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Chapter 36

Author's Note: If discussing Michael Jackson's skin condition and what he may have done to himself that inevitably changed his appearance upsets you in any way shape or form, I highly recommend having an open mind or just skipping the end of the chapter.

In no way am I endorsing that Michael Jackson bleached his skin. I do not support such a false claim. I only support his reasoning and that he corrected his skin condition through makeup and through other means that I have researched for countless hours to find. Enjoy the chapter ☺️


After that entire debacle at Luther's house, I'm sure no one would like to stay over there. I wouldn't even want them to be in an environment where they feel unwanted. This sucks because I didn't expect it to get this bad. Once Shayla's dad said what he had to say, I knew it was a wrap. Looks like we'll all be staying in a hotel tonight. I didn't want to risk the chance of seeing fans, but I guess I have no choice. After we viewed the house, the family and I made our way back to Luther's house. Everyone got in the car and waited as I returned the house keys to Luther. I hate that Shayla and her family more than likely feel some type of way about my Uncle now, but he tends to do that to himself.

I opened the door to find Keith sitting on the couch, "What'd they think?" He asked as I put the house keys back on the hook.

I shrugged, "they thought it was small. Of course, they were all amazed to be there," I went to sit on the couch with him.

"Hey, don't pay my dad any mind. You know how he can get."

"I'm not sweating it. I'm just bothered he pulled that stunt when I wanted to introduce him to my in-laws."

He sighed, "I know they probably feel some type of way, huh?"

I cut him a look, "you see they're not in here. They're ready to go. I wanted to see if Shayla and I could spend the night over here with you all, but I'm sure after that, she doesn't even feel welcome."

"I don't want her to feel that way... How'd you meet her, Mike?"

"You really want to know?"

"Yeah, because I know with you being big time and all, there's no way you could have bagged that at a time like this."

"We met six years ago. She sent me a fan letter all the way from Ohio and now here we are."

"And y'all are really married?"

"Yep. And we've been keeping it a secret for a little over a year before it all got exposed. I mean, no one knows she's my wife yet. They just know she's with me twenty-four seven."

"Wow. When are you going to let the press know you're married?"

"In due time, but as of now, we had to get away from all the mass media. It was becoming to be too much for both of us. Mostly Shayla though."

"I get that... Wow, man... She's beautiful though. She must be quite the woman if you decided to marry her right as your career was skyrocketing."

"You know what's funny? I don't even think of it that way. We just fell in love, lost contact and once we got back in contact, I realized I couldn't live without her, so I made her my wife. She's amazing." I smiled.

"I'm proud of you, Mike. Forget my dad. He'll understand sooner or later, but I'm proud of you and I'm glad you're happy."

"Thanks, man. I really am," I stood up.

"Where are y'all staying?"

"I don't know. You know Gary doesn't have any good hotels. We'll find something somewhere down the road."

He hugged me, "it was nice seeing y'all. You're going to have to come by again sometime."

"For sure. We'll catch up later, Keith," I said as I made my way back out to the car. "I'm sorry about all the drama, guys."

"I mean... you did warn us," Shayla shrugged.

"She's right," mom chimed in.

"Where to, Michael?" Dad asked.

"I know you said you didn't want to go north just to come back down, but I was thinking we could go to Chicago, that way I can treat you all to a nice stay at The Westin."

"The Westin? What's that?" he turned around to look at me.

"Oh, James! That's a real fancy hotel. They have one in Cincinnati," Mom said excitedly.

"Have you been?"

"No, but I've always wanted to go."

"Hmm... How far is this Westin, Michael?"

"It should be about forty minutes away, but it's worth it, dad. I promise you." I assured him.

"Daddy, can we please?" Mariah begged.

"What do you know about The Westin, Mariah?" He asked her.

"Robby takes Mary and Andy all the time. Andy always tells me about the pools and the jacuzzies. And that one time she got a massage with Mary. I want to get a massage with mama!"

"What do you think, Shayla?"

"I know you'll like it, daddy. Besides, you and mom deserve something like The Westin anyway," she responded.

"You've been?"

"A couple of times. It's worth the stay."

"How much is this going to cost me, Michael? You know we're not wealthy like you and your family."

I laughed, "it's my treat, dad. Don't worry about it."

"You sure?"

"I'm positive."

"Well, shoot. Y'all better buckle up. It's time to go." He said as he quickly bucked his seatbelt and started the car. This should be exciting.


As soon as we walked in the lobby of the hotel, everyone was in awe. Mariah kept pointing at the chandeliers. Mom was surprised at the smell. Dad was pretty happy about the customer service. And Shayla was used to this. I slipped Dad my credit card, so he could pay for the three-bedroom luxury suite all the way on the top floor. Thankfully, all he had to do was swipe. We don't have to sign anything until after we check out, so we're good. Shayla and I sat in one of the corner couches so as to not be noticed by anyone. We were keeping a pretty low profile, but being in Chicago, I honestly had no idea how long that would last. After dad took care of everything, he motioned for us to come with him as he began following the manager to a secret elevator. Once we all got in the elevator, the manager couldn't help but express his excitement at me being at the hotel. I promised him an autograph if he made sure we received top of the notch customer service to which he assured me he would make sure we were at the top of the list. I wasn't even worried about myself being treated well, I wanted Shayla's family to experience the good life in the best way they possibly could. I'm sure they don't get away often with their schedules and with Mariah still growing up. I know they deserve this. As soon as we got to our floor, Mariah ran out to find our room. To my surprise, mom and dad didn't even say anything, because I'm sure they were just as excited as she was. The manager opened the door to our suite and gave us our keys. As soon as we entered the room, right in front of us was the living room with large floor-to-ceiling windows bathing the entire room with natural light as it showcased the river down below. The manager gave us a small tour showing us the dining table that seated eight, the living room with a large television, a wet bar, and the kitchen. He also showed us the bedrooms. All of which obtaining its own King size bed and their own bathrooms. Mom and dad were in complete awe and Mariah just couldn't keep her hands off of anything...


After dinner, we all bid our goodnights to one another and retreated to our own bedrooms. I know Mariah is spoiled because of her parents, but I can only imagine the level of spoiled she's going to get to now... I feel bad for Andy. She's going to hate hearing Mariah talk about this. Shayla and I unpacked our belongings, took a shower then made love. It's been quite the eventful day but making love to Shayla was just the cherry on top that I needed.

"Thank you for everything, baby," she said as she traced circles on my chest.

"Anything for you, Shayla," I brought her hand to my lips.

"No, seriously," she sat up to look at me. "Thank you for getting me away from that mess in LA. Thank you for bringing me home, so I can spend time with my family. Thank you for showing me your childhood home. Thank you for this," she spread her arms out to indicate the hotel. "I'm really thankful. My parents really appreciate this more than you know, and I know Mariah is enjoying herself."

"I just want to make you happy."

"Are you happy?"

"Any day I'm with you makes me happy."

"Stop being so cliché," she laughed. "You're saying all the right things, but I'm serious, Michael... Are you happy?" She looked at me.

I thought about it, "I'm married to the woman I love. I have the best-selling album in the country right now and I'm able to share my wealth with people I love and cherish," I looked at her. "Trust me. I'm happy." I pulled her in for a kiss.

She smiled, "well, I'm glad to hear that."

I looked at my watch: 11:29 p.m. "Oh my! I almost forgot!" I jumped out of bed to get the cream out of my bag and started lathering my body in it. "Shayla, get some gloves so you can put this lotion on my back." She got up and got a pair of gloves out of my bag and put them on. After I got every area of my body that I possibly could, I sat on the stool at the end of the bed and handed her the cream, so she could put it on my back.

"What is this?" She asked as she put some in her hands.


"I know that, but what kind of lotion?"

"I'll tell you later, babe."

"No. What kind of lotion is this that you have to put it on twice a day and that I have to wear gloves to put it on you, but you don't have to?"

I sighed, "I'll tell you later, babe."

"No, I'm not putting this on you until you tell me what I'm putting on your body."

I turned around to look at her, "stop playing. This is serious."

"I know it's serious. That's why I want you to tell me what this is."

"Babe, I need you to put this on my back."

"And I need you to tell me what this is. No secrets, remember?" She reminded me. I rolled my eyes. I wanted to tell her on my own terms, but now she's threatening not to help me out with it, which in turn could damage my skin. She couldn't have picked a worse time to do this. "Michael?"

"I'll tell you once you put it on my back."

"Don't lie to me."

"I'm not, because you're threatening to not put it on me which could damage my skin and I don't want to do that. So please put this on my back and I'll tell you." She hesitated, but finally began to rub the cream on my back. "It's cream to even out the pigmentation of my skin. Dr. Klein prescribed it to me. It doesn't bleach my skin. It just evens it out."

"How do you know it won't bleach your skin?"

"Because it's not bleach. They don't make skin-bleaching products."

"How do you know this will really even out your skin?"

"Dr. Klein showed me pictures of other people who have used this, and they turned out fine."

"How long have you been keeping this from me?"

"Well, my first time putting it on was Christmas evening..."

"How long have you been keeping this from me?"

I sighed, "a good couple of weeks now."

"Michael, why didn't you tell me about this?" She stopped applying the cream to my back. "You don't know what this cream can do to your skin. You don't know how it can affect your health in the long run. Nor do you know if this will really work for you or not!"

"I know if I stop using it now it will give me skin problems. I can't stop now, Shayla. I've already started. And besides, I'm in the public eye. I refuse to walk around looking like a cow. Do you know what people would say about me?"

"Do you know what people would say about you when they find out you're skin bleaching?"

"I'm not skin bleaching. I told you, it's not bleach."

"Whatever! Do you know what people will say when they see you're a completely different skin color? You say this will even out your skin... To what color? Black or white? This doesn't sound safe to me, Michael."

"This is why I didn't want to discuss this with you, Shayla. I wanted to keep this to myself for this reason."

"You also told me no secrets. This is a big secret, Michael. You could have just stuck to the makeup instead of heading for extreme measures like this."

"That's easy for you to say when you're healthy and you haven't been in the public eye since you were ten years old."

She shook her head, "you didn't even have to go there."

"Seriously. You think this is easy for me? I've had my nose break. I've had my hair catch on fire. And to top it off, I have vitiligo. And you're telling me it's extreme that I want to fix this? I'm in the public eye every day with people ridiculing me for my looks, my personality and the way I live. If I can help it, I will fix it, Shayla. Period point blank." By the way she was looking at me, I could tell she was disappointed. "It hurts me that you're not supporting me with this."

"I just don't want you to put your health in jeopardy for a cream that you know nothing about."

"I know all about it, Shayla. You don't. Dr. Klein said I was lucky that I'm able to even afford this because many people cannot. Look at my body!" I stood up for her to see, "you've seen my hands. You've seen my chest. You've seen every nook and cranny on my body, Shayla. You see what this disease is doing to me. I can't live like this in the public, babe. I just can't."

She sighed, "okay, Michael. I get it."

"Do you really? Because you've only been walking in my shoes for what? Maybe a couple of days before I had to bring you over here to get you out of the spotlight?"

"Okay, Michael. I don't want to argue anymore. I just want to go to bed. I'm sorry I said anything." She said as she got back in bed and got under the covers. Now she's got me feeling bad... I just want to fix this. It's not bleach. It's not going to turn me ten different colors. Its only job is to even out my skin. And I'm willing to risk the possibility of anything else if it means I'm going to look normal again.

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