Chapter 22

When Michael arrived outside of Byron's office, he took a moment to meditate before going in.
   Even though he had no problems with punching Byron in his face, his goal was to remain civil and have a man to man conversation with him.
 [Knock, Knock!]
 "Come in!" Byron shouted.
When Michael walked into the office, Byron jumped back as if he had seen a ghost.
   "Hello Byron, I was wondering if you had a moment to talk?" Michael asked calmly, trying to control his disdain.
   "We don't have anything to talk about! Get the hell out of my office." He yelled while waving Michael off.
   Before responding in a way that he might regret, Michael inhaled and exhaled deeply. "Did you break into Sparkle's Apartment the other day?" He asked straightforwardly.
   "How in the hell are you gonna come in here and accuse me of some shit like that?"
   "Look, Byron. You can save us both time by just telling the truth!"
   Letting out a heavy sigh, Byron took a seat in his chair. "You know what? I don't even know why I'm sitting here lying. Yeah, I broke into her apartment, but don't worry. I haven't sold y'all little wack ass sex tape... Yet." He laughed.
   "Byron just give me the damn tape, and I'll leave here peacefully. I don't want any trouble. That tape doesn't belong to you!" Michael shouted as he felt his temper rising.
   "And what are you going to do if I don't give it to you? Beat my ass?"
   "You know what? That's exactly what I'm going to do mother fucker." Michael retorted as he leaned across Byron's desk, grabbing him by his shirt collar. "Don't fuck with me! The Michael Jackson that you see on TV is not the Michael Jackson who is standing here in front of you. I will beat your ass, Byron! Give me my tape."
   "A'ight man! Just let me go! I don't even have the tape on me! It's at my apartment across town."
   As Michael let go of his collar, he pushed him away forcefully. "Go get it and bring it back here! I'll be awaiting your return." He hissed ferociously through gritted teeth.
  "Ok, man, but it's going to take me at least an hour. Can't you just pick it up from here tomorrow?" Byron asked nervously.
   Slamming his hands down on the desk, Michael snarled. "Go-Get-It-Now!"
   When Michael returned to his car, he called Bill and Wayne up for backup as a safety precaution.
   One hour was a long time for him to be sitting in his car alone, and he wasn't leaving until he got the tape back.
   Sure, he could have waited in Byron's office but didn't want to be cornered by the media if a passerby had seen him and tipped them off.
   When Bill and Wayne arrived at the parking lot, they both looked at Michael in confusion.
   Even though Michael loved Bill like a father, he didn't always tell him everything.
   "What in the hell is going on?" Bill exclaimed.
   "It's a long story, just get in the car, and I'll tell you."
   After Michael finished telling them about his engagement to Sparkle, the baby, her dumb ass ex-boyfriend, and the tape, they sat in silence as they computed it all.
   "Please tell me that you whooped his ass!" Wayne quipped as he broke their silence.
   Michael laughed dryly. "Unfortunately, I didn't. But I did snatch his ass up real good. Since I told Sparkle, I'd be home later tonight. I'm trying to avoid being arrested and being all over the tabloids."
   Wayne Nagin was also a close bodyguard of Michael's. He had been working alongside Bill for a few years now, and Michael felt as though he was like a brother to him. Michael had known Wayne and his brother 'Skip' since the mid-eighties. The two had provided security for a few of his brothers on the 'Victory tour' and were now solely a part of his security team.
   "Why didn't you tell me about this sooner? Bill asked concernedly. "We could have easily gotten the tape back for you!"
    "I know Bill, but Sparkle is my fiance, and as her man, it's my responsibility to protect her myself, you know?"
    "I understand that Michael and I agree. But don't ever feel like you can't ask for help when needed, and besides, I'm always down to provide a good beat down." He bellowed.
   "Well, that's why I called you two. I didn't want to sit in this parking lot alone; who knows who he might come back with? Shit! Then I really would need back up. I have a black belt in karate and all, but I'm not out here trying to be the black Bruce Lee!" Michael laughed as he looked down at his watch.
    Two hours had now passed, and Byron had yet to return. It was getting late, and Michael knew that Sparkle was probably getting worried about him.
   "Ok, guys, let's just call it a night. He's not coming back. I'll call you in the morning Bill, and we'll figure out a way to get that tape back before he sells it-- if he hasn't done so already." He spoke hoarsely as he rubbed his eyes.
    When Michael returned home, Sparkle was sitting on the couch waiting for him.
   "Is everything ok, baby?" She asked worriedly.
   "No, Spark, it isn't. I went over to Byron's office to speak with him and get the tape back."
   "I kind of figured that. Did you get it?" She asked curiously.
   Taking her in his arms, he held onto her tightly as he explained what happened.
   After he finished speaking, Sparkle abruptly turned around in his arms to face him. "Listen, baby. I know that you're an adult. But waiting in a parking lot alone was not the safest thing to do." She scolded gently.
   "I know, but I wasn't alone. I called Bill and Wayne for back up." He replied quietly, as his eyelids began to close.
    Seeing that Michael was extremely tired, she ushered him into the bedroom before he fell asleep on the couch.

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