It wasn’t exactly wine, but it’ll do for how I’m feeling right now.
“Can I tell you something?” I reached over to touch Michael’s hand.
“Anything,” he turned his gaze from the window to me.
“I’m not okay,” I confessed.
“No?” He took his chair and sat it beside mine, putting his arm around me. “Tell me what’s wrong. Is it your Mother?”
“Nah… since we stepped foot in this place, my stomach has been in knots.”
“Why’s that?” The waiter came back at the right time, pouring the champagne in our glasses. Michael excused him so we could talk.
I gulped down my champagne and poured another glass as Michael watched. I’m sure he thinks something is absolutely wrong with me right now. This time I took a sip and placed the glass back on the table before taking a deep breath. “The last time I was here, I was pregnant and I was meeting Roland.” My gaze slowly met his. He searched my eyes either trying to figure out what to say or trying to figure out why on earth I was bringing this up. I’m not unearthing something I never told him before. In fact, after I came back from Ohio that Summer, I told him straight up that I saw Roland. I just didn’t tell him that I met him here. Now that I’m here, I just feel like I’m in the presence of a ghost.
“That’s why you don’t feel okay? We can leave,” his thumb gestured toward the door.
“No,” I shook my head. “I want to be here with you. It just feels so strange to me knowing that the last time I was here we were going through so much and I was meeting the very person who also put a wedge in our marriage.”
“We really don’t have to be here if this is how you’re feeling.”
“I promise I want to be here with you. It’s just a lot of thoughts running through my head right now.”
I unearthed how Roland’s wife seemed like a carbon copy of me, minus the deep southern drawl of an accent she acquired from being born in Nashville, Tennessee. How when I look back on everything, his infatuation with me was actually scary, because why on earth did he marry a woman that looked just like me and was a big fan of me? And with him being in such close proximity to me, it was so easy to prey on me in my most vulnerable moments. And while everything was wrong with him, it’s no secret that he really was a big part of my life. Over the years, it’s left me wondering if he applied to work for Michael so that he could be near me. But I know that not to be true because no one knew Michael and I were married at the time. If people saw me, it was only a coincidence. I had no real “connection” with Michael in the eyes of the public yet.
“I really hurt you when it came to him. I apologized before, but being back in here is only making me feel everything all over again. I really am sorry,” I took his hand in mine.
“It’s in the past. It wasn’t right just like me being with Shana was never right, but I’ve forgiven you and I don’t want you to ever feel like I didn’t. It may have taken me a long time, but it’s not something I hold over your head,” he waved the waiter back over to take our orders.
“We’ve lived very interesting lives, haven’t we?” I laughed half-heartedly.
“We have, but that’s life, isn’t it?” He shrugged. “Are you sure you don’t want to leave? I really don’t want you over here mulling over this all night.”
“I’m positive. If this is what you want, I want to be here with you and you only. Let’s make this the last memory I have here.”
He nodded, a smile making its way across his lips, “okay.”
“While we’re on the topic of being in Ohio… The mortgage for the house is coming up,” I bit my lip. I know I’ll be covering it, I just want to keep Michael responsible when it comes to being everywhere else but the ranch.
He sighed and took his arm from around me, “I know. I was, uh, trying to figure out how I was going to pay it.”
“I’ve got it, don’t worry. I just wanted you to know that if we plan on staying here for a couple of months, we’ve got to stay on top of it unless you want to downsize.”
“I don’t want to downsize. The twins love it. You love it. Your family loves it. I can’t take this place away from you guys because I’m not working. I’ll figure something out. I don’t want you paying it. You already bought it.”
“Yeah, but I’d rather you put your money towards the ranch. That’s your baby. I don’t want you going in the rears on that place.”
“How are you going to pay the mortgage? You’re not working either,” he reminded me.
He sighed and shook his head, “Raymone called me again.”
Hearing Raymone’s name grinds my gears. I get she’s Michael’s manager, but sometimes it seems like she has nothing better to do than to bother us about some new proposition that Michael is far from interested in. “What’d she say this time?”
“She wants me to sign a contract and I’ll be given $50 million in advance.”
“What kind of contract?”
“She wants me to do a residency in Vegas, but I can’t…” he shook his head.
“You’ve already told her you don’t want to work. What doesn’t she understand about that?”
“I’m beginning to consider it, though. If I can cover all of our expenses, pay off my debts, I’ll be in the clear again.”
We’re so used to having it and never being behind that it’s weird having a “limited” amount of money. Granted, we still have more than the average American family. The $4 million to cover the ranch is always taken care of… Because we have to give up some things. And now we’re over here discussing a seventeen thousand dollar mortgage. The twins never have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, nor where they will be sleeping for the night. But for Michael and me, this is so different for us having to choose what bill will be paid, who’s going to pay what and how… This is why I got into real estate. Marlon and Carol have been doing real estate for years so when Carol recommended I do it, I jumped right on it. It pays the bills, until one of my tenants don’t have rent and I’m too nice to get on them about it. Me expanding into real estate is what’s been keeping us afloat in some instances. Michael doesn’t know I’m doing it. He just knows that I always have money coming in. I’ve never gotten around to telling him about it and I’m unsure if it’s even worth telling him.
“I’m going to call her and tell her you’re not doing it. You’ve got other ventures that can make you money. Doing shows and keeping you away from your children isn’t the only thing that’ll get us back into financial standing.”
A smirk played at the corner of his lips, “you know that woman doesn’t like you ever since you came back in the picture.”
“I don’t understand why you still keep women who don’t like me in the picture,” I chuckled to myself. Like Elizabeth, Raymone knows good and well I don’t play about Michael. We may no longer be married, but me being back in the picture is pretty much the same thing.
Before I knew it, I was now two red wines deep. Michael knows I’m a lightweight. Conversation flowing well past the stressors in our lives, relishing in loves past, relationships lost and found. Our history, future, and the future of our children. He wouldn’t stop telling me how beautiful I looked. July heat grew easily between my thighs. A mixture between the champagne, wine, wine infused pasta I had eaten, and finally being around my lover without the presence of children. The way my body gets excited for this man so easily is still so mind-blowing. My body knows home. Has known home for a very long time.
“Was there anyone else other than Ola, Shana, and Nina?” My mood enhancer asked.
“Never,” he shook his head, pecking up and down my neck slowly, not having a care in the world who witnessed our intimacy. “Was there anyone else other than Roland and Andrew?”
“I never slept with Roland,” I reminded him. “But no. Does it even matter? We’ve lived so many different lives only to come back to each other. Tell me, did any of it even really matter in the end? Everyone probably thinks we’re crazy after all we’ve been through.”
“Surely, they do. But I’d go through it all over again just to have you in my arms tonight.”
Someone cleared their throat loudly to get our attention. We tore away from each other and looked in Bill and Javon’s direction. It was Bill. “Your movie starts in fifteen minutes. Do y’all want to get a room instead?”
Michael blushed in embarrassment, “no. Uh… Let’s get going.” He stood up and took my hand in his to help me out of my seat. Dinner had already been paid for. We were just soaking up being with one another without the presence of the twins.
As Bill and Javon escorted us to the car, we kissed like we were hormone infused teenagers, newlywed young adults, and seasoned thirty year olds all over again. I don’t care who witnessed it. Tonight feels like B.C. (before children). And I’m soaking up every bit of it.
Michael and I slid in the backseat of the truck and continued drowning ourselves in each others love. Michael took his lips away from mine for a moment to tell Javon to turn up the volume on the stereo to drown out the sounds of our lust filled lip smacking. He brought his lips back to me. Our eight minute drive to the movies felt like hours while we were engrossed in each other.
Once we got to the Levee, Bill went up to the theater to get our tickets for “Dreamgirls.” We’d slip in for both movies once the film started. And since trailers last twenty minutes, we wouldn’t be missing much. This is a practice that we’re so used to at this point. It was our way of enjoying life as normal people whenever we went to public theaters. We do the same with our children who are now used to the odd practice.
“Ya’ll ready to go to the movies or y’all gon’ keep sucking face all night like some teenagers?” Bill opened the backdoor to let us out.
“Sorry,” I blushed, wiping my lips. Michael helped me out the car and held me close to him as we all followed a theater employee through back corridors to get to our auditorium.
We were led to the back of the auditorium and gave Bill our concessions orders which consisted of the usual: a large popcorn, two large Sprites, and a box of M&M’s for Michael. As we settled into our seats to watch the film, I couldn’t help but be reminded of not only the many times we visited the theater, but the first time we did, nearly thirty years ago. At the tender age of nineteen, I would have never imagined that I would have married Michael Jackson. I would have never imagined that I would have been able to change his life as he has changed mine. I would have never even imagined in a million years that I would have ever bore his children. Yet, here I am, fourty-six years old having done all of that with the love of my life. All this liquor is probably making me think of all this at once because I normally don’t, but tonight… Tonight is different. I actually have the time to think about this. I actually have the time to hear my own thoughts. And I actually have time to think about the fact that we haven’t been by ourselves in a very long time…