Chapter 2

    "No! Please don't leave me! I can't live without you!" He screamed as they lowered the caskets into the ground. Falling to his knees, he covered his face with his hands and wept. 

    Waking up in a cold sweat, his heart pounded heavily. His wife of 5 years and unborn child died over a year ago, but he was still having nightmares over their passing. 

    Running his hands through his hair, he breathed shakily. "I need a drink." 

    After taking a much-needed shower, he headed for the kitchen to drown his pain. 

    Before the death of his wife and baby, Michael wasn't a big drinker. Sure, he'd have a glass of wine now and again, but that was nothing compared to how much he was drinking at present. 

    Pulling out two bottles of Bacardi from the cabinet, he immediately opened a bottle and downed its entire contents in one gulp.  Pinching his eye's shut with his fingers, he coughed. "Fuck! I should have chased that with soda or something."

    As he took a seat on his living room sofa, he mixed the second bottle of Barcardi with some club soda. But just as he was about to take a sip, the doorbell rang. "Damn it." He muttered after looking out of the door's peep-hole. 

    Opening the door slowly, he propped himself against the wall, blocking the entrance into his apartment. "Boy, if you don't stop playing and let me in."

    "What are you doing here, Janet?"

Pushing her way past him, she wrinkled her nose. "Eww! It smells like liquor and socks in here."

    "No shit, sherlock." He mumbled under his breath. 

    "What did you say?"

    "Nothing. And again... What are you doing here? You know that I don't like unannounced visitors."

    "Boy, if you don't stop playing with me! I'm your sister!"

    Taking in the sight of his messy living room, Janet Paused. "You need to clean this place."

    "I don't need to do anything! This is myyyy apartment! And again, why are you here?" He asked in an annoyed tone. 

     "My God! Are you drinking heavy liquor at eight o'clock in the morning?" She asked in shock. 

     Taking a seat on the couch, he pressed the back of his head against its headrest. "I miss them, Dunk."

      Plopping down beside him on the sofa. She placed her hand on his knee. "I know you do, Mike, but Patricia wouldn't want you living like this."

    Michael sighed. "Living? I'm barely existing."

    Picking up his drink from the table, he yelped when Janet knocked it out of his hand. "You need to stop drinking so heavily. This shit isn't helping you at all."

    Michael nodded his head. "You're right, but it's the only thing that helps me cope."

"What about your music Mike?"

"What about it?"

"That used to be how you channeled your pain. When's the last time you wrote a song?

"In all honesty... I can't remember."

Michael knew she was right. Music, along with dancing, had always been his way of dealing with his pain. But after the passing of his wife and baby last October, he stopped being creative all together. 

    In October of 1997, It was the last day of his HIStory tour, and Patricia was heavily pregnant, preventing her from traveling with him for the rest of the tour dates. 

    Whenever he spoke of canceling the rest of the tour, she urged him not to. Their baby wasn't due until December, and he would be home in more than enough time before she gave birth. 

    But without warning, Patricia went into labor early and started hemorrhaging. Being too weak to call out for help, she soon passed out from losing too much blood. When someone finally found her, it was too late. 

    After Michael performed his final show, the hospital notified him and gave him the sad news. Not only did he lose his wife but their unborn child as well. 

    Patting his back lightly, Janet spoke compassionately. "I know this past year has been rough on you, Mike, but you gotta pull yourself together."

    Looking down at the floor, he spoke softly. "But I have nothing else to live for. My wife and baby are gone, Dunk. They meant the world to me."

     When Janet tried to embrace him in a hug, he stood up swiftly, wiping tears away from his eyes. "I'm sorry for how I treated you earlier, but I need to be alone. Can you please tell me why you came past here so early?"

     "It's OK, Mike... I came past because I wanted to ask if you could sign off on this contract. I want to include 'Scream' on a remix album that I have coming up."

    After carefully reading the contract, he signed it. Usually, he wouldn't sign anything business-wise without the presence of his lawyers, but he trusted his baby sister. She was a smart woman that knew how to handle her business. 

    Passing the contract back to her, he gave her a small smile."Good luck on the album-- Let me know if you need anything."

    "Thanks, Mike, I will... I have to get going, but please take care of yourself, OK? I know that you're an adult, but you're still my brother."

    "You're welcome, Dunk... And please, don't worry about me. I'll be OK."

    No sooner than Janet left, he went back into the kitchen to prepare himself another drink.

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