Chapter 16

"Come on, Sparkle! Whatever you don't have, I'll buy it for you!" Michael shouted.
   When she appeared with three large suitcases, he burst out laughing.
    "Are you moving in with me?" He teased.
    "If you're gonna make fun of me, I'd rather stay here!" She pouted as she sat down on the couch.
   "Oh, come on, Spark! I was just joking! Let's get going. Bill is downstairs waiting for us."
   Turning towards Michael hastily, Sparkle cursed under her breath.
   "Shit! I need to check on my mom before we head away from civilization. Can we make a stop at her home? She doesn't live far from here."
   "Of course, we can go! I'd love to meet her if it's ok with you?" He replied sweetly.
    "Yes! I would love for you to meet her. But I know... she's going to ask me a ton of questions." She grimaced.
   "Does she know about your 'no dating celebrities' rule?" He asked inquisitively as he bulged his eyes out at her.
   "Yep! She sure does."
   "Is-she-for... or against it?" He asked slowly, feeling afraid of her answer.
  "It doesn't matter to her. She just wants me to be happy." Sparkle smiled while stroking his cheek.
   "I like that answer, but good luck! This is going to be exciting." He laughed boisterously.
   "Gee! Thanks, Michael!" She replied sourly.
   Before making their way to her mother's house, Sparkle thought it would be best to call her up and let her know about their visit.
   She didn't tell her mom that 'Michael Jackson' would be coming with her but rather someone very special in her life.
   Once they arrived at her mom's house, Sparkle made Michael wait in the living room while she spoke with her mom in private first.
   "Hey, Mom! I'm here, are you decent?" She called out before entering the bedroom.
   "Yes, child! I don't have anything you don't have." Her mom laughed.
   Even though her mom was sick, Sparkle loved that she was still able to keep her sense of humor.
   Opening the door slowly, Sparkle peeked her head in the door first before entering. "Hey, mommy, how are you feeling?"
   "I'm doing ok, Sparkle. Is everything ok? It's not like you to just drop by this late unless it's an emergency." She replied, while coughing simultaneously.
   Sparkle handed her mom a bottle of water as she sat down next to her on the bed.
   "So who is this special someone you want to introduce me to? And Sparkle... please don't tell me you're pregnant! Not that I would mind, but I haven't even met the guy."
  Sparkle smiled to herself as a vision of her being pregnant with Michael's baby popped into her head, but it shocked her as well.
   She loved Michael and all, but it was way too early for those types of thoughts.
   Shaking her head to get back on track, Sparkle began to tell her Mom about her 'special someone.'
   "OK, Mom... But I don't want you to ask me too many questions about my personal dating rule. I'm dating a major celebrity, but he's a charming guy, and I care about him a lot." She blushed, trying to stifle her smile.
   "That's nice, baby, and like I've always told you! Date whoever makes you happy. Please don't let your dad's past mistakes stand in the way of your happiness." Her mom replied wholeheartedly.
    "I know, mom-- I know. I'm learning to deal with that. It's not easy, but this man is different. I can't explain it. When I'm with him, my heart wants to give him all of me." She expressed lovingly.
   "So, where is he Sparkle?"
    "He's in the living room. I'll go get him, but please promise me that you won't freak out."
   Sitting up to adjust her clothing, Sparkle's mom pushed her shoulder lightly. "Go get him Sparkle, I'm tired, and I'm not removing myself from this bed."
   "Alright, I'll be right back."
When Sparkle went into the living room, she found Michael snooping around through her family's photo album.
   "Wow! You're so nosey." She whispered as she snuck up behind him.
   "Spark! Don't sneak up on me like that." He exclaimed, letting out a deep breath.
   "That's payback for how you scared me when we first met. Come on! My mom is ready to meet you." She giggled.
   Holding hands, Michael and Sparkle entered the room.
   "Well, I'll be! You're dating Michael Jackson!" Her mom exclaimed.
    "Hi, Ms. Washington! It's so nice to meet you finally. I hope we didn't disturb you too much tonight?" He spoke sweetly as he bent down to hug her.
   "No, no, baby! And please... Call me, Carol."
   When Michael looked at her frail body, his heart wept.
He noticed how particularly young Carol looked and saw so much of Sparkle in her.
   "If you don't mind me asking, what type of lung cancer do you have?"
   "I don't mind you asking baby. I have 'non-small cell' lung cancer." She replied, placing a tissue to her mouth.
   "Hmm, would you mind if I gave you the card of a great 'pulmonologist' that I know personally? I've heard of that type of cancer and have seen it treated successfully. Many of the kids that visit my home at 'Neverland' have this type, and I've seen them make miraculous recoveries." He spoke compassionately, passing her the Doctors business card.
   "Oh yes, I have... but the surgery is very tricky, and I'm just too scared to go through with it." She admitted tearfully.
   "Please call him, Carol. Tell him that Michael Jackson recommended you. I'll also call him and let him know to be expecting your call. Sparkle and I need you around for a very long time." He smiled.
   Squeezing Michael's hand tightly, tears filled Sparkle's eye's. "Can I talk to you out in the hall?"
   "Sure." He replied, politely excusing himself from Carol.
   Once they were in the hall, Sparkle gave him a big hug.
   "Her type of lung cancer is treatable, you know?"
   "I know Michael, but she had refused the surgery out of fear and gave up all hope. I've been praying that she would change her mind." She tearfully replied.
   Holding her in his arms, Michael nuzzled his face in her hair.
   "We'll make sure that she calls Dr. Stevens. He's the best doctor that I know and has saved several people's lives." He spoke gently while holding her tighter."
   Letting out a deep sigh while wiping away her tears, Sparkle grabbed his hand. "Come on, Michael, let's get back in there. It's getting late, and we should get going soon."
   When they re-entered the room, Sparkle's mom smiled brightly.
   "We have to get going Mom, I'm spending a few weeks with Michael at his ranch, but we'll be back down to spend Christmas with you, OK? I've made arrangements for your nurse to check on you every day, and here is an emergency number that I can be reached at. Please don't give this number out. It's Michael's home telephone number."
   As soon as Sparkle finished speaking, Carol got up and sweetly shooed them towards the door.
   "Enjoy your time together, babies! I'll be ok, Sparkle. Don't worry about me." She sputtered.
   "Well, can we at least get a hug before we leave?" Sparkle laughed.
As carol went to hug Michael first, she whispered. "Take care of her, Michael."
   "I will... she's forever safe with me." He smiled.
   "Well, don't be too safe! She is getting long in the tooth, you know, and a grandbaby would be nice." She replied humorously.
   "Mother!" Sparkle yelled in shock, as Michael smiled adorningly at her.
   "Well, it was worth a shot!" Carol quipped.
   "We'll see you soon, Mommy. I love you. Take care of yourself."
   "I love you too, Sparkle, and I will. Now get going, you two."
   As they finally made their way to 'Neverland,' Michael cuddled Sparkle in his arms, while they talked and listened to music.
    It had been a long two-hour drive out to the ranch, and he was getting more excited by the minute.
   He missed his home and the total peace it brought him.
   He didn't mind his condo, especially since he had some great times there with Sparkle, but it was nothing like his real home.

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