chapter twenty - out of the shadows - part i

Wednesday, June 1, 1988

As Karen put the finishing touches to his hair and makeup, Michael sat quietly watching his girl. Sitting back on her heels with a look of concentration on her face Allison methodically accounted for and organized her equipment.  Wholly  fixed in her tasks she didn't take notice that he had been watching her for the last 10  to 15 minutes. She was a total perfectionist when it came to her craft and he loved watching her get ready for a shoot. Well if he was being honest, he loved to watch her do just about anything at all, but there was something about her demeanor, the way she checked over her equipment that he enjoyed. It was a quiet but resolute confidence. An assuredness she didn't always have in situations with him or with herself. But when it came to her work, she was completely at ease and didn't think twice about decisions made. He smiled to himself. It was like the way he was with his music, in the studio recording or on stage performing. He was in complete control and he always knew exactly what should happen and when it should be done. He never had to think about what to do.  It came naturally. He never second guessed himself or a decision he made. It was when he was offstage that he had a hard time dealing with situations.

It was easy for Michael to understand her apprehension about going out with him or attending the tour parties. Sometimes he didn't like it either. Actually, he didn't like it any of the time. Most of the people he didn't know and everyone wanted to have their picture taken with him. He knew it was part of the business, but no one really talked about anything and if they did he wasn't sure if they were talking to him because they wanted to get to know him or if they wanted something from him. It was much easier to avoid these situations all together, but that wasn't possible for him. But now he wouldn't have to do it alone. He would have her by his side.

It had just been over a week since that night in Rome when she told him what she wanted.  He smiled again.... nooo make that, she told him what she didn't want. It was him that told her what he wanted. Which was to basically get her naked so he could make love to her. That was achieved easily and at the same time he showed her how he saw her and how beautiful she was to him. That she never had to worry about being compared to any other woman, because no one else could make him feel the ways she did. Afterwards when they were lying in bed she told him again that she never wanted to be without him when she could be with him, promising she would be whenever it was possible...and so far, true to her words that night she kept her promise.

Every opportunity they could be together when he was out that allowed for her attendance she was there. Sound checks, rehearsals, an interview with a local newspaper, another visit to a children's hospital.  So far no one had really noticed an extra person in his entourage. No mention had been made that there was a woman travelling with him or leaving the shows with him. Granted there had only been two other shows in Italy. One additional night in Rome and then another in northern Italian town of Turin and no other big parties to attend. Nonetheless the day to day mundane excursions were good practice and gave her the confidence she needed to believe she could easily be out and about with him without cause for worry. It also pleased him immensely. Michael was thrilled to have her with him every day all the time. Just like it would be after the tour… just the two of them. But after tomorrow, the situation would most likely change and their day to day interactions would no longer go completely unnoticed nor would they be considered so day to day. Because tomorrow night, after his one concert in Vienna, they would no longer be so low key. He was taking precautions and called in a few favours, but even the best laid plans and intentions could go astray. All Michael could do was hope she was ready for whatever came their way.

She could feel his eyes on her and she smiled up from her kneeled position on the floor before asking him the question that had been on her mind since breakfast.
"Michael explain to me again why we are going to the Belvedere Palace today? I mean aren't we going there tomorrow night for the party?"
"Girl you have a memory like a sieve."
"Ugh, I so do not."
"I just told you yesterday," he smiled shaking his head. "But I am glad to see you at least remembered the party."
"Of course I remembered. I didn't forget the party silly. I bought a dress especially for it,” she fell back on her butt to sit on the plush rug to face him.
“But now that you mention it, it is really is hard to remember all the places we go and see.”
“Coz  you want to see everything,” she laughed sounding faintly exasperated. “But now we are seeing things twice. Don't you think you would be better if we went to different places."  She gave him a smug grin feeling as if she proved her point rather convincingly.
"Well Michael, I think she might have you there," Karen piped in with her own two cents winking at Allison.
Michael chuckled, "oh no no no, now you two are teaming up on me?"
"Yup, only when we are right. Right K?"
Karen laughed as she unsnapped and removed the makeup cape from around Michael, "oh no Ally, don't get me involved in this one. I was just agreeing with your point."
Allison nodded, "exactly. See Michael."

"Well obviously you don't remember what I said," he smirked back at her as he stood to walk towards her. "But as I mentioned earlier, we won't have time to see anything at the party and this place is supposed to be beautiful..." He reached where she sat in a few strides and gestured for her to give him her hand, "...and I would actually like to see it.  I can't believe you forgot about it."
His voice carried a hint feigned insult but his eyes were warm and smiling at her. Allison rolled hers as she reached up to grab onto Michael's outstretched hand, "geez okay, okay, I forgot, I'm sorry. Man.... sue me." 

She did feel a little guilty that she didn't remember, especially since he had asked her to take pictures when they went. But holy mother... how could she keep up with everywhere they went. It was impossible. Especially since she had been going with him everywhere. Which so far had been easier than she had anticipated, but still... she didn't know how he did it. He never seemed to be tired or annoyed and it was true... when he wasn't attended some mandatory press conference or interview.... there was rehearsal and when he wasn't doing that he wanted to go everywhere and see everything.  It really was hard to keep track of it all. And right now her main focus was on the big party tomorrow night that she would attend with Michael.

"Sue you?" he pulled her up to standing as she laughed.
"I don't want to sue you... maybe kiss you... hug you... take you and..." Michael pulled her flush against him and placed his hand on her butt.
"Cough, cough, a-a-ahem," Karen cleared her throat loudly to remind them she was still in the room. "Excuse me you two love birds, I'm all packed up now so see you downstairs at the van."
Allison pulled away slightly, giving Michael a small smile as she did, "sorry K. We're coming too. We will be down in a few minutes."

As Karen left Michael pulled her in close again, "girl you're too much. How do you know we will be down in a few minutes. How do you not know I might keep you here for longer than a few minutes"
"Because I know we will be," she wriggled from her grasp. "You know we can't always keep people waiting on us... or even you Michael."
"What are you talking about? I do not keep people waiting," Michael’s voice took on a more serious tone. "And if I do it’s for good reason."
"Sorry, I don't mean you... " she admitted. "It's just.. I really want people to respect me when I'm with you Michael... and I don't want us to be late for stuff all the time... then people think I made you late or worse they think I am in need of special attention or something from it."
Michael eyes widened with surprise, "who thinks that? Did someone say that to you?"
Allison tried to back pedal she didn't want to make it a big deal, "no, no... I just felt really bad when we were late before your show in Rome. "
He gave a low chuckle, "girl you are still thinking about that? That was more than a week ago."
"Yeah, I mean everyone was worried about where we were and I am sure they were more than a little concerned about our safety... especially yours."
"Well we arrived back safe so there was no need to worry."
"I know, it just that I thought that maybe they thought maybe it was my fault."
Michael walked to the chair behind her to retrieve his jacket, "why would they think that?"
She shrugged, "I guess maybe coz you didn't say anything when we got back."
He pulled on his long black jacket, "girl, what are you talking about?  What was I supposed to say... I needed to get ready and well there was no need to explain anything."
She turned to face him, "Michael... you can't be serious... we disappeared all afternoon and there is no need to explain?"
"I'm dead serious," he walked back towards her as he buttoned up his jacket. "I don't want to have to tell people were I'm going all the time."
He met her eyes with a solemn look, "I know I shouldn't, but sometimes... sometimes I just want to go out and see and do things like everyone else and not have to explain myself."
She sighed, she didn't know what to say. He was completely right. He shouldn't have to explain himself. But on the other hand  he couldn't just do things like everyone else... because like it or not he wasn't like anybody else and there wasn't anybody else like him.
"I know sweetie," she grasped his hands in hers. "I know. I just think it might be good if we had told someone we were going out."  She ducked her head and smiled slightly, " you know... kinda like how you wanted me to do in Tokyo."
Michael’s eyes searched hers for understanding then flashed at her correlation of the two situations.
Her smile became a large grin, "just for safety sake so people don't have to worry."
He shook his head, "girl, I can't believe you are using that against me. That situation was completely different and you know it."
"Really,” she raised her eyebrows in defiance, “and how would that be so?”
Michael shook his head, but there was a slight smile on his lips “Ally don’t you even start with the how would that be so.”
“Well two can play at that game Mr. Jackson.”
“Girl, you know it was different. I was worried about your safety.”
She nodded, “mmhmm, well your staff was worried about our safety… and since I completely consented to your request then, I trust you can do the same for me now."
He held her gaze momentarily before he responded, “we’ll see."
“Thank you Michael,” she kissed him softly on the lips to seal his approval.

A few minutes later they left their Imperial suite to head down to the lobby to meet up with the others who would be travelling with them today. At the moment they were staying at the Hotel Imperial in downtown Vienna, having arrived in Austria two days ago. The private jet leaving northern Italy the morning after Michael’s concert in Turin and they checked into the beautiful historic hotel 3 hours later. Once again the hotel was spectacular, filled with old world charm and full of antiques and collectibles. Allison couldn’t believe it. No matter how lavish or extravagant the places they stayed, the next one would be more luxurious then the last. And if you asked her, just a little bit too pretentious in her opinion. Wherever they stayed she felt like she couldn’t sit anywhere or touch anything. In fact she wouldn’t had been surprised if they had stopped her at the front desk at check in and gave her a warning… knowing full well she would break something sooner rather than later. The hotels just didn’t seem like a place you could relax or unwind. But of course being with Michael almost 24/7 helped. He never let her feel like she didn’t belong where he was. As uncomfortable as she felt, Michael was the polar opposite. He loved staying in these fancy hotels. The fancier the better. He easily moved around the large suites filled with expense art and furnishings. He was right in his element, which kind of surprised her. It just didn’t seem like him to be impressed by excessive grandeur bordering on pompous . Especially because Michael was normally so humble and unpretentious. But she soon found out the reasons’ why. He told her it made him feel inspired to be surrounded by such beauty and art and it made him realize that there is so much more to discover and embrace. More than they could ever take in. Allison could only smile. Only Michael could make something so ostentatious sound so tactful and simple.

According to the hotels history book in their suite, the hotel was original built as a private palace and was the home of Prince Philip of W├╝rrttemberg from 1863 - 1865. The Prince was married to a grandniece of an Emperor and according to documents the palace had been a morning gift by the bride’s father, Archduke Albrecht. Nice gift! Behind the palace was a huge local park that extended to St. Charles Church. When the city took it upon themselves to build a pedestrian street between the palace and the park, without seeking the permission of the palace, the Prince left enraged. Although rumours have it he received substantial compensation. The palace was then bought by an investor who turned it into a hotel, opening in 1873, just in time for the world Expo that was held in Vienna that year.

Inside the hotel was no less notable than its history. In fact it was certainly more impressive. The revolving door at the entrance was custom-made and could be stopped at any time. The wings could also be opened and a lush red carpet could be rolled out to welcome state visitors - flanked by guards - in truly imperial style. Above the entrance were four statues on the hotel’s exterior, displaying the symbol of a leader’s virtues, wisdom, honor, justice and strength. And just beneath the lobby’s marble flooring you could still find the original cobble stone pavement. Today's main entrance was a driveway in the past, where horse-drawn carriages would arrive at the palace. But today that was the same place they had walked through to enter the hotel.

Although there were many upgrades to the royal palace to make it a hotel the royal staircase was almost left intact. Horse-drawn carriages halted in front of the Ceremonial Staircase at what was now the lobby, allowing the royal guests of the Prince to step out and ascend to the private apartments on the first floor, the Belle Etage. She had read in the book that the sides of the staircase were made of an extremely sophisticated and expensive technique that made it look just like genuine marble. However, when you put your palms on the wall, it didn’t feel cold like real marble did, in fact the walls turned warm instead. It was not only the most private and secluded part of the hotel, It was the most prestige’s’ and where their suite was located. She and Michael along with his innermost staff were now occupying the entire front part of the hotel.

When entering the Belle Etage's foyer it gives you a hint of what is to come of the impressive Imperial Suites that had ceilings more than 23 feet high. The area of the hotel they were staying had a combined total of close to 6,500 sq ft. There were three relatively smaller room between two massive Imperial Suites. One of the suites she and Michael were sharing. She wasn’t sure who was staying in the other, but she knew that Bill Bray and the rest of Michael’s security occupied at least two of the suites in between. Out in front surrounding and wrapping around the outside of these suites was a greeting  balcony of sorts, that could be used to gesture to the people below, if any happened to be around, from the above.

But above all what really caught Allison’s fancy was the torte shop, called the Imperial Torte. So famous was this shop that it delivered it’s sweet delectable treats and chocolates around the globe. Once she tasted one of them she understood why. They only had a few selections to choose from, but they were far superior to any other chocolate she ever tasted. She would be hard pressed to find anything as rich and delicious. She knew she would be packing a couple in her suitcase before leaving the hotel.

Once in the vans and passed the crowd of fans, it didn’t take long to arrive at their destination. The Belvedere Palace was just directly down the road from their hotel. If it had of been just her traveling, she could have walked there in 10 or 15 minutes, it was less than a mile. But travelling with Michael Jackson brought on a whole new meaning to travelling. You couldn’t really walk anywhere at all and you couldn’t go out without precautions, meticulous planning and an entire entourage of people. Just getting them out of their hotels and into the vans was a big fuss.

The first concern was the hotels themselves. Unlike the previous hotels they had stayed in Japan, Australia and back at home in the States, the European hotels were much older. That was of course because the countries and cities were that much older. However it made it difficult and virtually impossible to get Michael in and out undetected. There were no rear entrances, underground garages or privacy arrival areas to use. The only way in and out were the main entrances, barricaded with temporary fencing to keep Michael’s fans at bay.  That was the second problem… well not really a problem per say, but it was crazy. Michael’s fans were everywhere they went, all day, all night all the time. Screaming, crying, yelling, pushing, shoving and grabbing with some boarding on hysterical. She had never seen anything quite like it and the tour had only just started.

It took a few minutes to get the vans maneuvered around the parked cars and the many fans vying for Michael’s attention. Not to mention the entourage was larger than normal. Besides herself and Michael, there was Bill, Frank and James travelling in one van, along with Mary who would make sure the scheduled outing went smoothly. There was the other driver of the second van, two additional security men because they would be out in public.  Karen Faye, Michael Bush and the tours photographer, Bill Pecchi,  would also be joining them.

They weren’t normally with them when she and Michael went out, but today they were because this was a scheduled public excursion. It was a trip out that purposefully not been made secret or kept under wraps. Today’s trip to the palace would be used as one of Michael’s “required” publicity outings. Which was unusually indeed. They would be out in the general public prior to going inside the palace for a private tour. This meant lots and lots of photos, by Bill, who Michael liked to call Pecky, and Allison of course. But also by anyone else who would be on the grounds today.  So Michael needed to have his crew to keep him looking picture perfect throughout the visit. It was also the reason there were so many fans around the hotel. Michael hated theses “required” trips, and she didn’t care much either for them. Michael’s reasoning was understandable. He didn’t want to be told when he should or shouldn’t be out in public and she didn’t like them because she just didn’t feel it was safe.

As they reached the gates, Allison breathed a sigh of relief. Luckily it was still early in the day and not very crowded at all. This would make it easier for Michael to get around and to get his pictures with Bill and the press. And easier for her to access to the primo photo spots. Once parked, Allison kissed Michael on the cheek  and was one of the first ones out of the van. Clutching her trusty Nikon in her hand and her camera bag in the other she wanted to get a head start on her pictures before it got too busy…. and especially before anyone realized Michael Jackson was there.
Knowing that Michael would be busy with all the official mumbo jumbo, she took the time to walk around unnoticed.

The Palace was located in the middle of a large park. Built during the Baroque period it was located at what was at that time the city gates and offered a spectacular view of the old city from the gardens.
Within the park there were actually two castles. A larger Upper Palace and a smaller, more modest, Lower Palace. Lavishly designed gardens filled with fountains, ponds, stairs and small water falls link the two palaces. The Upper Palace, where they would be touring later today, is where the art museum was. The museum held the works of many famous Austrian painters, including the largest Klimt collection in the world. Klimt, an Austrian symbolist painter, was known for his expression of frank eroticism with his primary subject being the female body. Michael had told her that his two most renowned masterpieces “The Kiss” and “Judith” were held here in the Upper Palace.

It was a warm hazy morning and she enjoyed the breaks of sun on her face as she toured the grounds. She easily flew through three rolls of film on the upper and lower palaces as well as the fountains and waterfalls. She then turned her attention to Michael. Catching up with them by the largest pond, she hung back, snapping a few candid photos as Pecky took photos of him. A few tourist milled around innocently as he stood atop the ledge that surrounded the pond. He was leaning onto a stripped umbrella that he had been using to keep the sun off his skin. He smiled at her as he finally caught her taking her own photos of him, “there you are, c’mere girl,” he called seeking her attention.
“Hey, hi ,” she greeted as she walked towards him. “How’s everything going?”
“Good, we are just about done.”
“Okay, I’ll just wait with K and Michael B then”

A few feet away with Karen and Michael Bush she watched as Michael posed for the last few pictures for the press and signed some autographs for the fans. As always so gracious, never wanting to turn anyone down. They sun was now high in the sky and the day was really starting to warm up. Staring at him she wondered if he was getting hot in his wool jacket and the long sleeved shirt he wore underneath. It had to be uncomfortable always being so completely covered up. Frank must have been thinking the same thing because a few minutes later, he conferred with Mary and they called an end to the photo session for the press.  She smiled at Frank when he looked her way. She loved that about him, he never let things go too far. He wasn’t just his manager, he really cared about Michael and he always seemed to have Michael’s best interest at heart. She was glad he was watching out for him too.

“God Michael, you must be hotter than hell in your jacket,” she exclaimed as he came down from the ledge towards the small group.
“Girl, I am fine,” Michael replied as he popped the umbrella open as he joined them. He used the open umbrella to shield them briefly from prying eyes and leaned in to kiss her, “even better now” he whispered making her smile. “I saw you out there wandering around all tourist like. Did you get what you wanted?”
“Well I am a tourist thank you very much,” she grinned. “And since you are asking, yes I did. I got exactly what I wanted. This place is amazing Michael, I can’t wait to see what it looks like inside the palaces.”
“Well  I think we are just about done here now, so we can get going in.”
“Okay, sounds good.”

The small group made their way towards the Upper Palace. With the publicity part of the trip out of the way they began to break into their own groups to go their separate ways. Karen, Michael Bush and Pecky prepared to leave with the security they had come with. Frank announced he had a meeting with a sponsor and said he would be leaving with them. Mary had gone to speak with the Palace representatives to go over the arrangements to make sure everything was as discussed, then she would be leaving as well, and Bill and James would stay and wait at the van for Michael and Allison to finish their tour. She smiled inwardly, barely able to contain her excitement. Once everything was arranged, no one else would be touring with them through the palace. She would have him all to herself. She hadn’t really given it any thought, she knew he had obligations to attended to, but she was always sharing him or waiting to be with him. But for the next couple of hours it would just be her wandering through the palace and the museum with no one else but him. That made her smile, she definitely would not take it for granted.
“What are you smiling at girl?”
“Nothin,” she met his gaze.
Michael chuckled, “mhmm, you look like the Cheshire Cat.”

Once inside they were given an introduction with a guide book and asked if they would like a guided tour. Michael thanked them, but said they would prefer to walk through on their own.  Michael decided he would narrate their tour. Reading from the guide he sounded like a TV news reporter making her break out laughing at his fake voice. Carrying on he told her that the Lower Palace, a long, single-story palace at the base of the hill at the entrance, was used as the main residence. The Upper Palace or the Upper Belvedere, as it was frequently called, was much larger and was used for lavish parties and entertainment.
“That’s where we are today folks.” Michael continued in a voice reminiscent of Howard Cosell. It was also where the party would be held tomorrow night.

They entered the Upper Palace through a white marble hall with an arched ceiling supported by large sculpture’s that looked like twisted giants. The stucco decoration on walls and ceiling was abundant with spears, helmets and armour. It was a theme that would continue throughout the palace. From there they went up a lavish white marble staircase where they were met with a few more larger than life statues holding majestic lanterns. On the landing, halfway up the staircase, sunlight spilled in through the large window warming them. Looking out they could see the Lower Palace down the hill and how the garden slopped up to where they stood.

They continued to the top of the stairs and emerged into another grand marble hall that held a shock of colours in comparison to all the white marble they had just passed. The hall rose up two stories to a painted domed ceiling and the walls where covered with pink marble. The ceiling was painted in fresco styling with plaster and was covered in a magnificent mural.

Out at the end of the hall they came upon the museum. The rooms here were simple and stripped back to basics squares, mostly likely to enhance the impressive collection held inside. Besides the Klimt collection there were many other famous painters and paintings on display, including Renoir and Van Gogh. There were rooms full of early 19th century portraitures that Michael found fascinating, but that she found dark, drab and boring to her untrained eye. She was more in tune with the dreamy Romantic landscapes that took her breath away and the few impressionist paints dotting the walls.  At the end was the Klimt museum, with its centre piece picture ‘The Kiss’. Alone on the wall, it was a perfect square. The famous painting depicted a couple entwined together in elaborate and decorative robes with the man bending to kiss the woman. The notes below the painting said it was composed of oil paint with layers of gold leaf, a feature that gave it its striking aspect that gives it its strikingly modern, yet evocative appearance. It was stunning.

“Wow, isn’t that beautiful Michael? It’s so vibrant”
She turned from the painting, “I’m so glad we came out here today.” She smiled up at him, “this place is beautiful with all the gardens and ponds and - .”
“Mhhmm it is, it’s all beautiful,” he interrupted her thinking she was beautiful too.
“And the palace feels so…. I dunno, peaceful you know, even with all the white and the high ceilings. I love all the large windows. They really give it such a warm feeling with all the natural lighting.”
Michael chuckled quietly smiling, “is this the same girl that didn’t know why we were coming heretwice?”
“Oh you shush.”
He reached for her hand weaving their fingers together, “I will not. But I am glad we came here too.”

They left the museum and began their walk back towards the entrance, returning to descend the same white marble staircase they had climbed earlier. The sun had gone around to the side of the palace and now cast long dark shadows and panels of light along the white marble. The composition was utterly perfect and she stopped him immediately wanting to get a picture. She didn’t have to tell him how to pose, he was a natural for the camera as she shot several frames of film to get the right picture.

Back outside they traveled down to the lower palace. The main entrance was another marble, fresco and marble masterpiece, almost identical to the marble hall in the upper palace that was visible through the massive windows. Inside this palace there wasn’t a lot to see. Most of the rooms had been stripped of their heavy antique furnishings and looked rather modern. There was a bedroom that had been left intact, covered in gold leaf and mirrors and a great hall of grey and white marble that led out to the garden. There was also a large gift shop where you could buy t-shirts, hats, scarves, cups and just about anything else imaginable in Klimt-inspired patterns.

One of the most memorable parts of the day happened when they were leaving the grounds. They were walking with Bill and James towards the van when Michael spotted this two little old ladies sitting and talking on a bench.”
Ally, take a picture of me with these ladies,” he motioned towards them.
“You serious?” She honestly thought he was joking.
“Yeah, I’m serious. Come on.”
Walking over to them he graciously nodded his head and said hello and then began to try to explain to them what he wanted to do with hand gestures and actions.
He pointed to himself, “I want to take a picture” he made camera motion with his hands, “click, click” he said “with you.”
Then he pointed at her and the camera, “Allllisoon,” he stretched out her name as if to make them understand what he was saying, “will take it for us.”
It was the most ridiculous thing she had ever seen. The ladies, who didn’t speak English, just looked at Michael curiously and smiled. They must of thought he was crazy. She smiled. He was being so silly but kinda adorable at the same time.
“Michael they don’t know what you mean,” she started to laugh.
“Girl, come on, take the picture.”
So Michael sat down beside the two ladies and she took the picture… she took several pictures and the little old ladies obliged. But she was pretty sure they thought they were nuts.

At dinner that night she asked him why he wanted to take the picture with them. It seemed so odd and out of the blue. He explained that it was nice to be in a picture with people who were just everyday regular people. People who didn’t know who he was or what he did.
“You know sometimes girl, I just want to be unknown. Have no one know who I am. To sit on a park bench all day long, smell the grass or listen to the birds.”
It hurt to hear him say that, but at the same time, she knew exactly what he meant.
He looked at her and smiled slightly, “do you think that is bad? Is that wrong to want that?”
She shook her head, “no, not at all Michael. I get it. You want your own time. That I can understand.”
“Yeah, I guess that’s it.” He looked at her earnestly, “but I want you there, you know that right.”
His words and the way he was looking her made her heart skip a beat. She knew that.
“Yeah… I know.”

The next day they barely spent any time together. Michael had an interview with Jet Magazine at noon then it was off to rehearsal before the show tonight at Praterstadion. She had decided she would go out Then he would meet up with Allison at the hotel to get ready for the show and their after party. He was excited that tonight she would be joining him, but also worried about sharing her. He had taken some precautions about bring her out in the public, but he still hoped he had made the right decision in revealing her now.

Before the show…

Michael turned and quickly glanced at the antique grandfather clock in the hall. It was just past 7 pm and it was almost time to leave for the show. He was schedule to be at the stadium for 7:30 and on stage for 8:45 sharp. He was ready. Already dressed and having his hair and makeup completed since about half past 6. Now he was only waiting on Allison to be ready so they could leave for the show. At his suggestion, Karen was helping her get dressed and provide assistance or reassurance she might need. Even though he knew Allison wouldn’t want to have someone fussing over her, Michael also knew she was uneasy about making her first public appearance accompanying him this evening. It was set to be a small gathering only at the palace after the show. But it would be very high profile with lots of press and a few unsavory journalist. He definitely wanted her there, but he also wanted to alleviate any of the pressure she might be feeling.

A few minutes later she walked out into the living room with Karen Faye following in behind her.
“Ms. Wolf,” Bill smiled, his tone telling her he approved of her attire.
Michael turned from the window as she entered and  gave her a bright smile, she looked amazing.
His eyes widened slowly as he looked her over, "girl you look gorgeous.” he moved to meet her halfway.
Walking towards him slowly she tilted her head with a lopsided grin, “thank you Michael.”
She ran her hands down the front and side of her dress in a nervous gesture, “do you think it’s okay for tonight? I mean it’s not too plain is it, I mean if it is, I could change into something more appropriate.”
Michael shook his head, “Ally you look beautiful, like always. You’re gonna knock’em dead.”
Most of her long hair was pulled up and away from her face, tied with a red silk ribbon, with the remaining longer strands left down to flow down her exposed back. She was wearing a modest white strapless tank dress covered in red polka dots. It was simple, but pretty, falling just below her knees. As usual she left her legs bare and wore a pair of red low heeled sling backs.  With just a hint of blush on her cheeks, she looked totally natural and absolutely stunning.
Michael took her hand in his and kissed it gently, “you ready?”
“Yeah,” she smiled again steading her breath, “I think I am.”

After the show…

She let out a soft sigh as she paced across the hard linoleum floor. Back and forth she counted her steps between the lines as she tried to keep her mind from wandering and her stomach from churning. Seven this way, turn, then seven back the other way and repeat. She purposefully kept her focus on her counting. She shivered slightly as if feeling a chill. Michael’s dressing rooms were never cold. But tonight, for some reason, she felt cold. She pulled her knitted shawl up over her bare shoulders as she continued her pace counting. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7… turn right … 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7… turn left.
Walking past the large dressing mirror once again she stopped and leaned in closer to check her reflection. Breathing out slowly she was relieved to see she didn’t look as unnerved as she felt.
 “You can do this, you know you can” she whispered, giving herself a reassuring smile before she returned to her routine.
“Girl, you are gonna wear a rut into the floor with all that pacing,” Michael said, finally appearing from the adjacent room. Showered, changed and looked completed refreshed after his outstanding performance.
 “We could hear you all the while I was getting ready.”
“Sorry. Just trying to stay occupied,” she admitted honestly. “Hmm, you look nice.”
His damp curls were once again tied back from his face after coming untied during his show. He was wearing a red blazer over a simple black dress shirt with black trousers and his heeled black boots. It was not overly dressy, but he looked wonderful and his outfit complimented Allison’s dress perfectly. Michael had made sure of this by asking Michael Bush to ensure he did.
She looked around apprehensively, “so, umm, are we ready to go now,” she swallowed. She really did just want to get this over.
“Mhhmm, I think so," Michael gave her a warm smile as he placed his hand on the small of her back to led her out.

The night air was warm and breezy. It had been raining most of the day, but now it was perfectly clear and the stars were all out.  Allison had been expecting to see the usual van outside to take them to the palace, but there was nothing insight. In fact she didn’t believe this was the way they had even come in earlier this evening.
“Where’s the van?”
“Well, actually I have to tell you, I have a little surprise for you.”
"What?” She turned and step away from him. “Michael... please not a surprise tonight. Can we just get through this night with no other crazy antics?"
He laughed, "girl, it is nothing you won't like I swear. "
"Michael please, if you love me, you won't do this tonight. I am already nervous enough. I don't want to have to anticipate some grand scheme you have planned for me."
She didn't mean to sound unappreciative. And she knew he was always doing things to make her happy. But she wanted tonight to go smoothly. There was just no way she could handle another unknown going into tonight.
He chuckled, “don't worry it is not a surprise like that. I just want you to meet someone who is coming tonight, that's all.”
She eyed him carefully breathing out slowly feeling a bit of relief, "oh...  so you mean at the party?"
"Yes they will be attending the party, actually they will be coming with us."
She was perplexed. She didn't recall seeing anyone backstage that she hadn't met before and there was no one else with them. Who could he be talking about?
"Okay Michael, wait a minute... who are you -"
But before Allison could finish her thought a long stretch limo came around to the back side of the venue to pick them up. As the sleek black car came to a standstill directly in front of them, the back window glided down silently to reveal the very last person Allison was expecting to see.

To be continued….


  1. Ooooo a cliff-hanger... and wow look at that foxy Ally!

  2. Aaaaarrrrrrrrggghhhh! "To be continued..."
    Are you kidding me?! You had me all warmed up to Michael and Ally going public and then you leave me here? Geez!

    I should sue you. :)

    I did love the tour of the Palace, though. It was like walking right there with them. Very romantic.

    Good job - now get to work on the next chapter!

  3. lovely indeed!!
    I really like the part where Ally compared the "Tokyo incident" to Ally not letting Michael know where she went, to Michael not telling his people in Rome where he was , very true , that was a touch├ę moment I believe , no that she wants to be Michael on the spot but she made a really good point .

    The tour of the palace , great , loved the description , would have liked to have seen a picture of the kissing couple statue , you know , just saying...*coughs*

    Then the scene in the dressing room with Ally pacing the floor , I am sure we can all understand, and I COMPLETELY understand her reaction when she thought that Michael was going to plan something different on this night of ALL nights hahahahaha I laughed because that would have been my reaction , like ....NO Michael , not tonight , I am wound up as it is , lets just do this already hahahaha.

    Who is in the limo ? I think I know :)

    yeah , now get on with the next chapter , will ya , in 2 weeks a post ? sounds good to me



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