Chapter 18

August set quietly at the soundboard, as she put the final touches on the mixtape that Michael had requested for his party. Over the past few months, he had listened to an array of albums that she had engineered and commended her on her work.


She felt honored that Michael liked her engineering, but she still found the upcoming task daunting. When they were together as lovers, he was just Michael to her, but doing professional work for 'Michael Jackson', the musician, was a different story.


Later that day, Michael paid her a visit at the studio. "How's the mix coming?" He asked.


"It's coming together great! you wanna hear it?" She offered him a listen.


Michael sat down at the board as she played back the mix for him. Absent-mindedly thinking, he isolated one of the tracks and panned the volume to the right. "Umm...what are you doing?" She asked with a shocked expression on her face.


"Oh, the audio sounded a bit uneven on this track, so I just wanted to edit it," he said casually.


August was very aware that she was sitting next to thee 'Legendary Michael Jackson', but how dare he touch her soundboard, she thought? As a top engineer in the music game, she felt disrespected. Even though she valued his expertise, she preferred that he ask permission before changing her work.


As she continued looking at him with a shocked expression on her face, Michael sensed something was wrong. "What's wrong, August? Why are you looking at me like that?" He asked curiously.


Getting up from her chair, August stalked out of the studio. "Oh God, I can't do this," she muttered, slumping down against the wall.


Following her out into the hall, Michael sat down beside her. "What's wrong, baby? Why did you just walk out on me?" He asked, lifting her chin until her eyes met his.


"Michael, you're a legendary musician, so it's hard working for you already, but please ask permission before you change my work," she said, clearing her throat.


As a musician, Michael knew where she was coming from and couldn't blame her for her reaction. He was genuinely sorry and just wasn't thinking. "You're right. I should have asked first...I would have ripped someone's head off for touching 'Thriller' without my permission," he sympathized.


As he leaned in for a kiss, August suddenly felt queasy. "Excuse me, I've gotta go to the restroom," she said before running down the hall. Becoming worried, Michael chased after her into the restroom.


"Blargh...*cough cough*" were the sounds Michael heard coming from the restroom, as he discovered August bending over the toilet.


"Baby, are you ok? Are you sick?" He asked, now seriously concerned as he rubbed her back.


"Michael, I don't feel so well... Can you take me home, please? I'll finish the mix tomorrow," she pleaded.


After helping her get cleaned up, Michael drove her home.


Stroking her head lightly, Michael asked her if she felt any better. "I'm sorry, it was probably something I ate," she said, feeling embarrassed over the whole episode.


"No need to feel sorry... just feel better, please," he said, kissing her softly on the cheek.


Reassuring Michael that she was ok, she convinced him to go home. It was getting late, and she knew he had promised to watch a movie with his kids before their bedtime.


After Michael left, August convinced herself not to drink the coffee from the studio lounge ever again. She had gotten sick from it once before and figured this time. It was just the same.


Huddling under the covers, a rogue thought entered her brain. "Nahhhh," she shook her head 'no' in disagreement. She had been taking her birth-control pills consistently, but she had missed a few days. Feeling exhausted, she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.


***


August awoke the next morning, feeling ten times better than the day before. Eager to get back to work, She went into the studio to complete the mix for Michael's party.


*Ring... Ring* "Hello, how may I help you?" August spoke cheerfully, as she answered the studio's telephone. *Click... Beep* The caller had hung up once again. Looking at the phone in irritation, August slammed it down. "That's the 3rd time today," she muttered. Ever since her engagement to Michael had become public, she started getting a lot of phone calls. The calls were everything from hang-ups to book deals and everything in between.


Michael offered to have the phone numbers changed, but she scoffed at the idea because that's how they lost contact with each other 23 years ago. Besides, changing the phone numbers never really solved anything. Sure there would be a brief reduction for a short time, but soon the calls would be returned at full force.


*Ring... Ring*


The phone rang yet again, now for the fourth time. Reluctant to answer, she let out an exasperated sigh as she picked up the phone, but before she could even speak, The caller barked rudely at her: "Hello, who is this?"


Taking a deep breath, she replied, "This is August Williams, but you called me first...So I should be asking you... who you are?" she snapped.


"Look, Is Michael there?" The caller asked, sounding annoyed.


"He's not here, can I take a message for him?" August said hastily.


"Just tell him that Lisa called... He'll know who it is," the caller said as she hung up.


Feeling heated, August left the studio to take a walk and cool off. After putting two and two together, she realized that it was Michael's ex-wife 'Lisa Marie Presley' that had called. Even though she wondered why Lisa called, she wasn't too concerned about her. August had read in the news a few weeks ago that Lisa had remarried and recently gave birth to twins.


"I just hope his other ex-wife isn't that rude," August thought silently to herself as she continued her walk. Making her way up a small hill, she suddenly felt light-headed. Stopping to take a short break, she blacked out and fell to the ground. Luckily, a good Samaritan called an ambulance after witnessing her faint.


"Mr. Jackson! We've been informed that Ms. Williams is in the hospital!" Juvon yelled as he ran into Michael's office. Feeling as though someone had knocked the wind out of him, Michael and his bodyguard made their way to the hospital right away.




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