Chapter 32

Over the past couple of months, the media began to speculate more and more about Michael and Sparkle's relationship. In addition to finding out that they were married with twins on the way, they also discovered their pending case against Byron.
   While Michael never hid his relationship with Sparkle, he also wasn't ready to share her with the world just yet. He knew that she was a private person and wanted no parts of being in the limelight.
   When 'Majestic' Magazine contacted Michael for an interview and photoshoot, he was more than ready to sit down and speak with them.
   He was tired of the many lies surrounding his union with Sparkle and thought that giving an interview would be a great way to combat some of the silly rumors that were being published.
   As Sparkle sat in the room that would soon be the baby's nursery, she watched Wayne, Bill, and Michael carry a ginormous toy into the room.
   Struggling to get up from the rocking chair, Sparkle slowly made her way towards Michael.
   "Sweetheart, I know that you're excited, but what in the hell are the babies going to do with a seven-foot stuffed teddy bear?" Sparkle groaned.
   "Come on, Spark! You have to admit; it's a great addition to the room. I promise, this will be the last big thing that I purchase for the nursery," he cajoled sweetly.
   Rolling her eyes in despair, she turned her attention towards Bill and Wayne. "I thought I asked you two to watch him."
   "Sorry, Sparkle... We tried to talk him out of it, but you know how he is." Wayne laughed.
   "My, my... Look at the time. It's time for us to go and detail the cars." Bill cackled, as he and Wayne scurried out of the room.
   Throwing her hands up exasperatedly, Sparkle walked towards the window.
"Are you mad at me?" Michael asked quietly.
   "No, baby. But I would like for you to stop buying things for this room. We have more than enough stuff in here already."
   "I understand, sweetheart. I'm just excited! We're about to become parents." He smiled into her hair.
   Turning towards him, Sparkle intertwined her hands with his.
   "I'm scared, Michael... I mean-- I'm excited as well, but what if I'm a horrible mother?"
   "Look at me, Spark. You're going to be a fantastic mother. And remember... You're not in this alone. We'll be OK, baby."
   Tilting her face upwards, he began to sing a song that took her by surprise.
Michael Sings:
[If you look into your heart
With a positive mind
Take self-inventory your woman and your glory
Leave the bad things behind
Everybody's got a story
About the love and the good things
But for the spices of your life
You've got to pay the price
If you know what I mean (ooh yeah)
And I'm telling everybody, out loud
That this woman makes me feel so very proud.]
   Just as Michael finished singing the first verse, Sparkle smiled nervously and turned Michael's solo into a duet.
Sparkle Sings:
[When I thought that there was nothing left
Michael: I believe I found myself.
Michael & Sparkle: I want to give it to you baby, yeah.
Michael & Sparkle So if you look into your heart.
With a positive mind
take self-inventory your woman and your glory
Leave the bad things behind
Sparkle: I know my man
He really loves me, we don't have that everyday (oh no no no)
I know my man he really needs me
what ever he wanna do, I wanna do it with you, baby (yeah).]
   As they finished singing the song together, Sparkle hit a high note that caused Michael to look at her in amazement.
   "Wow! I knew you could carry a tune, but where have you been hiding that voice," he giggled.
   "Aww, you're just saying that, but what do you know about the movie 'Sparkle'?
   "Come on, Spark! I knew Curtis Mayfield personally... He wrote and produced the entire movie's soundtrack. And now that I'm thinking about it! I think your mom might have named you after the movie." He laughed.
   "You know what! I think you're right, Michael. I remember you asking me some time ago where I got my name-- but I never made the connection."
   When Michael suddenly became quiet, Sparkle looked at him inquisitively.
    "Is everything OK?"
   "Um-- sort of," he replied nervously. "I know that you prefer staying in the background, but I was wondering if we could do an interview and photoshoot together?"
   "Michael-- you know that I'm happy with just being your wife. I don't like all of that Hollywood stuff."
   As he took in a deep breath, exhaling slowly, he nodded his head up and down.
    "I just have a lot that I want to say Sparkle; I want the world to know how much I adore you."
   "Thanks, baby-- I adore you as well... But  please don't let the media get to you!"
    "I'm not Sparkle! Make no mistake about it-- I'm strong, and I have rhinoceros skin. But every now and again, there are things that I want people to know the truth about-- and right now... Our relationship is one of those things," he explained.
    Looking at him sympathetically, she placed her hands on his chest. Sparkle knew that being Michael's wife wasn't going to be easy, and she accepted early on that there were going to be things she had to make compromises for.
   "Well... Like in the song we just sang-- 'whatever you wanna do, I wanna do it with you baby," she remarked tenderly.
   Brushing his lips against hers lightly, he grasped her hands in his, as he placed his forehead against hers.
   "You never cease to amaze me, baby. Whatever did I do to deserve you?" He murmured against her cheek.
   "You taught me how to open myself up to you," she replied lovingly, "You taught me how to love without fear."

***
   It had been two months since Byron was arrested on multiple charges. His law-firm had gone under, and he was not the most popular person in jail.
   When the other inmates found out that he was an ex-lawyer that liked to talk smack, he got in several fights daily.
   As his trial date neared, he tried reaching out to family and friends for character witnesses, but everyone had abandoned him, including Eli, when they found out he abused a pregnant woman.
   Despite Prosecutor Xavier Smith's warning, Eli had skipped town and was nowhere to be found.
 [Ring... Ring... Ring...Ring]
 "Shouldn't we answer that?" Sparkle mumbled between kisses.
    "Hell, No!" Michael breathed heavily.
    "What if it's an Emergen-Mmm..."
Cutting her off with a deep kiss, Michael grabbed her hand before she could pick up the phone.
    "No, Sparkle! Let them call back... I haven't seen you in two weeks. I miss you, baby."
   "I've missed you too, Michael! I'm so glad you're home."
   Since Sparkle was now heavily pregnant, she chose to stay home when Michael traveled to Africa.
   He had paid a visit to the 'Motherland' to participate in a historic ceremony where he was crowned the "King of Sani."
   Sparkle felt sad that she had to miss out on his crowning, but she was simply too sick to travel on the airplane.
    She had been experiencing morning sickness daily, and it wasn't safe for her to be outdoors in excessive heat.
    Michael wanted to cancel his trip so that he could take care of her, but she wouldn't hear of it.
   When the phone rang again incessantly, Sparkle tried to ignore it, but her curiosity had gotten the best of her.
   Since she was seven months into her pregnancy, she worried that it could be her doctor calling with important information.
   "Hello, This is Mrs. Jackson speaking? How may I help you?" She answered cheerfully, as Michael planted his face down in a pillow feeling defeated.
    "Hey Sparkle-- This is Byron! Please hear me out! I don't have a lot of time!" He replied hastily.
   "How did you get this number, Byron?"
As soon as Michael heard Sparkle mention Byron's name, he snapped.
   "Hang up the phone, damn it!"
Hearing the anger in Michael's voice, She quickly hung up the phone.
  Sparkle shrilled. "I'm sorry, baby! I don't know how he got our number!" 
   "Please forgive me, Sparkle." He sighed. "I didn't mean to yell at you."
   When Michael dipped his head to kiss her on the cheek, the phone rang once more.
    "Stop calling my house motherf--
    "Hey, hey, Michael! This is Prosecutor Xaiver Smith. Is everything alright? He bellowed just before Michael could finish his sentence.
   "Shit... Uhh yeah. I'm sorry, Mr. Smith. Byron just called here, and I thought you were him."
   "Oh, really? That's a violation of the law. He's not to make any contact with you or Sparkle. Was it a collect call?"
    "Sparkle answered the phone when he called, but I don't think so. I didn't hear her accept any charges."
   "OK, I suspect that he was calling to persuade Sparkle out of testifying against him. I'll look into this as soon as I get off of the phone with you... But I'm calling because I have a couple of updates for you and Sparkle. Do you have speaker-phone by any chance?"
    "Yes, Mr. Smith-- we do. Hold on, please."
   Putting Xaiver on hold, Michael took a seat on the sofa, as Sparkle sat down on his lap.
   "Alright... I'm back," Michael replied quickly.
   "OK first, Byron's trial is set to take place in two months, and second, Danielle has been arrested for sending that threatening letter to Sparkle... And she was also charged for groping you at Sony Corp. Right now; it looks like those trials will be held on the same day. Can you and Sparkle handle that?"
   Looking at Sparkle with a wry expression, Michael rubbed his eyes until they turned red.
   Before Michael could respond, Sparkle began to answer Xavier's question.
    "We'll be OK, Mr. Smith... But since the babies are due around that time, our appearance in court will be based upon the birth of our babies. As long as I'm not in the hospital at that time, then we'll be there," she stated firmly.
   "Sounds great, you two! Your testimony at court is needed, but not a must. I feel that the evidence I have collected for both cases is sufficient." Xavier assured. "There should be no problem sending or rather keeping Byron and Danielle in jail for a long time."
   "Thank you, Mr. Smith! Like Sparkle said-- we'll be there if our babies haven't arrived yet. We're looking forward to testifying against those two. I want this to be a warning to those that seek to hurt my family and me!" Michael replied vehemently. "I will not hesitate to drag them into court and fight!"
   After their phone-call ended with Xavier, Michael kissed Sparkle's lips softly.
   "Please, Sparkle. If any of this gets to be too much for you, just let me know, OK?"
   "I will, sweetie. And don't you worry. I'll be alright. I'm just ready for this ordeal to be over with."
 [Ring... Ring... Ring... Ring]
     As they both looked at the phone simultaneously, Michael lightly squeezed her hands and smirked. "Don't you dare answer that! Your King forbids you!"
    Sparkle shook her head sideways at him and said, "Ah! You're incredulous!"
    "But I'm a real king now, so you must do as I command." He grinned sexily, biting down on his bottom lip.
   Looking deep into his big and beautiful brown eye's, Sparkle kissed his eyelashes and gleamed. "Yes, you are, baby! You're the King of Pop... the King of Sani... But most of all-- you're the King of my heart."

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