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Chapter 34

"Today was fun, don't you think?" I asked Tati as we pulled up to her high-rise apartment building.

"It really was... Joe told me not to kiss you, but I swear I smelled mints on your breath as we shot the last scene," she squinted playfully at me.

"Guilty," I blushed. "I was nervous for many reasons. But I think the hug looked fine, don't you?"

"It did, but I think it would have looked better with the kiss... Especially since you chased me the whole time. I think you deserved more," she scooted closer to me. I swallowed. I could feel Bill staring at us through the rearview mirror. "Will I see you again soon?" I nodded. Somehow, I became putty in her presence and I felt so guilty about it. She smiled, "see you soon, Michael," she kissed my cheek and got out of the car. Once she shut the door, I let out a long exhale. I didn't realize I had been holding my breath the entire time. I don't know what that girl does to me. All Bill could do was shake his head as he drove off. What have I gotten myself into?

"Bill, promise me you won't tell Shayla about any of this," I bit my thumb.

"You know I'm not just your bodyguard anymore, right? I work for you both."

"Right," I sighed. I have to get Shayla her own bodyguard soon. Not so that Bill can keep my secrets or anything. It's just because I'm used to Bill being my security only. "Just keep this between you and me, okay?"

"What are you even doing messing around with that girl?" He scoffed. "I told you she doesn't care if you're married or not!"

"I know... I'm not even messing with her. It was harmless flirting, in the beginning, Bill, I swear! She took it too far..."

"No, don't you go blaming her. She's doing exactly what she's supposed to be doing as a single woman. You let her go too far. You should have told her your boundaries. You should have told her you were married from the get-go. It's your fault she thought you were single in the first place. And you thought it was okay to act just as single as her."

"I'm guilty, I know, Bill. I haven't done anything with her though. All we've ever done was talk. What's so wrong about that?"

"She just kissed you on her way out the car, Michael," he shot me a look through the rearview. "If that doesn't tell you something is wrong, then I don't know what will."

"Just... don't tell Shayla, okay? Please keep this between you and me. I will tell Shayla in due time."

"Yeah, you better. Because I can't control Shayla's inquiring mind."

"I know," I groaned. The rest of the ride home was silent. I contemplated how I would tell Shayla if at all. Bill is right. I let this go too far. I shouldn't have done this. Once we pulled up to the house, I hurried in to find Shayla. "Shayla!" I called.

"I'm in here!" She called from the library. I hurried in and shut and locked the double doors. "Hey, what's going on?" She asked me. I kneeled down in front of her, kissing her hands and arms. She laughed, "Michael, what's going on?"

"I missed you," I looked up at her, forcing a weak smile.

"How was the shoot today?"

"I don't want to talk about the shoot today. I missed you greatly," I picked her up from the chair and sat her on the desk, kissing her neck and lips.

"Michael," she grabbed my face. "What's wrong?"

"Am I wrong for wanting to make love to my wife?" I searched her eyes. She shook her head, no. "I've been thinking about you all day..." My heart was filled with so much guilt. And I felt even worse knowing I was about to have sex with her out of this guilt. It's unbelievable how something so minor could make me feel so guilty. But it did. And knowing that everyone has seen the chemistry between Tatiana and me made me feel even worse about it. "I love you so much," I kissed her lips.

"I love you too," she blushed. "Are you sure nothing is wrong?"

"Nothing is wrong. Everything is perfect," I forced another smile as I pulled the dress she was wearing above of her head, revealing her naked body. I became putty in her presence as well and while that made me feel better, it also made me feel bad to know I was attracted to another woman.


"So, are you going to tell me what happened on set?" Shayla asked me after two great rounds of lovemaking.

"Um, did you know there was supposed to be a kiss scene?"

Her eyebrow raised, "oh, really?"

"Yeah, but we cut that. We replaced it with a hug."

"Well that's good," she sighed. "What else happened?"

I shook my head, "just a normal day on set really. I wish you had been there," I kissed her cheek. "Everyone was asking about you."

"Really? Who is 'everyone?'"

"Frank, Joe, LaToya, the crew... They all asked about you."

"Yeah, right. What about your little girlfriend?" She teased.


"You know who I'm talking about," she pushed me playfully. "I'm sure she didn't ask about me."

"She did actually."

"Oh, really? What did she want to know?"

"How you were doing. She was very nice about it," I lied. It still bothered me that Tati actually had the nerve to say Shayla was jealous of her. If anything, Tatiana is jealous of Shayla. Both of them are very attractive women. That, I cannot deny. I'm sure Tatiana has some great qualities about her just as Shayla does. Bill is right. I need to stay away from Tatiana. I need to keep it strictly professional between Tatiana and me before anything goes further than it already has.

"Well, that was sweet of her to ask and acknowledge my presence," she nodded. "When is shooting over with?"

"Tomorrow is the last day. Did you and Mariah want to come?" I really hoped she would say yes.

"If our schedules are free, we'll definitely come."

"What's Mariah doing? She's out of school now."

"Did you forget about the ballet lessons you're paying for?"

"Oh, right..."

"We'll try to make it tomorrow. We'd love to be there as you bid farewell to everyone," she kissed my cheek and got up for the restroom.

"Babe, when are we taking Mariah back home?" I called after her.

"In August," she called back. It's going to be different without Mariah with us, but life will surely be busy, so it only makes sense to send her back home. I've grown accustomed to having her around. And whatever Joseph did with her was phenomenal. I feel better knowing we'll send Mariah back to her parents a new and improved young lady. It's sad that it took Joseph to straighten everything out with her, but better him than nothing at all. Shayla came back and got in bed with me, "everything, okay, baby?"

"Yeah, I'm just thinking about when Mariah leaves. I've actually grown accustomed to having her here."

"You're telling me... Any plans for kids?" She teased.

"Give me a little while longer, then we can decide on kids," I laughed.

"Same. I want my career to skyrocket before we even start trying to have kids. I don't want you to be the only one in the house successful."

"What? You don't want to be a stay at home mom?"

"I actually do. That's my dream really, but I also want to have a passive income as well. Can't be a stay at home mom with no job or hobbies that can make money."

"You're right. I only want the best for you," I kissed her forehead. I felt like I was keeping a secret from Shayla despite our agreement on having zero secrets in the relationship. I just don't know how to tell her that she was right. My harmless flirting wasn't harmless at all since Tatiana took it so literally and I allowed her to take it that way. I'll tell her when we finish shooting the video. That's the only way I can think of right now.

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