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Chapter 48

"That was Shayla?" Tatiana asked me. I nodded. "Why didn't you tell her I said hi?" I cut her a look. "You're right. My bad!" she laughed. "I like this photo," she pointed to the polaroid of her kissing me on the cheek. "Don't you?"

"How far are we from your apartment?"

"Ten minutes."

"Okay, well, make sure you're giving Bill the right directions."

"I am... Don't you like the picture?" I looked down at the Polaroid of me and Tatiana on set. The camera captured my smiling face and her kissing me on the cheek. I couldn't say anything. We took plenty of photos together on set today. I felt bad with how I spoke with her today, so when it was time for the photo shoot, to help her portfolio I pulled her in to take some photos with me. I saw nothing wrong with it. But of course, she took advantage of the situation.

"Tatiana, I can't see you outside of tour rehearsal and until the tour starts. Do you understand?"

"Yeah," she nodded.

"And you have your passport?"


"I'll have Frank send you the itinerary and your room information before the month is out."

"Oh, goody! Are you still going to give me the hookup?"

"I wouldn't give you anything less."

"Thank you so much, Michael. This means so much to me."

"I'm sure," I nodded. "How come you had a cab to come all the way out to set, but couldn't get one back?"

"I ran out of money," she shrugged. "It's hard being a struggling actress in Hollywood."

"Ahh, I see. You have to budget your money, Tati."

"I know... Thank you so much for giving me a ride home."

"Anything for a friend."

"Is it fun touring?"

"It can be. One day we'll be in Japan, the next day we'll be in Australia. It's a fast life. Are you ready for that?"

"I was born ready," she smiled.

I smiled, "good. I just might keep you around for the second leg then."

"We're here," Bill called back to us.

"Well, it was nice seeing you today, Tati. Again, I'm sorry for what I said earlier, but you have to understand that you're crossing boundaries. And you cannot kiss me again. Whether it be on the cheek or anything. You just simply cannot. I am your employer. You are simply my employee."

"Got it, boss," she winked. "Will I be seeing you again sometime?"

"I already told you I'll see you at rehearsal next week," I reminded her.

"Right! Silly me. I forgot. I'll see you on Monday then!" She opened the car door and made a dash into her building. Bill started driving. Didn't say anything to me. Didn't check up on me or anything.

"You alright, Bill?" I asked him.

"I'm good. You good?"

"Yeah. You're just so quiet up there."

"What do you want me to say?"

I shrugged, "I don't know... Say something!"

"You're stupid," he shrugged.

I exhaled sharply, "okay... I didn't want you to say that but carry on."

"You are! You know that girl is nothing, but trouble and you keep toying with her while she's trying to play you."

"She came on my set unannounced! What do you expect me to do?"

"Kick her out. She's not even supposed to be on this video. What? You wanted her up there to stroke your ego or something else?"

"No, Bill. I wouldn't do that. Come on. You know me better than that now," I scoffed.

"I thought I did until this girl came around. Are you going to tell Shayla about this?"

"No! There's nothing to tell her."

"Oh, so you don't think you should tell her that Tatiana popped up on your set unannounced?"

"No... We've already been through enough regarding Tatiana. I don't want Shayla to feel any worse about it. I told her I was done with Tatiana. We're going to leave it at that. And don't you go telling her nothing either."

"Right... That's why you got Roland for her anyway," he nodded.

I rolled my eyes, "it's not like I'm sleeping with the girl. You heard me tell her I can't see her until rehearsal."

"You were also flirting with her, so I don't know what to believe."

"I was not flirting with her."

"You just be careful. I'd hate to see you and Shayla get a divorce over something stupid. Something you can easily talk to her about."

"We're not going to get a divorce over harmless flirting in the past and me giving Tatiana a ride home."

"I recommend you stay away from her."

"You think I'm not?" I scoffed, looking out the window.

He sighed, "I'm just looking out for you, son." Looking out for me? I've got this. I got it all handled. Tatiana is my employee. I am her employer. I will not be seeing her unless it's time for rehearsal or during a concert. I don't plan on seeing her any other time. She's lucky I was lenient about her just popping up on my set. If there was something to tell Shayla, I'd tell her. Since there isn't, I'm not. I'm not as guilty as I was the first time around. Bill is just blowing this out of proportion. I looked down at the polaroid copies of the photos Tatiana and I took on set. She was really living it up in those photos. I only wanted to help her portfolio. In these photos, you could tell she was loving being hugged by me. My favorite is the photo of me peeking behind her with my hand on her waist. It was such an innocent photo. We were having fun! You'd never know that I was irritated with her forty-five minutes before. I picked up the polaroid where Tatiana was kissing my cheek. I was smiling like I was the happiest man in the world being kissed by my crush... And... I feel guilty about that. I guess I do have something to tell Shayla when she gets back home. I allowed this woman to kiss me once again. She's kissed me more than once and I've yet to tell her not to. I think it was my attraction to her that made me nervous to tell her no. That's the most intimate we'll ever be. Not that I wanted to be intimate wither her. Well, hell. I guess I do. But I'd never let it get to that point. Shayla doesn't deserve that kind of betrayal. I tore the Polaroid into pieces. It only reminded me of the guilt I was feeling. It was proof of the emotional infidelity towards Shayla. I don't need that kind of proof. I wish I hadn't allowed that photo. Let alone allowed her to kiss me... on camera... or at all. "What is it about her, Michael? Isn't Shayla enough?"

I looked up, "Shayla is enough. What makes you think she isn't?"

"You keep allowing this girl and allowing this girl and allowing this girl. You have yetto stop her. So, what is it about her?"

I sighed, "I don't know. She's kind. She's smart. Vivacious. Beautiful. Witty. She knows what she wants in life..."

"Isn't Shayla those things? Shayla knew what she wanted in life too."

"I know... I know..."

"Does Shayla not excite you anymore?"

"She does! We're only five years into our marriage. She still excites me. She still makes me laugh. Still makes me smile. I can't imagine my life without her."

"Then what is itabout Tatiana that has you so goddamn dumb?!"

I shrugged, "I don't know. I guess..."

"Would you rather the public see Tatiana on your arm or Shayla on your arm?"

"Shayla, why?"

"Just making sure you're not letting that 'Michael and Tatiana look good together,' get to your head. I know you heard everyone on that 'The Way You Make Me Feel' set."

I sighed, "yeah... That and that we look alike."

"I hope you aren't letting that get to your head. Shayla looks way better than Tatiana. Even on her worst days."

I laughed, "you don't think I know that?"

"Shoot, right now, you're acting like Tatiana is the best thing since sliced bread."

"Nah," I laughed it off.

"You know I'm not lying."

"Tatiana is beautiful, don't get me wrong. But Shayla is the best thing since sliced bread."

"Well, get your act together and stop acting like Tatiana is."

I nodded, "am I?"

"Leave that tramp alone."

"You don't have to call her a tramp, Bill..."

"There you go protecting her. You don't have to protect that single woman. The only woman you should be protecting is your wife."

"She's my friend, Bill."

"Friend? What kind of friendship do you need in another woman that you're only supposed to have with your wife? Especially a girl that works for you. She's nothing, Mike! Don't you see that?"

"I don't want to talk about this anymore," I pressed the button to raise the divider between Bill and me. I'm not cheating on my wife and that's all that matters. It's not that big a deal.

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