Chapter 15

"Hello, Mr. Harris! How are you today?" The red-haired woman waved as she rushed by.
   "Hey, Danielle, I'm fine. Have you seen Kenny in today?"  He asked, trying hard not to stare at her breast in the low-cut blouse she wore.
   "Yeah, he's in Clive's office." She said hastily, making her way down the hall.   
    Byron met Danielle over a month ago when he visited 'Arista' records for the first time. He was there to meet with his new client Kenny G. when he first spotted her talking to a potential new artist. She had always been so kind to him in passing, and he had meant to ask her out for a while now.
    "Slow down! Can I talk to you for a minute?" He called out as he ran behind her.
   "Sure, what's up?" She replied as she gasped for air.
   "I got tickets to attend this 'Christmas ball' thing from one of my clients. You wanna go?"
   "Sure... Here's my number. Sorry to be quick, but I'm on my way to a meeting." She blurted while dashing off again.
   "Alright, thanks... Take care, Danielle!"
   "Take care, Mr. Harris." She chimed as she dashed up the hall.

***
   "Stop it, Michael!"
   "Stop what?" He giggled.
   "I thought you were gonna let me work?" Sparkle exclaimed as he stood behind her, caressing her breast through her shirt.
    Before sparkle could enjoy her two weeks off with Michael, she had some last-minute work to do.
   While she was plugging away at her computer, she had been listening to the radio all afternoon to make the time go by faster.
   Just as Michael was about to kiss her, he heard the DJ announce a song that made him livid.
 [And here is Jermaine Jackson's New Song! 'Word 2 the badd.' Man, oh, man! Michael isn't gonna like this one.]
    With one swipe of his hand, Michael knocked the radio onto the floor.
   "I thought that shit would fizzle and burn!" He yelled angrily. Michael had known about the song for quite some time but didn't think it would get any airplay.
   At the time, he was promoting his new album and didn't want to bring any unnecessary attention to himself.
   Picking up the phone, he called L.A. Reid to put a stop to the song.
   "Shut it down immediately! Jermaine is dissing me on his new record! It's all lies!" He shouted as he slammed the phone down.
    L.A. Reid was the founder of 'Laface' Records along with his partner Kenny 'Babyface' Edmond's. The dynamic duo were some of the hottest producers in the music industry, and Michael was interested in working with them.
    Even though he knew they were working on Jermaine's album at the time, Michael felt as though he could work with any producer he wanted.
    Just a year prior, Michael had flown the two out to Neverland to discuss the possibility of working on his new album, but in the end, it didn't work out.
   When Jermaine caught wind of this, he was upset and wanted to make a diss track about Michael.
   L.A. and Babyface didn't want to record the song, but they were on Jermaine's payroll and had no choice.
    Grabbing Sparkle's hand gently, he gritted his teeth and muttered, "Come on! I need to put an end to this once and for all."
   "But baby! It's late, and we're both wearing our pajamas."
    When Michael turned around and looked at her with a stormy expression, she quickly changed her tune.
   "OK, Michael! I'll go, but couldn't this be taken care of with a simple phone call?" She asked, feeling a little afraid.
   "Look, baby! I'm sorry. I'm not upset with you. I just need you by my side, please." He spoke tenderly.
   "Michael... I'll always be by your side, OK? I just don't want you going to jail tonight!" She replied softly.
   "Thanks, baby, but the three days spent there for kicking Jermaine's ass would be worth it." He quipped as he led her out to his car.
    When they arrived at Havenhurst (The Jackson family compound), Michael started shouting for Jermaine before they reached the front door.
   "Get down here, Jermaine! Now!" He yelled at the top of his lungs, as he and Sparkle stood in the foyer.
   "How do you even know he's here?" Sparkle asked curiously.
   "He's here! I spoke to my mother earlier, and she told me he was working in the studio. Thank God she's on vacation because I'm about to curse his ass out, and I'd never do that around her!"
    Just as Michael was about to charge down the steps to the studio, he heard Jermaine's voice.
   "Man! You're lucky I'm the only one home right now! What in the hell is your problem?" Jermaine shouted as he ran down the hall.
   "Get that song off the radio, Jermaine! How could you do this to me?" He yelled.
    "How could I do this to you? How could you do this to me? Get your own damn producers! You're so selfish, bro!" Jermaine fired back.
    Shaking his head in disbelief, Michael looked at his brother like he lost his damn mind.
   "Jermaine... You don't own the producers you work with! They can work with whomever they damn well please. And selfish? Really? I can't believe you right now!" Michael exclaimed loudly.
   "You're just jealous, Michael!"
   "Jealous of what? You're a damn fool, Jermaine!" Michael yelled as he neared closer to him with his fist clenched tight.
When sparkle saw that Michael was about to lose what little composer he had left, she gently grabbed him in an attempt to keep him from punching his brother.
  "Michael! Please, Baby, stop!" She shouted.
   When Michael heard her plea, he stopped immediately, turning to face her.
   "Punching him won't fix anything. I know you're angry, but you're better than this." She chastised him gently.
    Letting out a heavy sigh, Michael began to calm down as he turned back towards Jermaine and growled, "Destroy that song, or I'll slap you with every defamation lawsuit known to man."
   Seeing that Michael was not to be played with, Jermaine kept his mouth shut, as he stalked angrily out of the foyer.
   Michael was usually a calm and peaceful guy, but he wasn't a pushover either. If someone made him mad enough, he would most certainly show a side of himself that would take most by surprise.
   Taking Michael by the hand, Sparkle ushered him out of the house and into the car.
   Jumping behind the wheel, Sparkle announced that she would be driving them back to her place.
   "I'll drive Michael! You need to calm all the way down, give me the keys!" She demanded.
   "I'm not a child, Sparkle!" He shouted.
   "I understand that, but you're in no shape to drive! Give me the keys." She shouted back, just as loud as he.
   "Here!" He muttered as he tossed the keys at her.
   "Boy! Just because you're mad at Jermaine, don't take it out on me!"
   "Spark! I didn't mean it, OK. I'm just mad as hell. Please forgive me." He spoke softly as he stroked her arm.
   "It's OK, Michael. I know these past two days have been rough on you. Let's just get home."
   Once they were back at Sparkle's condo, Michael broke down on his knee's sobbing.
   Motioning for Michael to stand, she tried to console him the best she could. "Come here, sweetheart, everything is going to be alright. Please don't cry." She said while hugging him tightly.
   "I'm tired of being misunderstood! I'm tired of people lying on me! I'm just tired Sparkle. You're the best thing that has happened to me, and I don't want to lose you. It seems no matter how hard I try, something always goes wrong." He cried.
   Sparkle knew that Michael had been dealing with a lot of stress.
   Most times, he appeared happy and had it all together, but she knew life wasn't easy for him.
   "Shh! I'm not going anywhere, Michael. You've been working too hard, and this added stress isn't doing you any favors. Let's enjoy these next two weeks off."
   As Michael fell asleep in her arms later that night, she realized that she was holding the real Michael Jackson.
   Not the entertainer and celebrity that everyone saw on TV, but the one that had experienced the same raw emotions just as everyone else.

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