After Michael and I ate breakfast, we went to sit on the couch to watch the morning news. I put my feet in his lap and turned on the television. It's rare when we do watch the news, but when we do, it's quite the event. We take the whole morning just to catch up with the world and all its stories. The Good, the bad and the ugly. As long as it's not tabloid junk, it's okay. Other than that, Michael was always interested in what was happening overseas or in the current city we were in. Always commenting on the injustices whatever country or city was being talked about had to face. I finally settled on a local television station and got comfortable on the couch with Michael. A car chase in the Bronx ended terribly with the culprit running away from the police crashed into an apartment building, dying immediately upon impact. Why didn't he pull over? What was so important to him or so scary to him that he felt it not important to yield to the officers' sirens? He could have easily been carried to jail alive. Now, he's just someone's dead child. I feel sorry for his mother. After finishing the story, they switched to another news anchor who eagerly awaited to discuss celebrity news.
"This week has been pretty eventful for Michael Jackson, Diane," The news anchor smiled at his co-anchor.
"Indeed, John. Since landing in New York, could things get any crazier in the life of Michael Jackson? He began his trip here donating six hundred thousand dollars to the United Negro College Fund."
"That was quite generous of him," John shrugged.
"Very much so. After giving such a generous amount of money, the next day he suffered a great loss at the Grammys. Which left everyone in shock, don't you think, John? The last time we saw Michael Jackson, he was accepting Grammy after Grammy after Grammy. Seems this album wasn't as good as 'Thriller.'"
"I disagree. 'Bad' was actually pretty good. If anything, Michael should have left with at least one award that night."
"The Academy never lies, John," Diane shrugged. I looked over at Michael who was glued to the television in hopes of hearing some good news about him.
"Well, they lied this time," John told his co-anchor.
"Thank you, John," Michael said to himself.
"After that, I guess things got pretty good in the life of Michael Jackson though. We still can't stop talking about that kiss. That kiss will be talked about for decades!"
"Well, I do have to agree with you on that. Any time we ever saw Michael, he was either with his chimp, accepting awards, hiding somewhere, or even sleeping in hyperbaric chambers."
"He's been on tour, John," Diane laughed.
"Right. Now, we've been seeing him on stage. But my point is, this is the first time we've seen him this way with a woman. It's almost shocking, to say the least."
"If that's what you think now, I can only imagine what you're going to say when I drop this bombshell on you."
"And what's that?"
"Allegedly, Michael Jackson is married," Diane smirked at him. My heart dropped. Michael and I looked at each other. "You heard that right, ladies and gentlemen. Michael Jackson is officially off the market. The news was leaked last night. Apparently, he's married to an unknown woman named Shayla. You'd think he'd be married to a superstar. We're all dying to see this woman and if I may say so myself, desperate to know how she feels about the kiss with Michael and that video girl."
"Perhaps she does have a lot to say about it. But we beg to know how long Michael has been married and if so, where on earth did he find the time? Anyway, congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. Hopefully, she'll show her face soon." I turned off the television and looked over at Michael. As if the last three days weren't bad enough, here we are again. The news of us being married has greatly overshadowed the kiss. Which I guess is a good thing, but we didn't want it out this time. I have a pretty good idea as to who leaked it though. A bitter, unemployed Tatiana. Am I really shocked though? She had to get us back somehow after I slapped her, and she got fired. Michael got up and picked up the phone. I'm stunned. I feel robbed of the opportunity to announce my own marriage. Who did Tatiana think she was? Before you know it, people are going to connect the dots that the person who writes books under "Shayla Jackson" is Michael Jackson's wife. Which, I knew was eventually going to happen, but I wanted it to happen on my own terms. Not on someone else's because they're upset that they got fired. How does Michael even intend on fixing this? The news is probably all over the world now, so there's no way this could be fixed. I better embrace myself for all the paparazzi and everyone all over again. Except for this time around, it's going to be ten times worse. The world's beloved Michael Jackson is married. This completely goes against the image Frank created for him. In a way, I'm glad that it goes against that image, but at the same time, how would Michael's fans feel knowing that he lied to them about something as serious as a marriage? Here he is, portraying a single man that's supposed to let his female fans think they have a chance with him, but now they know they will never have that chance because he lied... I just feel robbed of the opportunity. Michael and I were preparing ourselves for this. We were figuring out everything we were going to do and say. How we were going to announce it. How we would deal with paparazzi. How Michael's entire image would suddenly change. We were preparing ourselves. Now, because of a jealous, unemployed video girl, our chance is gone.
Michael hung up the phone and came back over to me, "don't worry about it, babe. Frank is going to fix this," he tried to assure me. I want to believe him, but I don't know. The public already believes the Tatiana love story. Who's to say they won't believe this one? I'm nervous. We didn't even get to prepare all that well. Now, I'm being thrust into this. Before you know it, once people see Michael, they're going to be searching for me as well. We were thinking about announcing it by the end of the tour. It would have been an amazing story. It would have highlighted the end of an amazing era. People can be so selfish. A knock came to the door prompting Michael to get up to open it. Frank waltzed through the door with Bill and Roland behind him. All four of them came into the living room. Michael taking his spot back beside me. Bill, Roland, and Frank sat in the lounge chairs across from us.
"Don't worry, Shayla," Frank looked at me. "We know it was Tatiana. No one else here would have told. She signed an NDA. She reneged on it. We'll be suing immediately," he assured me. I let out a sigh of relief. I totally forgot about that. That eradicates part of the problem. "Here's how we're going to do things around here. From now on, until all this crap dies down, you two are going to do things more separate. Shayla, do you want to go back to LA or Ohio?"
I was taken aback, "neither. Despite what's going on, I'm still going to attend every show."
He rolled his eyes, "I figured you were going to say that."
"I bet. You've never wanted me here in the first place."
"You guys are still going to have to be more separate. Sharing the same suite is fine. No one can get to you here. But as far as getting to shows and being anywhere else in public, it's not happening. We have an image to upkeep."
I looked at Michael, "this is how we're fixing this?"
"It's the only way, babe... You and I have a lot of adjustments to make before we announce our marriage. We've talked about this."
"I know, but Frank is over here so stuck on this image. Your image as a single man is no more. Do you really think people are going to think this is a rumor?"
"They will if they only see Michael," Frank interrupted.
"They've only been seeing Michael in the beginning anyway."
"Yeah, but after this news, they're going to be searching for you, Shayla. They see Michael's car rolling up, they're going to try to take pictures through the car window as much as they can in hopes that they find you. They see Michael about to board a plane and they'll be searching for you. They see Michael walking backstage; they're going to be seeking you. We need attention on Michael, not you. This was the plan in the beginning. You knew this. This time, it has to be more strict."
"Please don't take this personally, babe. I want to announce our marriage just as bad as you do. But now is not the time. Especially with it being leaked like this," Michael tried to assure me.
"You got that, Michael and Shayla?" Frank looked between the both of us. I guess I have no choice but to agree. Michael is right. We've talked about making many adjustments once we announced it. With it being leaked like this, there is no structure. It'll make things ten times worse than if we had announced it ourselves. At least we'd know what to expect. I mean, I know what to expect now with the paparazzi and everything, but who knows what kind of crazy people will be gunning for me simply because I was Michael's wife.
"Frank, you don't have to talk to us like that. We get it," Michael told him.
"So, I'm going to call the New York Times first, then whoever else I have to call and let them know this was all bullshit," he stood up and made his way to the phone. Why wasn't he so gung-ho about the Tatiana story? He just let that kiss story run wild. The whole world thought Michael was in love with her and no one was adamant about shutting down that story. Maybe this was all part of Frank's agenda. Portray Michael as this single man, allow pretty Tatiana to kiss him to allude that he really is single and let the story run wild. Of course, the story of Michael being tied down wasn't part of his agenda. It never was, even if it was leaked. "Yes, that story is a rumor... I get that you had an inside source about it. In fact, I know exactly who told you that bullshit. But I'm Michael's manager. I know what's real and what isn't. I told you quacks before that it hurts Michaeland me that you guys write such false stories about him. Michael isn't even thinkingabout marriage. Do you know what that would do to his career? He'd be a flop just like his brothers. He has far more important things to think about than settling down. He's simply not ready... Print that word for word for all I care! The world deserves to know that not every story you news people put out is true."
"It's just damage control, babe," Michael tried to assure me.
"So, our marriage is damage to your career, but that Tatiana story wasn't?" I looked at him.
"I- Babe... You know that story was a rumor. I'm sure the rest of the world did too."
"Oh, yeah? Then why is Frank working hard to shut this one down, huh? He wasn't this pressed about that Tatiana story."
"Babe, you and I agreed that we would announce it ourselves. What's the problem?"
"Do you hear how Frank is talking about our marriage like it's some sham? Like, it's a lie? He may want the media to think so, but he's never liked the fact that you were married from the beginning. He's expressed it since you hired him. Now he's just talking about it like our marriage is nothing. Absolutely nothing and you won't stop him. I wish you and Frank had this same energy toward Tatiana. But no, of course not. You were attracted to her and Frank probably felt she helped in this single image you guys are trying to upkeep."
"Babe, it's not even like that."
"He's disrespecting our marriage just like everyone around here has and you're lettinghim!" I shouted, standing up.
"Calm down..." Michael took my hands in his.
"No, don't you tell me to calm down. I have every legal right to be angry. This single persona hasn't helped anyone here. It's caused more problems than anything. My mom was right about everything. You and Frank are so caught up in this single image that you'll do anything to uphold it. Even repeatedly disrespect me. I'm sick of it, Michael," I hurried back to our bedroom.
"Shayla," Michael followed close behind me. "You don't understand."
"No, youdon't understand. While this whole single thing is helping you, it's hurting me, and you don't even care."
"I thought you didn't want to announce it until the end of the tour."
"Would you stop talking about that freaking announcement?!" I screamed. "It's not even about that anymore. It's about how you and Frank are so adamant about shutting the story down than you were about the Tatiana story. You guys just let that story run wild. I had to hear all day about how cute of a couple you and Tatiana were. You heard on the news they're stilltalking about that kiss. But no. This story about you being married to the love of your life is damage to your career. Miss me with that. If I'm such damage to your career, why are you still with me, huh? Go be with Tatiana since she's helping you advance out here," I went in the closet to get my suitcase and unzipped it.
"Don't say that," Michael shook his head, tears in his eyes.
"It's true and you know it. You said it yourself. Frank is only fixing the damage."
"I didn't mean it like that. You know I didn't. I thought you would agree with me. I can tell him to stop. I can tell him to stop right now if you want me to."
"No, you followed your first mind and called him to tell him to fix it. He's fixing it. I hope you're happy," I opened the drawers, throwing my clothes in my suitcase.
"Where are you going?"
"Away from you. You want to be single; you go ahead. I won't be in the way anymore."
"I don't want to be single. I never have. I'm happy with you," he stood in front of me.
"Yeah, well, your actions say otherwise. Move," I pushed him out of the way as I went back over to my suitcase. I need to call my parents. My brothers. Someone. Anyoneto get me out of here. I can't stay here any longer. I've had enough of this disrespect. I've had enough of being pushed behind the scenes meanwhile others are being pushed forward despite how it makes me feel. I'm tired of watching my husband be a pushover and letting others dictate what he should be doing and how he should be doing it. I'm catching the first flight out of here. Frank got his wish. Michael and I will be doing things more separate. I won't be attending the shows anymore and I'm going home to my parents.