The 다음 morning, Michael and 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 sit outside on their private balcony having breakfast in the warm sunshine. Both of them are silent but are saying so many things 의해 the expressions on their faces. Periodically one will look up at the other over their coffee cups with a sly smile 또는 a giggle, 또는 give a subtle touch of the hand that makes shivers run up each other's spines. Michael and 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 feel so happy and content that it almost feels unreal 또는 suspicious. To know both can go 집 together and face the harsh realities of life and their careers make getting up in the morning now seem easier and 더 많이 enjoyable. “I can’t stop smiling,” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 admits as she looks out towards the view of the lake in the distance where ripples are forming sporadically 의해 the wind. “Me too, I don’t think I’ve slept so well in my entire life last night,” Michael adds looking at her with a daze. Even though nothing sexual happened, just her presence made it easy enough for him to sleep, which has become rare lately. “You think we can do that again when we get home?” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 asks looking at him before she bashfully looks down at her plate of 베이컨 and eggs. Just her saying the word 집 makes his 심장 thump harder. “You mean stay in the same bed?” “Yeah, I mean, nothing’s gonna happen because we won’t let it so why not?” Internally, Michael doubts if he can always maintain his self-composure around her all the time, especially down the road. His religion prevents him from sexually sleeping with her, but they never said anything about staying in the same bed. They could give him this one little thing. Michael grins and nods his head, “Alright, let’s try it out. But before I forget,” Michael looks down and pulls something out of his 재킷, 자 켓 pocket that is slung on the back of the chair before turning back to Holly. “Happy belated birthday,” he says sliding a medium-sized black velvet box towards her. 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 looks down at it with surprise before looking up at him with a glimmer of playfulness in her face. “Go ahead, say something,” Michael says with a smirk. “What? I’ve said nothing?” “I can read your eyes and you’re searching for a quip, but can 당신 just open the box?” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 blushes and grabs onto the box. “Well if 당신 insist.” She opens the box and sees a strand of dainty pearls and two pearl studs to match in a gorgeous shade of ivory. 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 catches her breath at the beauty before looking up at Michael with a stunned expression. “M-Michael…they’re gorgeous.” “I know 당신 said 당신 didn’t want a gift for your birthday, but I saw these one 일 when I was out and I thought of you. Do 당신 like them?” “I absolutely 사랑 them! I’m gonna put them on now.” Michael smiles as he watches her take them out of the box and begin to put them on herself. “I was meaning to give them to 당신 last night, but with our unexpected run-in with the press last night, I completely forgot. Plus it was jewelry and everyone said women and jewelry 당신 can’t go wrong.” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 smiles back at him as she puts in the last pearl stud and shows it to him as it glimmers in the morning sunlight. “It still was a wonderful surprise, thank 당신 Michael.”

“Well it’s already started!” Bill announces as he comes out onto the balcony with newspapers in his hand and under his arm. “Do I need to drink 더 많이 coffee before I hear it?” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 asks as she grabs her mug sliding further down into the wicker lounge chair. Bill sets the papers down with a flop with pictures of Michael and 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 last night holding hands, talking, and smiling at each other with captions above that read “ARE THEY DATING?” “MICHAEL AND 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 THE SECRET COUPLE!” and “HOLLYWOODS CUTEST INTERRACIAL COUPLE!” All three of them look at the papers, 읽기 the 기사 where they talk about both of them last night and how it alludes to a possible relationship and they are waiting for confirmation. 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 bites her lip as she looks down at the 기사 before looking up at Michael wondering what he is thinking with his head bent down engrossed in 읽기 as well. Bill looks at both of them before saying, “We are gonna need to beef up security today because the press will be all over 당신 two.” Michael looks at him with a grimace. “Is that absolutely necessary?” Bill snaps his head back at him, “Do 당신 really wanna take a chance?” Michael slightly bows his head in defeat before giving a sigh, “No, you’re right.” “I’ll go call a couple of my men I know down here,” Bill says before going back inside the suite leaving them alone with the papers in front of them. The wind suddenly kicks up forcing 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 to stop the papers from blowing away 의해 placing her hand on the front picture of them. “Well, it’s out,” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 murmurs looking over at Michael trying to smile but failing drastically. He looks up at her and smiles but it does not meet his eyes, “I guess so.” “Are 당신 upset that it’s out?” “No, I knew this was going to happen, just not so quickly, I wanted a period of adjustment for us.” “Yeah, but now we won’t have to hide anymore. Doesn’t that make 당신 feel good?” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 asks feeling a sinking sensation in the pit of her stomach slowly start to form. “It does, that doesn’t bother me, what does bother me is the attitude these papers have about us being interracial…” Michael looks down at the papers again and lets out a deep sigh before shaking his head. He looks up at her before continuing, “Why can’t people understand that this is 1979?” “Exactly Michael, this is 1979 and the Deep South, they won’t understand our relationship…not everyone will and that’s okay. What truly matters is that we’re happy.” “I know, but it hurts. Plus I can’t even imagine what Joseph is going to say.” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 rolls her eyes. “The fact that you’re dating me, 또는 a white girl?” Michael shrugs, “Both.” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 takes a deep breath before letting it out. “As soon as we get back I need to find a new manager to handle this stuff.” “Hey, don’t think about this stuff right now, we are still in celebrating mode,” Michael grabs the papers and throws them to the floor on the balcony, “now finish eating we still have a big 일 ahead of us.”

And just like that the intimate and carefree moment was over. Reality had ensued and now it was in the back of their minds festering of what was to come. For Holly, when she returns she realized that she was returning to a full schedule, on 상단, 맨 위로 of finding a new manager, unpacking at Michael’s, and now trying to fight off the press about their relationship all within a short span of time. Michael, on the other hand, felt strange calmness overtake him knowing that although there was a lot to deal with at least they could deal with it as a couple and nobody could do anything about it. To him, that was the most comforting and happy notion even among this ancient thought process of them being interracial.


Later that evening 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 and Michael arrive back in LAX where they are greeted 의해 a mob of 팬 and photographers waiting. 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 looks out the window with annoyance. “How did they know we were coming?” “The press are vultures, they come every night,” Bill murmurs as he comes up to them before turning to the temporarily extra hired bodyguards to divulge the plan for when they exit. Michael turns his head around to Bill. “Bill, give me your shades, please.” Bill hands him his sunglasses where Michael gives them to Holly. “Here, where these when we go out.” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 holds the black aviators in her hand before looking up at him in confusion, as it is nearly dusk outside. “But why?” Michael smirks, “It’s harder for them to take your picture of your expression when your eyes are covered up.” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 sighs and puts the sunglasses on adjusting her eyes to the tinted frames. “How do I look?” she asks. “Perfect.” “Alright 당신 two, the car is ready to go,” Bill announces before they stand up. Michael stands in front of 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 and takes a deep breath. “You ready?” “With you, always.” Michael nods and grabs her hand before they descend the stairs with the security guards surrounding them. The shouts and cheers of the 팬 while the flashing bulbs of the cameras going off makes 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 stick closer to Michael and makes her head pound. So many shouting, “ARE 당신 A COUPLE?” “HOW LONG HAVE 당신 TWO BEEN TOGETHER?” “WILL 당신 TWO GET MARRIED?”

To Michael dealing with a crowd such as this has always been the norm, but for 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 this was new. Since her rising fame, the crowds have increased each 년 but not to this magnitude. Keeping their heads down and walking as quickly as possible to the car they both take a sigh of relief as the door closes after them leaving them to privacy. “Well it’s 안전한, 안전 to say that the west coast now knows about us,” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 murmurs as the press tries to run after them as they 옮기기 out of the tarmac. “This is crazy, we are just two people,” Michael says looking out the back glass, as the people grow smaller in the distance. Bill looks at them in the rearview mirror. “Individually 당신 two are just people, together, 당신 are a sensation,” he remarks focusing back on the road before adding, “I’m gonna need to stop for gas 당신 guys cool with that?” Michael and 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 look at each other and shrug as 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 nestles herself closer to him. “We don’t care, Bill.” Michael remarks as Bill turns into the nearest gas station that is twenty cars deep with cars in line. Both of them stare out the window in shock before 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 looks over at Michael. “I now see why he asked us. Gotta 사랑 the oil crisis,” she says sarcastically resting her head against him. Michael rests his head on 상단, 맨 위로 of hers. “Bill, turn on the radio as we wait.” “Sure thing, Mike.” When he does “Don’t Stop Till 당신 Get Enough” is playing making 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 giggle and 옮기기 to the beat of Michael’s voice. He looks down at her rolls his eyes playfully as he can feel the embarrassment rising. After all these years he still gets embarrassed when someone close to him dances to his songs.

As Bill pulls closer to the pumps the DJ comes on. “Well that was Michael Jackson’s latest song ‘Don’t Stop Till 당신 Get Enough’, which from what I hear is up going to be certified platinum very shortly. After being released only for one 월 this song and ‘Rock with You’ is already on 상단, 맨 위로 ten of the Billboard Charts. We’re gonna have some 더 많이 jams coming your way until then sit back, relax, and let the 음악 groove with you…” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 straightens herself up to look at Michael with a surprised expression. “Did 당신 know?” “No, I’m just as surprised as 당신 are.” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 grabs him and gives him a hug, “I am so proud of you!” “Thanks, Holly,” he murmurs, internally he is beyond shocked 의해 the news. He knew some of his songs would be up on the 상단, 맨 위로 ten lists, but not going for platinum. For him this feels like a turning point to know once and for all that he can be just as successful without his brothers, something to remember for the future. He looks over at her with a smirk. “Now it’s your turn.” She rolls her eyes. “One step at a time.”


As Michael and 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 hold each other on the elevator ride up to their apartment they can hear the boom of Joseph’s voice before the doors open. Michael gravely sighs as the elevator dings with the doors opening up. “What now?” He murmurs as they walk in and see Joseph pacing inside the living room with Katherine sitting on the couch. Michael is wondering how they got in here till he realized he gave his mother a spare key. When Joseph sees the two walking in together with Michael’s arm wrapped around 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 his nostrils flare. “Joe, now just calm down,” Katherine says looking up at him with pleading eyes. “Well I see the press was actually true about this one,” Joseph says as Bill brings the luggage up behind them before vacating the room. “So how long has this been going on?” He says waving in the direction of their embrace.” Michael looks down at the floor to take a breath before looking Joseph in the eyes. “Just a few months.” “And now we’re gallivanting off to Florida, I see,” he spats back before turning around on them. Michael looks at his mother who looks concerned at both of them. “Michael, honey, I have to ask something, is 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 living here now?” Michael looks at 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 before pulling her closer to him. “Yes, mother, she is.” Katherine takes a deep breath before looking down at the floor. Joseph turns around to face them again. “Oh good, just what we need, an unexpected pregnancy on the rise.” “It’s not like that!” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 defends. “You should be the one to talk, Joseph,” Michael retorts. Joseph’s eyes dilate as starts to walk closer towards them. “Boy, what did 당신 say to me?” Katherine stands up to get in between them. “Both of 당신 stop it now! Joseph, 당신 hush up! Michael, don’t speak to your father that way. Now, your father has a point, if 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 is living here we have to make sure nothing unexpected happens for 당신 two.” She looks at 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 and grabs her hand with tenderness. “Mother, it is not like that. 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 and I aren’t sleeping together.” “But you’re living together? Bullshit!” Joseph murmurs. Katherine looks back at Joseph with a stern face. “Hush up!” “Mother, 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 and I are waiting awhile. But she is staying with me now and that’s the end of discussion.” “No, the discussion is not ended. Mike, don’t 당신 see, 당신 get involved with 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 and the 팬 are gonna look at 당신 differently.” Michael shakes his head. “You said the same thing to Tito and Jermaine when they got involved with girls.” “Yeah, but not white girls,” Joseph says shooting 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 a look of disdain. 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 inhales sharply at the insinuation. “Joseph, I’m warning you, 당신 make 더 많이 코멘트 like that to 또는 about 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 and I will leave the group. So go ahead, make yourself a bigger grave because it’s 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 또는 nothing, and that is the end of discussion.” In the back of his mind, Michael cannot believe he is actually standing up to Joseph of all people. Joseph walks up to Michael and looks at him in the eyes. “This girl is gonna drag 당신 straight to hell. I still expect 당신 to be ready to finish touring 다음 month.” He goes to walk out brushing Michael on the arm before leaving the remaining three alone.

Michael looks at Katherine. “Mother, I know 당신 don’t approve either but –“ She holds up her hands and halts what he says. “Michael, I’m your mother, I 사랑 당신 and I want the best for you. If 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 makes 당신 happy and from what I can tell she does then 당신 grab onto happiness with both hands and don’t let it go. Now, in terms of your living arrangements, 당신 are now twenty-one years old, I can’t decide what’s best for 당신 anymore, 당신 have to do that. 당신 know how I raised 당신 and if 당신 feel this is the right decision then I’m sure it’s the right one.” She gives him a 키스 on both cheeks before looking at 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 and facing her. “You treat my boy right, 당신 hear? Michael deserves every happiness in this world and so do you. I know 당신 never had much of a…home life, so if 당신 need me to answer any 질문 at all please call me at any time, 일 또는 night.” “Thank 당신 Katherine,” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 mutters as Katherine grabs her in for a hug. As she pulls back she looks at both of them with a smile. “Well, I should be going before your father leaves me here.” “Here, I’ll walk 당신 to the elevator, Mother,” Michael says grabbing ahold of her arm.

호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 watches as Michael escorts her to the elevator and watches as she leaves. When he walks back in the living room he looks tired. “Well, how do 당신 feel now that 당신 stood up to your dad?” 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 asks as she crosses her arms looking at him. “Nauseous,” he says with a grin. He walks towards and holds out his hand grabbing her arm, pulling him towards him. “And how are 당신 feeling? I apologize that Joseph said many nasty things about you.” “Oh forget about it. After living with my mom, Joseph is like a nice vacation.” Michael begins to laugh at her words until he is doubled over causing 호랑 가시 나무, 홀리 to laugh with him. Once he stops he looks up at her and searches her face. “You still in?” “In?” “This relationship? 당신 ain’t scared off yet?” “Listen here, Michael Jackson, nothing short of a bunch of wild jackals couldn’t drag me away from you…even then I’d crawl my way back, so yes, I’m always in.” Michael smiles and kisses her quickly before announcing, “C’mon, let’s go get unpacked. We got some busy days coming up.” Together they walk away together as it will always be for them. They know that no matter what happens they well face it (fans, friends, family, and press) together side-by-side. Sure, it was going to be a pain in their assess, but once they both looked at the other, the aggregation made it all worth it.