Chapter 24

    [Boom!] The front door blared, almost giving Leila a heart attack. "Michael baby, is that you? Is everything alright?" She called out, running into the living room.

Picking up a cup, Michael flung it across the room, causing Leila to crouch down in the corner. She began to tremble in fear, hugging her knees.

    Noticing that she was scared, Michael ran over to her. "I'm sorry, baby! I didn't see you when I came in. That wasn't meant towards you." He spoke gently while caressing her arm.

    "I'm sorry, Michael, I got scared. Calvin used throw dishes at me." She spoke somberly.

    "What? Are you serious? God, he's scum! Look-- I'm sorry, baby. I'm just so angry!" He sighed, lowering his head down before her.

Leila held Michael's face in her hands, lifting it towards hers. "Why, baby? What's going on?"

    "I had a man to man conversation with Calvin or shall I say-- a man to ass conversation. Please don't be mad at me, Leila, but I served him with the divorce and restraining order forms. I needed to do it personally."

    Leila exhaled deeply. "You know he's gonna be even more of a jerk now over what you did. He's very territorial. Why didn't you let our lawyer deliver the forms to him?"


    "As I told you, it's personal. I wanted to repay him for all of the shit he has done to you, Leila. Let me ask you a question... Do you still love him?"


    "Michael! What type of question is that? Of course, I don't!"


    "Are you sure? Because it seems like you're always trying to pacify your... Our situation with him."


    "I'm not Michael. I just don't want you getting into any trouble over me. Also, I mean, look at how this has made you behave... I've never seen you so angry."


    "I'm sorry, Leila-- I know that you're worried about me, but he hurt you. I need you to understand how much that shit was killing me inside—you crying to me over his abuse, me having to see the bruises on your body. I felt helpless when I wasn't allowed to confront him. To stand up for your honor."


    "Michael... Please remember my state of mind and situation at that time. I was still living with Calvin and under the influence of drugs. And yes, though I don't want you getting into trouble over me-- I never asked those things of you because I loved Calvin. It was for my protection. And yes-- at the time, I did still care for him. I was married to him for 14 years; how could I not?"


    "I love you, Leila."


    "I love you too, Michael."


    "I'll never do anything to hurt you, baby. Please don't be afraid of Calvin. I'd feel less of a man if you felt as though I couldn't protect you."


    "Michael-- I know that you can protect me. But I also know that Calvin is crazy. I'll still need to be extra careful. Did he sign the divorce forms?"


    "I think you already know the answer to that. No, he didn't. After he read them, we got into a heated exchange that turned somewhat physical. And don't worry-- if I wanted to beat his ass I could have, but I thought about you and being sued, so I chose not to."

    Wrapping her arms tenderly around Michael, she kissed his forehead. "Thank you, baby. Thank you for standing up for me. Now that we have talked about everything, I understand why you did what you did."

    Michael stroked her back up and down.

   "Thank you, Leila. I'm so happy that you understand where I'm coming from."

Straddling Michael's legs, Leila smiled.     "Please tell me that you made him cry like a little bitch."

    Michael roared with laughter. "He didn't cry in front of me, but I did hurt his feelings pretty bad. I'm sure he's at home crying right now. Also, he can't fight for shit."

    After the two had a good laugh, Michael picked Leila up and carried her to the bedroom. After the tiring day he had, he just wanted to cuddle her in his arms and get some rest.

    Now that the divorce papers had been served, Michael felt a bit more relieved even if Calvin didn't sign them. He knew that Leila was getting a divorce regardless, and they could finally move on with their lives together.


***


[Ring Ring] "Hello?" Leila answered the phone on the second ring. It was Zina on the line.

    "Leila! What is going on? Calvin just called here, ranting about you having an affair with Michael Jackson! As in 'The King of Pop' Michael Jackson. I think he has truly gone crazy! He had stopped calling a few weeks back when I threatened legal action against his ass for phone harassment."

    Leila chuckled nervously. "He's not going crazy, Zina, what he's telling you is true. Yes! I've been seeing, dating, having an affair, whatever you want to call it with thee 'Michael Jackson.' But please promise me you won't tell anyone."

    "Well, I'll be damned! How did you two meet?" Zina inquired in a state of shock.


     "In 1984. Um... Remember when we went to Miami for your birthday and I never showed up to the party?"


    "Yes, I remember. You told me you had to hurry back home because one of your cousins had become sick, and you needed to care for them."


    "I lied. There was no sick cousin. I was with Michael at his penthouse. I met him in the hotel lobby, and we spent the night together."


    "Girl! Stop playing games! You're probably just seeing some awesome impersonator." Zina laughed.

    "No, Z! Come on! After all I've been through with Calvin, I wouldn't play about this. After that night in 1984, I never saw Michael again. We recently reconnected some months ago at a toy store we both so happened to be shopping at. From there, we started spending more and more time together. He actually paid for my drug rehabilitation at the 'Betty Ford' clinic. I couldn't pay for that shit on my own!"

    Zina paused. "My God! So you really are dating Michael Jackson? I'm so sorry. I should have known that you wouldn't joke about something like this. It's just... Wow! That's amazing, Leila. How is he?"

    "He's Incredible in every way imaginable. God, I wish we would have met under different circumstances." Leila frowned.

    Hearing the sadness in her voice, Zina tried to cheer her up. "Aww... Well, you two are together now. So are you and Michael like a thing? An item?"

    "I guess you can say so. He's my boyfriend." Leila smiled. "He wants to marry me and start a family. He even took it upon himself to personally hand deliver my divorce forms to Calvin."

    "No way!" Zina exclaimed in disbelief.

    "Yes, way! I kept asking, or well, I told Michael not to confront Calvin a few months back. I was scared and still living with him, but Michael was really pissed about that. So now that I'm away from Calvin, Michael said, 'fuck it' and confronted him."

    "Wow! Who knew Michael Jackson was so gangsta!" Zina chuckled.

    "Girl! My baby is gangsta in most of his music videos... It's only natural for him to be that way in real life." Leila squealed. "But seriously, I can't begin to explain how great Michael is. The man confronted Calvin's crazy ass for me... That says a lot."

    "It sure does! So when do I get to meet him? I'm having a little get together next week. You should attend and bring Michael!"

    "Hmm... I'll run it past him. I'd love for you and Coco to meet him, but he's pretty private. I'm not sure he'd be down for that."

Looking at her watch, Zina gasped. "Well, it was nice catching up with you, girl. My date will be here any second now, so I have to run."

    "Ok, Z! Have fun on your date! Don't do anything I wouldn't do." Leila giggled.

    "Uh-huh Leila-- when we get the chance to talk again, I want to know what Michael is working with."

    "Byyyyeee Zina! Have fun on your date!"

    After getting off the phone, Leila laughed to herself. Ever since Michael's delivery of the divorce forms to Calvin, she started to feel lighter. It was if someone had cut the ball and chain she had been carrying around for years. She felt more free.

    When Michael returned home after attending business meetings all day, he found her singing and playing the new guitar he bought for her. After seeing Leila fawn over Tito's new guitar at his family reunion, he had to buy her the same one.

    Sitting down in front of her, Leila continued to strum the guitar while singing.

[Hello my love,

Before the sun rises, after it goes down,

I love ya, I love ya,

I say it over and over again,

I love ya, hey, hey, hey.

Relax your mind, we can be free together,

Take our time, even through the tears,

I'm staying right here, I'm waiting right here,Oh, we're going through some hard times, But it will be, alright.]

    After her mini-concert was over, Michael whistled and clapped loudly. "More More!

Leila blushed."God, you're so cute! Thank-you."

    "No problem, Leila, you're incredible. Hmm-- how would you like to play guitar on my new album?"

    "Uh-uh! While I appreciate that offer, I'd rather not. At least not right now, but I'll let you know, OK?"

Michael pouted. "I understand... No pressure. But you are simply amazing."

    "Thank you, Michael. Coming from you, that's a huge compliment."

    Taking a deep breath, Leila decided to ask Michael if he would be interested in attending Zina's party. Since they were technically a couple, she figured that he should probably meet her friends."


    "Can I ask you, something baby?"


    "Yes, Leila, go ahead. I told you... You can talk to me about anything."


    "Would you mind accompanying me to a gathering hosted by one of my best friends?"


    "Um-- when is it? I'll have to make sure that I'm free, but yeah, why not?"


    "Really, Michael?"


    "Yes, Leila! I can't wait to meet your friends. I have all sorts of questions I want to ask."


    "Michael! Stop-- you're just trying to be funny because your sisters kidnapped me at your family reunion."


    "And you willfully went with them! I was so hurt!" Michael frowned, placing his hand over his heart.

    "You know what... Nevermind." Leila rolled her eyes.

    Pulling Leila on top of him, he kissed her lips sweetly. "I'm just teasing sweetheart. I'll be on my best behavior."

    "Good! And thank you. Zina and Coco are good people. I think you'll like them. They've always been there for me." Leila smiled.

    "So when's the last time you've been on vacation?" Michael asked out of the blue.

    "Hmm... Probably 1984. Calvin didn't let me go anywhere. I was a prisoner."

    "Why am I not surprised? He's such a manipulative jerk! But anyway, here's the deal. I want to take you on vacation. Choose anywhere in the world you'd like to visit, and we'll go."

    "Japan! I want to visit Japan!" Leila blurted excitedly.


    "Alright-- Japan, it is!"


    "Michael! I was joking!"


    "No! Let's do it! That's the first place you called out, so that's where we'll go."


    "You know-- even though I was playing. I would love to visit there. I've seen pictures of the city 'Kyoto.' The cherry blossoms are so beautiful there."


    "Say no more. I'll talk to my agent and set up our trip after your friend's party."


     "Oh, baby... You're the best!" Leila cried as she showered Michael's lips repeatedly with quick sensual kisses.

"This is going to be a great vacation." Michael laughed while smacking her bottom lightly.

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