Chapter 11

"Good morning. Did you sleep well?" Michael smiled softly, placing a gentle kiss atop her head.
  "Yes, I did! All thanks to you." She giggled.
Sparkle couldn't believe she spent the night with Michael. The last time she spent the night with any man was a little over two years ago.
   As she softly caressed Michael's chest, she felt protected and warm in his tender embrace.
   While listening to his heartbeat, she suddenly remembered him mentioning his past failed relationship.
   "So, why did you and your last girlfriend break-up?" She asked, without warning.
   Since Michael had been over the relationship for quite some time, he didn't mind explaining what happened.
   "Basically-- I caught her cheating on me. I had gone away on a business trip, but I returned early and made a surprise visit to her home, only to find her in bed with another man." He chuckled half-heartedly.
   "Were they having sex when you walked in?"
   "Yeah-- they were."
   Sitting up in total shock, Sparkle looked at him in disbelief. "Wow! I'm so sorry, baby."
   "Yeah. At the time, I loved her a lot. It was a real shock for me. Til this day, I don't think I'll ever be good enough for any woman. I give my all but always end up getting hurt." He replied, looking up towards the ceiling.
   "Oh-- Don't say that Michael, you're more than good enough! I'm sorry to hear that someone could hurt you like that." She expressed caringly.
   "Yeah, she hurt me so bad that I couldn't fathom sharing so much of myself with anyone again, so I swore off on sex. I become very emotionally attached when I become physical with a woman."
   Reaching up to stroke the back of Sparkle's neck, he pulled her back down into his arms.
   "Please don't hurt me, Sparkle. I can't relive that type of pain again." He spoke tearfully.
   "I won't, Michael, and I'm sorry for the way that I behaved when we first met. I was only trying to protect my heart. You see-- my family was torn apart by a celebrity as I've already explained... So, I never wanted to date one. Hmpf, In the end, I guess my dad tried to make up for his betrayal by leaving me 30 million dollars behind after his death." She laughed sarcastically.
   "Damn! Really? With you being a graduate from Spelman, I just thought you were very smart and managed your money well. You know... I admire that about you, Sparkle. You graduated from a historically black college and with honors to boot!"
   Blushing at his words, Sparkle simply replied, "Thank-you."
   "So.... are there any crazy ex-boyfriends that I need to worry about?" He asked curiously.
   "Not really. The last time I had a boyfriend was over two years ago. Nothing bad happened between us, but in the end, he just wasn't for me."
   "How so?" He inquired.
   "Well-- for starters, he was a selfish bastard! Not with me but to others. He was somewhat rich but would never help those out in need. I just couldn't see myself being with him long term, so we kinda just drifted apart." She shrugged.
   "I see-- I mean, without a mutual connection... What's the relationship worth right?"
   "Right-you-are-sir!" She nodded her head in agreement.
   Stroking a discolored spot on his chest. She asked, "does this make it hard for you to be intimate freely?"
   Without looking down, he knew that she was referring to his 'Vitiligo,' A disease that causes the loss of skin color in blotches.
   "At first... but I mean, I can't change it. As long as the woman I'm with is ok with it, I deal with it as I go."
   Kissing his chest softly, she whispered, "I'm more than ok with it, sweetie. You can always be yourself with me. You're beautiful!"
   "Thank-you." He replied as a small smile curved his lips.
   "Just promise me Sparkle, that there will be no secrets between us."
   "Yes Michael.-- no secrets. I promise."
Clearing his throat, Michael looked over at the clock on his nightstand.
   "Are you busy today? Surprisingly, I don't have much to do and was hoping you could spend the day with me?" He asked, in hopes that she was available.
   Sparkle groaned when she remembered that she made plans with Regina to see a play later that day. It was their last day together, and she didn't want to stand-up her best-friend.
   "As much as I'd love to Michael, I can't. This is my last day with Regina. How about we make date plans for when we're both back in California?"
   Looking at her with sad puppy eyes, he murmured."OK, but before you go, there is something I need to do."
   Without warning, Michael flipped her on her back, kissing her deeply.
Running her hands through his soft curls, Sparkle let out a delightful shrill as they proceeded to make love once more.

***
   Once back in California, Sparkle felt like a brand new woman. She appreciated having a few days off to rest and get away from her usual routine. Never in a million years would she think that she would be dating a celebrity, let alone Michael Jackson.
   The next few days were going to get busy at the center. Michael's huge donation of toys was to be delivered that week, and she had estimated it to be at least over two thousand gifts.
   Even though she was grateful for his donation to the center, she groaned at the thought of all the toys that had to be wrapped according to age.
   When Sparkle returned home after work, the biggest teddy-bear she'd ever seen was sitting in front of her front door. As she dragged the huge bear into her apartment, she noticed that there was a card attached,
["You're in my thoughts and my heart where ever I might go. On teddy-bear day, I'd like to say. I care more than you may know." - Love Michael.]
   Crushing the card to her heart, Sparkle smiled to herself. Michael had to fly out to Europe for yet another performance but was slated to return to the states that weekend.
   "God, I miss him!" She exclaimed as she put the teddy-bear in her bed.
After taking a much-needed shower, She decided to call it an early night, as she snuggled up to her new bear friend.

***
   While Michael was relaxing in his hotel room, his phone rang. He hoped that it was Sparkle calling, but since it was super late in the states, he knew it wouldn't be her.
   "Hello?"
   "Hey, Michael, this is Danielle!"
   "Danielle, who?" He asked, drawing a blank, same as the first time they met.
   At first, he had no idea of who she was; until he suddenly remembered her from his record release party.
   "Oh, hey! How did you get this number?" He asked curiously.
   "I have my ways, and I work for Arista Records, remember?" She replied seductively.
   "So... is there something I can help you with?" He plainly asked, trying not to sound rude.
   "I was hoping to hear from you sooner. You took down my number, remember?"
Cursing under his breath, he chastised himself. "Shit! I forgot about that."
   Ever since Sparkle had entered his life, many things had changed for him. Now that he and Sparkle were dating exclusively, he didn't have eyes for any woman besides her.
   Since he already knew where this was headed, he tried to keep it professional and let her down easy; hoping she would get the hint.
   "I'm sorry, Danielle, but I have to go, I'm swamped at the moment. If it's something business-related, please contact my Manager."
   Not giving her a chance to respond, he quickly hung up the phone feeling annoyed.
   "How does everyone in this fucking industry keep getting my damn number?" He expressed angrily.
   Pushing Danielle easily out of his mind, he refocused his thoughts back to Sparkle.
He had planned to surprise her at the community center on Saturday so that he could help her and her staff gift-wrap the new toys.
   It was the least he could do for donating an extra thousand gifts that she was unaware of. And besides, he was missing her like crazy.

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