chapter two – show you the way to go

Tuesday, August 18th, 1987
           
Allison called Val first thing Tuesday morning and they arranged to meet for dinner the following evening. Val lived in Malibu so she suggested dinner at Dan Tana`s in West Hollywood – which was about half way between them the two of them.  “Great it’s a date... don’t be late.” Val quipped before hanging up.

--

Allison met Val at Berkeley University during their first year.  They could not have been more opposite if they tried and of course they liked each other almost immediately. She would never forget the day Ms. Whitworth walked into her life or their first year together at University.

It was a few days before classes were to start and Allison, as per her usual methodical self, arrived early to unpack and get herself prepared and ready for her first year of University. On Allison’s third day of being on campus Valerie Whitworth strutted into her life.  

Val had shown up at her dorm room, dressed to the nines with 5 pieces of Louis Vuitton luggage, none of which were being carried by her, announcing she was her roommate for the year. Although Allison didn’t think she had a roommate assigned and there was no other bed in the room, she didn’t question her.

“I think we need to get another bed.” was all Allison said.

 “Oh don’t you worry about that honey that happens all the time.” She declared. “Besides, I don’t plan on spending too much time in my own bed anyway... IF you know what I mean.” And with a wink she was off, her heels clicking down the hall, heads turning as she went.

And she wasn’t lying, she didn’t need a bed. She was hardly in their room at all. Allison didn’t really see her at all for at least 2 weeks, her luggage essentially remaining where it was dropped.  Every once in a while she blew in and out with a wave, a smile and a “don’t mind me,” rummaged through her luggage for something and then she would be off again.

Allison did see her around campus, usually with an entire train of people following her around. She also saw her in the classes they shared – but for the most part she was never around. She was attending her classes and usually seemed prepared and Allison even spied her in the library a couple of times - which really impressed her.

When she finally returned for any length of time she would entertain Allison with her tales and stories of adventures and conquests. She was always up to something; Allison was surprised she had time for school at all. There still was no bed for her – but that didn’t seem to faze her – when she stayed for the night, she grabbed the extra blanket and pillow from the closet and made herself comfortable on the floor beside Allison’s bed.

On those occasions they would talk and laugh into the night about anything and everything. Val was the queen of funny quips, especially about herself...  her favourite saying use to be “I know the world is my oyster, but not all pearls are worth hanging around my neck! I have some self respect...” and then she would roll over in a fit of laughter. Allison would just smile and shake her head – she really liked her a lot – she just seemed so unafraid of living...  she was genuine and she laughed a lot and usually at herself.

One day just after the Christmas break she waltzed in to the room and started packing up what little she had unpacked and advised Allison she was moving out.  Allison was stunned and at first thought it was something she had done. As it turned out Valerie’s lawyer parents had rented her a whole house off campus and they were wondering why she wasn’t living there... Allison was wondering too, why she was living with her out of her suitcases and sleeping on the floor.

As Val explained to her, she needed to be in the right local to investigate and check out the men for the season.  “How can I do that, living off campus?” She smiled. “You took me in without question so I stayed.” She also confessed to Allison, “What is the point of me coming all the way from Boston to go to school in California and then put me up to live all high and mighty by myself??”

“Tsk.” She said sucking her teeth and waving her manicured hand in the air... “If that’s what my parents, then at least send me with a hunky house boy who can make me pina coladas!” ... and then she flashed a smile, grabbed Allison by the hand and pulled her in around the waist and started dancing her around the small dorm room.

“Yes I like Pina Coladas
And getting caught in the rain
Lalalalalal... health food
I am into champagne... blah, la la”

And then promptly doubled over in laughter at her joke.   

So even though she tricked Allison into letting her live with her for four months...  how could Allison be mad?  You could not help but like Val, she was spontaneous, free and easy, sophisticated and filthy rich. Everything Allison wasn’t.

She was not well like when she first arrived at the campus. But it was mostly jealous girls as almost every guy loved Val. Underneath all her crazy antics and cheeky nerve she had a good heart if she let you get to know her. She was super funny, smart, warm and generous. By the end of their first year, Allison was living with Val.

After Allison moved in with her, Valerie insisted that they keep their ritual girls nights the same, with her lying on the floor in Allison room. “Why mess with success!” she said. It was on those girls’ nights, that they became the closest of friends. Usually it was mostly Val talking and Allison listening and laughing. But Val always seemed interested in Allison’s life or the lack of one. They shared everything, their hopes, dreams, fears and tears. Val was the one who pushed her into pursuing her dream of photography. One night Val that told her if you don’t follow your heart to become a photographer your life with be lifeless and dull and then added... “What a waste of a good ass and hair that would be!”

She was so in tuned with living and enjoying life as it came. Allison found it amazing how carefree and easy going she was considering her family history and lineage – what other girl would insist sleeping on the floor of her own place? Not to mention she pulled the dorm stunt again the following year with another freshmen disappearing for days at a time.

But there was no mistake about it the girl had class, crass and sass perfected and you didn’t want to get on her bad side. She could be snobby and spoiled – and could rip a strip off anyone in the blink of an eye and put you in your place if she thought she needed to.

Allison adored her and trusted her implicitly. You couldn`t ask for truer friend.... all wrapped up in a tight polished Gucci package.

She was exactly the person to share her news with.

--

Val peered over her wine glass looking intently at Allison... “So, okay explain this to me again... and can we be crystal clear on the part where you said you will be working for Michael Jackson?!”

Allison smiled, but before she could speak Val was already talking again.

“Oh my aching vagina, why am I not a lowly photographer girl?” She lamented. “It never seemed that glamorous when you were taking baby pictures!”

“Umm Val...”

“I’ll take your picture Mikey Baby! Tuck you in late at night too.”

“Val...”

“Thriller... I’ll thrill you all night.” Val sang at the top of her lungs.

“Hello earth to Valerie – I am going to be working too. This is my chance to prove myself. If this goes well... well that could mean a lot of opportunities for me too.”

“Oh I know you! YOU will be working... not thinking about nothing but, I am so very sure. Nevertheless I can dream... I mean anything can happen when you’re MJ’s photographer love muffin!”

“Valerie!” Allison blushed. “Will you please stop?”

Valerie smiled at her own joke... then looked at Allison seriously. “I’m telling you girl, you have the best luck for someone who never tries. I am so jealous with a capital J, but so happy for you.”

“Yeah I think I am still in denial – but I am really super excited. I have so much to do; I don’t even know where to start. I got get my apartment squared, get my equipment prepped, I gotta find my passport, I need to call my parents, and I need new glass, Samson...” Tears threatened to spring from her eyes. “...oh no, what am I gonna do with my puppy?”

Val sat up straight putting her wine glass down, cleared her throat, extending her hand to her friend. “Hi I am Valerie Whitworth, Party Planner and Event Coordinator Extraordinaire, how can I be of service?”

Allison smiled... and breathed a sigh of relief. “I was hoping you’d say that.”

“Well it’ll cost ya big time for my services, as you know I am highly sought by many, but I’ll have my people call your people and we can work it out.”
“Val, I don’t have people... you are my people.”
“Oh... right, I will call myself in the morning and hook you up with me... I am outstanding!”
And then as usual – she burst into a fit of laughter.

They spent the majority of the evening, with Val asking questions, taking some notes and giving precise direction to get Allison ready for her trip of a life time. By the time they ordered dessert all tasks, actions and duties were assigned and accounted for.

“So you’re all set then?”
“I think so Val, thank you.”
“Not a worry.”

Sipping her coffee, Valerie watched her friend nervously fidget with her napkin then pick at the table cloth. Oh honey she thought, you think way too much. She had come a long way in overcoming her innate shy nature – but she still underestimated herself and the value of being a beautiful woman.

If there were two things she and Allison could always agree upon; it was that they liked each other almost immediately and they couldn’t be more opposite if they tired.

As far as Val was concerned it all came down to how they met. Allison didn’t even bat an eyelash when she showed up at the dorm claiming to be her roommate. In a room that wasn’t any bigger than what Val would consider a closet. But instead of getting all bent out of shape, like a lot or woman Val knew, Allison took it all in stride. Her only concern is there wasn’t a bed for her.

Her matter of fact reaction impressed Val, especially after she got to know what total uber control freak she was. But that day, Allison accepted her immediately with no pretence and without question. She didn’t have a mean or fake bone in her body.  Valerie really couldn’t say that about a lot of her friends from back home or really about a lot of people she had met. She was simply just one of the sweetest people she had met.

If Val didn’t love her so much, she would hate her. Men ate that crap up – but Ally barely noticed and if she did, she didn’t know how to work it to her advantage – which usually ended with Allison falling too hard for someone or getting hurt.

She sighed. Silly girl, it is what it is - things seem to work for her.  She had toughened up the last little while – but mostly she practiced the art of avoidance. The only thing Val could think of that she really had confidence in was her photography. She had an amazing eye and was extremely talented, she loved what she did and it showed in her work – it really was her life’s passion. She would do a terrific job.

Val leaned over tapping Allison lightly on her hand. “You’ll be okay. It’s gonna be great.”
Releasing the breath she didn’t realise she was holding. “Yeah?” She smiled.  “Yeah I will, you know me I like to over analyse things. Once I get working I will be good.”

 “So when do you meet the gloved one?”
“Two weeks this Friday, the 4th.”
“Hmm, I see and when do you leave?”
“I leave on the 9th and arrive on the 10th.”
“Well how bout I come down on the 8th we grab some dinner and I will stay the night and I will take you out to the airport to see you off?”

Allison beamed. “Valerie Anne Whitworth I do believe you might miss me while I am away.”
“Tsk, don’t flatter yourself honey – you know I been trying to find the right time and place to scope out the boys in your neighbourhood!”

Smiling she took a sip from her coffee cup. “And you can just get over your world-travelling self into trying to think otherwise.”

As they left the restaurant, Allison hugged her friend close. “Thanks Val. You are a lifesaver! I knew you would get me organized. I don’t know how to thank you.”
“You are more organized than I ever will be Ally-Cat, you just needed to talk it out and get it down without your controlling alter ego worrying about it before it happens.”
“Well anyways thanks Val, you’re the best.”

As they parted, Valerie winked at her and announced. “No problem honey, you just be sure to send me a naked picture of MJ...  and we will be all even!”

That was two weeks ago and Allison was now completed prepared for her trip.

She didn’t want to lose her apartment, so she paid her rent up until January and let the superintendent know she would be out of the country for a period so he could keep an eye out. Her mail was already being redirected to a post office box, where Val would round it up every week and forward anything important if she needed it. All of her photography equipment, film and accessories were packed and organized and ready to go. All she really had left to do was pack for her.

The hardest thing to deal with was Sam. Samson was the main man in her life. She spent more time with him than anyone else over the last 2 years. She didn’t want to just dump him at some kennel and leave him for so long. Val offered to take him, but even though Allison knew she loved Samson, she also knew Val’s lifestyle did not allow for an animal.

She could see it now, Val trying to walk Sam in her leopard skin Manolo Blahnik insisting that he wait for her, feeding him human food because she didn’t own a can opener.  No, that is not going to work – she would come home and find Sam either under exercised and overweight or given away to a “good family”. The very same thing that happened to their house cat in University – when she realised that cat food came in cans.

Luckily Marcus offered to take Samson before she even asked. Their family pet had passed away about a year ago and his twin girls were devastated. Just like Allison, they had always had a dog in their life, so it had been hard. However, they never got around to getting another, as no one seemed to have the time to be home to train a puppy. So it was the perfect solution for both. Only one problem, Marcus and his family were leaving for vacation before she was leaving for Japan and they wanted to take Sam with them.

Allison had taken Sam on Saturday afternoon and missed him already, but he was familiar with the family, the girls adored Sam and feeling was mutual.

She smiled remembering when she went over to their place to drop him off.  The girls were so happy to see her and Sam. At least she thought that’s what all the commotion was about. Turns out they only wanted to talk about one thing. Of course, what else did fifteen year old girls wanna talk about...  Michael Jackson, who else? Even Grace, who always appeared calm, relaxed and unaffected, was pretty excited.

It was a regular Michael-athon! Ally, what is he like? Ally, is he nice? Ally, is he really shy? Umm, Ally, does he wear a glitter glove all the time? Do you think he will give me an autograph? Can he sign my album – oh can we come to his place and see his animals? Would he like that Ally? I want him to be my boyfriend one of them sang out... no he is my boyfriend.  It was like talking to two little girls... or three if you counted Grace, who was right in there with her daughters.

It didn’t seem to matter to any of them that she hadn’t even met him yet. As far as they were concerned, Allison was the closest thing between them and Michael and that was fine by them and a ticket to paradise.

She left them and Sam a few hours later with hugs, kisses, a few tears and promises to call and write often. She also left with a box full of memorabilia, magazines, albums and reassurances she would ask every question and get something signed. Hmm, I wonder if he would mind signing some of them when they finally met. I hope so she thought.

Allison had been trying to be calm and relaxed about it all – trying to think about it as a job and a great opportunity for her career. As well, it also helped that she was extremely busy getting ready for her upcoming departure, but as the time got nearer to meeting with Michael, Allison was getting more and more nervous.

Living in Southern California she had met and seen her fair share of celebrities and had apprenticed on a couple of celebrity weddings when she first started with Daye’s. But she had never met anyone close to being as famous or as popular as Michael Jackson.

I don’t think that would be possible she thought – at the moment he must be the most famous man in the world. Every night there was something on ET about him, his new album and his tour and he was on the cover of at least one or more gossip rag every week! His new single was climbing the charts and just last Monday his album was released. It was impossible to not know who he was. It was really exciting – but a little unnerving.

The more she thought about it the more nervous she seemed to get. Well nervous or not, she was meeting the man, her new boss, day after tomorrow at his family home. “Don’t mess it up girl” she said to herself. “You don’t want to be fired.”

When Allison got home the Saturday night after dropping Samson off she had put the box of goodies in her dining room and left it there for later.  Now seemed like a good a time as any to check out the contents. She grabbed a glass of wine from kitchen before retrieving the box from her dining room table. She plunked down on her living room floor to see the hallowed treasures or two 15 year old girls.

Opening the flowered box she was amazed how neat and orderly everything was. It was obvious this was not a box of forgotten trinkets and odd purchases but a treasure chest to the girls.

Reaching in Allison pulled a stack of newspaper clippings and various magazines all neatly wrapped together with a canvas tie and put them aside. Next, in smaller shoe type box, she found a couple of sticker books, colouring books, three or four comic books, lapel pins and a doll that had seen better days.

At the bottom was an old fashion wood slide box that looked well worn. Inside she found a few 45 singles and two copies each of the albums Thriller and Victory. There was also a lone copy of Off The Wall and of the Jacksons Live, which Allison suspected belonged to Grace. Oh Grace, you are so funny she thought. I love those albums too. You could have just said something.

Thinking back now, she remembered playing her own Off The Wall album ad-nauseum. Well no time like the present to get reacquainted with it...

After returning from kitchen with another full wine glass, with the bottle under her arm, she put the album on.

Sitting back down on the floor Allison started flipping through the magazines. There must have been at least 50 or more. The first magazine she took out from the stack was a People magazine with a twenty something Michael smiling on the front in a striped red and black soccer jersey.

Taking a look inside it was all about the then upcoming Victory Tour and what everyone could expect, the ticket lottery and the prices. Allison remembered that well, because she herself couldn’t get tickets no matter how hard she tried.

The next couple were more serious magazines from 1984, Time and Rollingstone. It seemed that every popular magazine you could think of had a Michael Jackson cover here... there was Ebony, Jet, Newsweek, Life... some were regular issues and others where in whole dedicated to Michael Jackson. It was overwhelming to see it all together at once.

Side one of the album finished and Allison got up to play the other side. Noticing she was a little bit tipsy from the wine, she decided that the two glasses had been enough and first put the bottle back in fridge before coming back to the living room.

Returning to her seat on the floor Allison pulled out one final magazine before calling it a night. It was a special edition of People, called People Extra. Her heart skipped a beat and then stopped momentarily. She traced her fingers on the cover as she looked at the man on the front. The cover was mostly dark all over except for title and of course Michael on the front.

It was full neck and face shot from a performance on stage from the Victory Tour. If she could guess from the bit of jacket she could see, Allison would say he was performing Billie Jean.

His jet black hair was soaking wet and strands were stuck to his smooth deep brown skin, his black lined eyes looked like pools of wet brown liquid locked in concentration. His lips were absolutely perfect with a hint of peach fuzz above them. You could just see the outline of his adam’s apple and a distinct indentation from his clavicle bone meeting at his chest...

Allison stared at the picture for a long, long time until she suddenly realized the album had finished playing.

Oh my, my...she thought...  Mr. Jackson, you are so, you are so... very gorgeous.

She closed her eyes and squealed in delight... oh my, I can’t wait to meet you.

7 comments:

  1. Well that was great ! , Nice to get to know Val , she sounds like fun !
    I love that song from Randy Edelman , can't remember the title now but I have that album somewhere, was that song called "escape"? hmmm
    I CANNOT wait for Ally to meet Michael!!!!
    I hope it's soon....:)
    Good work C:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. hey you... I am glad you liked it - still getting use to fleshing out my characters...

    Yup it is called Escape and Yup they will meet soon..

    Actually they are meeting right about now and it will be in the next chapter. : )

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh I am loving this story even more.... Cant wait to read the next chapter.....

    ReplyDelete
  4. I looooooove Val !! LOLOL I have a crazy Val in my life too !! I can so imagine them together. They are in perfect balance.
    You gave us a clear sight on Ally's character. It seems as if she is quite professional but still a dreamer and an innocent woman. I think I like that. And Michael will love it !
    Up to the next chapter !

    ReplyDelete
  5. haha... Ingrid - I love Val too. She is actually based on a friend I knew in HS and became friends wiht in Uni - you gotta love those crazy friends.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ally's friend Val is hilarious! Loved the background story on how they met.

    Very cute how her boss's daughters kept asking her one question after another about Michael, even though she hasn't met him yet!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Mariaann - yes I am quite found of Val - she had a few good scenes so far that I am sure you will enjoy!

    Well could you imagine if you knew someone who was going to meet Michael - I would be all over them hoping osmosis would kick in and get me to him!

    ReplyDelete

 

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