chapter three – different kind of lady

Thursday, September 3, 1987

Allison spent most of Thursday worrying and fretting about Friday. What should I wear? What should I say? What should I do? What should I bring? Should I bring somebody with me? By noon she was a nice and tightly wound up mess. “Why do I this to myself?” She sighed.

Allison decided to call her parents to catch up and to take her mind off her impending launch into self induced insanity.  She was close to her parents, much closer now that she didn’t live with them. She didn’t call them as much as she should and even saw them less but she tried to call them at least once a month. They took her news of leaving the country and going out on The Bad World Tour pretty much as they took any news from her - second guessing her decision/choices and passively passing it off as irresponsible.

“You know honey you are going to have to settle down sooner rather than later; you can’t be jet setting all over the world forever.” Her mother warned.
“Mom I am only twenty-six, I have lots of time.”
“I was married and had you before I was twenty-six.”
“I know mom, but things are different now.”
“Okay you know what you’re doing, I guess. Now when are me and your father going to see you”

*sigh* and so the conversation went... did she not just hear I was leaving the country??

Calling this time around she got their answering machine and left a message that she would call, next week, before she left.

After hanging up Allison busied herself trying to figure out what to wear tomorrow for her meeting. Switching on the radio in her bedroom, she started to raid her closet for something suitable. She felt like she was getting ready for the prom. After going through almost her entire wardrobe twice she settled on a simple sleeveless sundress.

Satisfied with her choice, she started to pick everything up off the floor when she heard radio jockey announce the next song. “Now here is the hot new single from Michael Jackson, I Can’t Stop Loving You, number 6 this week on the Hot 100... Allison smiled; she really liked the new single... “and don’t forget to get his new album BAD in stores now.”

In stores now... oh crap! I forgot to get his new album - nothing like getting ready to meet Michael Jackson, and not owning his latest album. The hype had been incredible for his follow up album to Thriller. It had to be one of the most anticipated albums ever – everyone was talking about it and waiting for it... and Allison totally forgot to go and buy it.

Double crap! Jumping in her car, she made it quickly downtown and picked up two copies of the album with relief and got back home just in time to hear her phone ringing.


“Hello?”
“Hello, Ms. Wolf, please?”
“This is Allison Wolf.”
“Hello Ms. Wolf, this is Mary Coller, Michael Jackson’s assistant. I am calling to remind you a driver will be picking you up at 11AM.”
Allison had almost forgotten they were picking her up. “Right yes of course, I will be ready – thank you.”
“I just need to confirm you do not have any dietary restrictions.”
Allison smiled wide. “Nope, none.”
“Very good Ms. Wolf, thank you.”
“Thank you, bye now.”
“Good bye.”

After dinner, Allison spent the rest of her evening getting familiar with the album. It was really very good and different. At first she wasn’t sure if she liked it as much as Thriller or Off The Wall, but there were a few songs on the new album she really liked. By the third go around she was in love with the entire album. Later that night, in bed falling asleep, all she could hear was the heartbeat intro from Smooth Criminal.

The next morning the driver was prompt and arrived just before 11AM. Allison wasn’t exactly sure of everything she should bring, so she tried to pack light. She had her portfolio case in the chance he wanted to see her work, her smaller everyday camera with a Nikon 50mm multipurpose lens that she always carried with her, a portable tripod, several rolls of film and an external flash. She also had a few trinkets from Marcus’s girls and the new Bad Album in the hopes he might sign something if the opportunity presented itself.

The hour drive between Huntington Beach and Encino gave Allison time to practice her introductions and to get her breathing regulated. She didn’t feel exactly nervous, now she just felt over the top anxious. Hi I’m Allison, hi I am Allison, but most people call me Ally, hello I am Allison Wolf – nice to meet you. Good day I am Ms. Wolf...  oh that sounds terrible. Allison, Allison Wolf...  but people call me...

“Here we are Ms. Wolf,” the driver announced. Allison looked up to see the large brown iron gates open to let them in. Once through the gates they stop briefly at the guard station then drove up and around to the parking area at the side entrance of the home where the limo came to a standstill. When her door opened almost immediately, her heart stopped. A fatherly looking figure poked his head inside the door.

“Hello Ms. Wolf, my name is Bill Bray. I am the head of Michael’s security. How was the drive?”
Allison breathed a sigh of relief it wasn’t Michael himself. “It was good thank you. Nice to meet you Mr. Bray, please call me Allison.”
He gave her a warm smile. “Then you can do the same and call me Bill.”
Offering his hand to assist her out of the limo, “Do you need any help getting your belongings?”
Her hands were sweating from excitement, but she took his hand and stepped out of the car. “No thank you Mr..., sorry Bill, I think I am all set.”

“He is just around the back side passed the pond. Right down this path to your right.” Bill pointed along the brick path that led to the buildings at the back of the lawn. “He is expecting you, so don’t worry you won’t get lost. Would you like me to walk you out?”
Adjusting her dress, she took a deep breath, “I think I am okay.” She replied. Really what she wanted to say is do you think you could carry me.

Grabbing her bag and equipment case Allison started to walk down the brick path towards the back of the home.  Bill was right, she couldn’t really get lost as she could see almost everything except the back of the house.

To her left the drive opened to an ornate tiered water fountain in front of a mock Tudor-Style home with lots of stained glass with bevelled panes and gabled panelling. The grounds were immaculately manicured and the white marbled fountain looked as if it had been polished to shine in the afternoon sun. It looked more like an English country side home than a house in LA.

Turning back to her right she walked along the path and came upon what appeared to be a Japanese style garden with a pond. Across from her, there was a table fountain slowly spilling water into the pond, the water was crystal clear and she could easily see the pond was full of Koi. To the right a stoned path, bordered by thigh-high white iron fence, led to a white gazebo, with chairs, where the pond came to an end. The plants, bird of paradise, peony and bamboo grass, gave it its’ authentic Japanese feel while the quiet sounds of the table fountain made it so peaceful. It was stunning.

Setting her bags down Allison quickly pulled out her camera. She took a few pictures from where she stood then moved back to get more of a wide angle and panoramic view and then moved to get a few from the level of the fence. She didn’t have her macro-lens so she stepped over the fence balancing on the small water ledge to get closer. Bunching her sundress in her hand she wrapped it around her legs and carefully leaned herself over a large sandstone rock to get close ups of the flora. Smiling and satisfied she got what she wanted she placed her hand on the rock and moved to regain her balance to stand up.

“Nice view... isn’t it?” She heard a quiet voice behind her say.

Allison’s body immediately froze, and she squeezed her eyes shut for a few seconds. “Oh my god... nooooooo.”

Turning her head to her left to look behind her she saw a pair of long lean legs in black trousers. Her eyes slowly followed up the legs, passed the waist, along the buttons of the shirt and finally to the face... his face.

And there he stood... and there she was... precariously perched and bent over a rock with her sundress hitched up well passed her mid thighs. She instantly felt the blood rush to her cheeks, almost burning hot as she blushed. She could only imagine what she looked like from his view point.

He was slightly smiling at her. “Girl what are you doing in there?”

“I just came across and I was just...” breathe Allison breathe “...and I thought Japanese... and, I mean no, what a photo, I mean the picture would be Koi... ” She couldn’t complete the sentence if she tried, at least not one that made any sense to anyone, including herself. She wanted to crawl under the rock and hide.

Crossing his arms together, Michael waited patiently for her to stop sputtering. He could tell from her flushed cheeks that she was seriously embarrassed – but he couldn’t help but smile. It was crazy adorable how ridiculous her gibberish really was and not to mention he was rather enjoying the generous view of her legs she was supplying. 
“So are you finished taking pictures now?”
Allison thought it would be best to not try and speak again and nodded her head.
Still smiling he reached out his hand. “Come on then, let me help you out of there.

She looked back at his face momentarily, managing to smile as well. “Okay.”
But it really was an awkward position to get out of with someone’s assistance. She was still bent over the rock with her camera in one hand and her other hand on the rock. Her sundress was tangled up around her legs and showing him god knows what, she had seemingly lost her ability to speak and he wanted her hand. Getting out of the spot she was in was proving to be more difficult than getting into it was.

“Maybe I should just get myself out. I mean it is... I am kinda... well what...” before she could finish her thought, Michael straddled the fence, put his large hands on either side of her waist, effortlessly pulling her up and back to a standing position and then stepped back over the fence. Now she really did want to climb under a rock.

Staring down at the pond, Allison ran her fee hand down the front and back of her dress to straighten it out. She remained firmly planted in her spot, but in her mind she could hear herself saying, “Turn around and say something, say anything.”

“Now do I have to lift you over this fence, or do you think you can manage?” He chuckled behind her.
“Yes, I can manage smart guy.” Laughing at her shyness then turned to face him.
He was smiling biting his lip. “Well I just want to make sure you are coming out here with me and not staying on that side of the fence or worse jumping into the pond.”

When she turned to face him, her breathe caught. Oh goodness – he was gorgeous, standing there in all black, smiling and teasing her. She wanted to say “thank you...” she wanted to say... “hi hello”. Finally she released her breathe and focused on his warm smiling eyes. “I thought it would make a good photo.” Utterly relieved the capacity of speech had returned to her, even if she was five minutes behind in the conversation.

“Well at least I know I can trust you will go to any lengths to get me good photos. But I hope you are going to speak more when I get you out of there.” His warm hand enclosed on her wrist tugging her gently towards him. “Careful now, don’t catch your dress on the spears.”  He said sweetly without a hint of sarcasm.

Allison thought she was going to melt. Michael Jackson was touching her. Finally coming out of her daze, she lifted the skirt of her dress, stepping over the fence to be on the same side as him.  “There,” he said releasing her arm “that was easy, right?”

“Yeah, I guess it was. Thank you.” Still feeling the imprint of his hand on her wrist, she knelt down to put her camera away.

Michael watched her busy herself with her bag. There was about a foot between them and he was trying to read her body language to see if she was okay. Sometimes it was so hard when he met people who were fans. Anything could happen and he never knew what they expected of him or what he could expect from them. The way she was acting he fully expected her to run away or faint. Something he had seen plenty off. At least she didn’t scream, grab him or try to tackle him – something else he has seen far too much of.

Right now, she seemed more intent on keeping her distance than getting any closer to him. He held his smile tight. It probably didn’t help the position he found her in, not that he minded one bit. She was quite pretty with dark smoky eyes, long wavy hair and a really, really, great set of legs he thought. He couldn’t help but have a long look at her smooth tanned skin before letting her know he was there.

But she was a shy one that was for sure – she had barely looked at him. Nor could she complete a full sentence he mused. He had taken the liberty to help out over the fence, because quite honestly, he was almost afraid she was going to fall in the pond. Then she would have really been embarrassed. He didn’t want to scare her so he just watched her without saying a word.

Standing up, with her camera safely packed away, she bowed her head slightly and brought her clenched fist up to squeeze her cheeks then slowly folded her hands together and brought them under her chin to rest her head and looked directly at him.

“I am so sorry. I am really nervous and was so excited to meet you, I mean I am so excited to meet you and then you came up on me and startled me and now.... I can’t, I mean I am...  I don’t... can we please start again?”  She looked at him expectantly.

Michael nodded his head and let her take the lead.

“Hi I am Allison, Allison Wolf; it is very nice to meet you Mr. Jackson.” She said, extended her hand.
“Hello Allison, Allison Wolf.” He repeated, stepping forward to close the small gap between them. “You’re exactly as Tookie described you.”
He wrapped his arms around her and her arms, as well, that remained dangling at her sides, “I’m Michael, and it’s nice to meet you.” His lips whispered against her cheek.
“Tookie?”
“My manager, Frank.” He said releasing her.
“Oh.” She smiled.  “Umm, I know who you are silly.” 
“Well you called me Mr. Jackson – call me Michael or Mike.”
 “Okay I will call you Michael and you can call me Allison or Ally.”
“That is a deal Allison.”

There was another short awkward moment of pause – but Allison spoke up hoping talking more would relax her. She still couldn’t believe she was standing her talking to Michael Jackson.

“Wow I’m sorry she smiled looking down at the ground. I just such a huge fan I feel kind of inadequate standing here with you. I feel like I am a 10 year girl all over again.”

“Well that is the best way to feel.” He said quietly. “Children are the most honest people you could ever know and see nothing but the real you. So don’t change.”

“I was just about to over feed my animals; did you want to join me?”

“Oh, okay... I would love that. But do you think maybe we should get the business out of the way first?” Afraid if she didn’t bring up the main business discussion now she would forget all about it completely.... and that would be easy by just looking at him she thought. “I brought my portfolio with me if you would like to see my work, so you know what to expect.”

“No no, I know your styles.”
He gave her the warmest smile. “You are not the only one in awe. I saw the photos you did for National Geographic this past winter. I love what you have captured. It was magical, you are really talented.”

“Oh gosh... thank you.” Allison was extremely flattered. “So I understand you want all genres of my work, prints, slides and negatives, both black and white and colour. How will you decide what you want?”  Allison was feeling more comfortable now that she was talking about something she lived and breathed.

“Well,” He spoke slowing eyeing her. “I thought that we could meet every two or three days and go over your shooing and we could decide together as we go along.”

That took her by surprise. Meeting ever two or three days to over my sessions? She focused on the flowers over his shoulders – this was an unusual request and not typically how she or most photographers worked.

Of course she always met with clients to go over their proofs and mark-ups and what needed to be edited. But that was always after the sessions. She had never had anyone tell her how to go about shooting photos prior to shooting them. She was struggling to find the right way to say she wasn’t keen on this idea.

She realized this was the opportunity of a life time – but she had to say something – or this would turn out to be a nightmare of a trip if her heart was not in the assignment and she would not produce anything of real artistic value if she felt manipulated and he would hate what she produced.

She crossed her arms over her chest and brought her focus back to his face.

“That is not how I usually work Mr. Jackson.” She blurted. “I am an artist like you and I have my own creative style, if you think you can see through my eyes with the camera you might be better off with a Polaroid Instamatic then paying to have me tag along.”

It sounded like a pre-recorded message, coming out in a rush and a lot harsher than she wanted it to.

“Whoa, whoa…. there Ms. Bourke-White!  That is not what I am saying,” stepping back from her laughing slightly and smiling at her again. “Frank was right you are a tough little beauty – a little bit feisty too!”

Allison eyes widen, giving him a surprised look.  “I am not that tough – trust me. I just know it would not work out... and I wouldn’t be able to function under that type of work style. I really want to work for you Mr. Jackson. As you can imagine, I really, really do.” She paused. “But more importantly, I want to be able to give you the best possible pictures I am capable of. I don’t think I can do that if you are determining what I should be shooting and how. Sorry.”

“I would never ask you to change your style and I appreciate your honestly, but your style is why I wanted you on this trip.”
“You can’t make some one change their style – your talents are as individual as you and it comes from inside of you. It is instinctive, natural and beautiful it is what makes you, you."

“That is nice way of putting it Mr. Jackson.”

“It is the truth and girl” shaking his head “please stop calling me Mr. Jackson. My father is Mr. Jackson. Call me Michael.”

“What I mean is I already like what you do and I want you to take the images that inspire you. I don`t want to tell you what to take, but I want to see what you see through your eye show me what I cannot see.”

She cocked her head to the side and gave him a quizzical look.

Michael sighed. It was obvious this was a big deal to him.

“I can’t go out and do that on my own – not without a disguise…  I haven’t been able to for quite some time... actually really never.”

His eyes were almost down cast. “Do you have any idea how hard that is, to go to all these places and never really be able to see them or experience them? To travel all over the world but never see the beautiful landscapes of Switzerland, or the mountains of Spain, or the old buildings in London. For as long as I can remember I have been touring and travelling, but I never get to see any of the real world.”

Raising his eyes to meet hers, “I only see the backs of limos, hotels suites, hallways, dressing rooms and the stage.”

“But I want to I want to see and feel what is out there and not through picture books, but really see and feel it with you. I want this to be my last tour. I don’t want to miss anything and that is why I hired you. Does that make sense to you Allison? Let me live vicariously through your lens. Can you do that for me?”

She had never thought of it that way. She had never even considered it, but he was so right. He could not just go out and take photographs for himself. In fact, he really couldn’t even go out at all and do anything for himself. It would be literally impossible for him to go out into the world even just for a few minutes. Even to buy toothpaste or some other regular necessity.

She thought how she reacted when she just met him on his own property... and she had been invited here... and she still acted like a star struck fan. How would it be if he just showed up at K-Mart??  Attention K-Mart shoppers Michael Jackson is in aisle 5!

It would be mayhem ….  MICHAEL JACKSON BUYS DENTAL FLOSS SALE!! Or some other crazy headline…  The simple freedoms she took for granted, that she certainly expected he never had, probably never experienced.

How crazy would that be? She could not imagine not ever being to go out and not be able to see the land as she loved to photograph it. The lakes, oceans, desserts, mountains, fields…it would be like a death sentence to her. Just like it had to sometimes feel like that to him.

She had to do this job and she had to do it well.  “Yes,” nodding her head, “I can do that for you.”

“Okay.” He chucked “So Ms. Wolf, are we done with the business now?”

She relaxed finally since arriving and smiled. “Yes, Mr. Jackson, we are done with the business.”

“Good! Let’s go.” Laughing and grabbing her hand he pulled her down the path towards the back of the house.

To say it was a wonderful, absolutely delightful afternoon and evening really would demean the day. It was marvellous beyond anything Allison could have hoped or imagined. She thought that spending the day with Michael Jackson would be amazing enough, but spending the day with just Michael, the man, was incredible beyond her wildest dreams and she quickly fell under his whimsical spell.

After they got the business part out of the way they went down to the stables to feed the animals. When they arrived Michael had one of the staff take her belongings back to the house so Allison didn’t have to carry her equipment around. 

She was surprised by the amount of animals he had, some of which were just roaming around freely. Allison knew about Bubbles the chimpanzee and Muscles the python. She had read about them and had seen photos in magazines with Michael posing with them. But it was a regular small zoo at the back of the property. There were 2 llamas, Louie and Lola, and a Ram named Mr. Tibbs, a small back dog, a couple of cat, parrots and ducks and two swans.

Once all the animals were fed their regular grass and hay mixture, Michael said they could give the llama’s treats. So they fed them cut up apples and orange peels, which they really seemed to like. One of them also seemed to especially like Allison’s hair. More than once Michael had to stop him or her from taking her hair into their mouth, lightly pushing her hair back over her shoulder, brushing his finger tips along her skin. 

Then he talked in detail about their digestive system how it had 3 compartments. Allison smiled but found it really kind of grossly disgusting to talk about the digestive track of any animal. But Michael was so animated about it all; it was hard not to listen. He talked a lot about everything and anything and he seemed to know a lot about everything too.

Later on when they were back at the house having a late lunch on the shaded part of the terrace, he talked in depth about photography and asked her a million and one questions. What inspired her, why she took photos a certain way, what settings she preferred the ISO she used, aperture vs. shutter speed and processing for both colour and black and white. By the time he was finished Allison wondered if she was good enough for what he wanted.

It was intoxicating being around him. First off he was gorgeous beyond belief and had the most beautiful smile she had ever seen. But it was so much more than that, he was sweet and sincere and really listened carefully whenever she spoke. And he laughed at everything – things that weren’t even particularly funny – and he used all these funny voices to describe things and people.

Michael felt the same way. He was happy that she finally seemed to relax and was acting more or less normal around him. It was very hard for him, because he never really had any people that didn’t know him first as Michael – they only knew Michael Jackson, singer, dancer, superstar and that always came with the preset ideas of how things would unfold. It was fun just being a regular guy with her.

After their meal he took her on a quick tour of his home and theatre. He told her about a new film he was working on and he talked a lot about the upcoming tour. He confided how it would be his last and he wanted it to be perfect and better than the Victory Tour. It was going to be a gruelling schedule for the next 2 years, but he wanted to make sure he reached all his fans.

Before she left they watched a couple of 3 stooges’ episodes in the theatre – which Allison did not find funny at all while Michael laughed hysterically. Then they also watched Captain EO – a movie he had done for Walt Disney the previous year that was currently playing at Disneyland. That she loved. It was fun watching Michael up on the big screen while he sat quietly beside her, mostly watching her and her reactions.

Before they knew it, it was time for Allison to go home. It was kind of a letdown, for both of them, neither of them wanted the day to end. Just before she left, Michael signed all the memorabilia she had brought and gave her a few t-shirts, a special promo booklet and a program for the tour.

Walking her out to the limo, he briefly went over the upcoming schedule and explained about the arrival and such. “Don’t worry,” he said, “Mary will help you once you get there.” Putting his hands on her shoulders he pulled her towards him, kissing her lightly on the cheek he whispered. “It was really nice spending the day with you Ms. Wolf. See you in a week.”

Allison spine tingled at his words, “Me too Michael, good night.”

The drive home went by fast, with Allison floating on a cloud the whole ride home.

16 comments:

  1. That was really great C !!!I loved their meeting , I could feel the magic ...(I am not just blowing smoke up your a...here , I mean it )When Jennifer Batten first met Michael she said she could not get over how gorgeous he looked.....
    All the little nuances like with the animals and him brushing her hair over her shoulders with his fingertips lightly touching her skin....you wrote that well , I can feel the tingling my self.

    A "tough little beauty and a feisty one at that " ohh Michael talking like that on a first meeting and a bussiness meeting tsk tsk tsk ....I don't know about that...

    Loved this chapter C , yeah the 3 stooges , I am with Allison , what the hell is so funny about that ????? oh well , our man loved them , I think I could barely sit through one episode...haha!!
    I am ready for more Allison and Michael!!!!!soon!!!

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  2. Awwe K – am seriously happy that you liked it. As I said to the Danish Tart....I am a slow, slow mover with these two... so I hope I can keep you interested until they get there... speaking of which, Allison has a plane to catch. Happy Sunday!

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  3. Did I tell you how much I loved this chapter?
    Oh well, I guess I did, but it does not hurt to repeat it...

    So here we go:

    I LOVED IT!

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  4. Oh you will keep me interested ....don't worry about that....and slow is good ...just don't bring the chapters on slow haha!

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  5. Aww.. I love this chapter too.. I am very intrigued with your story and where its going.... Cant wait for the next chapter already....

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  6. Forever I am glad you like it too - as I said to the girls.... I seem to be a slow mover with these two - but I am sure the will figure it out at some point... that they should be together/

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  7. Love the story and cant wait to read more...

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  8. awww thanks forever - I did see your other comments - sorry it looks like blogger deleted them along with my reply - just like on Enola's site.

    I have been waiting patiently for blogger to come up as I do have the next chapter ready... but I am still having problems - hopefully in the next couple hours or by tomorrow!

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  9. NEXT CHAPPY coming soon , ohhhh me likes !!!

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  10. Yeah ah YG - that was chapter four... you are gonna have to wait and be patient for chapter five you silly lovely one.

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  11. OOHH I see, that was an old comment from when the "power went out" sjeesh.....too bad... we were just "fed" is what you are saying?.....I get it now....allright then...nothing left to do but wait I suppose....I will go for a walk around the blog heehee!!! That was funny , if I say so myself

    * sitting here by myself cracking up at my own joke hahahah* life aint so bad at all.....if you live it of the wall!!!!

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  12. Yes you have been fed... I don't cook that fast - even with my special apron!

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  13. Oooh ! I love this chapter ! It was really funny how they met. He was very much the real man, checking out her assets before letting her know he was there !! Tsk tsk tsk !! The poor girl was so embarassed !
    I loved how she stood up for her professional beliefs ! Good job !
    Of course I did not expect them to become lovers at their first meeting but still there was something lying underneath... Can't wait to find out more.

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  14. I am just happy she didn't fall in the pond. I was kinda concerned that might happen... and then she would have been wet and naked at some point - and we are so not read to be naked with him yet - we might pass out. LOL

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  15. Love this chapter! So funny how Ally was so embarassed when she first met Michael & couldn't even complete a sentence! I thought she was going to fall in the pond for sure & Michael would have to jump in to rescue her!

    Imagine getting to spend the whole day with him, feeding the animals, having lunch, watching movies. I would be on cloud nine too!

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  16. Good morning Mariaann!
    If it was me....I think I would be totally unable to speak the entire time - I glad she finally got it together enough to say something.

    But it would be fun just hanging around him just letting him be him... *sigh*

    ReplyDelete

 

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