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 Bringing Sparkles (Part 2)

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Join date : 2010-03-17
Age : 45
Location : New Zealand

Bringing Sparkles (Part 2) Empty
PostSubject: Bringing Sparkles (Part 2)   Bringing Sparkles (Part 2) EmptyJuly 7th 2010, 3:33 am


She tried to finish the poem but failed miserably. The words on the page blurred and then disappeared all together. Now Michael was the poet and her body and her mind the blank page waiting to be filled. His fingers pressed into her flesh, heavy and obstinate like nouns. His large hands held her fast controlling the rhythm and form of her body, not letting any part of her escape his notice. His kisses swept over her like playful verbs teasing and dancing. He whispered sweet nothings that landed on her skin like butterflies and filled her head full of imagery that sent her mind spinning. Like a deep-sea diver he swam in her ocean searching for that elusive pearl. He found it overflowing and lustrous bright and he emerged triumphant gasping for air. But seeing her tremble and reel with exhaustion he immediately covered her with his warmth and love and he held her body close to his with a vice-like grip.

ONE: Upside down, boy you turn me (Upside Down, Diana Ross: Motown 50) ♬

Courtly lovers, servants and hunters were dressed in the most flamboyant costumes of deep burgundy, blood red and regal blue. Greyhounds stood obediently at their masters’ heel whilst wild white horses had to be restrained by men bearing spears. Nobody flinched. They stood quite still before the most magnificent fortress: a walled city of turrets and towers adorned with flags and colourful banners. Rolling hills, vines laden with fruit and a Mediterranean blue sky framed the perfect scene. I blinked, suddenly aware of what I was looking at: a tapestry that covered the entire wall beside my bed. I sat upright and tried to familiarise myself with my strange environment. The room was full of the most exquisite furniture. The windows were completely hidden behind the heaviest drapes of rich red fabric. The walls were covered in a dizzying array of paintings and tapestries of different eras. I looked back at the one beside my bed and wondered if the walled city was the same one I’d passed through yesterday.

And then it dawned on me. This wasn’t any old castle. This was his castle –at least for this week anyway. And I was his guest. I shot out of bed and went to look out of the window. I threw back the drapes and gasped. I had the most stunning view of the lake reflecting the morning sun and blue sky. To the right and just visible over the treetops I could just see the towers and turrets of the old town. It was most definitely the town depicted in my tapestry.

After a leisurely breakfast with Tom, Andy and some of the roadies, I decided to explore the castle. During our stroll around the grounds the previous evening I’d discovered Michael was an encyclopaedia of information. He was fascinated by wars and conquests and this place was steeped in a tradition of battles and siege. He told me that part of the reason for hiring the castle was to give his staff a much needed break, but it was also partly selfish as he’d always wanted to do some sight-seeing in this particular region and his tour had provided the perfect opportunity. He’d traveled here by train and devoured all the history books he could find. I was impressed by his knowledge of the castle’s inhabitants over the centuries many of whom had met with a particularly bloody or dismal death. He pointed out which parts of the castle had been built in the twelfth century and which parts had been added later. I couldn’t wait to explore it this morning and as Michael normally breakfasted by himself, I had some time to kill.

The place was a catacomb of corridors and hidden staircases filled with old suits of armour and dusty oil paintings depicting men of war at various stages of their conquests. Some stood proud in military regalia surveying their hard-won land, others were victorious as they thrust swords into the dying bodies of their defeated enemies. Others were mounted upon absurdly huge wild-eyed horses. I walked through rooms filled with the spoils of war and riches successive generations had acquired. They were beautifully preserved and everywhere was evidence of more recent additions. I entered a library filled floor to ceiling with shelves of red and green leather-bound volumes. This in turn led to a drawing room and beyond another sitting room that seemed to lead out to the garden and lake. I was just about to turn back to take a closer look at the library when I heard the most peculiar noises coming from the sitting room. As I neared the room I recognised the familiar sound of Michael’s voice. He was singing or to be more precise exercising his voice. I stood in the doorway, hoping he wouldn’t mind my intrusion. He carried on for a while and then began having a conversation with somebody which was strange because I couldn’t see anyone else in the room. It dawned on me that he was receiving instructions over a speaker-phone. His voice coach was playing notes on a piano and prompting Michael to sing arpeggios and scales. When Michael noticed me standing there he beckoned me in. He carried on smiling whilst he tried to concentrate, but my presence must have embarrassed him and he giggled. ‘Are you listening, Michael? That was all wrong,’ his voice coach admonished. ‘Sorry, Seth, I’m listening.’ He gave me a sheepish grin and carried on with the exercises. ‘Now, Michael, do you need to be fully open?' Seth asked. ‘Yes!’ Michael replied. He smiled at my quizzical expression. Seth proceeded to train Michael’s voice. The sound was quite breathtaking. He went from baritone to high pitches and falsetto whilst Seth encouraged him to sing different vowel sounds and vary the pitch and pace of the notes he was singing. Even though he was simply singing random words and letters, the sounds he made were the most beautiful I had ever heard. ( listen here)

By now the sun was high in the sky and the whole room was bathed in its heat and light. I smiled as Michael danced and bopped to his voice exercises, but had to resist the urge to giggle when he grinned back at me or pulled a silly face. I was still mesmerized and hardly aware the session had ended when Michael came and joined me on the sofa. He smiled at me and with eyes that sparkled in the sun asked, ’So, I’m yours for the rest of the day. What shall we do?’

I had to pinch myself. ‘Am I dreaming, Michael?’ Everything seemed too perfect. He smiled and playfully pinched my arm, ‘Of course not, silly!’

‘I just don’t get it!’ I continued, ‘First of all my buddy gets me a backstage pass to your concert. Then I’m on stage dancing with you. Then you give me your number and invite me here to stay in this beautiful castle!’ A strange thought crossed my mind, ‘Do you actually know my buddy, Michael?’ He looked straight back at me,

‘Who? What are you talking about?’

‘My buddy!’ I continued, ‘I met him on your website.’

‘You met a complete stranger on the internet? What’s his name?’ Michael asked.

‘He’s not a complete stranger. In fact we know each other quite well, but I, er, I don’t know his name. He got me a backstage pass to your concert. He knows Andy!’

‘You don’t know his name? He could be anybody! Maybe, it is Andy.’ Michael suggested.

‘But surely he would have told me!’ I was beginning to feel a little silly and embarrassed about the conversation. I felt a twinge of guilt that I hadn’t actually spoken to my buddy since I left home and resolved to write him a private message later that day. A thought crossed my mind, but I shook it away.

‘Look we’re wasting a beautiful day.’ Michael said, ‘Let’s go outside!’ He took my hand and led me towards the French doors and out into the sun-drenched garden.

How could she not have guessed that he was her buddy? Michael couldn’t believe she had not yet put two and two together. Or maybe she had guessed and just didn’t want to say anything yet. He decided he’d wait a little longer before saying anything himself. It was like a little secret game; a role-play. Maybe she did know, maybe she didn’t know. Either way he’d have fun playing along with it a little longer.

Now his session with Seth was over he felt relaxed and ready to enjoy the next three days before he had another show. He wanted to have fun and she was like an old friend now –even if she, herself, didn’t know it yet. He smiled to himself as he held her hand and led her out into the garden.

The sun was high in the sky and by now beginning to really burn. Michael looked cool and crisp in his white shirt and black fedora hat, but by the time we’d reached the other side of the lake, even he was beginning to complain about the heat. We looked out across the lake holding our breath as an occasional breeze rolled across its surface. I looked behind me into the forest, ‘I wonder whose wood that is?’ I had assumed it belonged to the castle but a fence ran between it and the path we were walking. Michael’s eyes followed my gaze. The wood looked dark and deep and the coolness it promised was difficult to resist. Michael must have thought the same thing because we both ran towards the fence and like trespassers clambered over, eager to cool off in the shade.

‘Whose woods are these I think I know!’ Michael sang.(Stopping by Woods)

‘Is that a song, Michael?’

‘No,’ he smiled at me, ‘It’s a poem. Robert Frost. Have you heard of him?’

‘A little.’ I replied, ‘He wrote something about a wall, didn’t he?’

‘Yes, Mending Wall!’ he replied, ‘President Kennedy’s favourite poem.’ (Mending Wall)

‘So you love history and poetry?’ I enquired.

‘I love reading anything. But, yes I love poetry. It inspires me. I love how words can transport you. Quite literally take you to another place. Poems lift us out of ourselves.’ He stretched out his arms and breathed in the cool air. I was struggling to keep up with his pace. He turned back towards me.

‘Are you okay?’ he asked.

‘I’m fine, but you walk so fast.’

‘I’m sorry!’ he replied, ‘I’m so used to walking by myself. It’s nice to have company. Here.’ He stopped and held out his hand for me.

‘Thanks!’ I tried to remain cool as we scrambled hand-in-hand through the dense forest, but my insides were turning cartwheels.

TWO: So let me hold you tight and share a killer, thriller Ooow! (Thrill Her!) ♬

I was completely oblivious to where we were going so I took the opportunity to think about the moment. I was curious as to why he seemed to like me. Was he lonely and I’d just happened to be in the right place at the right time? He seemed so cool and sure of himself. He could have any girl he wanted. What was he doing holding the hand of a relative stranger? I was simply one of millions of other fans: just an ordinary girl who had been in love with his music, his performances, photographs, in fact, everything about him for years. Michael was walking fast and I had to almost run to keep up with him. I stumbled. ‘Michael!’ I suddenly stopped. ‘Please tell me what’s going on here?’ I don’t know what came over me, but I suddenly felt weak with confusion. ‘Sorry?’ he queried. ‘Where are we going?’ I wondered. And then boldly added, ‘Where are you taking me?’ Michael’s expression changed. He looked confused, ‘I dunno. I just needed to get away from everything. I wanted to just… walk with you.’ ‘Are you running away?’ I asked. He shrugged, ‘I dunno. Sometimes I want to… escape. I just feel this irresistible urge to keep going… I like holding your hand.’

I tried to smile, but I still felt wracked with confusion. ‘Michael, you must know I am head over heels in love with you.’ I gabbled. ‘Like millions of other girls.’ I didn’t know what had come over me. ‘I was just curious as to…’ Michael put his finger on my lips and moved closer. His eyes looked over my head and he paused as if he had something difficult to say. He took a deep breath, ‘You know I like you… and I hope you like me… the way I like you...’ I cracked up with laughter and suddenly felt silly for having been so serious. ‘Michael, those are your lines from Thriller, you brute!’ He started laughing too, but held my gaze. He cupped my cheeks in his hands and brought his face very close to mine. I could feel his breath on my skin and I felt weak. He spoke again, ‘I am serious, you know. I’m not young anymore. I know exactly what I like. And I like you very much.’ His fingers moved through my hair and he kissed me tenderly on the lips. ‘Come on!’ he said, ‘Stop thinking and let’s keep walking.’

Michael knew he was behaving irrationally. He couldn’t contain his sense of daring. He would never usually do anything like this. What had come over him? Why had he kissed her? Something had compelled him to do it, but he didn’t know what. His head told him that he shouldn’t be taking advantage of a fan in this way. He knew she thought a lot of him from all the times he’d secretly ‘listened-in’ to her conversations on the forum. She’d, unwittingly, revealed a lot about herself and he’d liked what he read. He hated to admit it, but it made him feel really good about himself. And why shouldn’t he go after a girl who seemed to genuinely appreciate his talent and accomplishments? He couldn’t pretend they didn’t exist. They were a part of him. Okay she was star-struck, but he liked her wide-eyed gaze. And he had to confess those sparkly eyes had him feeling a little star-struck himself.

‘Michael! What was that?’ He stopped as soon as she spoke. He looked into her wide-open eyes. He looked around. ‘What?’ he shrugged. He hadn’t heard anything. ‘Listen! I’m sure I heard something.’ He froze again trying to concentrate, but he couldn’t help looking into those eyes and a wicked thought crossed his mind.

‘Listen! I’ll go ahead just to check everything’s okay and you can catch up. Okay?’ She looked at him and seemed to hesitate, but then agreed. He ran ahead for about two minutes, climbed into the lower branches of a tree and waited.

He could see her approaching. ‘Michael! Where are you?’ she called. He smiled to himself. He waited until she was just close enough and then he pounced. He brought her tumbling to the ground and as she tried to roll over he held her fast beneath him. ‘Michae…’ He kissed her, passionately this time, until he felt she had surrendered. Slowly and tentatively she began to kiss him back. He felt all the tension between them melt away. He held her tight as if he wanted to keep her there forever. He pulled away so that he could look at her whole face. He searched her eyes for answers. They seemed to say yes and he kissed her again with all the strength he had.

Thrill her (cont.) The thing with forty eyes…

That’s when he heard for himself: the ever so familiar sound of rolling film and camera shutters. He looked around and saw, not one, but at least three figures disappear into the shadows. Damn the paparazzi! DAMN THEM!

I was speechless! One minute I was drowning in the ecstasy of Michael’s kiss and the bliss of having his whole weight upon me. The next I was staring up at him on his knees with an expression of utter rage. I looked around and saw something move in the shadows, but couldn’t make out what it was. Michael was still on his knees looking bewildered. He wrapped his arms around his head and released the most woebegone yell. I was a little frightened and didn’t know what to say. He looked back at me with crestfallen eyes. I tried to smile, but apparently not very successfully as it brought no response. Reluctantly, he pulled me to my feet and in complete silence we headed back.

THREE: Words just aren’t enough (Dangerous: Give In To Me) ♬

By the time we reached the edge of the forest the light had changed. It was still warm, but the heat had taken on a new humidity. Dark clouds were gathering on the horizon and my head was banging. We made our way towards the castle. ‘You’d better get yourself something to eat.’ Michael said feigning a smile. He didn’t speak to me for the rest of that day. Perhaps he was talking to his management about this latest setback. I was something he would just have to explain away.

After dinner I headed back to my room. It felt warm and oppressive so I kept the drapes pulled back and opened some of the windows. I took a cool bath and then slipped into my thinnest cotton pyjamas. I sat by the window on one of the wide window seats, leaned back against the deep window frame and watched as the thunderstorm gathered force.

I surveyed the dark room and shivered as the tapestry on the wall suddenly lit up in the most brilliant flash of lightning. I usually reveled in thunderstorms, but tonight I just felt empty. I looked round my room and saw the laptop case I'd thrown under the bed. Maybe there was someone I could talk to.

Michael stormed into his suite without bothering to turn on the lights. He was furious and he felt like an idiot. Why hadn’t it occurred to him the place would be swarming? Hadn’t he lived his whole life having to think twice about every little thing he did? He was angry with himself. Every front page of every junk tabloid in the world was inevitably going to run with the story. What were the ramifications. He knew he would have to speak to Frank in the morning.

And then he thought about his own behaviour. He had simply stormed off like a petulant child without any explanation. He had left her standing. He was ashamed of himself and felt it was time to come clean and tell her the truth. He didn’t feel like playing fun and games any more. He opened up his laptop and took a deep breath. But before he had a chance to write anything he noticed she’d already left a message:

Hi Stranger,
Sorry I haven’t spoken in a while but things have been pretty unusual lately! Well I did it! I rang him and here I am staying with Michael, mid-tour, in the most beautiful castle! It’s a dream come true. Or, at least, it was until this afternoon. We went for a walk in the woods nearby and… well we kissed! (I know, I know - still haven't had time to think!!!) Unfortunately, we weren’t alone – I think there were some paps hiding in there. Well, Michael is not happy to say the least. He hasn’t really spoken to me since. What should I do? I know he is the most private of people and something like this… well it’s devastating for him. I feel terrible and I don’t really know what to do or say. I know I should probably leave. I wish you were online so I could talk to you. I really don’t know what to do.

I’ll hang around in case you read this soon.

Michael frowned as he read the message again and then slammed his laptop shut.

I did think twice before I sent the message. I felt like I was betraying Michael’s confidence, but I wasn’t thinking straight and was I desperate for some friendly advice. I knew he wouldn’t betray me. I looked around the room and decided to start packing straight away. Much as I didn’t want to leave I knew Michael didn’t need me here anymore. I looked back at the message I’d just sent and placed the laptop still open on the window seat beside me. Maybe he’d get back to me before the night was through.

By now the thunderstorm was directly above the castle and lightning flashed and thunder rumbled almost simultaneously. The castle seemed to shake with the ferocity of the storm and under different circumstances I would have revelled in its beauty. Each flash illuminated the forest and the old town which both seemed to draw closer to the castle. I looked over towards the old town and decided that I would try to find a hotel in the morning and stay there until I could book the next available flight home. At least that way I would get to explore the place before I left and it would help me to take my mind off recent events. A knock at the door suddenly interrupted my thoughts. I was momentarily stunned and wondered whether it was just the storm rattling through the draughty old castle. I called out, ‘Hello?’ Michael’s head appeared around the door and he looked at me with such intensity I felt compelled to go to him. ‘Don’t go!’ he implored. ‘Sorry?’ I replied. He spoke again, ‘I don’t want you to leave!’ ‘But I never said anything. Michael?’ He looked over my shoulder towards the laptop still opened on the window seat. ‘You? But I don’t understand. Why didn’t you tell me…’ I faltered. Before I could finish the sentence he placed his lips on mine. I stood quite still and quite helpless once again. I pulled back so I could look at him, but there was no need to say anything. He took my hand and pulled me towards the bed.

The thunderstorm continued well into the night and it continued to light up the whole room and the windows rattled with each rumble, but Michael and I had ceased to notice.

FOUR: Ain’t The Pictures Enough? (Invincible: PRIVACY) ♬

I felt the warm sun on my face before I opened my eyes the next morning. The windows were still wide open and the air felt fresher than it had the previous day. Remembering I was completely naked I wrapped myself in one of the sheets before I got out of bed to close the window and draw the curtains. Michael had slipped back to his own room a few hours earlier before anyone else in the castle had stirred. As I drew the curtain I looked down at my laptop that was still lying open on the window seat. ‘Goodbye, buddy! I’m going to miss you.’ I said aloud as I closed it and put it back in its case.

I felt light as a feather as I skipped down the stairs to breakfast and I couldn’t wait to see Michael again. I entered the grand dining room and gradually became aware that everyone already in there had stopped talking and many even turned their heads to look over in my direction. Okay! I thought as I made my way over to the coffee and cereals Feeling kinda self-conscious here! To my relief normal chatter slowly resumed as I turned around and looked for somewhere to sit. I was grateful to see Tom not far away and took my tray over to his table. ‘Morning, Tom!’ I said as brightly as I could muster. ‘Morning, Miss!’ he replied as I sat myself down. 'Is anything the matter, Tom?' I quizzed as I looked at his unusually serious expression. ‘Er… think you’d probably best have a look at this.’ he continued and he placed what appeared to be a Spanish tabloid in front of me. ‘Best you see it now!’ he proffered as I stared at the photo on the front page in absolute horror.

‘But they couldn’t have been that close!’ I gasped. The black and white photograph showed Michael lying on top of me, my arms wrapped around his shoulders. You could see every detail of our faces. There was no doubt that this was a photograph of Michael Jackson. ‘That’s not all,’ said Tom as he opened up the paper. I turned page after page in disbelief. I’d been prepared for the odd photo and maybe a small side article, but this! The whole afternoon we had spent together was documented. There it was in black and white: Michael and I sat on the sofa in the garden room, Michael and I holding hands as we left the castle, Michael and I laughing as we walked around the lake, Michael jumping out of the tree to surprise me, Michael lying on top of me, Michael and I kissing. There was even a photograph of Michael holding his head in despair after he realised we’d been caught by the paparazzi. I didn’t need to read the text to understand what I was looking at. Further on in the paper there was a montage of women who had been associated with Michael in the past: Brooke Shields, Madonna, Tatum O’Neil, Lisa Marie-Presley, Debbie Rowe, even Grace the nanny all photographed with Michael. And there, right in the centre of a heart shaped photograph, Michael and myself. I didn’t know whether to cry or burst into laughter. ‘What does the headline say, Tom?’

‘Er… I think it says ‘Who Is It?’ or something like that… you know one of his songs. Wait till you see the British tabloids, Miss!’ My jaw hit the ground.

‘You mean it gets worse?’

‘Eh up!’ Tom nodded towards the doorway, ‘Here comes Frank. Mike’s manager. Look lively, girl!’ He carried on eating his breakfast whilst I could do nothing but stare at this rather stern-faced little man who was holding a cigar. There was something distinctly foreboding about the way he began walking straight towards me.

A cool fresh breeze blew through the open doors of the garden room. Michael looked out over the lake and towards the forest beyond. His security team had been instructed to keep the perimeter of the grounds under constant surveillance and he watched them as they walked up and down the path around the lake. The events of the previous day now seemed unreal. But of course they were very real. On a large coffee table in the centre of the room, newspapers from around the world had been placed in rows, some of the headlines and photographs clearly visible.






Frank was furious. It was exactly the kind of distraction he didn’t need mid-tour. It was disconcerting for the fans to see a girlfriend on the scene and Frank’s master plan lay in tatters –the whole ‘untouchable’ thing. It ruined the illusion; the magic of Michael Jackson. Frank knew he had to come up with a solution and fast.

Michael was still going over Frank’s words in his head when he turned and saw her appear at the door. Frank moved to the centre of the room and gestured with his cigar for her to sit on the sofa. Michael watched as she gazed at the rows of newspapers. She was clearly upset. He stared at her hard, willing her to look back at him, but she looked embarrassed and avoided his eye.

‘Okay, kids!’ Frank started, ‘I gotta know what we’re dealing with here!’

I felt like I’d been sent to the principal’s office after sneaking alcohol into school. And there, in front of me, all the consequences of my 'reckless' behaviour screamed back at me. So this is what it was to be part of Michael’s world. An innocent moment between two lovers turned into a media circus. And what was Michael going to say? Was he going to carry on staring at me with those big ‘holier-than-thou’ eyes, as if I were the miscreant; the ringleader who’d led him astray? I was beginning to see red.

Frank’s lips were moving, but I wasn’t listening. My mind was swimming with everything that had happened between Michael and I. I couldn’t care less about damage limitation or appeasing the media’s hunger. I searched Michael’s eyes looking for a glimmer of encouragement, but he seemed more guarded than ever. A ball of anger began to form in the pit of my stomach; enough was enough. ‘Excuse me, Frank, I don’t need to hear this!’ I looked up at Michael who remained speechless, so I simply got up and left the room.

FIVE: I'll Change the Rules For You (Dangerous: Can't Let Her Get Away)

Michael hadn’t been listening either. He’d heard it all before. Frank was a shrewd businessman and had always read Michael’s mind. He trusted Frank. Frank knew the industry like the back of his hand and had never let Michael down. But somehow Michael knew this was all wrong. He didn’t want Frank interfering this time. He couldn’t let this happen. This wasn’t Frank’s problem. Yes, he was on tour. Yes, it was not the best timing, but something told him he couldn’t let her get away. Frank was still reeling after she’d left the room, but Michael ignored him. ‘Give me your keys, Frank!’
‘What?’ Frank looked at Michael in absolute horror.

‘Your keys, Frank! Give me your car keys! Please!’ Michael repeated.

Reluctantly, Frank handed over his car keys. ‘Mike, tell me what’s…’ But he didn’t finish his sentence. Michael had already disappeared.

I had barely made it into the entrance hall of the house before Michael ran up behind me and grabbed my arm, ‘Follow me. Now! Don’t say anything!’ He led me out of the castle, onto the forecourt and towards a black Mercedes. ‘Michael, what are you doing?’ ‘Shush, wait till we’re in the car.’ He looked around nervously, but seemed intent on getting me into the car. He guided me through the passenger door and then ran round and took the driver’s seat. ‘Right, buckle up, girl! I’m not the world’s best driver, but hey!’ He grinned at me and after two false starts revved up the engine.

I really was too surprised to speak at first, but the sideways glances we exchanged said it all. He’d escaped! Ha! He’d run away… with me! I burst out laughing after my initial shock. Michael beamed back at me, but kept his eyes on the road ahead. ‘Where are we going?’ I asked.

‘I seriously do not know, girl! But this is F.U.N. FUN!’ He shouted at the top of his voice and then whooped with delight.

The open road lay before us like a gray ribbon thrown loosely across the beautiful Catalan landscape. We sped past fields and farms, castles and small woods and in front of us loomed the Pyrenees forming an awe-inspiring horizon.

‘I wanna explore!’ said Michael excitedly. ‘I wanna get out see places with you. I am sick of reading about them and having to make special arrangements all the time. I just wanna be spontaneous.’ I looked at him skeptically. ‘What?’ he asked sincerely, his eyes wide, ‘Why are you looking at me like that?’

‘Because you are Michael Jackson! You are not meant to do things spontaneously! You’re mobbed wherever you go!’

‘Well, we’ll just have to be smart then, won’t we?’ he grinned and his eyes sparkled with playfulness.

I looked at him quizzically. I’d seen pictures of him wearing surgical masks and veils, and sometimes even false moustaches and wigs. I still wasn’t convinced.

‘Barcelona!’ I exclaimed as we flew past a signpost. ‘Tell me we are not going into Barcelona, Michael!’

But we were. Soon the quiet, gently undulating countryside was replaced with the grey concrete mass of suburbs and the inevitable heaving crowds drawn to such a place. I found myself sinking further down into my seat and wishing, for once, that Michael didn’t cut quite such a distinctive profile. ‘At least take off your hat.’ I requested as we drove through narrow streets lined with pavement cafes and bars packed to the rafters with tourists who spilled out onto the road. He removed it, but looking at his profile again I wasn’t sure it really helped much.

From out of nowhere a crowd of noisy street performers suddenly surrounded the car. A police officer was failing miserably to control the traffic and Michael had to screech on the brakes. The performers walked through the traffic and right in front us. They were wearing the most flamboyant medieval costumes and enormous masks each beautifully painted. Some were dressed as kings or queens, others as giants and witches. They all seemed to be characters out of fairy-tales. Musicians played lutes, pipes and drums and the tunes they played seemed to get wilder and faster. The performers were spinning and jumping and dancing. The effect was quite stunning. Michael who had forgotten to remain inconspicuous was quite mesmerized by the whole spectacle.

I couldn’t believe we had driven into the middle of a carnival and as if reading my thoughts Michael looked worried. When the way was clear he maneuvered the car down what seemed to be a quiet backstreet. Blocking the way ahead was a large van. Two men were arranging armfuls of costumes and masks on a grassy verge by the pavement. Next to them was a handmade sign stuck into the ground that proclaimed in both Spanish and English CARNIVAL COSTUMES FOR HIRE 20 EUROS PLUS 15 EUROS DEPOSIT. Michael looked at me and our eyes locked together in disbelieving delight.

SIX: Let the song begin, let the music play... (Freddy Mercury, Barcelona)

Michael had never done anything like this before. Of course, he was used to wearing disguises but he’d always had incognito bodyguards less than a few feet away at all times. This felt dangerous, but he was hugely excited. He decided to call Frank just to let him know they were okay, ‘No need to let him know exactly where we are, though!’ he winked. Luckily the windows of the Mercedes were darkened so they could change in some privacy. They were both so excited they were completely oblivious to the fact that they were ripping their clothes off in front of each other. ‘This is a bit awkward,’ she gasped as her arms and head got stuck inside the long, dark green tunic dress she was trying to pull on. Michael laughed at the sight and fumbled about trying to help her. ‘You haven’t undone the zip, silly.’

Finally they were ready. ‘You look like Juliet!’ he announced admiring her dress, veil and the circlet around her head. ‘Actually, you look amazing!’ The masks were beautifully sculpted and decorated, almost Venetian in style.

‘Oh Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?' she teased. Michael’s costume included a hood which meant not one part of his head was visible. She looked him up and down. The only giveaway as to who he was were his white socks and black loafers and the white sticky tape he still had wrapped around some of his fingertips, none of which really went that well with the rest of his costume, but she thought he looked cute anyway. ‘We’re lucky it’s cooler today!’ he announced, his voice muffled by the mask. ‘Well, this way, my lady!’ He held out his arm. She gladly accepted and together they followed a few other masked revelers heading towards the main square.

We walked through the ragbag of festivities holding hands and laughing at the spectacle. The music and dance were intoxicating and several times Michael or myself were almost whisked away from each other by frenzied dancers looking for new partners. I looked at Michael and forgetting I was wearing a mask, I tried to smile reassuringly. He seemed to understand and tightened his grip on my hand as we made our way through the crowds. I could tell he was excited and terrified all at the same time. I was his only protection from a world that could crush him in seconds flat. Michael, seeming to sense my anxiety, put his arm around my waist drawing me closer to him. He whispered in my ear, ‘If you can’t beat ‘em!’ Suddenly, he stopped and pulled me towards him pressing his hand firmly into the small of my back. He began to move his body, grinding against mine slowly at first, but as I relaxed he moved in time to the music gently guiding my hips with his hands.

I felt that strange sensation I had felt when I was on stage except this time the crowd was preoccupied and no one was watching us. My face felt warm beneath the mask and without realising I complained aloud about the heat. ‘Take it off then,’ he whispered. It hadn’t occurred to me that it was perfectly safe to do so, so I pushed it back on top of my head and relished the open air on my face again. Michael’s grip tightened and we continued to dance. Then, to my surprise, he lifted his mask until his lips were just visible. ‘It’s very hot under here!’ he whispered seductively. Unable to resist the open invitation I reached up and kissed him there and then. The softness of his lips combined with the searing hot sun and the warmth of his roaming hands through the thin fabric of my costume were making me giddy. Suddenly I started, ‘Michael!’ I said rather to loudly, for a few heads nearby turned. ‘What?’ he feigned. ‘You know very well what!’ I whispered, aware of the curious glances around us. But secretly I enjoyed feeling him squeeze my bottom. 'You deserve a taste of your own medicine!' I stated, allowing my own hands to do the roaming.

We carried on giggling and kissing in the midst of it all. Well it had to be done; we couldn’t give his identity away. I was duty bound, afterall. ‘Let’s find somewhere a little quieter.’ he suggested. And who was I to argue?

‘You do know I’ll have to leave soon, Michael!’ Michael didn’t reply straight away. He lowered his eyes and played with his fingers squeezing the white tape around his tips. He’d been deluding himself since she’d arrived not wanting to think for one minute about the inevitable goodbye. He looked up at her biting his lower lip, not knowing what to say and willing she would say something. Maybe she could extend her leave. Maybe she would stay and travel with him for the rest of the tour. Her eyes bore into him wishing he would say something. She wondered what was going through his mind. Was she just a plaything, a little bit of fun? And now he’d had her, he’d satisfied his curiosity. Perhaps he’d only wanted to date a fan as part of a game to see what would happen. She knew deep down he wouldn’t be cruel and would never hurt anybody intentionally but she couldn’t pretend these things hadn’t been going round in her mind since last night when they had slept together. He had taken her breath away. His touch had been tender and loving and he had not taken his eyes off her as he kissed every part of her body and made sweet love to her. He’d fallen asleep in her arms as she caressed his hair and she’d lain awake for as long as possible savouring his weight on her naked body, their arms and legs completely entwined. Michael quickly adjusted his mask as a passing mime artist broke them both from their thoughts and offered her an imaginary bouquet of flowers that she accepted. He continued to mime for them in the middle of the crowds and Michael, standing behind her, put both his arms around her waist, and resting his head lightly on her shoulder they continued to watch the beautiful performance.

Michael was completely drawn in by the artist who looked just like Pierrot with his white smock and beautifully painted black and white face. He had always felt an affinity with clowns, not just because he loved to fool around and play games and get people wet, but because he always felt like he had to turn on a smile and pretend to be happy. He loved their silence too, and the way they could speak a thousand words with just the slightest movement or gesture. The performance was alluring and the artist had soon drawn quite a crowd, many of who were also couples like them. Michael liked the feeling of blending in with the crowd, his face completely hidden behind the mask. This is what it was to be a real couple, falling in love, and it felt good. Gosh, had it only been last night they’d made love to each other for the first time? It already felt like an age ago. How wonderful it had been to feel her silken skin, to really touch his cybergirl, to move inside her whilst she gazed up at him with those beautiful, big eyes and then reach their ecstasy together. And afterwards, to pretend he’d fallen asleep whilst she held him close and stroked his hair. He started when he realised the crowd was clapping. The clown had finished and was showing his gratitude with kisses that he seemed to release like butterflies into the air.

The main square was beginning to fill up with later merry-makers, perhaps embarking upon an evening of partying and carousal. Michael knew they would have to return to the castle very soon and he also knew he wanted to persuade her to stay. Saying goodbye was not an option. Besides he wanted her to meet his children who would be joining him tomorrow afternoon and coming to see the concert in the evening. He would love her to come too and perhaps she would consider staying at least a few more days. After that, the tour would be moving on and he didn’t really want to contemplate the time they would have to spend apart. That was something to think about another day. He surprised himself. He had never before felt this anxious about a woman. Sure he had had girlfriends in his younger years and he had even been married twice. But he didn’t want to think about that now. This felt different. He felt different. He didn’t know what was going through her mind, but his mind was full of endless possibilities. What if they really had a future together? He loved the way he felt around her. He’d never really felt his age, but she made him feel younger. She had given him a taste of what his life might have been like. With her he felt all the freedom he had sang about so many times, but very rarely had had the opportunity to feel in reality.

He gripped her hand tightly and they walked though the crowds towards some of the quieter streets that led away from the main square. Michael still felt like he was walking about on a film set. He kept expecting a director to suddenly yell, ’Cut! It’s a wrap. Everybody take five!’ But nobody did. Here he was walking about in the real world and nobody took a second glance at him. It felt wonderful. He took risks by removing his mask momentarily to wink back at her, but suddenly got a fright when a group of raucous British girls fell out of one of the cafes nearby. They were all wearing his official concert t-shirts. Michael stood rooted to the spot as they strolled nonchalantly by chatting excitedly about the concert they were attending tomorrow and whether Michael would be wearing the gold pants they loved so much. It was a reality check and Michael decided it was probably time to head back to the castle.

Michael was in a playful mood the whole day. Despite the mask, I could see the gleam in his eyes and he walked quickly eager to see everything before it all disappeared from him again. We held hands and explored the shops on the little side streets off the main square. We gazed in wonder at the window displays, drooling like kids over the stacks of brightly wrapped sweets, handmade chocolates, and sticky pastries. Michael could not resist the boutiques and managed to buy his children matching sailor outfits complete with hats for dressing up. Just as we were about to leave and return our costumes, Michael spotted a bookstore. And without hesitating he'd pulled me inside.

There was nobody else save an elderly old gentleman who didn’t speak a word of English. He seemed delighted to see us and he waved flamboyantly as if to say, ‘Make yourselves at home,’ and then he promptly disappeared down a staircase completely hidden from view by stacks of books. There didn’t seem to be any order or semblance to the books. The shelves were bursting and in places more books were stacked precariously from floor to ceiling. It was the kind of place you could lose yourself for hours. Michael was mesmerized from the moment we entered. And as the old man showed no sign of returning soon, or for that matter, even recognising Michael if he did return, Michael removed his mask.

‘This is simply wonderful,’ Michael said, his eyes dancing as he tried to take it all in. ‘I mean do you know how difficult it is for me just to arrange a visit to an ordinary bookshop?’ he continued, ‘and to stumble upon a place like this is a dream come true.’ And, as if under a spell, he explored every nook and cranny, picking up books and feeling the texture of their covers, even breathing in their old muskiness. ‘Don’t you just love the smell of old books?’ he asked.

SEVEN: Heaven Can Wait (Invincible: Heaven Can Wait) ♬

Michael and I split up as we explored the bookshop. It was a labyrinth of rooms each filled to the brim with dusty books, old and new. The floor seemed to slope downwards so it felt as though I was going below street level. Eventually, I found a little nook filled with English Literature. There was a tiny window high up and from this den of tranquillity I could see that the streets were still full of people and merry-making. I surrounded myself with the classics, but after the excitement of the day and the comfortable warmth of the bookshop I just couldn’t resist the urge to close my eyes.

Michael was in his element. All thoughts of his tour and the busy day that lay ahead (rehearsals, several interviews, meeting his children, not to mention the concert in the evening) were put firmly at the back of his head as he explored this paradise. Each book represented a world of adventure and discovery. Travel, modern fiction, history and books about the planet many of which were naturally in Spanish, but so beautifully illustrated he couldn’t resist them anyway. He piled all the books he wanted to buy on the counter and then continued to explore further still.

He found books on Spanish architects and artists. He found a whole room on American literature and filled his arms with collections of poetry and drama he’d never come across before. He noticed another little room down some steps and there on the floor, surrounded by books and sleeping soundly, he found her.

She looked so peaceful he hardly dared disturb her. They’d had a pretty adventurous couple of days and he wasn’t surprised she was exhausted. After all, they hadn’t had much sleep last night. He smiled. Her hair fanned out over a book she’d been browsing and he bent down to take a closer look.

She looked beautiful. He noticed how lustrous and dark her eyelashes were. Strands of hair fell over her forehead and he noticed the gentle curve of her brow. He gently smoothed her hair away from her face as she began to stir. Her lips parted and slowly she opened her tired eyes. He wanted her so much. He took her hand and pressed it flat against his own and whispered:

If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this...

She smiled and listened as he continued to read from the book lying open beside her.

...My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

She replied without looking at the book:

Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss

Michael smiled. She knew the words by heart. How wonderful! He continued to read.

Have not saints lips and holy palmers too?

Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;

Michael kissed her gently, at first. Their palms still open and pressed together. His other hand caressed her face as he kissed her. God! This felt wonderful. Never in his life had he felt such a complete sense of abandon. He wanted to get closer still, but he knew he would not be able to stop himself. He continued kissing her, ‘I want you.’ he said trying to contain himself. He moved his hand to the small of her back and she reacted immediately, tilting her head back. He kissed her chin and moved down her neck feeling his way with both his lips and fingers, to her collarbone. He couldn’t stop his fingers going further and he caressed her intimately with his free hand. Sensing her arousal through the flimsy material of her costume, he pulled down on the costume baring her breasts. Without taking his eyes off of her he continued to massage and unable to resist he filled his mouth full and allowed his tongue to dance playfully. She moaned and then, suddenly, she cursed.

‘Michael! Stop!’

Michael looked at her face and reflecting the horror in her eyes he slowly looked up out of the tiny window above them.

Rosaline had escaped the unforgiving heat of the crowded bar to catch a breath of the cool, early evening breeze. She was feeling quite light headed after the last glass of Cava and needed to sit down on the pavement. She looked over her shoulder as she leaned against the wall and realized she could see into her favourite bookshop, the one her course tutor had recommended. She’d spent plenty of time in the English Lit section and was not surprised at all to see a young couple embracing each other. The old man who owned it kept himself to himself and probably never even realized students were always making out in the quiet little rooms hidden by stacks of books. Still, this couple was getting hot and she couldn’t take her eyes off of them. Maybe it was the heat and the carnival atmosphere, but Rosaline felt quite aroused just watching them.

Suddenly the young woman caught her eye and she was just about to move when the man looked up as well. There was something very familiar about him.

Frank took the call and was part relieved, part panic-stricken. He immediately made arrangements for security and personnel to collect Michael and his friend from the bookshop.

‘Is he trying to kill me?’ he muttered to himself pacing around the castle library whilst chewing on his unlit cigar.

The bookkeeper peered through the piles of books in the window display at the multitudes that had gathered on the pavement outside his shop. He had never seen such a spectacle in all his life. The street was packed with people all straining to look inside his shop. Even the police had arrived and they were trying to push the crowd back onto the pavement on the other side of the road. Men with cameras jostled for key positions. Some, the bookkeeper noticed, had even brought stepladders. He looked back at the five burly men inside his store all dressed in dark suits and wearing shades. These were very strange events, indeed, and he wondered if he should have bothered opening the shop today at all. The couple, now without masks, reappeared and the man pointed at all the books piled high on the counter by the cash register. The bookkeeper beamed. Maybe it had been worth opening up today after all.

Michael knew all hell would break loose. He knew the whole day had been a ridiculous idea. He knew that at any given moment the game would be up. Once again, they’d be on the cover of every tabloid newspaper and gossip rag in the world. The King of Pop and the mystery girl in a mask! He hadn’t bothered putting his own mask back on as they pushed through the frenzied crowd outside the bookshop. What was the point? As Michael stared at her sitting over on the far side of the seat, photographers still throwing their cameras up against the darkened windows, he smiled.

He knew all these things, but still he didn’t give a damn what anybody else thought. He'd gone ahead and spent the whole day with her anyway. Every single second of it had been bliss and he wasn't even worried about tomorrow or the day after that. He held out his arm and drew her closer. She removed her mask and looked up at him, smiling. ‘What were you thinking of?’ she whispered. ‘You!’ he replied kissing her.

He breathed in the scent of her hair and nuzzled her ear, whispering so quietly she could only just hear the song he was singing.

You’re beautiful
Each moment spent with you is simply wonderful
This love I have for you girl it’s incredible
And I don’t know what I’d do, if I can’t be with you
The world could not go on so every night I pray
If the Lord should come for me before I wake
I wouldn’t wanna go if I can’t see your face, can’t hold you close
What good would Heaven be
If the angels came for me I’d tell them no

Andy briefly caught sight of them in the rear view mirror. She had seemed like a very ordinary girl, but apparently this was more serious than anyone back at the castle had imagined. And, boy, was everyone imagining what could be going on between the boss and his new girlfriend. And as Andy continued to drive, the sunset in all its glory on the horizon he couldn’t help but wonder what the future held for these star-crossed lovers.

They spent the evening relaxing in Michael’s suite surrounded by all the books he’d bought that day. Michael rested his sleepy head in her lap and she played with his hair and smoothed his brow as he read from his poetry books. ‘Your turn!’ he said and he laughed lazily at her fluffy socks and tickled her feet breaking her concentration. ‘Okay! It’s Emily Dickinson.’ she announced as the book fell open on her lap.

I started early, took my dog,
And visited the sea;…

‘Michael!’ she scolded as she tried to read the poem aloud for the third time. ‘I can’t concentrate when you do that.’ He was nibbling her ear now and smiled at her. ‘Mmmmm! Are you angry with me?’ he asked feigning sadness. ‘You are such a mischief maker!’ She couldn’t help smiling though. ‘Carry on reading!’ he told her, a little too authoritatively she thought. ‘Yes, sir!’

The mermaids in their basement
Came out to look at me…

And every time she paused he removed an item of her clothing. She was determined not to let him break her concentration and she desperately tried to quell her arousal and carry on reading, ‘No man moved me till the tide/ Went past my simple shoe…’ First of all her socks disappeared and she tried not to giggle as he massaged the soles of her feet. His grip was powerful and she felt herself melting at his touch. The words continued to tumble out of her mouth, but she couldn’t help but be seduced by his serious eyes that were now locked onto hers. He was listening intently.

And made as he would eat me up…

She adjusted her position, cleared her throat and began reading again. But now his fingers were unbuttoning her jeans. She looked back at him. ‘Don’t stop reading!’ he whispered. He paused and looked at her in earnest. She continued and soon her jeans lay in a heap behind him. ‘And then I started to…’ She suddenly felt shy and self-consciously drew her legs away from him. They were the part of her body she hated most. She looked at him, curiously, as he began to kiss her legs from the tips of her toes upwards. He looked up at her and smiled, ‘Please read!’ he urged.

And he – he followed close behind

‘Who's following her?’ Michael asked, looking up puzzled for a moment. She was completely sidetracked. ‘I – I’m not sure. The dog? The sea?’ ‘Oh!’ Michael exclaimed, ‘She’s talking about the sea – it’s following her!’ And he continued kissing her legs. ‘She's captivated,’ he continued. ‘She's letting the sea consume her. She can't move. I love your thighs.’ She blushed and brought the book up to cover her face.

She tried to finish the poem but failed miserably. The words on the page blurred and then disappeared all together. Now Michael was the poet and her body and her mind the blank page waiting to be filled. His fingers pressed into her flesh, heavy and obstinate like nouns. His large hands held her fast controlling the rhythm and form of her body, not letting any part of her escape his notice. His kisses swept over her like playful verbs sliding, teasing and dancing. He whispered sweet nothings that caressed her skin like butterflies and filled her head full of imagery that sent her mind spinning. Like a deep-sea diver he swam in her ocean searching for that elusive pearl. He found it overflowing and lustrous bright and he emerged triumphant gasping for air. But seeing her tremble and reel with exhaustion he immediately covered her with his warmth and love and he held her body close to his with a vice-like grip.

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/by-the-sea-3/ Read 'By the Sea' by Emily Dickinson

http://www.michaeljackson.com/uk/node/665736 another poem which inspired me and made me think of Michael.
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