The Christmas Wish
By Billy Burrew (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: No real NSYNC'ers were harmed or included in the creation of this piece of heartwarming holiday fiction. Now, sit back, take a load off, and let the story suspend your disbelief. In the words of another fictional character, Clark W. Griswold, "Merry Christmas! kiss my ass, kiss his ass, kiss your ass.... Happy Hanukkah!"
The weather was just awful. An unusual cold front had blown down from the north and blanketed Chicago under several feet of snow and ice on Christmas Eve. JC's hands gripped the wheel like a vice as he sat in the warm driver's seat and listened to Jim Dale reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as the SUV slowly drove along Interstate 57. He sighed, wishing that Justin was driving up from Florida with him as he didn't much like driving by himself. Justin had been called away a few days earlier by his manager to attend several meetings that would hash out and start to nail down his upcoming solo album.
When NSYNC had broken up a little over a year and a half before, it was Justin's and, surprisingly enough, Lance's solo careers that had begun to explode. Lance was offered several movie bids and the music execs snapped up Justin and began to promote him as a hot new solo artist. Not forgetting his past, Justin had brought JC into the fold by getting him to pen several of the slower, ballad-y songs for his debut solo album.
The two had decided, when Justin got off the phone with his manager on December 21st, that they would keep their plans to spend Christmas with JC's folks and then swing over to Tennessee in the SUV a few days later and spend New Year's with Justin's family. The drawback to this plan was that Justin would have to fly into Chicago after his meetings and JC would have to drive up to Chicago and meet him there. JC had decided to split the journey up into a two-day trip and arrive in Chicago late on December 24th. He drove through Florida, Atlanta, and then stopped in Nashville, Tennessee. He arrived in Nashville just after dark on December 23rd. The next morning, as he was showering and packing his suitcase, he turned on the TV and groaned as he saw the severe weather advisory for the entire Midwest.
The snow started just as he switched from Interstate 24 to Interstate 57. It came down light at first, then began to increase in intensity. JC patted the dashboard of the Jeep Grand Cherokee lovingly, as one might pat the head of a dog that was being especially good. JC put in disc two of eight in the Harry Potter book and drove onwards on Interstate 57 toward Chicago. Four hours later, the conditions of the road had deteriorated to a point that JC had kicked in the optional four-wheel drive and was seriously considering stopping to put on the snow chains that he was glad he had bought and placed in the back of the Jeep last winter, despite Justin's objections that they never really get snow in Orlando. An hour later, JC stopped to put the snow chains on the Jeep and to get a cup of hot tea at a gas station off the highway. JC sipped his tea and pulled out his map. He was not too far away from his parent's place. He just needed to get off 57 and onto 90 and it was maybe about 20 minutes driving from there. The thought of being so close to home bolstered JC's mood and, after calling to leave a message with his folks that he would be there soon, he put his tea into the cupholder, put the Jeep into drive and headed back onto the highway.
Justin sighed, sitting quietly in the living room of his lover. JC's parents had been so supportive when they came out and told them that they were together that he really had begun to think of them as yet another set of parents to him. He had two on his own, his mother and father both having remarried after their divorce. Justin got up and looked out the window at the road outside the house for what seemed to be the hundredth time, hoping to glimpse JC as he pulled into the driveway. Justin watched at the window till his breath steamed up the glass and then he turned and walked back to the sofa. JC had called about an hour before and had said he was about thirty or forty minutes away. Justin turned on the television and began to flick idly around the stations, hoping to pass some time. His blood froze as he landed on a local news station that was reporting on a horrible accident on Interstate 90. Seems a tractor-trailer had hit some ice and jackknifed onto the next lane, falling over onto a Jeep Grand Cherokee and crushing it.
Justin's eyes widened as the camera zoomed in on the reporter standing next to the rear of the jeep, the Florida license plate was the one on JC's Jeep Grand Cherokee. Justin began to yell and scream and JC's parents ran into the living room in time to see terrible wreckage of the accident and hear the reporter say that the survivor was pulled from the jeep with the jaws of life and airlifted to the Chicago Hospital just moments before and was in critical condition. Justin fell apart at the last words of the reporter and was barely able to stop crying as JC's mother handed him his jacket and ushered him quickly out to the car.
The silence on the ride to the hospital was broken only by Justin's quiet sobs and the slosh of snow and ice against the bottom of the van. When the group arrived at the hospital, JC's mother and father held Justin's hands as they identified themselves and asked the attending nurse at the ICU about the condition of their son. The nurse took in Justin's tear-stained face and she quickly looked down at her roster and directed them to the third room down the hall, telling them that he would probably be being moved to the ER soon for emergency surgery.
Justin sprinted down the hall to the room and opened the door and stopped. He felt his heart break wide open at the sight before him. Covered with bandages and connected to what seemed to be every machine in the room, was his lover. Justin's breath hitched in mid-sob as the light caught his face, bloody, bruised and broken, but still so very handsome. Justin stopped at the side of the bed and reached down and took his hand, curling his fingers around JC's as he had done so many times before. JC stirred slightly, but did not open his eyes.
"It's all my fault." Justin said, tears flowing down his cheeks. "I shouldn't have let you drive up alone I should have made you catch a flight up and then we could have rented a car to drive to Tennessee."
Justin sat down lightly on one side of the bed, stroking JC's hand lovingly.
"You can't leave me, Josh. Not now. Christmas is our special time, remember? The first time we made love was on Christmas. It's our little joke, remember? I let you unwrap me then a few hours later, after we both got our wind back, I got to unwrap you. It was my first time you were my first my only."
Justin wiped the tears from his eyes with his free hand, then wiped his nose and sighed. "You can't leave me. I wasn't gonna tell you I was gonna surprise you, you know. But I was gonna make an honest man out of you tomorrow I was gonna ask you to marry me I know it's something you've always wanted so I thought I'd ask you on Christmas, since it's our special day."
Justin put his head down and began to cry again. "I'd be so happy if all I got for Christmas this year was you back, all alive and healthy. You know, it sounds silly to say, like I'm quoting lyrics, but you're all I ever wanted Josh, don't leave me!"
The orderlies came in and stopped as they saw Justin, crying and holding hands with their patient.
"Son " the older man said to him, "It's time for his surgery."
Justin turned and saw the man looking at him sympathetically.
"We'll take good care of him."
Justin nodded and leaned down and kissed JC on his cheek before whispering in his ear.
"Don't leave me, C. I need you. I love you. Please don't leave me."
Justin let go of JC's hand and watched as the orderlies wheeled him out of the room and down the hall out of sight.
Justin walked back toward the waiting room, suppressing a sob as he remembered how broken and lifeless his lover had looked minutes before.
Justin stopped at a wide set of double doors and realized he had walked past the waiting room and that he was standing in front of the hospital chapel. Justin walked into the chapel and into the first empty pew near the back and sat down and began to pray to God for the life of his lover.
Several hours later, Justin felt a hand on his shoulder and he looked up to see an old man with white hair and a beard standing over him.
"Did you want to take communion, son?" the man asked quietly. "Midnight mass is going to start in about a half-hour and I wanted to check."
As Justin shook his head, more tears began to fall from his eyes.
"Are you all right, son?" the old man asked, bending down beside him in the pew.
"No." Justin said quietly. "I need to pray for my lover. He was in a terrible car accident tonight and is in surgery now."
The man nodded. "God is with him, young man as is your prayers."
Justin managed a weak smile through his tears. "He needs to make it. I don't know what I'd do if he didn't make it through. I was going to surprise him tomorrow by proposing to him. I know it's one of his greatest wishes to be married and I was gonna give it to him for Christmas. My wish well all I want this year is for him to come out of this alive and all right so that we can be together again."
"Christmas is a time for miracles, Justin." The old man said quietly. "Never forget that."
Justin watched as the old man got up and walked to the front of the chapel, genuflected, and walked behind the altar to a partially concealed door.
"I wonder how he knew my name." Justin said to himself as he watched the door close. His ruminations were quickly ended as soft organ music filled the chapel and a young man in white robes walked over to the pulpit and began mass. As the song finished, JC's brother Tyler ran into the chapel and grabbed Justin by the arm.
"Justin!" Tyler cried. "C'mon! JC's out of surgery and is conscious and he's asking for you!"
Justin's eyes filled and the two tore off towards the ICU. As Justin approached the ICU, Tyler smiled. "It's a miracle, Justin! The doctor had come out and was beginning to tell us that with the trauma and swelling of his head wounds, he might not live through the night, and if he did, he would probably never regain consciousness again. He hadn't gotten half of it out when a nurse rushed out and said that Josh was awake and asking for you! The doctor rushed back in and was absolutely baffled by it. Mom and Dad sent me to get you."
Justin and Tyler stopped in front of JC's room and took a deep breath and opened the door.
"Josh?!?" Justin said as he opened the door.
"Justin" came the weak reply from the bed. "Hey, baby."
Justin began to cry again as he walked over and took JC's hand again. "I thought I lost you I thought I lost you."
JC's eyes sparkled with tears. "Don't cry Justin. I'll be OK!"
Justin wiped away his tears and looked down at his lover.
"Hey! What's this?" Justin asked as he saw a small pastel envelope on JC's lap.
"I don't know where it came from Justin. The nurse said it was laying there when I got back from surgery."
Justin picked it up and gasped as he saw the name written in gold ink in perfect cursive.
"It's addressed to me, Josh." Justin said as he turned the envelope to show his lover.
"Open it!" JC said, "Open it, Justin!"
Justin opened the envelope and pulled out a card and gasped.
"What?!?" JC exclaimed. "What does it say?!?"
Justin tears fell anew as he looked down at JC. "It says, 'See Justin I told you, Christmas is a time for miracles, never forget that.' It's signed, Santa Claus."
JC smiled. "You were talking with Santa Claus?"
Justin smiled, "I guess that's who that guy was. Oh, wait there's more! There's a P.S., it says, 'Have a long and loving marriage."
"Marriage?" JC said, looking up to Justin.
Justin nodded, "I was gonna ask you on Christmas ."
JC smiled hopefully. "It's after midnight . It IS Christmas."
Justin giggled. "I bet you were one of those kids that opened all his presents on Christmas Eve, huh?"
JC bit his lip and frowned, "Juuuuuusstttttttttttinnn!"
Justin grinned and fell to one knee by his lover's bedside. "I love you with all my heart. Joshua Scott Chasez, on this holiest of all nights, will you marry me?"
JC smiled, "Yes! Justin Randall Timberlake. Yes, I will marry you!"
Justin stood up and leaned down, catching JC's lips lightly with his own.
JC smiled cheerily as his parents walked in behind Justin. "Mom! Dad! Guess what? Justin proposed!! What a great Christmas present, huh? He got me just what I always wanted!"
JC's mom and dad smiled and clapped their soon to be son-in-law on the back.
Justin took hold of JC's hand and sat on the side of the bed, smiling. "I got what I wanted too you're alive and we're together again I got my wish."
Justin paused and looked out the window at the falling snow. "Thank you, Santa Claus."
For more Christmas stories, just pop over to my website: www.billyburrew.com