Michael J. Jackson Forever

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 Bringing Sparkles To MJJForever (Part 1)

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Jenny
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Posts : 144
Join date : 2010-03-17
Age : 44
Location : New Zealand

PostSubject: Bringing Sparkles To MJJForever (Part 1)   July 7th 2010, 3:26 am

I am so tired of trying to update on MJ.com - it is sooooo slow. So I've moved my story here to make it a little easier to update.

*Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Thriller: Wanna Be Startin' Somethin') * ♪

The crowd roared and clamored to get closer. Its eyes were held in rapturous delight the minute he appeared. Each move, every gesture, even the slightest change in his facial expression produced a mass outpouring of emotion. A tidal wave of excitement bore its casualties as bodies were lifted out of the throng and delivered into the arms of waiting medics.

The notes, beats, melodies and rhythms were as visible to Michael as his tantalizing costumes and gravity-defying moves were to his audience. It seemed to him that he could reach out and touch the music with his hand.

He felt alive and free.

Michael paused at one point simply to take in the scene around him. Musician and dancer froze in anticipation of his next move. His pause was prolonged. He enjoyed teasing the audience in this way and it gave him an opportunity to look at them and feel their energy.

The crowd was thunderous and it hollered and growled with hunger. Spell-bound, it chanted his name over and over; Mi-chael, Mi-chael, Mi-chael…

And still he stayed perfectly still.

It was then that he looked up and first laid eyes on her. My god, she was beautiful!

Michael smiled and he wondered if his cyberspace girl would mind the next surprise he had in store.

ONE: You Give Me Fever Like I've Never Ever Known (Bad: The Way You Make Me Feel) ♪

I have been a fan of Michael’s since I was thirteen years old. I can pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with him during his music video “The Way You Make Me Feel”.

Boy, was he hot, but my schoolgirl crush was centred on his eyes, his smile and the curls that spiralled down his face (I was forever sketching his face into the back of my jotters, or tracing its outline onto the copious amounts of used computer paper my dad used to bring home from work). As I grew up, I noticed his beautiful hands too –especially when he tied tape around his fingertips emphasising every movement –absolutely mesmerising!

I graduated school and college and found myself in the job of my dreams in the big city. It was difficult finding new friends, at first. Sure, there were my workmates, but I never really felt like a city girl and deep down I wasn’t all that comfortable in their company. I was finding out just how lonely the big city could be for a small-town girl.

That was when I discovered Michael Jackson’s website. And, boy, did it reawaken all those old feelings again.

I met others who felt just like me about this superstar. And now, a grown woman, I began to focus on the parts to which, as a schoolgirl, I’d been completely blind –which is amazing really considering the infamous crotch-grabbing, gyrating, grind and thrust central to his whole performance.

I was well and truly hooked and this place was my new home. My one relief from a hard day’s work!

Two: It's aching! Make it feel alright (Off the Wall: Workin' Day and Night) ♪

Things were going crazy -again!

The house was full of people -again!

Everybody wanted a little piece of him -again!

Michael sighed as he walked around his own house. He’d left his manager, the lawyers, some agents and a couple of concert promoters ‘battling’ it out in his library, desperately trying to find some common ground. He was exhausted and had stopped listening. Oh God! He hated going on tour.

He walked past the den where his children were playing with the nanny. He paused at the door and smiled at the scene. Pots of paints, glue, paper, and crayons surrounded the children and each was intent upon their own creation: a collage, a colouring book, a mosaic of sticky paper and pipe cleaners, glitter and ribbon.

Another half-open door revealed a fashion editor, her assistant and a photographer pouring over sheets of negatives of photographs they’d taken earlier that day. Michael had enjoyed their company and the time spent outdoors chatting about the clothes they’d chosen for him and the state-of-the-art equipment they used. They were professionals, like him, dedicated to their own art. They paid attention to the finer details.

But Michael was tired now. He didn’t want to talk. He decided to venture outside and get some fresh air.

Being outside always inspired him to reflect upon the joys of life. His children, of course, his family, and his fans! They meant the world to him. But embarking upon another tour filled him with mixed emotions. He wasn’t young anymore and he’d always hated the idea of growing old. Going on tour filed him with dread. Was he really up to it?

Michael found a quiet spot, not far from the kitchen and sat down and looked out across the lake and the trees beyond. He tried to empty his mind of all the commotion and activity going on indoors. He knew he would have to go back, but not right now. He needed a few minutes just to think -to regain himself.

He’d written and recorded a new album, it was good – not perfect, nothing ever was, but he’d enjoyed the process: hours spent in the recording studio building layer upon layer of sounds, rhythms, melodies and beats. It had taken everything out of him. He desperately wanted the children to share the process with him and get to spend more time together. They loved watching Daddy and they’d never even seem him perform live. But after one too many spilt drinks in the studio and other interruptions he’d decided they were simply too young and, reluctantly, he’d had to say, ‘No more!’

But the creative process was over. It was out of his hands. Now the ‘business’ side of things kicked in –he had to sell his wares -and he hated it.

Michael turned his head when he heard voices coming from the kitchen behind him. Frank was talking to the chef and looking for some coffee and maybe a bite to eat. Michael knew he’d better get back to business.

‘You, okay, Mike?’ Frank asked as he helped himself to a pastry.

‘Fine, tired, but okay.’ Michael replied refusing as Frank offered to pour him some coffee.

Frank understood and knew this was hard for Michael. He had just emerged from the creative process. He was still raw with the exhaustion of writing and recording. And now Michael had to endure the onslaught and criticism.

‘The website’s looking great,’ Frank continued trying to change the subject. ‘The fans love it!’

Michael thought about this a moment. He hadn’t really given it much thought before. The record company had really taken control of that one insisting it was merely a ‘marketing’ tool. ‘A place we can sell your ware.’ they had told him. ‘Don’t worry about it, Michael. We’ve got a team of developers here. The place will look after itself!’

Michael pondered Frank’s comment a while longer, ‘Really? It’s good?’ Michael was surprised.

‘You should go see!’ Frank replied. ‘People are really beginning to talk about your comeback. They’re getting excited. Take a look!’

The rest of the day was spent signing contracts and discussing Michael’s work schedule over the coming months. The concert promoters finally left. ‘We are really excited about working with you Michael. The album is amazing and this is really gonna knock the wind outta them!’

Michael smiled, ‘Thanks guys, I’m looking forward to it, too. You’ve been really great.’

They shook hands. Frank was the last to leave. ‘Are you ready for the fight?’ Michael shook his head and smiled wearily.

‘I dunno, Frank. Life’s kinda different now. I’m different. The kids are amazing, Frank.’

‘I know, I know, Mike. We’re not gonna push it like Bad or anything. This is just to show who you are now, you know.’ Frank continued. ‘Your fans are different too, Mike, they’ve grown up with you. They don’t expect Thriller or Bad again. You’ve changed! You’re better. Stronger than before! Really. Get some sleep, Mike. They got you workin' day and night again!’ Frank smiled.

‘I’ll see you, Monday, Mike.’ They both hugged.

‘Thanks, Frank, I love you.’

Frank’s words had touched him. But, Michael suspected this tour would be the loneliest haul of his life.

THREE: I Can't Help But See You (Off the Wall: I Can't Help It) ♪

Michael closed the door and looked around. 'Alone, at last!' he sighed. The place was quiet now. The children were already in bed and it was getting dark outside. He decided to go up and put on his pyjamas and watch a movie. On his way past the library, he paused and decided to choose a DVD. He had all the latest releases and finally settled on an action adventure. He turned round and looked at his desk, one of his laptops was open and for some reason his movement had knocked off the screen saver. He looked at it as it lit up in the darkening room. The screen and keyboard glowed bright and he remembered what Frank had said about the website.

Settled on his bed, the movie already playing on the giant screen opposite, he opened up the laptop computer. He took a deep breath –he usually avoided going on the Internet as there was so much mean stuff all over the place. He went straight to his own website. 'Ugh!' he recoiled in horror as a multitude of different images of his own face immediately appeared on the index page. He realised they were avatars belonging to different people. He panned across the menu and scrolled through fans photos and some concert information. He was pleased it was all up-to-date and seeing the dates of his next concert, now published, actually made him feel quite excited. He disliked looking at images of himself but, aside from that, the web-designers had done a good job. It looked sharp and was user-friendly, on the whole.

He clicked into the forum and nearly choked on his tea.

"Hands up, if you'd like to see Michael wear his gold pants again for his next concert –hubba hubba ;-)"

Michael's jaw dropped. 'What's with the gold pants?' he gasped. And knowing he probably shouldn’t, he couldn’t resist having a look at what they were saying.



I was becoming an addict and after a long and tiring day at work, I just wanted to lose myself.

It was easy to join in the conversations on the forum feeling as passionate about our idol as they did, and in some ways I felt closer to them than I had ever really felt with my old friends – I mean they were good friends, but I never felt I could really talk about the depth of my feelings for this man.

Having straightened up my little apartment, which I loved because it was right in the centre of things, I would put on my favourite pyjamas, settle into my bed and maybe half-watch a movie. I opened up my laptop and signed in.

"Which of Michael's leading ladies do you most imagine yourself to be?"

"Look at this... I can't believe Michael is such an amazing tap dancer!"

"Hands up, if you'd like to see Michael wear his gold pants again for his next concert –hubba hubba ;-)"

This last topic caught my eye and I couldn’t resist looking further.

Inside, the thread provided a link to another site that showed some racy pictures of Michael wearing his gold pants and judging by the comments I read they were not for the faint-hearted. I typed my own comment.

"Should I or shouldn't I? This feels so bad and I don't think I could help it... even if I wanted to."

I added the confused smiley for good measure and then pondered my dilemma.


Michael was reading the comments as the poured in:

"Should I or shouldn't I? This feels so bad and I don't think I could help it... even if I wanted to."

Michael shrieked. 'Oh, girl – don't do it!' He covered his mouth with his hand. He hadn't seen the link, but he had a pretty good idea of what she might see if she went in.



No, I just couldn't do it. Not yet. I was a complete and utter newbie and I had to work my way up to it gradually. I mean, I knew it wasn't as if Michael Jackson would ever find out or anything like that, but I still felt uncomfortable going in at the deep end.

I spent the next few hours engrossed in other threads and chatting quite happily to other fans, but the 'gold pants' link was always at the back of my mind.

Finally, overcome with tiredness, I admitted defeat and decided to call it quits. I said goodnight to the three or four girls I'd been chatting to all evening. I stayed on a bit longer to see their goodnight messages appear and smiled idly to myself.

I was just about to leave when I noticed another message appear from somebody I'd never seen before.

"Night night, girl ;-)"

'Funny,' I thought, as I stared at the stranger's avatar. 'I've never seen that one before.'

Curious, I wandered into the strangers account. Nothing! It was completely blank and they'd only just joined up. Maybe they'd be back on tomorrow and I signed off and settled down to sleep.

FOUR: You gotta show ‘em that you're really not scared (Thriller: Beat It) ♪

Michael hadn't slept well that night. The coming months filled him with excitement and dread. He hadn't been 'on the road' for several years and a lot had changed in his life: he'd undergone a whole lot of soul-searching, experienced feelings of loss and emptiness as well as ecstasy and pure joy. And he felt like he'd put every last ounce of it into his writing and recording. He was still reeling. It all made him feel more vulnerable and he wondered if he really was prepared for the 'fight' as Frank had put it. 'You have to show them that you're really not scared...' he sang to himself and smiled.

The morning light was beginning to creep through the heavy curtains and as he stretched his arms he glanced at his laptop that was still perched on the bed. He'd enjoyed 'listening in' on his fans' conversations, even though he had felt like an intruder or spy. It was great to know they were getting excited about the concert. Their banter made him smile -he blushed and covered his face with his hands as he recalled some of the more racy comments. It was nice just to listen to normal conversations without feeling his presence made other people feel awkward or embarrassed. It was refreshing. He'd even created an account and posted a reply. He would definitely like to spend more time in there and he resolved to do just that.

He tried to spend as much time as he could with the children that day, but they wanted to play by the pool and he preferred not to spend too much time in the sun – so after being soaked to the skin, twice, he'd decided enough was enough. He finally managed to escape and dry off. On the way back, he grabbed his laptop and found a quiet spot in the shade by the kitchen. The children waved as they each took it in turns to somersault off the diving board into the pool. Michael smiled at the playful scene and thought what it would be like for the children once the show had hit the road. They'd get to see him perform of course which filled him with pride and happiness, but he'd be without them for such long periods. He tried to turn his mind to other things. He should empty his private inbox (family and close friends only) but there were over fifty new messages and he didn't feel like it. He caressed the keyboard upon which he'd written so many lyrics, but for now he wasn't in a creative mood, he was feeling curious: What were they talking about now?



I was feeling a little off-beat. Settling into the big city had been harder than I imagined it would be. I loved my new job and my new home, but still something was missing. I had contemplated going for a walk – I was right in the middle of everything – cinemas, theatres, restaurants galore, but I just wasn't in the mood. Instead I decided to go back online and chat. I was also keen to see who else was going to the same concert as me and maybe arrange to meet there. I was soon pouring out my heart about various aspects of my life, new job, crazy boss, apartment in the big city, bright lights and feeling a little lonely. As ever my buddies were quick to comfort and share their own news with me. I was so busy typing and refreshing the screen to keep apace of things that I didn't notice the stranger's avatar appear straight away.

"Hey girl, it's me again "

"Hey, I thought I recognised your avatar. You were on last night weren't you?"

"Sure was. Still finding my feet and not actually used to this kinda thing at all!"

"Aw don't worry! We'll look after you here. It's a very friendly forum -on the whole. So how long have you been a fan of Michael's?" I continued.

I had to wait a few minutes for the reply!

"Oh, for as long as I can remember really... My parents introduced me – years ago"

"Oh really! So they're fans as well? That’s cool!"

"Oh sure! They love MJ – they got all his records and everything!"

I noticed some of my buddies had disappeared into other threads by now, leaving me on my own with the stranger. 'Gee, thanks,' I thought.

FIVE: The City Winks a Sleepless Eye (Thriller: Human Nature) ♪

Michael stood in the middle of his large empty dance studio. Perfectly still, his black patent leather shoes gleamed in the semi-darkness. The music had finished and sweat was pouring down his face and his plain white shirt was drenched. His eyes were closed and he raised his face to the dim artificial light and drew in a long deep breath. His body was rigid but his arms hung loosely by his side. The silence was deafening. He could feel his heartbeat grow louder until its boom seemed to fill all the space around him. He let his fingers click the powerful beat and then let it travel up through his wrist, arm and shoulder until it seemed to stop dead in his chest. He opened his eyes and drew his arms above his head. He felt his voice well up in his stomach and push up through his chest and into his throat until he could suppress it no longer. The sound he made was full of longing and pain and loneliness.

He walked over to the corner of the studio, grabbed a towel and dried his face. He put on his beloved fedora hat and tried to lighten the mood with Sinatra's classic Let's Face the Music and Dance. He smiled and was tempted to dance as the old familiar tune and its scintillating rhythm filled his senses, but he also needed to talk and he hoped she'd be there. They’d gotten to know each other quite well over the last few weeks and he had tried to open up, too, without revealing his identity, of course.

She wasn't there. Or, at least, she didn't seem to have posted anything recently so he decided to leave her a private message.

"Hey Girl, it's me

"I hope life in the big city is getting better for you and the boss from hell isn't being too mean. Remember what Michael would say, 'If this town is just an apple then let me take a bite.' You shine, girl, and show 'em who you are ☺

"I just needed to come on and talk to someone and I was sad you were not here, girl ☹."

Michael continued to pour his heart out, trying hard not to reveal his identity. It was like therapy. For some strange reason he trusted this girl. He put all his faith in her. He told her things he’d never told anybody else. He wondered why to himself, but the beauty of the Internet was that she was just an avatar and she didn’t know who he really was.

"It's nice to get it all out! I like it on here - it's an escape for me. Anyway I have to go back and face the hoopla and hullabaloo of life.

"And remember, 'The city winks a sleepless eye!' I'm here for you too!

"See you soon, girl"

He looked at the last four words he had written and wondered.

SIX: I Must Be Dreaming, Can't Be Real (Invincible: Butterflies) ♪

I was literally bouncing off the walls with excitement. There were only days to go before the concert and I was counting every minute. The forum had gone into overdrive

"Describe what you’re going to wear!"

"The Golden Girls petition for a return of the GOLD PANTS!"

"Who’s meeting up with who?" I bumped into my buddy in this particular thread. We’d already established we were going to the same concert as each other, but what he was about to say was going to blow my mind.

"Hey girl, I’ve sent you a private message!"

"Okay"

I went into my account and read his message.

"Hey, remember I told you I know some of the roadies working on the tour? Well I think I can get the two of us backstage passes! Can you believe that? What do you say, girl?"

I stared at the screen in disbelief.

"Are you still there?"


I wasn’t sure what to think. My head was spinning. Was this guy for real?

It would be a pretty cruel trick to play on someone if he wasn’t serious. However, something told me he was telling the truth.

Without invading each other's privacy, I felt I had really got to know this guy. His comments and private messages were always heartfelt and sincere. He would change my mood with the flick of a switch. If I’d had a bad day at work, he made me laugh with his quick-witted jokes and silly messages. Other times, he made me feel sad as he described his feelings of loneliness despite hardly ever being alone. He sometimes talked about the way his children made him feel and that they were his one salvation in an otherwise chaotic world. He would quote from my favourite Michael Jackson songs and that always blew me away. He seemed to know exactly what to say and how to say it.

And I really wanted to meet him. What harm could there be in choosing a busy place to meet up – and, after all, nowhere could be busier than the Michael Jackson concert.

I looked at his question and realised he was still waiting for a reply.



What was happening to me?

Here I was: a grown woman, independent, married to my career, a city girl, strong, feisty… Ha! Who was I trying to kid? Hell, I’d scolded my best friend a few years ago for joining a dating agency. Think about what might happen! I’d told her. You can’t go around meeting strangers. Do you even read the newspapers?

Boy, would she have a field day!

I always played safe. I was conventional. Miss Sensible, they called me. I just didn’t do this type of thing.

But I couldn't suppress my excitement any longer 'And we’ve got backstage passes!' I turned the volume up on my laptop and bounced on my bed like a teenager.

"All I gotta say is that I must be dreaming, can't be real"

I sang along with Michael, feeling the butterflies flutter inside my belly.

SEVEN: Let the Madness in the Music Get To You (off the Wall: Off the Wall) ♪

Storm clouds gathered over the city and large droplets had begun to appear on the tiny balcony outside my apartment. ‘Not today,’ I sighed, ‘not today of all days.’ I’d arranged a few outfits on the bed – I needed to be comfortable as we’d be standing most of the day; cool, because no doubt things were going to get very hot; and a little sexy, this was a Michael Jackson concert after all –not to mention the fact that we were going back-stage and may even get a glimpse of the man himself. I finally settled on a pair of close-fitting denim jeans and my favourite black sequined sleeveless top. I wore my hair loose. My black bracelet of sparkly beads and my silver ballet-style shoes completed the look. I kept my make-up to a minimum: most of it was bound to come off anyway. I threw my phone and lip gloss into a tiny black backpack and took a final look at myself in the full-length mirror. I had never felt this excited before.

I was about to meet somebody who felt the same way as I did and we were going to see Michael Jackson!



I eventually found the ticket office, where we’d agreed to meet and I decided to queue right away so I could collect our backstage passes (I was to give our usernames as we’d agreed not to exchange any personal information until we actually met – forever Miss Sensible)

The place was a throng of excited faces; merchandise traders selling t-shirts, scarves, posters and other souvenirs; stern-looking officials, ushers and security guards wearing luminous yellow jackets rummaging through bags and checking tickets; ticket touts trying to dodge the beady eyes of police officers whilst still making their ‘goods’ as obvious as possible.

I kept my eyes open for my friend – he was going to wear his red ‘Beat It’ jacket apparently so he’d be easy to spot. However, by the time I reached the front of the queue I still couldn’t see him, or anyone wearing a red jacket for that matter.

I spoke to the girl behind the window and enquired about the backstage passes. I must admit I was feeling rather dubious about the whole thing –especially now that my friend still hadn’t shown up. She cast me a rather disparaging look. ‘Great,’ I thought, ‘this could be rather embarrassing.’ I’d given her our usernames and waited as she shuffled through a box on her desk. ‘Ah, yeah!’ she said, raising an eyebrow in surprise, ‘Here you are! Your pass! And there’s a note attached. Oh, and if you wait here, security will be with you in a moment.’

‘Security?’ I gasped.

I took the pass and read the note:

"Hey, girl – I am so sorry and so disappointed. Something has come up at work and I am needed in the office. PLEASE forgive me!!! Still, I’m glad you’ve got the pass. My friend, Andy (he managed to get it for me!) will look after you. Girl, don’t feel bad for me – I will get to see the show, for sure. But go ahead - ENJOY YOURSELF. I’ll be thinking of you and don’t forget to tell me all about it later! ;-)"

I was crushed. Here I was, holding a back-stage pass for a Michael Jackson concert and I actually felt disappointment that my buddy wasn’t going to be here to share the experience!



Everything from that moment on was a blur. The crowds of excited faces disappeared and were replaced by the more sober faces of frantic technicians and the sweating bodies of roadies anxiously making last minute preparations and final checks. Musicians tuned their instruments and practised a cacophony of chords and melodies. Dancers were stretching and helping each other make last minute fixes to costumes, hair and make-up. Many were deep in thought and seemed to be meditating as they prepared themselves. Everywhere was a hive of activity and busyness. I was led up a flight of stairs into what seemed to be some sort of control room. ‘Ready?’ Andy asked. I nodded, but was too stunned to actually speak. ‘Here you are, madam,’ he continued as he showed me my seat, ‘I’ll see you later.’ I gasped. ‘Thanks!’ and he disappeared. I could see everything from the sea of excited faces all gazing in the same direction to the technicians with their headphones and microphones and a dizzying array of control panels lit up before them. And to my right, perfectly close, the stage.



The crowd roared and clamoured to get closer, its eyes held in rapturous delight the minute he appeared. Each move, every gesture, the slightest change in his facial expression produced an outpouring of emotion. A tidal wave of excitement bore its casualties as bodies were lifted out of the throng and delivered into the arms of waiting medics. The notes, beats, melodies and rhythms were as visible to him as his tantalizing costumes and gravity-defying moves were to the audience. It seemed to him that he could reach out and touch the music with his hand. He felt alive and free.


He paused at one point simply to take in the scene around him. Musician and dancer froze in anticipation of his next move. His pause was prolonged. He enjoyed teasing the audience in this way and it gave him an opportunity to look at them and feel their energy. The crowd was thunderous and it hollered and growled with hunger. It shrieked his name over and over, Mi-chael, Mi-chael, Mi-chael

And still he stayed perfectly still.

It was then that he looked up and first laid eyes on her.

He smiled and wondered if his cyberspace girl would mind the next surprise he had in store.

EIGHT: Keep My Love For Her Locked Deep Inside (Off the Wall: She’s Out of My Life) ♪

’Miss!’ I was mesmerized. My head was spinning. It was everything I had imagined and more.

‘Miss! This way, please!’

I could not take my eyes off the stage and I could see every move he made, every wink at the girls on the front row, and every sparkle in those heavenly eyes. And I could have even sworn he’d looked up and smiled at me.

‘Miss, please! This way!'

I felt a hand grasp my shoulder.

Startled, I turned and noticed Andy was standing behind me. ‘Come on, we haven’t much time.’

Why on earth would he want to pull me away from the show? I wondered, but followed him back down stairs anyway. We walked back along the corridors lined with bundles of thick black wiring until the energy and excitement were palpable. I looked though the scaffolding partly lined with black cloth and to my utter amazement could see the frenzied face of every person on the front row. Then, I heard the unmistakable, smooth, protracted and dulcet opening chords of one of my most favourite songs.

‘Go on!’ Andy said, ‘He’s holding out his hand for you.’

Without thinking I walked out onto the stage oblivious to the roar of the crowd. I felt as though I had been submerged under water and Michael was my only source of air. I reached out and took his hand.

And then I felt his touch.

I was drowning until he suddenly and powerfully pulled me towards him and slipped his arm about my waist. I could feel his fingers caress my body whilst his eyes looked deep into mine



"She’s out of my life"

I inadvertently brushed his cheek and marveled at its softness. I slid my hand down his arm and felt every muscle tense and harden.

"She's out of my life"

He pulled me closer still and I could smell the sweetness of talc mixed with his sweat that was intoxicating.

"And I don’t know whether to laugh or cry."

His voice was like silk and I could feel the breath of every word land like kisses on my skin.

"I don't know whether to live or die."

His hand worked its way up my spine and he began to stroke my hair

"And it cuts like a knife."

He stared back at me with eyes so full of longing and despair I thought I would never ever let him go.

"She's out of my life."

He moved the microphone away from his lips and brought me in closer still until I could feel every part of him pressed firmly against me.

Then he kissed me.

NINE: How Does It Feel? (Blood On the Dance Floor: Stranger In Moscow) ♪

I was delirious, but as suddenly as the world had seemed to melt away it came back again with a jolt.

Inevitably, the song had to end and all to soon I felt the cold grasp of a stranger’s hand on my shoulder. Momentarily confused, I searched Michael’s eyes for an answer. He pulled me in again and whispered. ‘Hey, girl, don’t worry!’ And his large hands held me fast.

I could have drowned in those brown eyes. I tried to thank him, but I found myself speechless. He winked and I smiled back as I was led off stage.

He looked so forlorn and lonely as he gazed back in my direction that I felt compelled to run and put my arms around him again.

‘Don’t be silly, girl!’ I told myself as reality bit. ‘It’s all part of the show!’

And, suddenly, I was aware of the tumultuous crowd before him.



Through the hullabaloo he could see her, sipping champagne, and looking quite alone. If only he could just get this done with and go over there and talk. He found himself wishing the world would melt away, but photographers and news crews, celebrities and special guests, even his own staff loomed over him all clamouring for his attention.

Mr Jackson. Who is she? Mr Jackson, can you tell us anything about the girl you kissed on stage tonight. Is she your girlfriend?

Nobody seemed to realise, except him, that she was standing just a few feet away all by herself. He was polite and he smiled and posed and answered patiently and attentively. The perfect showman! But he avoided their questions. He didn’t know what to say.



I didn’t feel comfortable. He was perfectly gracious and kind, but the way people were pushing and shoving to get closer made me feel quite uneasy. He looked exhausted after his punishing performance and I could see that he was tired, despite the warmth of his smile. I caught his gaze at one point and was sure I could see weariness and a desperate longing to escape in his eyes. I felt an acute pain and suddenly, aware of the circus surrounding him and not wishing to prolong the spectacle, I turned and quietly slipped away.

It was raining quite heavily now, but I decided to walk a little further before I got the bus back into the city. I walked along the street only half-aware of the dispersing crowds of fans now making their own way home. It had been a fabulous evening: everything I had ever dreamed a Michael Jackson concert would be. And I had even been up there with him, though it didn’t seem real now. People were shouting and laughing and singing all his songs, but for some reason I felt empty and a little sad.
Suddenly, somebody yelled.

‘There he is!’

I watched as a cavalcade of limousines and police motorbikes sped through the scattering crowds of excited faces. It all seemed to happen in slow motion. I watched as the red taillights disappeared into the night, rubbed my arms for warmth and carried on walking.



Michael usually felt low after a show. The natural high that performing to tens of thousands of people combined with sheer exhaustion often left him feeling disappointed. He would usually vent his frustration with his manager and dissect each tiny imperfection: a missed beat; an unexpected pause; a technical glitch. Not tonight. Tonight he thought about her, his cyberspace girl who had crash landed into his life and sent his head spinning. And he had kissed her. What was he thinking?



The cold morning sun created long shadows in the municipal park outside his hotel. He enjoyed watching and sketching the figures he could see going about their everyday affairs: a jogger, a casual stroller, somebody walking the dog. His attention was drawn towards a young couple. He assumed they were a new couple as they smiled at each other playfully and he grabbed her hand rather clumsily. She looked embarrassed but was smiling back at him and took hold of his hand anyway. Frank entered the room. ‘How ya doin’, Mike?’ he inquired. ‘Okay,’ Michael lied. The truth was he hated touring. Apart from being on stage he felt the whole thing was soulless. His staff were nice to him and they made all kinds of things possible, but there was no escaping the relationship was just that - employer and employee.

And wasn’t so much of his life like that? He was smuggled from plane, to car, to hotel, to arena and back again and then they did the same thing all over again the next day. Sometimes he just wanted to scream and get the hell out. But how could he? He had promises to keep.

There was no escape.

The couple in the park had now settled themselves on a bench and appeared to be keeping each other warm.

And how could he tell the girl the truth? How could he ask her on a date? The whole idea was ridiculous. She’d be hunted down and tormented. All her privacy gone in an instant! What kind of life could he offer her -a life like his? The idea made him hiss. The simple fact of the matter was that he couldn’t ask her at all.

He looked at Frank who was busy talking on his phone.

He turned back to look at the couple in the park who had begun kissing each other passionately.



TEN: I Had To Let You Go (Invincible: Don’t Walk Away) ♪

‘So did he turn up, then?’

‘Who?’ I enquired, absent-mindedly.

‘Your mystery friend! I thought you said you were meeting up with someone to go to the Michael Jackson concert.’

I’d forgotten I’d told Natalie actually, having been so used to keeping quiet about anything to do with it. The office could be quite cruel about stuff and some of the banter just put me off saying too much. Natalie seemed like fun, but the office could be so stifling at times, it was hard to open up. The walls had ears.

‘Oh! No, he didn’t, actually!’

‘Really?’ she pursued. ‘So you went alone? Well that’s charming isn’t it!’

She seemed to lose interest after that and turned back to her photocopying.

I hadn’t really given it much thought over the last week or so. I’d been online a few times hoping he’d be there, but he never was. It was all a bit strange really – why would he provide me with a backstage pass, not turn up and then not even bother to ask how the evening had gone? And thinking things through, I had so much to tell him, too. I mean it had turned out to be one of the most extraordinary evenings of my life. I had to tell someone about it. Keeping it hidden all day, everyday, was infuriating. And I really missed our conversations – and nobody in this place was going to fill that hole.

My curiosity was getting the better of me and, although I knew I shouldn’t do it at work, I decided to sneak in and have a look at the forum. Nothing was doing, just a few threads about the concert and some impromptu album signing somewhere, but no sign of my friend.

I had a look in my account and was surprised to see he’d already left a message.

"Hey Girl, it’s me"

"I was sad I didn’t get to meet you. Let me know what happened.

"Your buddy : )"

I breathed a sigh of relief. So he hadn’t dropped off the face of the planet or forgotten about me after all. I looked at his words a little longer. Boy was I looking forward to telling him what the surprise was.

‘WHAT are you looking at?’ a familiar voice, barked.

I turned round and sure enough there he was: Mr John-headache-from-hell-McEnroe. ‘Oh, nothing, Mr. M… I mean Jones… D-do you want these reports now or shall I leave them on your desk?’



The traffic was worse than usual that evening. And as I carried on walking home I noticed that something quite unusual was going on. People were walking in their droves all in the same direction. Was it a power cut? Was public transport down, again?

‘What’s going on?’ I asked a police officer who was trying to direct the crowds.

‘Girl, only Michael Jackson! He’s signing copies of his album at the record store over there.’

‘What? For real?’ He laughed at my response.

‘He’s been in there for over two hours already – where’ve you been?’

And he carried on ushering the crowd forward. I was rooted to the spot.

‘Look, girl! I shouldn’t do this – but if you sneak in over there, you’ll see my mate Harry – tell him Jim sent you over...and… well I’m not promising anything but…Go now, Girl! You’re not going to get a glimpse standing there are you?’

I stumbled and looked at him in disbelief.

‘Th..thanks!’ I stammered, incredulous at his generosity.

I ran over to where Harry was standing. He was guarding a side entrance to the building and I could see several black SUVs parked down a narrow side street. There were no pedestrians here as the whole area had been cordoned off. I cleared my throat and began to speak.

‘Er, Harry?’

‘How did you get here, Madam? And how do you know my name?’

‘Well, er, Jim sent me over to you… he said you may be able to get me in?’

Harry looked at me and his frown softened a little. He looked back at Jim who gave him a thumbs up.

‘Okay. Through here! There’s a shorter queue of people who have been separated from the main crowd – join the end of the queue. Hey - act natural!’

He winked and opened the door for me. I could not believe it. I thanked him as best I could, being totally speechless and all and headed through to join the queue.

Phew! Twice in one week, now that's a fluke.

Christmas shopping was never as frantic as this. People were everywhere I looked: some craning their necks trying to get a glimpse from the tail ends of queues; bodies hanging over the sides of escalators which had been stopped; store security exchanging information over walkie talkies; entertainment broadcasters making live presentations dotted around the store; photographers edging their way forwards and being gently pushed back by men in black suits and shades whom I assumed to be private body-guards.

The noise was like that of a busy airport or train station. The sound of excitable chatter filled the air and was broken only by the desperate screams of waiting fans, ‘MI-KAAAAAL, MI-KAAAAAL!’ Huge cheers would follow these solitary outbursts of raw emotion. Presumably they had set up live television screens in various locations inside and outside as I could hear spontaneous eruptions of jubilation every few minutes.

As I walked forwards I could see huge spotlights that cast a brilliant light on a giant backdrop of enlarged album covers on each of which his face stared out, seducing a crowd already so full of anticipation and excitement. It seemed strange to think that only days ago I had been in the arms of this man on a stage in front of tens of thousands of people.

I began to wonder if he might recognise me. In your dreams, I said, almost aloud.

The queue slowly moved forward and I began to see the urgent activity of people surrounding the star. Someone was shouting, ‘Please remove the insert from your CD box so we can speed things up here!’ I panicked. I had nothing for him to sign. In desperation I rummaged through my handbag and could only find my pocket address book. It would have to do!



Michael was exhausted. He loved meeting fans face to face like this but he questioned the record company’s timing; he was in the middle of a tour! Still it was always fun and his fans never let him down. He was in awe at the lengths some people had gone to show their support. Tattoos of his face or name in the most intimate of places; fabulous jackets, some bearing his image, others lovingly bejewelled in Swarovski crystals or glittering sequins; amazing, brightly-coloured paintings of himself some of which were presented as gifts; children dressed up in customised outfits depicting one of his numerous signature looks; teddies, cards, bouquets of flowers, jewellery, letters…

Their generosity was overwhelming and surprised him all the time. It was frustrating not to be able to chat for longer, but the military precision of the event allowed no room for any kind of real conversation. Occasionally, he would simply rebel and get up to try and console an upset fan with a huge bear-hug or offer words of comfort. Often he would take contact details so he could thank fans properly for their breath-taking acts of kindness. They were truly his constant source of inspiration and what spurred him on.

He loved them all.

But he was getting tired now and the room had begun to blur around the edges. He tried to keep himself awake by focusing on the music, his own album, and he mouthed the words and bopped to the beat as he signed his gazillionth album cover. He shared jokes with his aide and shrieked with laughter every time someone asked to marry him: he loved all the fun and games. He realised that every time he bopped or moved to the beat a huge cheer would erupt from outside, ‘How can they see me?’ he asked his aide, ‘Oh, there’s a camera just there, Mike.’ And he would do some more straight into the camera to the jubilation of those outside. He was now enjoying himself and had forgotten all about the stress of touring and his tiredness.

He soaked in the atmosphere and looked around the room to see if the queue was getting any shorter.

When he saw her he stopped smiling, totally dumbfounded.



The chatter was only broken by the heart-breaking sobs of a young girl who was led away by a flurry of shop-workers. She was still yelling his name through her tears and I could see Michael was visibly shaken by the event. I could see his eyes mist over as he looked towards the distressed teenager and he whispered a few words to his aide who was sent to check that she was okay.

I wondered how he could possibly cope with such an emotional rollercoaster of events every working day of his life. He carried on signing covers and I was now very close to the front. I couldn’t take my eyes off him and I began to think about what I could possibly say. The queue was moving at quite a pace now and I could tell we were being shepherded along more quickly than before. He’d already been here for several hours and they were now preventing more people from joining the queue much to the noisy protests I could hear beginning to erupt elsewhere in the store.

Suddenly, I felt someone grab my arm and place me in front of him.



I felt my knees begin to buckle and I swallowed hard.

‘I’m sorry I don’t have an album, please could you sign this instead?’

I felt such a fool as I handed him my address book. My address book! What had I been thinking? I noticed his lip curl slightly as he looked back at me. I had to say something.

‘Michael, thank you for an amazing show the other night and for inviting me up on stage with you…’

I looked at him searchingly hoping he’d recognise me. Did he recognise me? He carried on writing, but glanced up at me occasionally.

‘Would you like me to sign a copy of the album?’ he asked.

‘I’m so sorry, I don’t have it with me.’

This was not going well. He turned and whispered to his aide who produced a copy of the album.

‘Oh! Thank you. That is so kind’ I gabbled.

‘Thank you,’ he replied, ‘I was sorry you left in such a hurry.’

‘Sorry?’ I queried.

‘After the concert’ he continued. ‘You left without saying hello.’

‘Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude…’

‘It’s okay!’ he smiled, ‘People were very curious about you afterwards. I mean, I don’t usually…’ This time it was Michael’s turn to blush. I suddenly felt very conscious of all the people listening in.

He signed his name and handed the album over to me.

‘Thank you very much. It was lovely to meet you…again!’

My face was burning as I turned to leave.

"Hey, girl!’ he called.

I turned back to see he was now standing.

‘Don’t forget your address book!’

‘Oh! Thank you!’ I stammered and reached out for the book. Our fingers brushed together and for that moment, when I looked into his eyes, the whole world seemed to disappear again.

ELEVEN: I Can See it in Your Eyes (Invincible: Break of Dawn) ♪

He lay on the large strange bed staring at the ornately decorated ceiling.

He couldn’t sleep, again.

The tour was now well underway, but he couldn’t for the life of him remember which city he was in. He didn’t even try to guess. All he knew was that he was far away from home and far away from his children. He could hear the occasional, ‘Michael, we love you!’ from the street below his room.



He smiled. His guardian angels were still there supporting him. He’d sent down pillows and blankets because he knew they would probably stay there all night ready to see him again in the morning. He would get up early, before it got busy and go and see them. He loved their constant support. They were his companions. The only ones really looking out for him!

It was like that on the forum too. They readily discussed every aspect of his performance in detail and he loved the fact that they put forward their honest opinions about such things as the set list or the lighting or the costumes he’d chosen.

Their enthusiasm spurred him on and he felt like he was amongst friends. Not like the media who just looked to bring him down; not like his own management team for whom almost every decision was motivated by business interests; not even like his aides and confidants who, after all, were colleagues, employees. He trusted them and he loved them, but they were only doing or saying what they thought he would want to hear.

No. His fans were something else. It was their opinion he valued above all else. And he read their comments and participated in their discussions (anonymously, of course) with pure joy in his heart.

And, of course, there was his cyberspace girl! She wasn’t just an avatar or a user-name anymore!

He couldn’t stop thinking about her and he hoped she’d find his phone number in her address book very soon.



I couldn’t stop thinking about Michael Jackson.

He’d kissed me. But was it just part of the act? And when they’d met again, I’d definitely felt something again. But didn’t every fan feel exactly the way?

I tried to explain everything to my buddy on the forum.

"You’re kidding me? You asked him to sign your address book? What did he write?"

In all my excitement I had forgotten to look. Honestly I could be so dizzy at times.

"Hang on…"

I grabbed my bag and rummaged around for the book. I opened the cover and promptly fell off my bed.

"Call Me! Love Michael x"



Michael sat alone in the completely darkened room and his eyes sparkled as he gazed intently at the screen before him. His hand felt for his phone and he looked quickly to check it was on. Would she call? He smiled and tried to imagine what she might be doing now. Had she found where he’d written his number? Was she about to call him? He looked again at the phone on the table and then began to type in frustration:

"Well? What does it say, girl? Don’t keep me in suspense."

"It says to call him!"

He giggled. He knew this was the mischief-maker in him, but he couldn’t resist playing with her:

"What? He asked you to call him?"

"Yes!"

"Well what are you waiting for? Do it, girl!"

"What? I can’t just call Michael Jackson. He might be sleeping."

He laughed aloud. She was sweet. He composed himself and tried to think what to write next. He realised he was being a little pushy now, but he was desperate to hear her voice again.

"He asked you to call him. If he’s asleep the phone will be switched off. You won’t disturb him."

"But I don’t have his number!"

LOL you gave him your address book, girl! CALL HIM!

He still didn’t want to reveal himself, but this girl was slow off the mark and needed some directing. She didn’t reply straight away.



I was still in shock, I think, and my hand shook as I fingered the letters down the edge of my address book. ‘J,’ I said aloud and slowly opened the page.

"There it was! His name and number. In my address book!"

I covered my mouth with my hand and tried to swallow. I blinked and looked back at the screen. My buddy was still waiting for a response.

"It’s there! His number is in my book."

"Well do it, now! Carpe diem, girl! Lol"

He was right. I just had to do it! I’d be a complete and utter fool if I didn’t seize the moment right now!

I picked up my phone and began to key in the numbers. I tried to type with one hand at the same time.

"I’m doing it. I’m calling him. OMG! Help me!"

But there was no need to panic.

‘Girl, I have been waiting for your call!’

I was immediately soothed and my anxiety transported away. I simply wanted to listen to his voice: deeper than I had expected but full of the familiar softness and accent I knew only too well. Every utterance seemed to course through my body as I sunk deeper into my pillow.

I just wanted to listen to him speak. His excitement was like music and we were soon talking like old friends laughing and gasping at each other’s stories and dreams.

He made me delight once again in my travels around Europe: stumbling upon a hidden amphitheatre off the backstreets of Paris, marvelling at the tactile architecture of Gaudi in Barcelona; strolling around the old streets of Prague and casually wandering into beautiful buildings and discovering the most wonderful orchestras or quartets happily playing to anyone who cared to listen; venturing into a museum of erotica in Copenhagen…



‘Pardon!’ Michael interjected, ‘You visited what kind of museum?’

I giggled at his embarrassment and explained that it was all about the history of erotica and was full of beautiful paintings and sculptures and photographs.

He listened to all my little stories and then spoke about his own travels. He’d seen the most wonderful places, palaces and castles, met with Kings and Presidents, Emperors and Prime Ministers, but how he just longed to discover things for himself.

He dreamed of walking through a park early in the morning just to watch the sunrise, or to wander around a city and discover its hidden gems without the prying eyes and telescopic lenses that followed him everywhere he went and which watched every move he made. He loved to just watch people going about their everyday business completely uninterrupted and fantasized about walking down a street unnoticed.

We spoke like giddy teenagers for hours and although we felt tired and relaxed neither of us wanted to say goodbye.

He sang, playfully, little tunes that just popped into his head and I wondered what they were.

‘Oh just an old song from the old days, the Jacksons…or the Jackson 5, I don’t remember which!’ he mused absent-mindedly.

I confessed to not knowing much about the Jacksons and he said he’d make me a tape.

I felt as though he was whispering sweet nothings into my ear and I was completely smitten.

From feeling like old friends at the start of the call I now felt like we were lovers completely lost in our little dream world.

I barely noticed the sun creep through the curtains and gasped. ‘It’s morning, Michael!’ Unperturbed Michael began to sing again.

‘I don’t want the sun to shine I wanna make love. Just this magic in your eyes and in my heart. I don’t know what I’m gonna do I can’t stop lovin’ you. I won’t stop ‘til break of dawn makin’ love.’

This time it was my turn to blush.

‘Visit me!’ he urged, ‘Come here and visit me! I’m here til the end of the week and I only have two shows in that time… It'll be fun!’ he continued.

‘Pardon?’ I hesitated.

My head was spinning again and suddenly I was quite awake.

TWELVE: You don't have to worry 'cause I'm coming! (Got To Be There: I Wanna Be Where You Are) ♪

‘Miss?’

I started and turned to see a friendly face.

‘Miss, I’m Michael’s driver. I thought you might be his guest, no one else around here fits the description.’

He had a broad Cockney accent and a huge smile and he was holding a card on which my name was printed. ‘Yep, that’s me.’ I smiled back.

‘Hello, my name’s Tom, pleased to meet you!’ he shook my hand. ‘Follow me!’

Tom picked up my bags and led me out of the airport to an SUV parked outside the main doors.

‘Pretty small airport, eh?’ he grinned, ‘Wasn’t difficult to spot you, Miss!’

‘I know, quite a contrast to the one I departed from!’ I replied, ‘Where’s Michael staying, here?’

‘Oh you will love it! It’s outside of the main city, quite close to the old town. He’s only gone and hired a large castle by a lake, Miss! We’re all staying there: dancers, musicians, technicians, personal staff. The lot of us! Some of his friends and family have visited in the last week and his children are coming later this week.

‘Makes a nice change from the usual hotel we’re put in. Don’t get me wrong, we get spoilt rotten, but this is really something else.’

‘Wow! It sounds idyllic.’ I replied.

He put my luggage in the back. ‘So have you been Michael’s driver for long, Tom?’ I continued.

‘Nah! Only for the tour!’ he replied, ‘It’s been great though – I’ve got to know him quite well over the last few months.

‘He is a private person pretty much, but he treats us all really nice. Tells me where he wants to go and I take him. He loves traveling around these parts – sometimes he flies or takes the train and we just make sure his vehicles get to where he needs them.

‘Then of course we get him to and from the venues each night and stuff. But this week has been a lot more relaxed, you know. He only has two shows, so he’s trying to do a bit of sightseeing where he can –it’s not easy though. He gets swamped everywhere he goes, he does.

‘And God knows, he needs to let his hair down though. It’s been a pretty tough schedule up till now.

‘The man’s a genius getting up there and giving it everything each night.

‘And I’ve seen every show to date, Miss! Have you seen it yet?’

‘Yes! It was incredible!’ I replied.

I was trying to listen to everything he said, but my mind was in such a spin I couldn’t take it all in.

Tom was lovely, but I was so nervous about meeting Michael I didn’t really know what to say.

‘I’m sorry Miss! Don’t mind me, I could talk for England, the missus always tells me. We’ll be there in about 30 minutes. You get some shut-eye.’

It was impossible to sleep. I tried to relax, but I was far too excited. Instead, I settled back into the comfortable seat and gazed out of the window. The small airport soon disappeared from view and was replaced by gently rolling hills covered in a patchwork of greens and yellows dotted with animals and small forests here and there. The sun was beginning to set and it cast the most beautiful golden glow around the clouds that hung majestically in the darkening sky. We turned onto a country lane full of twists and turns and overshadowed by great old gnarled oak and sycamore trees.

Eventually we came to a small town, which I could tell was quite medieval.

‘Thirteenth Century many of these old buildings, here, Miss!’ Tom piped up. ‘An old fortress town would you Adam and Eve?’

‘Sorry?’ I asked.

‘Adam and Eve –believe! Sorry, Miss.’ He laughed heartily. ‘Michael’s always asking me about Cockney rhyming slang. He loves it. I use it all the time without thinking.’

I laughed aloud as I tried to imagine Michael speaking with a Cockney accent. Tom smiled in the rear view mirror. ‘Here we are, Miss! You’ll see the castle just round this bend!’



The castle stood proud against the most spectacular sunset I had ever seen. Its turrets and towers silhouetted against thick lines of gold, crimson and pink. I held my breath as I tried to take in the magnificence of the scene before me. Behind the castle a lake sparkled in the evening sun and a shadowy forest lay beyond.

The car slowly rolled over the gravel forecourt and Tom parked alongside a fleet of other SUVs. A large tour bus was parked further away from the castle. My shock must have amused Tom, as he smiled when he opened the door for me.

‘Not bad, eh?’ he chirped.

‘I’ll say. This is unbelievable!’ I really was lost for words.

‘I know!’ Tom continued, ‘we’ll be sorry to leave this place. It’s been a kind of holiday for all of us – a sanctuary. Come on, Miss, leave your bags to me and we’ll find Mike. He’ll want to show you around.’



Michael stood by the edge of the lake marvelling at the colours in the sky. He was sure he had never seen such deep reds and pinks. It was a sight to behold.

His thoughts turned to his guest and he wondered if she was here yet. He set off towards the front of the castle to find out.

He smiled when he saw her. ‘Hello, stranger!’ he called as he approached her, ‘Tom got you here safe and sound I see.’

‘Safe as houses!’ said Tom, ‘I’ll take the bags in. Do you need me again this evening, Mike?’

‘No, Tom, take the rest of the evening off and go and enjoy yourself. I’m not planning on going anywhere in the morning either, so have a lie in.’

‘Excellent!’ said Tom rubbing his hands together, ‘I’m meeting some of the others in town for a pint. Dos cervezas, por favor? How’s my accent?’

‘Terrible, Tom, stick to the Cockney,’ laughed Michael.

‘Adios, Michael! Have fun, Miss!’ Tom called as he disappeared into the castle.

‘Bye, Tom! And thanks for the lesson in rhyming slang!’ I called over.

Michael raised his brow. ‘So, he’s been teaching you already, huh?’

‘You'd better Adam and Eve it!’

They both laughed and walked towards the lake.

Her face reflected the colour of the sunset and her smiling eyes sparkled like the lake. She broke his gaze and surveyed her surroundings.

‘Michael, this is stunning. Thank you for inviting me here. I feel very lucky.’ Michael smiled.

‘I’m glad you could come. It’s nice to see you again – in a slightly quieter environment.’

They smiled at each other.

‘Come on!’ he said softly, ‘Let’s watch the sunset until it disappears. Honestly, this place has never looked as beautiful as it does this evening.’

And he was pleased she was here to share it with him.

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