Chapter 27

When Bill came outside of the security trailer, he knew he was in for an earful from Michael.  
   He tried not to meddle in his personal affairs, but he also wanted to help him and Sparkle in any way that he could.
    "Hey Bill, I just got through speaking with Xaiver Smith. The prosecutor that's handling Sparkle's case, and I just want to say 'Thank you for all you've done.' "
   When Michael gave him a big hug, it made Bill cry a little.
   "It's all good, Joker. I only want the best for you. I know I probably overstepped my boundaries on this one, but I just wanted to help." Bill spoke compassionately.
    "I know... I know. And I thank-you. I know that I can be a little stubborn at times, but I mean well."
   "Ha! More than a little!" Bill bellowed as he shook his head sideways.
   "Don't start, Bill! Don't start!" Michael chuckled.
   After the two finished talking, Michael returned to the house to check on Sparkle.
    When he went into the bedroom, he found her silently standing in the dark.
   "Hey baby, you doing ok?" He spoke tenderly, dipping his head to kiss her stomach.
    "Yes. I'm doing ok. Why'd you ask?"
    "Because you're standing here in the dark. Please talk to me, sweetheart."
    Letting out a deep sigh, she laid her head against his chest as he wrapped his arms around her.
   "I'm almost seven weeks pregnant, and since the world will soon know of this whole ordeal with Byron, I'm thinking of working from home or here. Oh, I don't know... I'm so confused. I just don't want to stress myself out further."
   "Hey hey hey! You said it yourself. Your home is here. And of course! I think it's a great idea. Once the press gets ahold of everything, life is going to be a circus for us."
    Pulling out of his arms, she stepped back and held his hands.
    "But, it's already like that for you now." She replied lowly.
    "Yes... but it will be even more so after the news hits of your pregnancy, our engagement, and of course, the case. The best place for you to be is here at Neverland."
   "I'm sorry, Michael. I knew us getting together would turn your life upside down." She expressed sadly as she turned her back to him.
   "Sparkle... Stop blaming yourself! You haven't done anything wrong. You've made me so happy. You're having my baby, and we're getting married. It's just that jerk Byron that got in our way, but that's not your fault, so please stop it!" He replied sternly, raising his voice a little.
    "I'll try to stop worrying so much. But this is all so new to me. I'm just afraid, you know?"
   "I know, sweetheart, and that's fine, but please know that I'm here for you. I love you Spark."
   Standing on her tippy toes to reach his full height, she placed her forehead against his as she lovingly replied, "I love you too, Michael."

***
    When Eli arrived at the county jail to place bail for Byron, he was informed that his bail had gone from one million to five million dollars.
    After Xavier got the information that he needed from Sparkle, he was able to tack on extra charges against Byron.
    "Damn, man! What happened to you? Well... at least you've got your own cell, at least." Eli exclaimed as he took one look at Byron's swollen face.
    Since Byron kept getting into fights with the other inmates, he was moved to a separate holding cell to keep him out of trouble.
   Byron replied sullenly. "Now is not the time, Eli! Michael and Sparkle told the prosecutor about the tape. They found my fingerprints on it and her property."
    "Ah! so that's why your bail is now set at five mill?" Eli asked curiously.
    "Look-- since I'm not getting out of here before the trial starts, I need you to close the law firm until we can figure this out temporarily."
    Stepping back as if the wind had been knocked out him, Eli became heated.
    "Figure things out? Figure things out? Man, the law-firm is done, and you know it! Eli shouted as he walked away from the cell.
   "Shit! Eli! You've gotta be fucking kidding me! After all, I've done for your sorry ass." Byron shouted as he slumped down against the bars of his cell.
    Feeling completely devastated, he began to cry, as he was not sure of what to do next.

***
    "Oh, wow! Is that our baby?" Michael exclaimed joyfully as he watched the ultrasound monitor.
   "Yes! That's you and Sparkle's little speck of glitter." Doctor Green replied humorously.
   "Is it a boy or a girl?"
    Sparkle smiled as she touched Michael's cheek.
    "Sorry, Mr. Jackson-- But you'll have to wait until Sparkle is at least sixteen weeks pregnant to find out." Doctor Greene informed.
    Stroking Sparkle's hair softly, he kissed her endearingly on the nose. 
    "This is amazing, Sparkle! I'm just so excited... I'm going to be a daddy!" He gushed.
    When Michael and Sparkle left the hospital later that afternoon, the media swarmed around them like bees.
   Feeling relieved that they didn't sneak off without security. Michael shielded Sparkle as they made their way through the crowd.
   "If you all don't get out of the damn way, there's going to be hell to pay!" Wayne shouted as he and a few other bodyguards pushed the reporters out of the way.
    Once they were safely inside of the SUV, Michael checked to make sure that Sparkle was ok.
    "Well-- It's safe to say that the media knows about us now! From here on out, you're not to go anywhere without a bodyguard, ok?" He informed her as he caressed her face gently.
    "Yes, Michael-- I understand, but um, I need to clear my office at work. Can we go past there sometime tomorrow?" She asked, hoping that the answer would be yes.
    To work successfully from home, she needed to collect some essential files and documents from her office.
    "Yeah, sure! I have a meeting tomorrow, but I'll ask Wayne to take you if that's alright?"
   "That's completely fine, Michael. I just want to say good-bye and pack up my things.

***
    Later that evening back at Neverland, Sparkle turned on the T.V. as she snuggled up with Michael on the sofa.
   "You know that I hate watching T. V. Spark. Can't we watch a movie instead?
    "I know, babe, but I miss watching a Different World," she laughed as she lay across his lap.
    Exhaling deeply, Michael stroked her back softly. "Ok-- but you're gonna have to pay me back for this."
    "Mmm... So what do I have to do?" She purred in return.
    Just as Michael was about to answer, a commercial for the tabloid show 'A Current Affair' came on.
 [Pop Mega Star Michael Jackson has a baby on the way, but who's the mother?] The snarky host announced.
 Before Michael could utter a word, Sparkle turned off the television.
    "Wow! News travels fast." She exclaimed in shock.
    "And lies even faster. I'm sure they'll say that you're pregnant with triplets and that I met you on mars. God, I hate that show." He sighed.
     "I do too as well, Michael. And for now on, movies or VHS it is." She smiled sympathetically.
    "Come on-- let's just go to bed, ok?"
    "But Michael...  It's only 7 o'clock!"
    "Who said anything about sleep? And besides, you owe me a favor." He chuckled deep.
     "But I didn't even get to watch my show!" She whined.
    "Girl! I just lived through ten seconds of hell for you. You owe me!" He laughed loudly as he picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder, making his way towards the bedroom.

***
    When Sparkle returned to her office the next day, she informed everyone that she would be taking a leave of absence for personal reasons but would still work from home.
   She was going to miss everyone, but it was only before long that the media and tabloids would find out where she worked.
   As she was packing up her things, Ms. Johnson popped into her office to give her a package.
    "Hey, Sparkle, this just came for you. It was just laying outside the door when I went to the restroom."
    "Thanks, Ms. Johnson, I'm going to miss you." Sparkle said tearfully as she hugged her.
    "Stop your lies, child! I'll still be interrogating you over the phone." Ms. Johnson laughed as she left Sparkle's office.
    After Sparkle finished packing up all of her things, she decided to open the package that Ms. Johnson delivered to her.
    When she opened the box that only had her name on it, there was a lone letter inside, written in cut-out magazine letters.
 [Stay away from Michael, you whore, or you and your baby will have hell to pay.]
 "What the hell?" Sparkle muttered as she looked at the letter in disbelief.
    When she heard a knock at the door, she quickly placed the letter back inside of the box.
    "Is everything ok, Mrs. Jackson?" Wayne teased, as he poked his head inside of her office.
    "Did Michael tell you to call me that?" She laughed.
     "No-- I'm just practicing." He smiled. "Are you ready to go?"
     "Yes... I am! Thanks for all of your help Wayne."
    "No problem-- I'll start carrying this stuff to the car now." He replied happily.
   After her office was cleared, Sparkle became teary-eyed as she closed its door for the last time.
    Deep down in her heart, she knew that she'd never return, but at the same time, she was happy to be starting a new chapter in her life with Michael.
    Despite the many challenges that they were currently going through, she desperately hoped and prayed for the best.

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