Chapter 13

[My life will never be the same

Cause girl, you came and changed

The way I walk

The way I talk

I cannot explain 

these things I feel for you

But girl, you know it's true

Stay with me, fulfill my dreams

And I'll be all you'll need] Michael sang at the mixing board, as he awaited the arrival of a potential producer he had an interest in working with. 

     In the next few months or so, Michael wanted to start recording his next studio album. He had been tinkering around with the idea over the last few weeks and decided to start rounding up producers. 

    He wanted a fresh new sound for his album and to take it back to the beginning-- R&B. The album would be eclectic, but he really wanted to create a more soulful record. When he recorded HIStory, he was going through many injustices and needed to speak out on them. 

    As of right now, he was in love and wanted the album to reflect his current feelings, But at the same time, he was also angry and confused. He was in love with a married woman, hated her husband, and was still grieving over the loss of two people that meant the world to him. 

    Just the other night, Michael had another nightmare. He dreamed that Patricia was crying and calling him a traitor. When he tried to touch her, she vanished into thin air, and he awoke. 

    Lost in deep thought, Michael hadn't heard when the studio's door opened. 

    "Hello Mr. Jackson, I'm here for our meeting." A male's voice announced casually.

    Extending his hand. Michael greeted the producer. "Oh, hey! Treble-C, correct'?


    "The one and only." Treble-C laughed.


    "Nice to meet you, C! Is it alright if I call you that for short?"


    "You're the King of Pop. You can call me whatever you like."


   "OK-- cool. Well, today, I just want to work on some beats and melodies. I'm looking for a new sound, but at the same time, I wanna remain true to myself."


    "I heard that Mr. Jackson. Rest assured, I'm sure we can come up with something incredible."


    After a few hours of creating different sounds at the board, Michael's phone rang.   

    "Hey, sweetie, how are you?" He smiled. 

    "Missing you," Leila spoke sadly. "I just needed to hear your voice before your flight tomorrow."

    Feeling slightly embarrassed, Michael apologized to Calvin for the interruption. He would have taken the call in the lounge, but the reception in the room was horrible. 

    Noting the slight tremble in his voice, Leila asked Michael if she'd caught him at a bad time. "Baby, is everything Ok? Your voice sounds a little off."

    "Everything is fine, sweetie. I'm in the studio." He laughed shyly. 

    "Oh, God, Michael, I'm sorry. I just wanted to call you while Calvin was out of the house. I can call you back."

    Crossing over to the corner of the room. He spoke quietly. "It's OK... after my studio session, I have to head straight for the airport. There's to be a terrible storm, and my pilot suggested that I get going a bit earlier than planned."

    Leila frowned. "Please be safe. I hate flying through storms."

     "I can't stand it either, but hopefully we'll beat the storm. I'm glad you called, I doubt I would have had time to call you after my session."

     "Interesting... The two men in my life are in the studio."

     Michael paused. "Pardon?"

    "Oh right, I forgot to tell you-- Calvin is a music producer." Leila cringed. 

    "Wow! That is interesting-- and I hardly consider that jerk a man." Michael grimaced. 

    "Michael... Don't start." 

    "I'm not! You brought him up first."

Even though Michael tried his hardest to avoid the topic, there were times when he slipped. Here he was providing Leila with the love and emotional support that she needed, but yet they couldn't discuss the very person causing her pain. 

    Becoming a little irritated, Michael felt the need to cut their conversation short. He wasn't mad at Leila per-se. But he did have a schedule to keep and could feel his frustration rising over the topic at hand. 

    "Well, You'll have to tell me more later. I gotta get going. I'll call you as soon as I arrive in Seoul." 

    "Sounds good, Michael. Have a nice flight. I Lov--" 

    Stopping short, Leila cleared her throat. "I look forward to hearing from you soon."

    "So do I, Leila. Please take care of yourself."

After getting off the phone, Leila scolded herself. "It's too soon to tell him that girl! Get a grip!"

    Returning to the console, Michael and 'C' continued where they left off. After singing a little of the lyrics to 'Break of Dawn,' Michael smiled to himself and said, "I just finished writing that one not too long ago, it's very special to me. I want this song to have an old school vibe but with a modern sound."

   As 'C' punched a pattern into his classic 'Roland TR-808' machine, Michael started bobbing his head to the beat. "Great! I love it! But not for this song. The beat is too hard... But save it, we can use it for another track. It's a great groove, though."

    Saving the pattern to the machine, 'C' leaned back in his seat. "I can respect that... So, what type of sound were you thinking about for this track?"

    Michael closed his eyes. "I was thinking something more gentle. I want the listener to know that this woman has my heart."

    "I feel you, Mr. Jackson. She must be an exceptional lady."

    Being caught off guard by the comment, Michael let out a quiet chuckle as he thought about Leila. "Wow! I must have told on myself, huh? And Yeah, she is."

    'C' laughed boisterously. "Yeah, you did! Your entire demeanor changed when describing the sound you wanted."

    "Though I'm a bit embarrassed, I'm glad you picked up on that. It means you're a good producer," Michael replied sincerely. 

   Standing up abruptly, Michael gathered his things. "Sorry to just up and leave, but I have a flight to catch. Thanks so much for your time, but I still have a few more producers to meet with. I'll be in touch."

    'C' nodded. "OK, Mr. Jackson! Have a good flight."

    "Thanks, C! And by the way-- call me Michael."

    Dashing out of the studio, Michael quickly ran down the stairs to his SUV. He was already running late for his flight, and the storm was coming in sooner than forecast.

    Once inside the SUV, Michael's thoughts drifted back to his meeting with 'Treble-C.' While 'C' seemed nice enough, Michael felt a strange vibe coming from him. Sure-- for artistic reasons, he was impressed with 'C's ability to pick up on one's emotions. But on the other hand, there was an odd feeling that he just couldn't shake.

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