Our Love Story Chapter 1 Part 13
BRRRRING!!!!! My alarm clock was going off. I groaned and rolled over until I fell off the bed. "Are you okay?" Gaybrielle asked. I groaned and pulled the covers over my head. “Come on, Paige. Get up.” She yanked the covers off of me. “Wake up or else I'm getting the bucket of ice again." She threatened.
“Fine, I'm up. I'm up.” I replied stumbling to my feet. I walked out of the room down the hallway and into the bathroom. It was 6:00 AM, July 8th, 1976. I'm a young model. My name is Paige and I have been modeling professionally since I was 12 years of age. Young right?
I’m 14 and half now. I look older though. So my agents decided that it would be best for my image if I said I was 17 years old instead of 14. I’m still a little new to this. I was discovered by a middle aged fashion connoisseur named Michelle Bain when I was twelve. She thought I was 15 until I told her how old I really was. She told me that he wanted to introduce a "curvier" model to the shrewd fashion industry that was bent on having skinny light-skinned models instead. So basically I was the guinea pig she would use to test it out. I was used to being the guinea pig though. And from there, I had to beg and plead with my parents to let me model. They believed it was a waste of time and that there was a slim chance that I would be successful. They also didn't want me to enter the industry at such a young age. But after a while they said I could do it as long as I kept my grades up. But with all the traveling and back and forth, my parents decided that it would be best for me to get a tutor instead.
I moved to New York a few months ago because I have a huge photo shoot here. My parents and I usually rent apartments, condos, penthouses and hotels since I’m always on the go. My parents usually tag along because I am not of adult age. Of course, they couldn’t travel with me all the time. That’s where Gaybrielle came in. She is 20 years old and is my best friend. She’s like an older sister to me. So she travels with me when they can’t. It’s been a lot of hard work but I am finally getting some recognition in the United States and the United Kingdom. I’m beginning to change the face of models. Models don’t have to be a stick figure. You can have curves and should not be considered fat. I’m not light skinned, but I’m not dark either. I’m more in the middle. I’m brown.
I sighed in content as I allowed the warm water to awaken my tired skin. I stepped out of the shower, and wrapped a soft, fluffy towel around my refreshed body. Afterward I got dressed. Today, I decided to put on light blue Capri jeans, black and white sneakers, and a black shirt with white lettering in the front that said "Take Me Shopping." I switched the television on in the living room on and ventured into the kitchen where Gaybrielle was already making breakfast. She rested the food on the table as I took a seat. She sat across from me.
"You wanna come with me to work today?" I inquired.
"Nope. I‘ll pass on this one." Gaybrielle replied. At that moment a commercial came on advertising "The Jacksons Variety Show." I smiled and turned my gaze to Gaybrielle after the commercial was over.
"You wanna go don't you?" She inquired digging her fork into her eggs.
"Yeah but I want you to come with me." I begged.
"You already bought tickets didn't you?" She asked.
"You know me so well." I said grinning.
"I’ll go with you but try not to get over excited." She teased with a smirk as she stuffed her eggs into her mouth.
"I do not get over excited!" I exclaimed with my mouth half full.
"Say it don't spray it and yes you do!" I swallowed.
“I do not get over-excited!” I said calmly.
"Whatever you say." I rolled my eyes at her.
Gaybrielle knew I had a crush on Michael Jackson but almost every girl did. The Jacksons were the teen idols of the 70s. She is 5 years older than me and was like a big sister to me. She was funny and smart and we knew each other oh so well. Sometimes a little too well.
"So what are you gonna do while I'm gone?" I said while putting my dish into the sink.
"I'm gonna hang with Nick. Duh!" She said matter-of-factly. Nick is her on again off again boyfriend. They should either break up or stay together.
"Well I gotta go! Guess I'll see you later." I said grabbing my bag and opening to the door where my chauffeur stood on the other side waiting to escort me to work.
"Okay, see you later." She said.
"Love you." I said.
“Love you too.” She replied. After work, I met my Gaybrielle back at the hotel. We had brunch. Of course the paparazzi followed us from the car taking an abundance of pictures as if me going eating with my friend was so amazing. Now, Gaybrielle and I returned to the hotel. The days events had taken a toll on my energy supply and I was ready to go to sleep. So when the lights went out, so did I.
It was finally here! Today, I was going to see The Jacksons Variety Show. I woke up Gaybrielle and began getting ready for the day’s events. I wore a hot pink ruffled shirt, black jeans and black flats. Gaybrielle wore…something else. I didn’t care because I was too excited. I didn’t bother putting on much make-up. Just foundation and a little blush.
After arriving to the show, Gaybrielle and I took a seat in the first row. A few moments later, the show began and I was amazed at how much energy oozed from the group. Michael was so cute. I was laughing, screaming and cheering the whole show. After the show was over, a large man claiming to be one of the security guards for the Jackson family said that the Jacksons wanted to meet me. I was stunned and happily agreed. I took Gaybrielle with me for back up just in case I said or did something stupid so she could save me.
<strong>Meeting the Jacksons</strong>
The security guard led Gaybrielle and I backstage to a door at the end of a narrow hallway. It had a yellow star placed on it. He informed us that the Jacksons were getting ready to leave soon so we had to “make it quick.” Then he left. I took deep breaths to try to cease the fluttering of butterflies in my stomach. I raised my hand to knock and withdrew it quickly.
“I can’t to do this.” I whispered to Gaybrielle.
“Relax it’s not a date. I’ll just knock instead.” Gaybrielle replied. She knocked seven times then entered with me following behind her. Gaybrielle introduced both us. Every member of the Jackson family introduced themselves separately and shook our hands.
Joseph said that he wanted Latoya to pursue a career outside of music. He wanted Latoya to model and asked if I knew any agents that he could talk to. I told him that I’d see what I could do. Then he gave me a card that I could use to contact him. He left taking Katherine along with him but not before she thanked us for attending the show with a warm smile.
We began speaking with the other generation of Jacksons. Jacky, Tito and Randy had no problem flirting with us and making us laugh. Michael and Marlon weren’t as chatty as their brothers but would speak from time to time along with Latoya, Janet and Rebbie. Michael had the cutest giggle I had ever heard. And the cutest face and the cutest smile. After talking awhile, we discovered we had something in common. We all loved having fun. They told us about some of the pranks they pulled at their hotel.
We told them we enjoyed their company and that we had to leave. They said that we should visit another show later in the future. Just then a knock interrupted us. “Come in!” Jacky said. A pretty blond girl walked into the room. She greeted everyone then walked over to Michael and whispered something in his ear. He giggled.
“This is my girlfriend Tatum.” Michael said introducing her to us. I forced a smile. My heart dropped into the pit of my stomach. I shook her hand. I think I hid my disappointment well.
“It’s a nice to meet you.” I said as pleasantly as I could. She shook Gaybrielle’s hand too. Gaybrielle faked a smile.
“Well we should be going.” We said our goodbyes and left. We climbed inside the limo waiting outside for us. I was upset and a little disappointed. I put up the privacy window separating the driver from Gaybrielle and myself. I could see the look on Gaybrielle's face. Pure dread was evident on her face because she knew what was about to happen.
I closed my eyes and counted to ten. I opened my eyes and looked back at Gaybrielle. “He has a girlfriend?” She just looked at me. I was yelling more than I was asking. “You couldn't tell me had a girlfriend?” I asked angrily.
“How the heck was I supposed to know?” She said.
“This isn’t how planned it out in my head.” I said more to myself than to her.
“I don’t know how you planned it in that head of yours but realistically you couldn’t just reserve him for yourself. Was he supposed to just wait until you showed up?” Gaybrielle said.
“No.” I said leaning against the car door. “But a girl can dream can’t she?”
“Sorry to burst your bubble but this isn’t a dream. This is real life.”
“I know.” I responded.
“And aren’t you a little too young to date?” She asked.
“My mother says that she thinks I’m mature enough to date.” I stated.
“You are fourteen and he is seventeen or sixteen.” She said.
“Three measly years age difference. Not a big deal.” I said.
“I'm happy you are calm. I thought you were to freak out.” She said.
“I almost did.” I replied.
“Don't you think you are a little old to still have temper tantrums?” She asked.
“I do not have temper tantrums. Sometimes I just get extremely angry.” I said.
“I thought the lady you were talking to was taking care of that.” Gaybrielle said referring to my therapist. “I mean isn’t that what you pay her for?” No I’m not crazy if that’s what you are thinking. It’s just I have some anger issues. I had a difficult past. I don’t like to talk about. No one really knows much about it. Not even Gaybrielle. Just me, God, my therapist and those four poorly decorated walls in her office. But my tantrums aren’t as bad as they used to be and occur less and less. I control my temper pretty well. At most times.
“It’s a work in progress.” I replied.
“Speaking of which, you have an appointment with her tomorrow.” Gaybrielle stated. I sucked my teeth.
“I don’t want to go. And why do I have to go so early. Eight o’clock in the morning? I want to sleep in. My feelings will still be there at noon.” I said.
“I’ll see if we can move it to a later time in the day.”
“Thank you.” I replied. “At least we had fun meeting the Jacksons.”
We are going to fast forward a few years to 1984 after Michael Jackson released “Thriller.” I had just released my debut album entitled “Misunderstood.” It did fairly well on the charts and had two number 1 singles. Critics raved about my album and I'm grateful for the success. I have gotten four Grammy nominations and I’m proud of my achievement. I am also to perform one of my number one singles. A ballad. “The Test of Time.” I loved Michael's music and thought he had gotten a lot sexier from when I last saw him. I hadn't exactly been having the best of luck in relationships but I am still looking for Mr. Right. I believe Michael is a musical genius and I wish him much success.
<strong>*******At the Grammys*******</strong>
Michael had shown up with Brooke Shields on his arm. I must admit Brooke Shields is a gorgeous woman. I appeared at the Grammys with a famous sports athlete named Brian Jones. We’ve been dating for almost a year. I wore a beautiful blue halter dress with a lot of diamonds and beads. It fit me like a glove. After the Grammys I emerged with two awards. One of which was for “Best New Artist” and Michael had won 8. He broke the world record for most Grammy awards won in a single night. I'm so proud of him. I haven’t spoken to Michael since our encounter at the Variety Show.
<strong>*******At the After Party*******</strong>
I mingled with the many guests at the party. I was told congratulations so many times by so many people that I lost count. Brian excused himself to go to restroom. This was the first time he removed himself from my side the entire night other than when I went to except my awards and when I had to perform. Sometimes Brain was around me so much it felt like I was being smothered. As I turned away from Brian my eyes landed on Michael Jackson. He was standing on the other side of the room talking to Quincy Jones. This was the first time I had seen him since the party started. I decided that now would be the right time for me to talk to Michael because if I did talk to Michael in Brian's presence, he would become jealous and insecure and possibly embarrass me. Brian was quite irritating at times and was difficult to put up with.
I walked up to Michael and gently tapped him on his shoulder. He looked away from Quincy and then at me. I smiled. Then Michael just stared. “Don't tell me you don't recognize me.” I said playfully. “Of course I recognize you.” Michael said with a smile appearing on his face. “What, no hug?” He chuckled and took me into an embrace. He smelled good. We parted from the hug. I also hugged Quincy.
“Congratulations Michael and Quincy. Eight Grammys, wow.” I said.
“Yeah we worked hard on the album and we are happy for the success.” Quincy replied.
“I loved the album. You guys deserved it.” I said.
“Thank you. Congratulations to you too. Your album is doing well and you look gorgeous.” Michael said.
“Thank you. You look great to Michael. You got a James Brown meets Napoleon type of thing going on here.” I said referring to his glittery, blue army jacket. Both Michael and Quincy laughed.
“That's Michael for ya.” Quincy said. “I have to say that I loved your performance. You have been blessed with a beautiful voice young lady.” I blushed.
“I believe you are going to make it big. You have the talent. You have proven that you’re not just a pretty face.” Michael complimented. I was turning all shades of red.
“Thank you so much.” We talked a few more moments about various things. “Anyway I should probably go home now. It's getting late.” I said when I suddenly I felt an arm wrap around my waist.
“Yes we probably should.” I didn't have to look up to know who it was.
“Hi I'm Brian. Her <em>boyfriend</em>.” He said stressing the word boyfriend. He pulled me closer to him. He shook both Michael and Quincy's hand. I decided that it was best we leave before Brian said or did something embarrassing. I smiled at Michael and Quincy.
“It was nice talking to you both.” I said. Then we left.
<strong>*******In the Limo*******</strong>
The ride so far was silent. I looked out the window and watched as the trees and cars passed. I knew sooner or later an argument would ensue between Brian and me. I could hear the privacy window being rolled up and I knew the argument would be sooner and not later.
“Had fun tonight?” Brian inquired.
“Yes.” I answered.
“So you talked to Michael Jackson huh?” He asked.
“Yes. And Quincy.” I replied.
“So what did you two talk about?” He asked ignoring my reference to Quincy Jones being there. I could sense the anger building in him as I continued to look out the window. Maybe I wasn't the one who needed the therapy sessions. He hated when I did that. He believed I should look at him when I talk to him.
“The <em>three</em> of us were congratulating each other on our success.” I replied.
“Why aren't you looking at me?” He asked clearly irritated.
“Because I don't want to.” I answered.
“Look. At. Me.” He said slowly. I sighed and looked at him. “I don't want you talking to Michael anymore.” He said.
“I can talk to whomever I please.” I said.
“I'm not asking you, I'm telling you that you can't talk to him.”
“Did I stutter?” I narrowed my eyes. I closed my eyes and counted to ten. That didn't work. It never does. I rolled down the privacy window and told the driver to stop the car. He did as he was told. Brian looked at me because he knew exactly what I was going to do. I glared at Brian.
“Get out.” I said coldly.
“Did I stutter?”
“How am I supposed to get home?” He asked.
“I don't know and I definitely don't care.” I said pushing him out of the limo. Then we drove off leaving him in the middle of the street.
I slowly shut the dark mahogany door behind me. I leaned against the door and removed my heels from my aching feet. Beauty is pain. I walked into the living room where my best friends were. “Congratulations!” They screamed. I smiled and rested my Grammy award on the counter. I took a bow. Gaybrielle, Tanya, Angel, and Sasha were all there. They are my four best friends and they are all like sisters to me. I love them so much. Let me introduce you because you will be seeing a lot of them.
Well, you’ve met Gaybrielle. She’s funny, smart, stubborn, feisty, beautiful and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She is very outspoken and sometimes short-tempered. She’s my personal assistant and right hand woman. She has a degree in both fashion and business administration. So she handles everything from my wardrobe for important events such as interviews and award shows as well as scheduling them. It’s great being able to work with your best friend even though it’s also extremely difficult at times. She is still with her on again off again boyfriend Nick. But it’s recently been more on than off.
Sasha is of both African and Russian decent. Her father is Russian and her mother is of pure African blood. The origin of the name Sasha is Russian and it means a strong person who never gives up and that describes her perfectly. She’s also funny, intelligent, determined, persistent and is extremely shy at times. She isn’t as feisty as Gaybrielle but if you push her over the edge you have something coming. Sasha is patient and is always the first person I go to for advice. Sasha is six years older than me. She is a married stay at home mother of two children. Both girls. Summer and Rain.
Tanya is Sasha’s fraternal twin sister. Tanya and Sasha are complete opposites. Tanya on the other hand, decided to pursue a career in law. She has one of the most successful lawyer corporations in California. Tanya is not as patient as Sasha. She’s also not afraid to speak her mind and is very good at persuading a jury as well as people around her. I don’t mean that in a bad way. Tanya is a hard worker and goes the extra ten miles when she doesn’t have to. This is why her company and her trials are almost always successful. Although Tanya is very successful in her career, sometimes she becomes too immersed and neglects her husband. Her work habits are taking a toll on her marriage. I love Tanya and I wish her well in her marriage but I just hope she comes to her senses before it’s too late. She has no children.
Last but not least is Angel. Like all my other friends, Angel is beautiful, intelligent and funny. Angel is the peacemaker. Angel and I are around the same age. I am only three months older than her. But technically, she is the baby of the group. Angel is a romantic. Even though Angel is young she has done almost everything. She had one hell of a wild streak when she was younger. She had sex at a young age, drank hard liquor, smoked cigarettes, she did drugs, you name it. But she began to settle down when she was eighteen when she had her first child shortly after she graduated high school. It died a few moments after birth. It really changed her. Angel is my make-up artist and hair stylist and she also owns two celebrity hair salons. One in California and one in New York.
Now I’ve introduced you to my friends. We sat down and ate the chocolate cake they baked me that had “Congratulations” written with yellow butter cream icing.
“How did you know I was going to win a Grammy?” I asked cutting a slice of cake for myself.
“We didn’t.” Gaybrielle let known.
“So what if I didn’t win?” I asked.
“Then we would say ‘Congratulations on your Nominations.’” Sasha said. I snorted. Wow haven't done that in a long time.
“Michael won eight Grammys. I’m so proud of him.” I said happily.
“We know.” Angel said. “I loved that album. If you ever see him again get him to sign it for me please.”
“So how come Brian isn’t with you?” Tanya asked.
“Is he at home?” Sasha inquired.
“I don’t know where he is and I honestly don’t care.” I responded cutting another slice of cake.
“What do you mean you don’t know?” Tanya asked.
“I kicked him out of the car.” I said plainly.
“You say it like it doesn’t matter.” Angel said.
“Because it doesn’t matter.” I replied. “He’s a tough guy, he can handle himself, and he’ll get over it.”
“What did he do that was so bad that you kicked him out of the car in the middle of the street, at night, with no means of transportation?” Sasha asked.
“I’m just tired of his insecure, jealous, attitude. I can’t talk to someone of the male species without him taking it way out of proportion.” I complained.
“And he deserved to get kicked out for that?” Angel asked.
“He forbid me from talking to the person again.” Their whole tune changed then.
“He’s lucky you didn’t run him over.” Gaybrielle said causing us all to laugh.
“Who were you talking to?” Sasha asked.
“Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones.” I replied.
“But you have a crush on Michael.” Tanya said.
“Yeah so?” I said.
“When did you talk to him?” Tanya asked.
“At the after party.” Tanya rolled her eyes. “
When at the after party?” I hated when Tanya interrogated me.
“Tanya you really should know the difference between when you are at work and when you are at home.” I said.
“Answer the question.” Gaybrielle said. I sighed.
“When Brian went to the bathroom.” I said.
“Why did you wait for him to go to the bathroom?” She asked.
“Cause I knew he would overreact to the situation.”
“Okay so let’s examine the facts.”
“You have a crush on Michael and you waited until Brian went to the bathroom to talk to him. Jury do you have verdict?” Tanya asked.
“Guilty!” Gaybrielle, Sasha and Angel screamed. Then they all burst into laughter. I rolled my eyes.
“Quincy was right there and our conversation was innocent I swear.” I explained. “But Michael did say I was pretty.” I said blushing.
“Don’t you think you are at fault just a little?” Angel asked.
“No. I think he should trust me more. It’s not like Michael and I could have gotten busy right in the middle of the party or something.” I said.
“Whatever you say.” Gaybrielle said.
“Shut up and eat your cake.” I said then took her plate and smashed the cake in her face.
“But I don’t want to be selfish. You should have some cake too.” Gaybrielle said taking my cake and throwing it at me. I ducked and it hit Angel instead.
“Oh it’s on now.” Angel said. Before I knew it we were in a full blown cake fight. My living room was a mess and my furniture was ruined. The five of us had to clean it up, which took forever. I still have to get new furniture though. They just decided to spend the night because they were worn out.
<strong>Breaking Up is Hard to Do......Well Not that Hard</strong>
Sasha, Tanya, and Gaybrielle left the following morning. Angel stayed behind though. We walked downstairs and met a bouquet of wildflowers on the kitchen counter. I sighed. I knew they were from Brian. He always sends me gifts to get me to forgive him when I’m upset. I picked up the bouquet threw it in the trash can then took a carton of eggs from the fridge. Angel took the flowers out of the garbage placed it back on the counter.
“Put it back in the trash.” I said.
“Paige I know you’re mad but, at least read the card.” She waved it in front of my face.
“I don’t want anything from Brian around me.” I said dismissing her.
“What about something from Michael?” Angel asked.
“Those flowers are not from Michael.” I said. She began reading the card. She started laughing.
“His name is right here. Come read it and you’ll see.”
“That’s not funny.” I said snatching the card from her. As I suspected Brian’s name was on the card.
I’m sorry about last night
I’ll do anything to make it right
Forgive me please and I’ll once again be your knight
Remember that time we kissed under the moonlight?
“He was never much of a poet.” I said. “I could only imagine how long it took him to come up with this.”
“Hey, at least he tried. It’s the thought that counts.” I tossed the card into the garbage along with the bouquet. Angel shook her head and began making breakfast while I read a fashion magazine. The kitchen phone rang and I got up to answer it.
“Hello.” I said pleasantly.
“Hey, you get my flowers?” Brian asked. I rolled my eyes.
“Yes I got them.” I replied in a dismissive tone.
“You like them?” He asked.
“Their okay I guess. They are just flowers.” I said.
“When aren’t you sorry?”
“I love you okay? Even though you left me stranded in the middle of the street last night I still love you. Do you have any idea how I got home last night?” Brian asked.
“No Brian. I don’t know how you got home last night and quite frankly I don’t care.” I responded coldly.
“Why are you always like this? Why can’t you just accept the damn apology?”
“Because I’m tired of the same thing Brian. You always mess up and become angry over the simplest things. Then, the next day you always buy me candy or flowers or something in hopes of me forgiving you and taking you back. You say you’ll change but you never do. I’m tired of this endless cycle and I don’t think this relationship is going anywhere.” I held the bridge of my nose in frustration.
“What are you saying?” He asked.
“I’m saying that we shouldn’t be together anymore.”
“Are you breaking up with me?”
“Yeah, I am.” I said.
“You can’t do that.” He said.
“I’m pretty sure I can.” I stated.
“You can’t break up with me. I love you.” He pleaded.
“Goodbye Brian.” I hung up the phone while he was still ranting. Angel looked at me with sympathy. “Stop looking at me like that.”
“How do you feel?” She asked.
“I’m seriously hungry.”
“How does it feel being single again?” She asked.
“The first ten seconds has been okay so far.” We laughed at my humor.
“Such a shame. You and Brian looked so cute together.” Angel said. I rolled my eyes. I’m single again. I sat on the counter until Angel was done making breakfast. After breakfast, the telephone rang and Angel answered it while I began washing the dishes.
“Paige.” Angel called.
“Yes?” I answered.
“It’s Jermaine Jackson. He wants to talk to you.” She said.
“You better stop playing.” I said. “That’s not funny.”
“No it’s really Jermaine.” I rolled my eyes and dried my hands. Angel had better not be messing with me again.
“Hello.” I said smoothly.
“Hey, it’s Jermaine.” Jermaine chimed in. I heard people giggling and he shushed them.
“We’ve established that.” I said playfully. He chuckled.
“Well my brothers and I are doing a tour in June and we thought we’d invite you to come.” Jermaine said. “Congratulations on your success by the way. With your new album and everything.”
“Thank you. Uh I don’t know Jermaine. I’ll see if I can make it.” I explained.
“ Anyway I gotta go I’ll talk to you later Jermaine.” We hung up. I walked back into the kitchen to continue washing the dishes.
“Jermaine’s cute.” Angel said.
“Don’t even go there. Its Michael I want. Not Jermaine.”
<strong>A little over a week later</strong>
You would think that after 3 days Brian would give up on hopes of repairing our severed relationship. He sent me thousands of dollars worth of gifts including clothes, chocolate, flowers and jewelry. He left hundreds of messages on my answering machine and called continuously. I changed my number twice so that he would stop calling me. He found out my new numbers and I don't know how. I sent all of his gifts back. I was tempted when I saw the expensive jewelry but showed great self-control and sent those back to him as well. I can always buy jewelry. After Brian called on the fourth day, I grew tired of him calling my house so I decided to set the record straight that we were not getting back together this time. He had his chance. He had multiple chances. Surprisingly, he cried. I have never seen or heard Brian cry. This was shocking. I decided not to answer any more of his phone calls and hoped he would get the message after a while. He continued to leave sad messages on my answering machine for the fourth and fifth day.
On the sixth day he continued to call but I didn’t pick up. He continued to leave messages but these messages weren’t sad pleas for forgiveness anymore. The messages were filled with scorching anger. He ranted and screamed as if there was no tomorrow. He rolled profanity from his tongue fluently as if it were another language. I didn’t listen to his messages. Only one or two of them and deleted the rest. As angry as I was that he left just menacing words on my answering machine, I said nothing and I did nothing. I didn’t call him back and tell him off or anything. On the seventh day he left only one message apologizing for the ones he left yesterday. At end of the message he told me to call him back. I didn’t.
On the eighth day he didn’t call. On the ninth day, the same thing happened. And on the tenth day, which is today, he didn’t call. I’m glad to see he is finally accepting it. I’ll wait a few more days for him to cool off then I can go and get my things from his condo and I could carry his things as well.
Gaybrielle pulled into the parking lot of Brian’s apartment. I knew Brian’s schedule would have him at practice today. He wouldn’t be home until six. Which was in four hours. I told Gaybrielle, who was driving, and Nick, who was in the back seat, that would be back in about thirty minutes.
“Walk her up there.” Gaybrielle commanded Nick.
I got out of the car and walked upstairs into Brian’s expensive apartment with Nick following behind lugging a box full of Brian’s things. I opened the door with key he gave me months ago. As I walked in I saw three empty wine and beer bottles on the kitchen counter. His apartment was a mess. I mean I’ve seen his house dirty but not to this extent. I would usually clean up out of habit whenever I stayed over. Dishes were piled high, clothes were all over the floor, and the garbage smelled like it had been there since the day before forever. It was just a mess. We walked further into the apartment and into his room which looked like it had been through war. I don’t know if I could survive in these conditions. In fact, how was I going to find my stuff? Nick rested the box on the floor and looked at me with pity. “I don’t know how you are going to find your stuff in this mess. You want me to help?”
“Nah, I got it.” Nick shrugged and walked outside closing the door behind him.
I stepped over the mountains of clothing piled high among the dark wooden floors. Glass was everywhere. There were broken picture frames of Brian and me and other dismantled objects. His bed was turned over. He must of had one hell of a tantrum. I decided to look into his closet for some of my things. After about fifteen minutes I found most of my things. While I was doing that, I cleaned his closet and his room. I flipped his bed back over and made up his bed. I put his clothes back into the hamper and found more of my things. Before I knew it, his entire room was clean. In a cleaner environment I could work better and it would be easier to find my belongings. I took the box and placed it next to his bed. I stood looking proudly at my work. I clean out of habit. I have ever since I was a child. Guess I’m a bit of a neat freak. After about half an hour, Nick came upstairs and barged in then stopped in awe as he saw the room restored to its cleaner form.
“Don’t tell me,” Nick began, “that you had me and Gaybrielle waiting downstairs, so you could clean this place.”
“You shouldn’t be complaining. Like I don’t know you and Gaybrielle were having sex in the car.” I smirked.
“How did you know?” Nick asked.
“Your shirt is turned inside out.” He blushed.
“Well we had to find something to occupy our time.” Nick defended.
“Anyway no more car sex. I’m going to be down in a few minutes and I would like to continue to have 20/20 vision.” I said.
“Okay.” Nick said walking back to the door. “Oh and you should stop by my place. If you can work miracles like this it, shouldn’t be hard to do my apartment.” Then he exited. I rolled my eyes and walked over to one of Brian’s dressers. I searched the drawers to see if I could find a necklace I left here. How could I have been so careless to leave something so important? My father gave me a ring for my third birthday and sometimes I wear it as a pendant because it is too small to fit onto my finger now. I searched for five minutes with no avail. I sighed and picked up Brian’s jewelry box. I finally found what I was looking for. I picked up my things which I had gathered in a box I found lying around his apartment. A picture dropped onto the floor. I picked it up. A picture of us at a happier time. Angel was right; we really did look cute together. I heard the door close. I rolled my eyes. “I’m coming okay. I’m just about done.” I said putting the picture back in its place.
“Just about done doing what?” Immediate fear ran through my body. I recognized that voice. It sounded cold. It sounded angry. It sounded like Brian. I gasped and looked up to see Brian standing in the doorway of the bedroom. For a moment I stopped breathing as he looked at me with scorn. He held a paper bag with the mouth of a beer bottle protruding from the brown prison. His hand gripped tightly around the neck of the bottle as he glared at me. I immediately remembered the empty wine and beer bottles when I entered the apartment. Is he developing a drinking problem? Or does he already have one? Or is this just a temporary fill for the hole I left? Something to comfort him in his time of misery.
“What are you doing here?” I asked in shock. He wasn’t supposed to be here for another two hours.
“I was just about to ask you the same thing.” He said grinning. He began to laugh as if in disbelief.
“Why are you here?” I questioned.
“I’m sure I should be the one asking the questions here since I caught you in my home without my permission. But since I am such a nice guy I’ll answer your question. I eat here. I sleep here. I pay the bills here. So uh yeah I basically live here. What’s your excuse?” He said oozing sarcasm.
<strong>One More Chance</strong>
We pulled into the driveway of my home. Gaybrielle turned off the car and shook her head. “Paige you are the only person I know, that would sneak into their ex-boyfriend’s apartment and clean.” She laughed.
“Hey babe, can she come my apartment this weekend cause boy does it need some help.” Nick said to Gaybrielle.
“No stop being lazy and clean your own got damned apartment.” Gaybrielle said stepping out of the car.
“Come on she doesn’t mind.” Nick stepped out the car and followed behind Gaybrielle entering the house. They are talking about me like I’m not here. I blew the hair out of my face and slammed the car door after I got out. I walked into the house and into the kitchen where Gaybrielle and Nick was. Gaybrielle was pouring a glass of juice while Nick was looking through a sports magazine. I rested the box on the counter.
“I really think you guys are becoming way too comfortable in this house.” I said and walked upstairs to my room. The thing with Brian wasn’t pretty.
<em>“I came to get my things and to return your stuff.” I stated.</em>
<em>“You are lying. You did not come here for that. You came here to trash my place!” He exclaimed. I stared at him.</em>
<em>“Really? Did you look at the place when you left and when you came in?” I know Brian wasn’t a genius but he could not be that stupid.</em>
<em>“You came here to take my money.”He accused.</em>
<em>“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Why would I rob you when I have my own money?” I was baffled at his absurd accusation.</em>
<em>“You never know.” He said stepping forward. As he stepped forward, I stepped back. “Then why are you here?”</em>
<em>“I already told you I came here to get my stuff. Move please so that I can leave.” I said trying to walk past him. But he blocked my path. I tried pushing him he would not budge. Brian is fit. He has broad shoulders, a muscular body, he is fast and he is very strong. Good qualifications for someone on the football field. But bad for me. I sighed in frustration. “Brian, get out of my way.” I said shoving him as hard as I could to no avail.</em>
<em>“No.” I could smell the alcohol on his breath but he wasn’t drunk. Maybe a little tipsy but he wasn’t drunk.</em>
<em>“Brian please move out of my way.” I asked as politely as I could.</em>
<em>“Look I know you want to leave and you probably never want to see me again. But, I just want to talk to you for a moment.” I looked at him skeptically. “Please. I only want to talk.” I sighed. I looked at Brian and folded my arms.</em>
<em>“Fine. Go ahead.” I said. “Talk.”</em>
<em>“I am begging you to give me one more-”</em>
<em>“No.” I interrupted. He stared at me in disbelief. “I’m tired of giving you chances. I’m done.”</em>
<em>“So you just want to leave me. Just like that?” He asked. “You can’t really be that mad at me to just be able to end it so quickly without any feelings. Without any emotion. Without any love.”</em>
<em>“Yes. I’m tired of the relationship and I want to move on with my life.” I responded. An eerie silence filled the room. He looked down at the floor. “Are we done here?” I asked cruelly. He looked at me with glossy eyes. I tried not to look directly into his eyes. I had to stand my ground. I prayed that his tears didn’t fall. One of the worst things to see is a grown man cry. I touched my earlobe out of habit. I was becoming uncomfortable.</em>
<em>“Were you even telling the truth when you said you loved me?” He asked. I had never seen this side of him before.</em>
<em>“Of course I was telling the truth I wouldn’t lie about that. And I still do love you, I’m just not in love with you.” I said. I never was. So why did I stay with him so long? He bit his lower lip.</em>
<em>“Please…….give me one more chance.”I sighed and pulled a strand of hair behind my ear. I didn’t say anything, I was thinking. “Paige.” He cried out desperately waiting for my answer. His voice cracked. I just looked at him. He breathed heavily and blinked rapidly to prevent the tears from falling. Brian was someone who became angered easily. I knew he could easily overpower me. He has never put his hands on me before but with Brian you never know. He looked back at the floor then at me. He looked deep into my eyes. Then he looked at the floor again and exhaled deeply. He was waiting for my answer.</em>
<em>“I don’t know.” I finally said. He grabbed both of my hands and pulled me into his large body for a hug.</em>
<em>“What caused us to grow so far apart?”He asked. His voice cracking again. That wasn’t a hard question to answer.</em>
<em>“Your anger, jealousy, impatience, and the way you took me for granted.” I replied.</em>
<em>“I can change.” He whispered.</em>
<em>“This isn’t the first time you’ve said this.” I mumbled.</em>
<em>“I’m serious this time. Baby I’ll change.” I shook my head and wiggled out of his arms.</em>
<em>“It’s too late now.” He fell to his knees and started crying. He wrapped his arms around my legs and wouldn’t let go. He mumbled almost inaudible pleas for forgiveness. He pulled me down with him and held me tight. After a while he calmed down and started kissing me.</em>
I let him. We didn’t much further though. He kissed my neck, cheek, forehead and lips. Afterward I left and I told him I would think about it taking him back. Now, I was in my bathroom examining the hickey Brian gave me; trying to determine whether or not I could cover it with make-up. How had I allowed this to happen? The plan was that I was supposed to go there, get my things and leave. Now I have left him with hope that this relationship could continue. How do I get myself into these things? I need a shower. I smell a little like alcohol.
Gaybrielle and I are sitting in my home office discussing the arrangements for my tour. It’s a lot of work. But we are about done.
“Now all we have to do is get sponsors for my tour.” I announced.
“I already have that covered.” Gaybrielle said.
“Who is sponsoring it?” I inquired.
“You’ll know at the meeting tomorrow morning.” She stated. “I’ll pick you up at nine o’ clock sharp.” I nodded. Gaybrielle stood from her chair. “So what are you going to do for the rest of the day?”
“I don’t know. I’ll see you tomorrow though.” She smiled and left the office. I walked her to the door downstairs where Nick was waiting.
“So what are you going to do about Brian?” She asked as I opened the door.
“I don’t know.” I ran my fingers through my hair.
"Just call me if you wanna talk or if you need anything." I nodded. We hugged and they left. I strolled back upstairs and into my room. My hand went in between my mattress and the bottom of my bed.
<em>March 10th, 1984</em>
<em>Today was…confusing. Brian cried. That was a strange occurrence. Brian has always been the tough type of guy. The type of guy you think hasn’t cried so long that his tear ducts have shriveled up from lack of use. He has always been jealous, impatient, and controlling. I don’t like when people try to control me. He didn’t appreciate me. But you don’t miss your water until the well runs dry. He got onto his knees and begged me to reconsider my decision in leaving him. I don’t think I want to. I deserve to be with someone that cares about me more. But why did I stay with him so long? I deserve to be with someone who trusts me more. I deserve to be with someone that loves me more. I deserve better. My father always told me that I shouldn’t settle for anything. He told me that I deserved the best of everything. Brian says he will change. I don’t believe he will. But I’ll see if he does…..I don’t know. Maybe I’ll accept him once again as my boyfriend. Maybe…</em>
<em>Before change comes acceptance
After change comes acceptance
We accept that we need to change
But we also change to be accepted
Whether it’s to be accepted by society, God or yourself
And if we change, it should be made for the better
Not the worse
But once we accept the fact that we need to change
In some way we already have</em>
I tapped the pen against the pages of the worn out diary. Then placed the pen cap between my teeth and nibbled lightly. Such a disgusting habit I have. I picked up the telephone from the nightstand next to my bed. My fingers trailed over the phone and danced over several digits dialing Sasha’s number. She picked up after three rings.
“Hello.” I could hear her children playing in the background.
“Sasha, I am so confused right now.” I exclaimed. I closed my diary and shoved in between the folds of my bed.
“About what?” She asked. I explained my situation to her. “Wow, he cried?”
“Like a baby.” I replied.
“Well maybe this time he’ll change. If I were you I’d give him another chance. But if he screws up one more time give his @ss the boot.” Sasha advised. The children were beginning to get louder. “Hold on. Guys, can you be quiet be please. Mommy’s on the phone.” She chastised her children softly.
“But what if he becomes controlling again. I don’t like when people try to control me.” I responded.
“Well tell him that. He can’t read your mind. Don’t touch that Summer, it’s fragile.” Summer was her younger daughter that is four years old. “Anyway just sit him down and discuss the weak points in your relationship and how you can improve it and do better.” Sasha advised. I sighed into the phone.
“You think that it might be me that sabotages my relationships. Maybe I have my standards to high or I’m hard to deal with or something?” I heard something break.
“Summer!” I heard Sasha scream. “Didn’t I tell you not to touch that vase?” Sasha sighed.
“Mommy I’m sorry.” I heard Summer apologize.
“Rain please clean that up.” Rain is Sasha’s eldest child. She’s seven.
“That’s not fair Summer broke the vase not me.” Sasha sighed.
“I’ll call you back.” She said before she hung up. She called back a few minutes later.
“These kids have been driving me crazy all day. No girl. Your standards are just fine. Don’t blame yourself for your boyfriend’s mistakes.” She said warmly. “And you’ve only been in a few relationships. You’re still learning and you’re still young so don’t stress yourself out over it. If it doesn’t work out don’t worry. There are plenty other fish in the sea.”
“Thank you so much for the advice.” I said.
“Your welcome. Is that all you want to talk about?”
“Pretty much. I love you, bye.”
“Love you too.” The line disconnected and I placed my phone back in its cradle. I have to decide if I should keep Brian or throw him back into the water. Talking to Michael Jackson made him jealous. Talking to any male makes Brian jealous. It’s natural for a man to be intimidated by someone with such high stature like Michael Jackson but forbidding me to speak to him was just over the top. I like Michael. But it’s just a crush; which is normal. But I wouldn’t cheat on Brian. I’m not the cheating type. If anything, I would break up with Brian before I date Michael. This is probably what he was afraid of. He shouldn’t be worried though, there is no way Michael would be interested in me. But will I take Brian back? Depends on whether or not he changes.
********Later that Night********
The telephone was ringing. Just my luck. I lie in bed for two hours waiting to fall asleep and the second I do, someone calls. I reached over and picked up the phone. It was 11pm.
“Hello.” I answered not bothering to hide my irritability.
“Hey it’s Brian.”
“I told you not to call me. I said I would call you when I made my decision-”
“I know. I know.” He interrupted. “I just couldn’t go to sleep without hearing your voice.”
“What do you want?” I asked rubbing my eyes. I have to be up at least by 8am.
“I was hoping that I could take you out to dinner tomorrow night.” He replied.
“I said no.” I responded.
“Just as friends. No pressure. Please. I’m begging you.” I sighed.
“Just as friends?” I asked.
“Just as friends.” He assured.
“No pressure at all?”
“None what so ever.”
“Fine.” I gave in. “I’ll go to dinner with you.”
“Great. I’ll pick you up at 8.”
“Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow. Goodbye.”
“Sweet dreams.” I hung up and rested my tired head onto my pillow. Now I’m wide awake. Again.
********The Next Day********
I sleep through most of the meeting no one really noticed except Gaybrielle who kept nudging me as I slept. Everyone was busy discussing how much money I was going to make. Sometimes I think the only thing people see when they look at me is dollar signs. Gaybrielle scolded for the entire drive home. But when I got home I was wide awake and couldn't go back to sleep. Sometimes I get on my own nerves. I sighed and decided to pick something to wear for dinner with Brian. Even though there was <em>"No Pressure,"</em> that doesn't mean that I shouldn't look good. I pulled out a little black dress that showed all of my curves. It was a little higher than knee-length. I sighed. It was gonna be a long night.
<strong>A New Friend</strong>
My body jolted forward as I awoke from the dreadful dream flooding my thoughts. I hated having nightmares. I especially hated this dream in particular. It would reoccur every once and a while ever since my father died. I sighed and wiped the sweat from my forehead with my palm. My eyes began to adjust to my dark surroundings. I looked down at the large body lying next to me. Brian’s body lay limp and he slept undisturbed. He snored loudly. I was in Brian’s apartment, in his room, in his bed. Don’t worry; I didn’t have sex with him. Even though he begged me to for about an hour. Since our “no pressure” date, we’ve been dating for about 10 months. He really made a turn around and treated me like a princess….for a while at least. But lately the old Brian has been showing up and I don’t like it. I glanced at the clock on Brian’s dresser reading 23:00. One hour until January 25 which would be my birthday.
I climbed out of the bed and went into the kitchen to get some warm milk with a dash of sugar. Even though it didn’t always put me to sleep, it did give me a little comfort. My father would always give me warm milk when I couldn’t sleep then sing to me until I drifted off to the land of dreams. I loved him so much. I grabbed Lord Fluffinghamshire from my overnight bag. He was my nightmare teddy bear that I had since I was a little girl. I held him close as I sipped my warm milk.
I rested Lord Fluffinghamshire on the nightstand next to the bed when I finished my milk. I leaned over Brian and whispered into his ear and shook him gently. He groaned.
“What?” He asked looking up at me sleepily.
“I can’t sleep.” I said pouting. “I had a nightmare.”
“Well, what do you want me to do about it?”
“I don’t know. Hold me, stay awake with me, tell me it’s gonna be okay or something. You know things a boyfriend would do.” I answered.
“So just because you can’t sleep I shouldn’t be able to either.” He replied with and attitude.
“You know that’s not what I’m saying.” I said irritated by his attitude.
“I don’t know why you’re angry I just asked a question.” He said rolling over so his back was facing me.
“I’m a little angry that you’re so inconsiderate. You’re my boyfriend and it’s you’re job to take care of me which includes comforting when I’m sad and don’t turn your damn back toward me while I’m talking to you!” I said almost yelling. He turned and perched himself up on his elbows to talk to me.
“I’m inconsiderate? You’re the one who’s inconsiderate! I work hard for a living. I need my rest and just cause you can’t sleep you wanna wake me up to suffer with you! And what other couple do you know stays together for almost a f*cking year and doesn’t have sex? I’m a man and I have needs and if you can’t fulfill them then there are plenty of other women willing to do it.” He said coldly.
“Well get one of those gold digging whores in here and let them take my place cause I’m tired of your crap.” I was fuming. I jumped out of bed and pulled on some jeans and a t-shirt. “I’m going home.” I threw my teddy in my overnight bag and zipped it close.
“Good then maybe I can get some sleep.” He said lying back on the bed. I threw my bag over my shoulder and grabbed Brian’s keys for his truck. I’m sure he’ll mind that I burrowed it but I don’t care. He upset me.
“Don’t call me. Don’t come to my house. Don’t expect to see me at anymore of your games because we are through. Congratulations you are once again single and if you need anything you can call one of those girls waiting to take my place.” I screamed before slamming his apartment door. I walked downstairs to Brian’s truck and climbed inside. I drove for what seemed like hours but was probably only a few minutes. For some reason I didn’t feel like going home.
I just drove around aimlessly until I came across a park. I parked a few yards away. I removed the key from the ignition and stepped outside the truck. Immediately the cold night air struck my skin making goose bumps line my arms, chest and shoulders. I suddenly regretted not wearing something more appropriate for the weather. However, I walked toward the park and sat on wooden bench that stood a few feet from the road where not so many cars passed. I lifted my legs onto the bench and slid my body down until my head was perched on the rail of the bench. With the bench being not so long, I had to arch my legs to accommodate my body. I sighed and looked at the pitch-black sky resting high above. An abundance of glowing diamonds were scattered among the dark blanket.
For a while I just focused on my breathing and let my mind drift into the land of what ifs. What if my father didn’t die when I was so young? What if I was born into a different family? What if I wasn’t so screwed up? What if I had different parents? What if I never dated Brian? What if I was never born?
********Michael’s Point of View********
I loved being outside at night. It was so peaceful, so serene, so, nighty. The cold January air enveloped my face. I had been strolling around for a few minutes. This was probably the only way I could get out of the house without being stalked other than when I wear disguises. Though they don’t always work. I lost all my freedom when I gained the world’s love. I love my fans. I really do. But sometimes you need a friend instead of a fan that will just drool over you. I don’t want people to treat me differently just because of my status. I want them to treat me the same as anyone else.
It was late at night and as usual I couldn’t sleep. My brain just didn’t know how to shut down some times. Insomnia has plagued my life for some time now. And it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I zipped up my jacket and pulled up the hood of my jacket. I began to stroll by a park. As I came closer I saw what looked like a young lady lying on a bench. I couldn’t see her face though. This area wasn’t very well lit. She stared at the sky consumed in her thoughts. What was she doing out here so late? Especially in a place like this. I mean this park was lovely but in an area like this she could get hurt. God knows who or what is out here. I stopped in front of the bench where the lady lie and spoke up.
“Hello.” I said warmly. She pried her eyes away from the sky and looked over at me. I smiled invitingly. She seemed to snap back to reality.
“Oh hello.” She removed her legs from the bench. “You wanna sit down?” She asked. I nodded and sat next to her.
“You know it’s dangerous to be out here this late.” I said. She shrugged her shoulders.
“I’ll take my chances.” She sat back and swung her legs. “What brings you out here?”
“Sometimes at night I just go out for a walk to clear my head. Or just to get out of the house.” She nodded. It felt good to have a conversation with someone other than my family and the people that work for me. Her voice sounded familiar.
“So why are you here?” I inquired.
“I was just driving around and I ended up here. I was clearing my head too.”
“I love the night. It’s really nice.”
“It’s serene, perfect for thinking…” She drifted off. She blinked and once again snapped back into reality. “I didn’t get your name.” She said. Should I tell her my name? People always change when they find out who I am. I exhaled and thought I might as well tell her. There goes a chance at me being normal.
“M-Michael.” I said softly. “Michael Jackson.” I waited for a scream, a reaction or something. She extended her hand.
“Nice to meet you Michael.” She replied. “I’m P-Paige Johnson.” She said mocking my stammering which made me embarrassed a little. Then she smiled. She had a beautiful smile that made me feel warm inside. I knew she sounded familiar. I grabbed her hand and shook it. Her hands were soft. We stopped shaking hands but I continued to hold onto her hand. I looked up at her and she didn’t seem annoyed or upset that I continued to hold onto her soft hand. It was cold. I giggled. I don’t know why.
“Your hands are cold.” I said. Then it struck me. How could I be so stupid? I let go of her hand. I removed my jacket and put it around her shoulders. She smiled again. That warm smile.
“No problem.” I responded. Her smile fell.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Now you don’t have a jacket.” She responded.
“It’s okay. My shirt is pretty warm.” I answered.
“Well thanks again.” She said.
“Will you be my friend?” I asked hopefully. She seemed nice. She just stared at me. She tilted her head. I thought she was going to say no. I couldn’t help but ask why she was staring at me.
“What?” I asked. She opened her mouth to speak, then paused.
“You’re hiding from me.” She said. She zipped up the jacket.
“Huh?” I said taken a little off guard.
“You’re hiding from me. Your shades.” She pointed out. I touched my aviators.
“How’d you know? You want me to take them off?” I asked.
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to. But I just want to know how you can see with those on in the middle of the night.” She said.
“Guess I’m just used to it.” I answered. A moment of comfortable silence passed between us. “Will you be my friend?” I asked again.
“Sure.” She answered. I smiled and she returned the gesture. I felt warm inside. I just made a new friend.
<strong>Happy Freakin' Birthday to Me</strong>
Before I knew it we were immersed in deep conversation. We talked about various things, from nature, to music, to food. She was so insightful and funny. As time began to roll by, I began to notice the darkness was gradually beginning to fade. Although the sun was not visible as of yet, it would be in an hour or so. People would begin to roam the streets again. I'm sure Paige was busy as well and don't expect her to put her life on hold just for me. I sighed inwardly. Sleep was beginning to tug at me. Paige struggled to stifle a yawn. "You ready to go?" I asked. She nodded. We both stood. "You want me to walk you home?"
"I drove here remember?" She replied jingling her keys for emphasis. "But thanks for the offer."
"Oh yeah." I responded shoving a pebble aside with my foot. I tried to hide my disappointment but i guess she still sensed it.
"I can give you a ride if you want." She offered. I smiled immediately. We both turned to walk toward a a white truck that was a few yards away. I don't know what it is but I really like being around her.
*******Paige's Point of View********
I yawned. Brisk winds swept pass my face. I glanced over at Michael. He stared at the ground as he walked as if he expected something to lurch out of it. He wore black jeans, a plaid red shirt, white socks and loafers along with his aviators. I don't don't know how he could see with those things on especially at night. Either way, this was the typical Michael Jackson look. He held his hands behind his back. "Why did you walk here? You could have easily driven." I asked.
"I wouldn't really be able to fully experience nature's vast beauty if I were confined to a car now would I?" His soft melodic voice chimed. He seemed so happy when he spoke about nature. He began to hum. He pulled open the driver's door for me. I thanked him and then he walked over to the other side. I stuck the key into the ignition and the truck came to life.
It was a short drive to Michael's home. On the way there he gave me directions and explained how it looked and some of the things in it including his pets. Hayvenhurst was quite beautiful I must admit. I shifted the car to park. "So Michael don't you think your parents are going to be upset about you coming home at," I paused to look at my watch. "Five in the morning."
"Joseph doesn't really mind or care for that matter. And mother is used to me being out at this kind of time. Most of the time I'm usually in the studio. I know she worries about my sleeping habits but that's just what mother does." He said before unbuckling his seat belt.
"I had fun talking to you." I said.
"Me too." I replied. "Well, not taking to me as in myself but you know talking to you." He explained blushing from embarrassment. He was too cute. I giggled.
"Maybe we could do this again sometime?" I asked.
"Yeah. Um, we could go to a park or restaurant or something......as friends." He added quickly. I opened the glove compartment and pulled out a pen and a napkin stuffed in there. I wrote down my number and handed it over to him.
"You have my number so now you can call me anytime. Oh, your jacket." I said realizing that I was still wearing it. He shook his head.
"Nah you keep it. It's yours now." He said. I thanked him. He held his arms open. "Hug?" He asked. I nodded and took him into an embrace. He pushed his door open and left the car. I wathced him enter the large estate before driving away.
********Michael's Point of View********
I gently closed the door and tiptoed to my room to make sure not to awaken anyone. I unclenched my fist that now held the crumbled napkin. A light knock came at my door. Mother must have heard me come in. I stuffed the napkin in the corner of my underwear drawer and closed it as softly as possible. I opened the door to see Latoya standing there with her arms folded.
"Where were you?" Latoya questioned.
"I went out to get some some fresh air." I answered.
"All night Michael? I was worried about you." She's starting to sound like mother.
"As you can see I'm fine. You had no reason to worry." I said rested my hand on her shoulder.
"Who was that?" She asked nosily.
"What are you talking about?" I asked.
"Don't play dumb Michael." She said. "That girl who was driving the truck."
"You were spying on me?" I bellowed then covered my mouth hoping I didn't awaken anyone. "You were spying on me!" I whispered loudly.
"No I just happened to be looking out my window. So who is she she?"
"She's my friend."
"I see and what were you and your 'friend' doing?" She asked doing air quotes.
"I don't think that's any of your business Latoya and I'm sure I have a right to privacy as well as I have right to have friends." I said.
"I'm telling mother." She said with a grin that resembled one of a Cheshire cat. She was getting a real kick out of this. She was very playful at times.
"Go ahead. I've done nothing wrong. Now if you don't mind dear sister, I'm going to get some sleep." We bid each other goodnight and I closed my room door. I could hear her singing "Michael has a girlfriend!" I shook my head, grinning. I don't have a girlfriend, at least not right now. I opened my drawer and retrieved the slightly crumpled napkin. I walked over to my bed and removed my clothing only leaving on my boxers and white t-shirt. I crawled under the blankets and looked at the digits again. After gently placing it on the nightstand, I turned off the lights and made myself comfortable. I'm calling her tomorrow.
********Paige's Point of View********
**********The Next Morning***********
Rays of sunlight filled the room as someone yanked the curtains open. I groaned and pulled the blanket over my head. The blanket was suddenly taken away from me. My last resort was the pillow but it was pulled away before I could even grab it. "Girl wake ya butt up!" The person screamed. It registered in my head that it was Gaybrielle. I groaned again and pried my eyes open. I rubbed my eyes in agony and sat up to greet the four intruders in my bedroom. Gaybrielle, Sasha, Tanya and Angel.
"I really hate you guys right now." I said.
"Even after we baked you this birthday cake." Angel replied holding up a circular cake with blue icing.
"Yes just not as much." I replied.
"Whatever we know you love us." Sasha said.
"We came over here to wish you happy birthday." Angel announced.
"So?" I said expectantly.
"Girl not yet." Tanya said. "You have to wait." I peered over at the clock. <strong>10 a.m.</strong> I was born at <strong>10:30 a.m.</strong> I sighed. I had only been asleep for 4 hours.
"So you're just going to stand there for thirty minutes?" I questioned.
"No." They all said before climbing onto my queen size bed.
"Where were you last night? First we called here and no one answered, then we figured you'd be by Brian's apartment so we called there and Brian said you left last night, Then, we called your parents. They didn't know where you were. We called your publicist, trainer, manager, dentist, we even called on Jesus. Girl where the hell were you? I should kick yo ass for having us so worried!" Gaybrielle hollered. I smirked. She was really over dramatic at times.
"I went to get some fresh air." I replied.
"All night?" Sasha asked.
"Well most of it." I said stifling a yawn.
"By yourself? Do you know how dangerous California is at night?" Angel scolded.
"Not really." I answered shrugging. Angel rolled her eyes. I kind of wanted to tell him I wasn't by myself but I decided to keep quiet.
"Anything in particular you want to do today?" Tanya asked.
"Other than that." Sasha said.
"How about you all just take me out to dinner. That's it. No party, no clubbing or nothing." I explained.
"Oh I know the perfect restaurant." Tanya said. "I know the owner."
"Of course you would." Sasha said. While they continued chattering I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and take a quick shower. About fifteen minutes later I emerged in a fluffy white robe and a white towel wrapped around my head. When I returned, there was no one in my room. I assumed they went downstairs to make me breakfast. The telephone began ringing. I picked it up on the second ring and sat at the edge of my bed.
"Hey." I smiled realizing it was my step-father.
"Happy birthday sweetheart."
"Hold on your mother wants to talk to you." He said. My smile dropped immediately.
"Happy birthday dear." She said.
"Your welcome, now be at our house at 8 tonight." She said. Gaybrielle, Sasha, Tanya and Angel all came into the room carrying a tray filled with breakfast. I held up my hand to stop them before they could speak. I mouthed that it was my mother and they all nodded. Gaybrielle left the room to get something.
"I kind of have other plans tonight." I replied.
"Well cancel them. Your parents aren't important enough for you?"
"Mom I never said that."
"After going through all those hours of labor to have you, I can't even spend your birthday with you." I hated when she did this.
"Fine I'll be there." I replied just to shut her up.
"Oh and I already called Brian so don't worry about bringing him. He's such a lovely young man." She gushed. My mother adored Brian. I don't know why and since I turned 18 she always pressured me into marriage.
"Mom, Brian can't come."
"No I called him he said he could."
"No he can't."
"Why not?" She said gasping.
"We aren't together anymore." There was a paused.
"Dear...are you gay?"
"No I'm not gay mother."
"I don't understand how relationships are always failing with you. Maybe there's something wrong with you. Do you still cook?" I groaned. "Cause you know the way to a man heart is through his stomach."
"Look just call him back and tell him it was cancelled."
"But it wasn't cancelled." She said.
"I know just tell him it was."
"Okay love you bye." I hung up before she could say anything else. My mother just knew how to stress me out. Gaybrielle handed me a glass with what looked like water.
"Here. It's Vodka. I know you'll need it." Gaybrielle said. I love her so much.
"Happy fricken birthday." They exclaimed.
""Happy fricken' birthday to me." I said before downing the drink.
<strong>Michael's Point of View</strong>
I rubbed my eyes as I descended the stairs. I slept well last night. That's a lot coming from me. Probably the best I've slept in a while. I scuttled to the dining room where Latoya and mother were giggling. Their laughter immediately ceased when they detected my presence.
"Good afternoon Michael." Latoya spoke.
"Is it really that late?" I asked.
"It's two in the afternoon sweetie." Mother replied.
"I didn't know it was that late." I said running my fingers through my hair.
"Oh that's fine. I'm just glad to see you getting some rest. You have been working yourself so hard lately." Mother said earnestly. "I get so worried about you sometimes." I walked over to her and enveloped my arms around her shoulders.
"Mother I'm fine." I assured.
"I think Michael slept in because he's sick." Latoya snidely. Mother rested a hand on my forehead.
"He doesn't feel warm." Mother responded.
"Not that kind of sick mother." Latoya smirked.
"Like a stomach bug?" Mother asked clueless.
"Michael's got the love bug." Latoya said. I rolled my eyes. Mother's eyes brightened as a smile appeared on her face.
"You met a girl?" Mother asked.
"Yeah, he has a girlfriend." Latoya replied.
"I do not have a girlfriend. She's just a friend. We talked a while, we decided to be friends and she gave
me a ride home. That's it." I elucidated.
"She's just a friend?" Mother asked.
"She's just a friend." I assured.
"Okay I'll take your word for it." Mother said. "So what's she like?"
"She's funny, smart and really nice. She's friendly." I said.
"You should bring her by sometime." Mother said. Speaking of her reminded me that I never got to call her.
"I'll be right back." I announced before jetting upstairs to my room. But to my utter bewilderment, the napkin was no longer where I left it last night. In fact it wasn't anywhere in my room. I looked everywhere. I looked under the bed, in all my drawers, everywhere. But then I realized that my room was cleaner than I left it last night. Mother must have been in my room this morning. I leaped downstairs and back to the dining room.
"Mother did you move anything out of my room?" I asked.
"Yes, it was a mess in there. Are you missing something important?" Mother questioned.
"Did you move a napkin from my nightstand?" I asked.
"Yes I'm sorry if it was important to you." She apologized.
"You threw it out?" I asked in disbelief.
"Yes, I'm sorry. I really am." I sighed. I couldn't be mad at mother it wasn't her fault. The garbage truck came today. I couldn't get it back.
"It's okay mother, accidents happen."
<strong>Paige's Point of View</strong>
"You know you still never told us where you were last night." Angel said.
"And you also didn't tell us why you and Brian broke up...again." Gaybrielle said.
"What's been going on with you lately?" Sasha implored.
"We're supposed to be watching a movie." I said failing to successfully change the subject.
"Sure, we can watch the movie after you tell us what's going on with you." Gaybrielle said.
"Nothing really, Brian was just being a jerk so I went out to get some fresh air. I stayed at a hotel and I came back here around five in the morning." I know I should not have lied to them but I just felt that it wasn't the right time to tell them.
"And I decided that I'm not going to be dating for a while. I'm just focusing on my career. No more men." I announced. They laughed.
"Yeah right. You?" Gaybrielle asked skeptically.
"Yes me." I rebutted.
"How long do you plan on going without men?" Tanya asked.
"At least until the tour is over." I replied.
"That's about a year." Sasha said. The tour isn't going to start for about four to five months and it would
will be about six months, maybe more.
"That's a long time." Angel commented.
"You don't think I can do it?" I asked.
"If you're so confident, then do it. How about we make it twelve months even." Gaybrielle challenged.
"Sure." I agreed. "What are the rules?"
"No dates, no kissing, no cuddling, no physical contact longer than ten seconds, no flirting and no lovey dovey phones calls." Gaybrielle let known.
"Fair enoungh." I responded.
"You know you have a song recording to attend in three days." Gaybrielle said.
"I do?" She nodded.
"It's an anthem that some of the biggest names in Hollywood will be gathering to attend. All proceeds will be given to USA for AFRICA to help all the occurring deaths in Africa. This so important you have to go. Celebrities like Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Prince, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and of course Michael Jackson will be there because he wrote it. The demo tape arrived yesterday and you have to return it when you go to the studio on the twenty-eighth. It is really important that neither the name of the location or the tape get out of this room. You have two days to learn the song. Today not included." Gaybrielle explained. "I'm going in the kitchen to make some popcorn." She said standing up. I scrunched my nose. I don't like popcorn i like the smell but not the taste. "And some potato chips for Paige." She added.
<strong>Later that Night</strong>
<em>January 25, 1985</em>
<em>Well I'm off to my mother's house, it's going to be a fun night. I hope you sense my sarcasm. Today, I lost a lousy boyfriend and gained a new friend. Name's Michael. Very nice guy, cute too. We decided to hang out again sometime. When? I don't know. Where? Not sure. But he's got my number so he can call me any day. And going to a recording in three days. Some of the biggest stars will be there and so will Michael. Ironic huh? I wonder if he knows I'm coming... Any who, my mother is so overbearing sometimes, scratch that, most of the time. It's a real pain in the butt. But at least my brother and sister will be there, maybe they can deflect some the attention from me. It's gonna be a long night. Wish me luck. Oh fudge.</em>
<em>Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts.</em>
<em>I have never read anything truer in my life.</em>
I put away my diary and left to go my mom's house.
I have been standing on this porch for three minutes and I knocked 8 seconds ago. 9 seconds. Maybe I there's still a chance to escape. I can tell mom that I knocked and no one answered so I left because I thought no one was home. Even though I could hear the noise my family was making, there are people chattering away inside. No one probably heard me knock earlier and chances are if I knock again they still won't hear me. A grin formed on my face. I'll knock again and then make a break for it. As I stood there formulating my escape plan, the door opened.Dammit!
"Oh fudge." I muttered. There stood my older sister, Nicole. She's a few years older than me. She embraced me.
"Sorry I took so long to answer the door. Happy birthday." She said before we parted.
"Thanks. How bad is it inside?" I questioned.
"Not bad at all. We can only pray it stays that way." She said before we both went inside. "You look nice girl. Lookin' good for your man I see."
"I don't have a man." I said.
"I'm not playing." I replied seriously.
"Brian?" She said as if I was stupid.
"Brian and I aren't together anymore. We broke up you last night." I said.
"Really? So you are on good terms then." Nicole stated.
"Nope." She squinted her eyebrows.
"Then why is he here?" I stopped in my tracks. She's joking right?
"He's in the dining talking with the family." Nicole let known. I clenched my jaw. I cannot believe my mother would do this! I should have seen this coming.
"Oh no the f-" Nicole's children entered the room. I stopped myself before I cursed. "fudge she didn't."
"Auntie!" They exclaimed before running over to me. I bent down and hugged my niece and nephew.
"How are you guys?" I asked smiling.
"Good." They said the same time.
"Look I'll talk to you both later okay. Right now I have something important to do. Go into the dining or something and I'll meet you there later. Okay?" They nodded before running into the dining room to play.
"Where is our mother?" I asked Nicole in pure rage.
"In the kitchen." Nicole replied. I wasted no time storming there. I went the other way so I wouldn't have to pass through the dining room. I did not want to see Brian that's why I didn't want him here in the first place. I flung open the kitchen doors and saw my mother and Brian laughing. Fudge!
All laughter came to a halt as I set foot in the room. The warm, sweet smell of baked goods and welcoming scent of the tasty food floated through the air and invaded my nostrils. The scent was delightful and contrasted with the tension that hung in the ear shattering silence as my eyes met with Brian’s. He turned away to avoid my intense look. My eyes then locked with my mother’s instead. She squirmed uncomfortably and her eyes immediately shifted to the floor like child who knew they had done something wrong. I smirked inwardly. My mother cleared her throat and tried to begin polite conversation in hopes of dispelling the uncomfortable aura engulfing the room. I could not help but to be upset that Brian would have the audacity to even show up here.
“Well, dear it’s good to see that you have finally arrived. I was beginning to think you would not show.” My mother said still avoiding my gaze. She sauntered over to the stove and pretended to check on the food emitting the pleasant aroma into the atmosphere. “Brian is an absolute charm. He was telling me the funniest joke earlier.” She chuckled a little.
“Why is he here?” I asked not bothering to hide my dissatisfaction.
“What do you mean dear? He’s a guest. He was invited.”
“By me.” She stated. I looked her in disbelief. She stirred around something in one of the pots.
“Well you better uninvite him because I don’t want him here.” I said coldly. Mom slammed down the lid of the pot causing both Brian and myself to jump. She turned toward me arms akimbo.
“Brian will you excuse us for a moment please?” Mother asked softly. Brian did not hesitate to leave the kitchen. I crossed my arms over my chest awaiting an explanation. “That was very rude of you and totally uncalled for. You know how sensitive Brian is, how can you say something like that?” I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. Brian sensitive? Nuh uh. Brian has my mother completely fooled. Brian may have been a lot of things but sensitive wasn’t one of them.
“Don’t you try turning this on me. You were the one who still invited him even after I told you that I didn’t want him here. You completely disregarded my feelings. He has to leave.” I said.
“No he doesn’t this is my house and I can invite a guest here if I want.” She said.
“Look either he goes or I go.”
“Fine then, go. As a mother I just thought it wouldn’t be too much for me to-” I stopped her before she could get too far into her tirade.
“Oh please mother stop it. You know as well as I do that I wanted to be here but you ruined it by bringing him here and before you go through the labor pain thing, just remember that I was adopted.” I explained.
“You were the one that was adopted? I could have sworn it was Nicole.” She trailed off as she began to wander off into la-la land. There are five of us in total. From oldest to youngest it’s Trey, James, myself, Nicole and Andrea.
“Nicole and I are adopted.” I said. “Mother it’s me or him, make your choice.”
“Paige you can’t leave. Your sisters spent the entire afternoon preparing this dinner just for you. It would be extremely selfish of you to just up and leave.” She had a point. I narrowed my eyes.
“Fine.” I muttered. She smiled. “But I’m not talking or sitting next to Brian.”
“That’s absolutely fine dear.” She replied with a sly grin.
I don’t know what she has up her sleeve but I’m sure it’s going to be one long night.