Chapter 10

    "Did you get the roses I sent?"


    "Yes, Michael, I did. But please warn me before sending me stuff. I don't need Calvin asking me any questions."


    "Did he ask who sent them?"


    "No... I immediately planted them in my garden after they were delivered. He never saw them."


    "Oh, God, Leila! I'm sorry for making you go through all of that. I just wanted to make you smile. I miss you."


    "I miss you too, sweetheart. When will you be coming back to the states?"


    "At the end of the week. Can you have dinner with me this Saturday?"


    "Yes, Michael, I can... What type of place is it? How should I dress?"


    "Wear whatever you like. It's a nice place, but there's no dress code. And of course-- sexy is always welcomed, you know?"


    "OK, Mr. Jackson. I'm getting off of the phone now before this goes any further."


Sitting in his hotel room the night before, Michael decided to call up Leila for a quick chat before going to bed. He had made several guest appearances that day in South Africa and was beyond tired. 

    As they both relaxed in their respective beds while speaking to each other, one thing led to another, and the two ended up engaging in intimate activity over the phone. 

    Leila wasn't a prude in the least, but she was a bit surprised at her willingness to participate. It was the first time she had ever done such a thing, but it was much needed and right on time. 

    Each and every time Leila was around Michael, her body was put through complete torture. The man was just too damn sexy for words, and all she wanted to do was jump his bones every time she saw him. But, per usual, Leila would quickly push the thoughts out of her brain and calm her body down the best she could. 

    Lowering his voice, Michael smirked. "Oh... So you didn't like what we did over the phone last night? Because it sure sound like you did."

    "Michael, stop it! I'm so embarrassed about that." Leila blushed. 

    "But you shouldn't be... I haven't been able to get the sound of your lovely voice out of my head since. What are you doing right now?"

    "Michael... I know what you're trying to do, but I was just on my way to meet up with my girls." She laughed. "See you soon! I can't wait for Saturday."

     Letting out a shaky breath, he spoke hoarsely. "Neither can I baby... see you soon."


***

Since spending the night with Michael over a month ago, the two began seeing more and more of each other daily. 

    In the mornings, Michael would join Leila while she walked the dogs, or she'd spend time with him at his place. She was finally opening up to him and letting him get to know her more personally.

    With each passing moment they spent together, the two were falling deeper and deeper for each other. And even though they hadn't made love physically, they had fallen in love with each other intimately.

    After returning home from overseas, Michael had a lot of meetings and business dinners to attend. He would have scheduled his date with Leila sooner but wanted to give her his undivided time and attention. 

    Earlier in the day, Michael attended a meeting at Sony Corp to discuss his upcoming charity single and benefit concerts. But after not seeing eye to eye on the projects, he became agitated and left early. 

      As Michael sat in his garden, he completed the lyrics to the song he'd been working on. Thanks to Leila, it was the first song he had finished writing in a long time. 

    Seeing that he was now free for the rest of the afternoon, Michael decided to visit his mother. It had been a while since they'd last seen each other, and he needed to discuss a few things with her.

    When Michael arrived at his former home, he hoped that no one was there besides his mother. He didn't feel like seeing his father because every time they spoke, the conversation usually didn't end well. 

    Joseph was always asking to borrow money for business ventures that never panned out, and Michael was tired of wasting his money. But despite Joseph's many shortcomings, Michael still loved his dad. He was just tired of wasting his money and had to put his foot down at some point. 

    As Michael entered the foyer, he took a deep breath and called. "Mother, are you home? 

    Walking at a leisurely pace out of the kitchen, Katherine spoke softly in return, "Michael baby... is that you?"

    Embracing her in a big hug, Michael smiled broadly. "Hi Mother, how are you?"

    Katherine shed a tear, "I'm fine, Michael. What a surprise!"

    "I know-- I'm sorry it's been such a long time. I've been away in South Africa for the last three weeks and was invited to Nelson Mandela's 80th birthday party." He explained. 

    "Wow, Michael! How was it?"

    "Oh, it was great. I hope to be filled with that much joy when I reach his age. He even has a girlfriend!" Michael chuckled before turning more serious. "Speaking of girlfriends... Do you think now is the right time for me to have one?" 

    Touching his arm lightly, Katherine felt Michael's conflict. She knew her son still loved his deceased wife but felt guilty about moving on. "I know you've been going through a hard time, son, but only you will know when the time is right."

    Holding his head down, Michael covered his face with his hands. "I know... And I still love Patricia, but I've also met someone new. Or well... I met her a long time ago, but our paths have just recently crossed again."

    Deciding to omit Leila being Married, Michael didn't go into much detail or the circumstances under which they met. He knew if he told his Mother that Leila was married, she would have given him a hard time due to her religious beliefs. 

    "You know... Patricia was a beautiful woman. I think she would want you to be happy."

   "Thanks, Mother. This is just so hard for me. I'm absolutely head over heels for Leila, but I also feel like I'm betraying Patrica." He sighed heavily. 

    "Leila? Is that her name... You should bring her to our family reunion. I'd love to meet her."

    "Oh, shoot! I almost forgot. I did promise to host it at Neverland, didn't I?"

    "Yes, Michael... you did."

A few months back, when Katherine rattled off locations for their family reunion, Michael had offered to host it even though he hadn't really thought the situation through. He didn't think at the time returning to Neverland would be so hard for him, but it was. 

    "OK... It's not a problem. I'm sorry, I forgot. I am pushing 40 years old, you know." 

    Rolling her eyes, Katherine let out a small chuckle. "Even though you're getting old, you'll always be my baby."

    "Thank you, Mother. I feel much better now. Well-- I'm gonna get going. I'm feeling severely jet-lagged and need some rest."

    After walking Michael to the door, Katherine placed her hands gingerly on his face. "Just remember to follow your heart, dear. It will never lead you astray.

    Kissing her on the cheek, he replied quietly. "Thank-you, Mother-- I'll try to."


***

    "Thanks for letting me get dressed here, Coco!" Leila beamed with excitement. 

    "No problem, Leila! You're going to be turning heads for sure-- that dress is smoking hot." Coco quipped. 

    Smiling to herself, Leila thought about the last time she saw Michael. They had gotten into a heated debate over which of his short films was the best. His favorite was 'Thriller,' of course, but she just absolutely adored 'Bad.' She had nothing against 'Thriller,' and thought it was great, but she loved the realness of 'Bad' more. 

    When Michael became upset over her choice, he gave her the silent treatment.

    Hugging him from behind, Leila nibbled softly on his ear. "Are you not speaking to me?"  

    Not being able to resist her any longer, Michael pinned her to the ground as he kissed her hungrily. "Leila-- baby, please." He spoke as if he was in physical pain.

    Knowing exactly what he meant, Leila touched his cheek. "No, Michael... We can't. I'm not ready yet."

     Tapping Leila on the shoulder, Coco shouted. "Earth to Leila!" When she noticed her staring off into space. 

    Snapping out of the sexy memory, Leila apologized. "Sorry Coco, can you zip up the back of my dress?"

    "Yeah-- this is definitely a 'come get me dress,'" Coco teased. "But unlike our good friend Zina, I won't pry." 

    Turning to face Coco, Leila spoke firmly. "Please don't tell her I was here tonight. The reason I didn't tell her I was going out with an old friend is that I knew you would respect my wishes and not ask me any questions."

    "Calm down, Leila! I haven't, and I won't... Just be safe." Coco smiled, giving her a tight hug. 

    "Thanks, Coco-- I will."

    [Honk Honk!] A car horn blared. When Leila approached the car, Michael bit down on his fist and muttered. "Why is she doing this to me?" 

    "Well, she did dress how you suggested." his brain taunted back mercilessly. 

    Leila was dressed classy but sexy for their date. She wore an all-black mid-length dress that hugged her curves delicately. The high slit on the side showed off just enough thigh but left something to the imagination. 

    Plopping down beside Michael, Leila kissed him on the cheek. "Hi, sweetie, you look handsome."

    "Hi, Leila, God! You look stunning. Where'd you get this dress?"

    "At the mall." She laughed. "What restaurant are we going to?"

    "Remember that Indian restaurant we ordered from called 'Chakra'? Since it was our first dinner together, I thought it would be fitting to go there."

    Running his finger along her thigh, he licked his lips. "Maybe we can have dessert at my place later? Or well... if you can."

    "Literally or figuratively, Mr. Jackson?" Leila spoke seductively. 

    "Be careful-- Remember what happened when you said that to me in 1984."

    "Hmm, let's just see what happens and take it from there." She whispered sexily in his ear. 

    Being taken aback by her tantalizing innuendo, his heart skipped a few beats. 

    "Sounds good to me." He replied huskily. 

When they arrived at 'Chakra,' Leila gasped.  

    "What if the paparazzi take pictures of us?"

     "Don't worry, Leila, Wayne, and Skip will cover us. I'd like to walk with you through the front door of the restaurant and not the back."

    Looking at Michael with a worried expression, she froze when Wayne opened the door. 

    "It's OK, Leila. Go! The longer we sit here, the more attention we'll bring to ourselves."

    Once they were safely inside their private room of the restaurant, Michael pulled her into his lap.     

    "God, I've missed you so much, Leila."

    "I've missed you too, Michael," she replied, hugging him tightly. 

    After their waiter brought out some appetizers, they took turns feeding each other. 

    "Mmm, Michael-- This is delicious!" Leila exclaimed as he placed a dumpling in her mouth. 

    "But not as delicious as you." He sweet-talked in return. 

    Dipping another dumpling in a green sauce, he placed it to Leila's lips, but she turned her face away. "Oh, I don't like that sauce. It's too spicy."

    Placing a tiny bit of the sauce on his fingers, he brought it to her lips. "You're missing out. Here, just try a little."

    When Leila sucked the sauce off of his finger, his stomach quivered. 

"Doesn't that taste good?" He spoke seductively. 

    "Mmm, baby... It does." She smiled sexily as she took his entire finger in her mouth, sucking it erotically."

    "Damn Leila, what are you trying to do to me?"

    "Nothing, you started this first, Mr. Jackson," She giggled. 

    After being at the restaurant for a couple of hours, Michael glanced at his watch and noticed that it was pushing 11:00 pm. "Leila, I think we better get going. I don't want Calvin upset with you."

    "Calvin is away for the weekend... So I was thinking that I could uh--"

    Cutting her off abruptly, he immediately scooped her up in his arms and made his way towards the door. 

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