Chapter 16

    It had been two weeks since Calvin saw or heard from Leila. He tried calling her family several times but eventually gave up when they threatened legal action against him for harassment. 

    He was going crazy, not knowing where she was. "Argh! When I find her, I'm going to kill her. She better not be with another guy!" He shouted angrily. 

    Initially, Calvin thought about making a missing-persons report with the police but decided against it when Leila's mom told him that she was fine and to stay away from her. Leila's family never cared for Calvin too much, but per usual, Leila always found a way to rationalize his bad behavior to them. 

    Just before checking into the drug treatment facility, Leila made sure to tell her family and friends where she would be for the next 90 days. She didn't tell them the name of the facility since Michael was footing the bill for her to receive treatment at the 'Betty Ford' center. 

    It was one of the best, if not 'the' best drug rehabilitation center on the west coast. Surely Leila couldn't afford the cost of it on her own, so she decided it was best not to tell them all of the details. She wasn't ready to answer more questions than need be, and she most certainly was not prepared to explain her relationship with Michael. 

    Things were already complicated enough, and she didn't need any more unnecessary drama. 

    When Leila revealed to her family and friends that she had been using Heroin for the last five years, they were all taken aback. Leila was what medical professionals would call-- a 'High Functioning Addict.' She appeared to be fine from the outside, took care of her home, and was a great person to be around but became sick if she went more than 12 hours without the drug. 

   As Leila and Michael pulled up to the facility, he gave her hand a small squeeze. He could feel her tensing up, and the palm of her hand was sweaty. 

    "Everything is going to be OK, Leila. You'll be in good hands here. Betty Ford has some of the best Doctors and therapists in the world."

   Leila closed her eyes. "Yes, I know Michael-- I'm just nervous... That's all."

    "Don't be. I'll call and check on you every day, and I'll make sure to visit every chance I'm allowed unless I'm traveling."

   After Leila checked in, she and Michael said their temporary good-bye's. 

    "Be strong, Leila... You got this. I'll see you soon, OK? I'm so proud of you, baby."


    "Thank-you, Michael... See you soon, but please remember to call me."


    "Don't worry, sweetheart. I will."


With tears streaming down both their faces, they hugged and kissed each other once more before quickly turning away.


***

   After returning home, Michael threw himself into his work. He was already missing the hell out of Leila and felt as if his heart would burst at any second. But instead of wallowing away in sadness, he decided to channel his emotions into a song. 

[He gives a nervous smile, tries to understand her side

To show that he cares

She's consumed with everything that's been goin' on

She says

Whatever happens, don't let go of my hand. 

Everything will be alright, he assures her

But she doesn't hear a word that he says

Preoccupied, she's afraid

Afraid that what they're doing is not right

He doesn't know what to say, so he prays

Whatever, whatever, whatever

Whatever happens, don't let go of my hand

Whatever happens, don't let go of my hand.]

    Turning on his tape recorder, He beatboxed the percussion, melody, and a few of the lyrics simultaneously. After he was done composing the main parts of the song, he looked over what he'd written down. 

    Though the song wasn't wholly organic to him and Leila's situation, most of it could apply. But like most songs he wrote, some were completely autobiographical, some not, and some were a mixture of fiction and reality. 

    Deciding to push back when he would hire producers for his new album, Michael called up 'Treble C.' Since Leila was now in treatment, he didn't want to take on too many things just in case she needed him a bit more than planned. 

    

    "Hello C, this is Michael Jackson. I'm considering hiring you for a few mid-tempo songs that I have, but I'm putting my album on the backburner for a bit. In the meantime, please send me a few more demos of your work. The more, the better."


   "Thank you for considering me, Mr. Jackson. I'll be sending you some stuff soon. If there is anything else you require, please let me know. It's always been my dream to work with you. I think we could make some tough tunes together."


    "Oh wow-- thanks for your kind words 'C.' I'm always looking for new producers to work with, so just send in your demo's and I'll be in touch intermittently. Take care."

    After getting off the phone, Michael's thoughts returned to Leila. He didn't know what the future held for them, but he was for certain he wanted her to be apart of his life.

    Even though he was still feeling guilty about seeing someone new, he also didn't want to be alone for the rest of his life. He still loved Patricia immensely; he'd never stop loving her. What they shared was special, but deep down in his heart, he knew it was time to move on. 

    Getting up from the couch, Michael went into the kitchen. With Leila being in rehab, he began to think about his own problems. If Leila was getting clean, he felt as though maybe it was time for him to stop drinking finally. Sure, he failed many times before, but this time was different. 

    Removing all of his alcoholic beverages from the cabinet, he began pouring each down the drain. He knew quitting would be hard, but it was a challenge he was ready to take head-on. If he and Leila were going to be together, or at least he hoped they would be, then he wanted to give her the best of himself completely. 

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