Chapter 21

When Michael entered his condo, he had a gut feeling that something was wrong with Sparkle. He had barely heard from her within the past week and became upset when he couldn't reach her.
   After calling out her name several times, he felt his heart drop when he entered his bedroom and saw her lying motionless on the bed.
    Instantly thinking the worse, he rushed over to the bed and started to shake her.
   "Stop it! Get off of me!" she screamed.
   "Sparkle! Thank God you're OK!!"
   When she realized it was Michael, she immediately leaped into his arms.
   "I'm sorry baby when you didn't answer, and I saw you lying there, I thought something bad happened to you." He sighed. "Why haven't you been returning my phone calls?"
   Turning her head towards the window, she began to cry.
   "I'm so sorry, Michael."
   "Sorry about what Spark?"
Burying her head into the crook of his neck, she replied faintly. "I'm pregnant."
   "Excuse me, what did you just say?"
   "I just found out today that I'm pregnant. I'm sorry Micha--"
   Before she could finish speaking, Michael cupped her face in his hands, as he crushed his lips to hers.
   "Are you telling me that I'm going to be a daddy?" He exclaimed excitedly.
   "Mmm-hmm," she nodded tightly as a half-smile spread across her face. 
   As Michael pulled her into his arms, he stroked her hair soothingly.
   "This is the most amazing day of my life. Sparkle! I love you, baby!" He replied joyfully as tears streamed down his face.
  After noticing that Sparkle wasn't displaying the same excitement as he, a pained expression fell upon his face.
   "Sparkle-- what's wrong? you don't seem happy about the baby."
    "Oh, Michael... I am! But I don't want to get in your way." Your album just dropped, and you have so much to do!" She sighed.
   "Sparkle-- listen to me! You have given me the greatest gift in the world. Please don't ever think for one second that you'd be getting in the way of anything for me... because you and the baby are everything to me." He smiled as he kissed her stomach gently.
   "You're going to be an amazing father." She whispered.
   "And you're going to be an amazing mother."
   When Sparkle began to smile, he felt a sense of relief overcome him.
   "I can't believe this is happening, Michael."
   "Me either," he smiled."
   "You were right, but I didn't expect it so soon."
   "Right about what Spark?"
   "Us having our own little family." She giggled.
   "I told you we would! On Christmas, remember?" He chuckled.
   Pulling her close, he whispered. 
   "Everything is going to be okay."
   "But what about the tape?"
   "Don't worry about the tape, baby! Let me handle it. I have a gut feeling that your no-good ex-boyfriend is the one who stole it."
   Holding onto him tightly, Sparkle buried her head in his chest.
   "I just feel so violated!" She sobbed.
   "I know Spark...  I know. And I have every intention of making that asshole pay for what he's done to you... To us!" He spoke in a vengeful tone.
   "Please, Michael... Can you just report it to the police and let them handle it?"
   "No, Sparkle! I can't and I won't! Please let me be a man and handle this, OK? I need to protect you! The baby... OUR family! Don't take that right away from me!" He replied sternly.
   After hearing the pain and frustration in his voice, she stroked his cheek gently and replied. "OK, baby, I'll let you handle this."
  Usually, Sparkle would try to talk Michael out of confrontation. She knew that he was a smart man and could handle himself, but she didn't want him to get into any trouble, especially over her.

***

"Thank-you babies for being here today, I'm afraid, but I have total faith in God." Carol smiled.
   "Don't worry, Ms. Carol. You're in great hands with Dr. Stevenson." Michael smiled as he grasped her hand.
   Bending down to give her mom a comforting hug, Sparkle smiled and kissed her on the cheek. "It's time to kick this cancer out of your body, mom. The baby is going to need you around to say yes when I say no," she teased.
   "Ha! I knew that I would get a fall grandbaby." Carol exclaimed joyfully.
   "How did everyone see this baby coming but me?" Sparkle asked, feeling perplexed.
   "Take a good look at your fiance, Sparkle! That's how." Carol laughed boisterously but soon began to cough.
   "OK, mom! That's enough. You've sent yourself into a coughing spaz."
   "I'm sorry, baby-- but you're about to marry the most gorgeous man in the world. I'd be pregnant too if I were you." Carol unabashedly proclaimed, causing Michael to blush.
   "Ok, mom. Here comes the nurse. We'll be waiting for you when you awake. We love you!"
   "I love you both, as well. See you soon," Carol replied tenderly as she was strolled off to the operating room.
   When Carol's surgery was completed successfully, Sparkle cried tears of joy.
   She didn't know what she would have done if her mom had died as a result of not having the surgery.
   After Sparkle and Michael checked in on Carol, Dr. Stevenson informed them that there were no complications during her surgery, and she was expected to recover quite quickly.
   Feeling tired from a long day at the hospital, Michael and Sparkle headed back to his condo.
   Even though he was exhausted, the whole Byron thing was pissing him off severely. He knew that he wouldn't be able to rest comfortably until he got the tape back.
   "Hey Baby-- "I have a stop that I have to make before it gets too late. I'll be back later tonight, OK?"
    "Where are you going, Michael?"
    "I have some important business to attend." He replied vaguely.
   After walking Sparkle inside of the condo, he kissed her deeply just before leaving.

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