I'm lost, I'm lost without you baby, The days aren't the same the nights are cold and gray, I need you in my life, If not now then someday... --- Vanessa Williams

Lost Without You
Chapter 25, Part A
by JT Poole and Nicole

Late Saturday Afternoon -- Louisville, KY -- The Max Hexton Hotel -- Justin and Lance's Room

Justin's POV

I can't believe what the hell just happened here! I really can't believe that JT would actually have the nerve to come in here and beat Lance up the way he did. Who the hell do he think he is to go beating on people like that? I don't care what happened between him and Lance in the past, that's just it, the past and I won't let him get away with any of this. As soon as the police get back here, I'm going to press charges against him and he'll never again bother the two of us again.

The nerve of him, saying the things he said and then beating Lance up. He got a whole lot of nerve putting his hands on me and then tried to spit out that shit about the past. Fuck the past, we're talking now. He's just upset that I'm with Lance now and he's not. I don't know if he was trying to make me jealous or scared of Lance. He went on and on screaming about some shit Lance supposedly allowed some of his friends and clients do to him. I don't even know why he was here wasting his time. Lance didn't allow any men to rape and use him. Lance would never do some stupid shit like that, would he?

"Juju what actually happened here?" Josh asks, sitting down on the bed next to me.

"That bastard came up here and the next thing I knew, he and Lance were fighting. I guess he had just found out that Lance was suing him about something he and Johnny had done and wanted to get even with him or something. I don't know what's going on, I just know that he hit me and he hurt Lance," I say as he hugged me and started rubbing my back.

"What all did JT say to him Juju?" He asks, still rubbing my back.

"They started off arguing about the lawsuit and then JT started talking about Lance wasn't going to get away with what he was doing and of course through all of that Lance was laughing at him the whole entire time. Then the conversation changed and they were talking about the past and JT started accusing Lance of all kinds of shit and Lance laughed it off and said he didn't know what he was talking about and then JT flipped out. That's when he knocked Lance down and started punching him," I explain to him as the door opened and Brian came walking into the room. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"I'm not in the mood Justin," Brian says, motioning for Josh to come over to where he stood.

"I don't care if you're in the mood or not!" I scream as Josh shook his head at me.

"Calm down Juju," Josh says as he turned his attention back to Brian.

"What the fuck ever," I say, walking out of the room and down the hall.

Brian's POV

The little drama queen needs to get over himself. I hope he doesn't think I'm offended because he wants to act like a spoiled brat and walk out of the room, as if. I have bigger things to deal with and he's not one of them. With all the shit that's going on around here, I don't think now is a good time for him to be acting like a diva. Since he went solo, he's become this nagging little twit that doesn't know how to behave. I've heard the stories about how bad he's gotten and now I'm starting to believe everything I've heard.

"I don't know what went down between them, but the police are here and they want to take a statement from you since you were the one that Justin called," I tell Josh as he nods his head.

"Tell me something Brian, did JT tell you about any of the stuff that Lance did to him?" He asks, looking at me as I wondered what all he was talking about.

"He told me some things, but I feel he is hiding some things though, why?" I ask him as he looks down.

"This is all Lance's fault," he says, looking down now. "He shouldn't have done this and he shouldn't have been tempting JT's anger the way he was. Justin didn't say much, but I can put the pieces together to what actually happened here today."

"Right now I wish I knew what all happened," I tell him as he looks down again and shakes his head.

"I'm afraid you're going to have to talk to JT about that," he says, walking out of the room now as I follow him.

Later Down at Hotel Security

"Mr. Poole you need to calm down," the police officer stated, trying to hold JT down in the spot he was on the floor.

"I am calm," JT says, struggling to get up off the floor.

"We're not going to let you up until you stop struggling," the officer stated, holding his nightstick to JT's neck.

"You need to get the fuck off of me," JT says, not stopping his struggles. "When you let me go, you will pay. I'm going to sue each and every one of you."

"Say and do what you will, we're only doing our jobs," the officer says as another officer walked into the room.

"Let him up," the second officer states, stepping back as the first officer got up off of JT while the second one helped him up and pushed him into a chair. "What seems to be the problem around here?"

"What're you asking me for?" JT asks, glaring at the second officer. "If you want to know something, why not asking yo man here."

"I'm asking you since this whole fiasco centers on you," the second officer says, sitting down in a chair across from JT. "Talk to me man. What's the deal with you almost beating Mr. Bass to death?"

"That's none of your business," JT says, working his hands, trying to get the handcuffs off of his wrists. "Take these cuffs off and bring him in here and there won't be an almost to it."

"You do realize you just threatened Mr. Bass' life," the second officer states, getting up.

"And your point?" JT asks, glaring at him now. "I have a right to do more than threaten his life!"

"Hey hey, calm down now," the second officer tells him as he walks over to the table in the room. "Right now, you're still under arrest for assault and battery. Don't make me add terroristic threats to that sir."

"You can add what you fucking want, I don't give a damn," JT says, still struggling with the handcuffs on his wrists.

"Well then we have no choice but to take you down and process you," the second officer says as the first officer walks around to him. "Get him up and take him down to be booked. No lights and make sure the press isn't out front. Do what you have to do to avoid any press that may be out there or at the station. I heard he's a big shot with the guys upstairs. We don't need any bad legal fallout because of any of them suing the city."

"Naw player, I'm going to sue the city and it has nothing to do with the press. I for one hope the press is there so they can get pictures of you fuckers taking me out to be arrested," JT says, smiling now as the first officer pulled him up out of the chair.

"N-no, why don't you put him right back down in the chair," the second officer says, grabbing the first officer by the arm and pulling him out of the room.

Later on at Louisville General Hospital -- The Emergency Room


We've been here for over three hours and I still haven't heard any news about Lance's condition. I know when Justin got to me in his frantic state he told me what was going on and had us call for security and for help. While Kevin called for the paramedics, I did what I could to make sure Lance was alive. I'm glad I paid attention to the CPR section back in Health class when I was in school, if I hadn't; Lance might be a goner now.

When the paramedics arrived to work with him he was still breathing and he had opened his eyes and started talking, but very weakly. That there was a sign that I had done something right and he wasn't that badly hurt. Doing my best then to keep Justin calm and to make sure Brian and Kevin were holding JT back, it took a great feat to keep myself under control. I just hope JT didn't cause too much damage to any of his internal organs from all the kicking. With all the anger JT has been holding in over the years, I'm sure he freed the beast all over Lance before any of us got there.

When this ordeal is over Lance better tell me what all that went down between him and JT and he better tell me the truth. For JT to lose control like that and nearly kill him is enough to make me suspect what Kessa was telling me was the truth. If what Justin said and what she said is the truth, it's going to take a whole lot for me to ever be able to trust Lance again.

"Have you heard any news yet?" Justin asks, walking into the ER's waiting room with Chris and Joey.

"None yet," I say as Chris came over and hugged me.

"Man what's going on around here?" Chris asks, looking at Joey and then back to Justin. "Since I got off the plane, I've seen and heard some terrible things. Is the stuff about Joe true?"

"You mean the court and jail stuff?" I ask just to confirm what it was he was talking about.

"Yeah that stuff. Did he really attack Howie from Backstreet?" He asks mea s I nod at him as he shakes his head. "And now come to find out that JT has attacked Lance. Does this have anything to do with the two of them being together?"

"No it doesn't. From what I hear, it has something to do with the past," I tell him as his eyes went wide.

"What about the past?" He asks, looking at me with a pained expression.

"Chris do you know something that you're not telling?" I ask him as he looked down. "Chris?"

"Oh alright," Chris says as Justin looks over at us. "What do you know so far?"

"I don't know anything right now," I tell him, hoping he would just go ahead and tell me what it was he knew about the situation.

"Then I don't know what to say or where to start," he says, turning away from me.

"Chris," I start but he raises his hand to stop me.

"You remember the time that you had set up that nice Valentine's Day dinner so that you could surprise Nicole with a trip to Paris for the weekend, but the shit with JT ruined your plans?" He asks me, looking down at the floor now.

"Yeah I remember that," I say, thinking back to the events of that day.

Start Flashback

Orlando, FL -- Valentine's Day 1999


Today is a special day for me and Nicole. I've been working on getting this stuff ready all day and it's finally time for her and JT to come back. I think after we're done with dinner, I'll surprise her with the trip to go to Paris. She's always wanted to go to Paris and now is a fine time to take her since we have some free time. Going over all the things in the room and making sure everything was just right, I waited patiently for JT to bring my girl home.

It's a little bit after four now and I just heard the car pull into the drive. Getting up and checking my image in the mirror, I open the door to see Nicole hugging on JT and it looked like he was crying. Rushing over to the car to see what was going on, I open Nicole's door and she glares at me. Letting the door go, she pulls the door shut and I just stood there watching the two of them as she rubbed his back.

What the hell was going on between my girlfriend and her bestfriend? It seems every time that I turn around he's crying on her shoulder about something. I know he's gay and all, but he needs to grow a backbone or something. I'm starting to think this gay thing of his is just an act and he's actually straight and he's making a play for my girl. If that's the case, I'm going to beat his ass back to Georgia or wherever it is he's from. Pulling back from her and then looking up, his eyes connected with mine and it was like I saw nothing but fear there. What the hell is going on with him? What's his problem anyway?

"Is there something wrong?" I asked, stepping back as Nicole opened the door and stepped out.

"Don't worry about it Josh," she said, looking down at JT. "Sweetie, everything will be fine. If you need me, call me, I'll be right here."

"Thanks Nik-Nik," he said as he wiped at his eyes and started the car up as she closed the door.

"What was that all about Nicole? He and Lance ain't getting along?" I asked her as she glared at me again and started for the house.

"Don't worry about it Josh," she said, stopping at the front door and turning around. "What are you waiting on?"

"Oh yeah, sorry baby," I said, catching up to her and then opening the front door and walking her in as she stopped in her tracks.

"Josh it's soooo...hold on, I need to take this," she said, stopping to answer her damn cell phone. "What? You just left. What could've happened already? Damn, just call Kessa and go to her house. I know she's not there, but go anyway."

"Nicole what's going on?" I asked her, getting a little bit pissed off now that someone had interrupted my surprise for her.

"Shhh...not you sweetie. Don't worry about any of that. I know she's not there, just go there," she said into the phone. "I don't think Jamie would go there and bother you. Just go there and if you have to, call the police if he does. I'll call her to let her know that you're going there."

"The police? What the hell's going on Nicole?" I asked, wondering what the hell was she telling someone, possibly JT to call the police for.

"Josh hush!" She shrieked, waving her hand at me and opening the front door to go back outside. "JT calm down and give him the phone damnit!"

"Nicole what's going on?" I asked her as she put her hand up and started tapping her foot.

"Oh no he didn't just take that phone and hang it up. I'm going to put my foot up that boys' ass," she said, turning around and bumping into me.

"Nicole stop! What the hell is going on?" I asked her.

"Simple, your best friend is beating on my best friend," she stated simply and walked around the house to the garage.

End Flashback

"From what I got out of Nikki was that they were fighting and she was trying to get him to go stay with their other friend Kessa," I say, still remembering that day.

"Yeah they were fighting...fighting horribly," he says, looking down again. "When JT left your house, Lance pulled up to his car and they started arguing...arguing so much that JT ran into a tree."

"That's why he called her so quickly," I say, looking over at Justin to see what he was doing.

"Yeah and Lance got out of his car, ran over to JT's car and started beating on him while he was trying to talk to Nicole. Lance got him out of the car and drugged him over to his. JT tried to get away from him out there, but Lance wouldn't let up. JT punched him and then kneed him in the crotch, but that only made Lance madder," he says as Justin had moved closer to us. "Lance grabbed JT, injected something into him and pushed him into the car and drove off before Nicole could get to where they were."

"Oh God no, I can't believe he did that shit. If I was JT I would've kicked his ass in the nuts too," I say as Chris turned around and saw Justin closer to us. "Hell I'd beat his ass over and over again."

"I guess that what JT did," he says, looking up at me with tears in his eyes. "I knew what he was doing and I did nothing to stop it."

"Huh?" I ask, looking at him strangely.

"I knew what Lance was doing and I didn't stop it," he says as realization hit. Shit. "He hurt JT on a daily basis it seems. If it wasn't for Kessandra, Nate and Nicole, Lance would probably still be doing that shit today."

"Wait a minute. I thought they broke up because Lance was cheating on him with Justin?" I ask him as he shook his head no.

"That was only a small part of it Josh," he says, looking up at me, a few tears falling from his eyes now. "I was invited to a party on the Fourth of July in 2000 at Jordan Knight's house. When I got the invite, I was told that it was a company celebration party for Jordan's boyfriend Mark Wahlberg. Being the celebrity that Marky Mark was I knew this party was going to be something awesome. When I got to the party, what I didn't know was that the main attraction of the party was going to be dope and men."

"Dope and men?" I ask him as he nods his head.

"Yeah dope and men. There were gay twinks being passed around and at every table in the room there was a small pharmacy if you know what I mean. There was so much crack in the room, I thought I was in a gay pharmacy if you know what I mean. To my surprise, one of the guys being passed around the room was JT and he looked to be out of it," he says as I saw Justin moving from the corner of my eye.

"What the fuck?" Justin screams out, pushing Chris back and hitting him in the chest.

"Justin!" I shout as he ignored me.

"You're joking right?" Justin asks, a few tears streaming down his face, it was apparent he had been crying and listening to this.

"I'm not joking Justin," he says, looking Justin in the face, his expression non-wavering.

"You're lying Chris, you're lying!" Justin shouts, running out of the room.

"Deep down he knows I'm not lying Josh. By now even you can see the pieces coming together," Chris says, looking at the door that Justin had just gone through. "We have to get him away from Lance. If he'll do that shit to JT he'll do it to him too."

"I know and I already see that's going to be a hard task," I say as I looked at him and could see that all of this was really hurting him. "What are we going to do about all of this? JT is about to go to jail and Lance is here in the hospital...pretty soon this stuff is going to get out and all of our dirty little secrets."

"We have to fix one problem at a time," he says, looking down at his hands. "Why don't we go take care of JT? I'm sure we can get him out of this."

"Yeah right Chris. JT could've killed Lance today," I tell him as he looked at me.

"I'm shocked that he didn't," Chris says as we turned and walked towards the exit door.

Late Saturday Evening -- Nikki's Hotel Room

Nikki's POV

"Wow, I must have really needed that nap," I mumbled through a giant yawn. I'm not sure how long I was out, but when I woke up, the bedroom I was sleeping in was almost pitch black, and was totally devoid of any occupants save me. "Maybe I should get up, but this bed feels so good I wanna stay here forever."

The soft sound of music playing in the living room made me smile, because I knew Josh was probably there waiting for me to wake up. I padded out to there in search of my captors, but they're nowhere to be found. A sneaky smile broke free before I was able to stop myself.

"Good. Now maybe I can get out of here for a little while," I muttered, a plan hatching in my devious little mind that would ensure that neither Josh, Kess or Tayla would ever suspect what I was up to, just in case.

I ran back to the bedroom, grabbed my cell phone and purse before setting off on my big adventure. I thought about it for a minute and decided that if I ever wanted Josh and Kessa to allow me out on my own again, I had better leave them something telling them where I had gone.

"Hmph! They act like I'm their kid instead of a grown woman," I groused as I scribbled a quick note explaining where I'd gone. I had just opened the door when I saw Nick coming down the hall. He stopped when he saw me, looking uncertain as to how to approach me, and given what had happened and the threats I'm sure JT, Kess and Josh had tossed around, I can't really say I blame him.

"Hi Nicky," I said softly with a smile. His answering one put my mind at ease about the way this was going. "I was worried about you... how have you been?"

"I'm okay I guess," He replied, looking uncomfortable. He looked down at his feet, unable to meet my gaze for very long. "So... umm how are you doing?"

"I'm fine Nicky," I said reassuringly, fighting the urge to run to him and hold him. I could see that he wasn't expecting that answer, but I wanted to act as normal as possible so that he would begin to feel at ease with me. "But I do think you and I need to talk about what happened that night."

Nick nodded, and I started to say something, but a door opening somewhere on the floor put me on high alert. "Ummm, why don't we take this to my room? That way we can have a little privacy and no one will interrupt us."

"Okay—I guess," he stated, following me with almost palpable trepidation. The short walk to my room was silent, and I pulled the keycard out of my purse, opening the door and waiting as Nick followed almost like he was afraid I'd do something to him once the door closed behind him.

"Sit down Nicky," I stated, sitting on the easy chair opposite him. He sat on the couch directly in front of me, his eyes begging me to tell him that everything would be okay.

I wish I could tell you that it would be Nicky love, but I just don't know anymore, I thought sadly as I shook myself and focused on the task at hand.

"Nick, I just wanted you to know that I'm not going to press charges against you," I stated, watching the look of relief that flooded his face with just a touch of amusement. "I think—no, I know that neither of us wants things to get anymore out of control than they already are, so I think that we should just put this behind us as quickly as possible."

"You're right... and thank you," Nick stammered, eyes darting for the door. I could sense just how uncomfortable my seeming calm was making him, but I was beginning to wonder just how sorry he really was.

"I can't guarantee that JT, Kessa or Josh might not take it upon themselves to try something though," I told him, recapping my various conversations and my little almost run in with the police. "As far as any of us can figure, the tour doctor called them when you disappeared and I went on meltdown. They left and I don't think they're coming back, but I don't know for sure, so just be warned."

I stood up and went to the window, looking out on the quiet Louisville night briefly before turning back to face him with all the hurt he'd caused me in my eyes. "I—I know you never meant to hurt me, but I just have to know Nick—why did you feel the need to hurt me like you did?" I turned away from him again, my anguish over the attack resurfacing again in waves that threatened to drown me. "Please tell me what I did wrong Nicky! Was it something I said? I mean, did I do something wrong? Please... I need to know!"

"Nikki, it wasn't you," Nick stated adamantly, crossing to me quickly and hugging me close. He cupped my face, kissing me tenderly before he said, "It was never anything you did! I loved—love you so much. Nikki. I honestly don't know what came over me. I don't know if it was anger, hurt, or just a need to feel that I had settled a score with JC for touching you the way he did. I may never know. But what I do know is that I am so sorry that this ever happened. I never meant to become the monster that you saw earlier. I never wanted to become the man that you hear about on the news who destroyed a family—and that's where I was headed with you—a family."

He met my eyes for the first time, and all the love, all the pain that he's been through over the past two days was shining in those beautiful blue orbs as he said, "Nikki, all I can do is lay my heart on the table and hope that maybe one day you can find it in your heart to forgive me. I'm not asking for your forgiveness as someone who wants to be back in your life, because I know that I screwed that up when I hurt you. I just need you to forgive me because I don't think I could live the rest of my life knowing that I was a monster in your eyes. I know that it may take time to reach that point, but remember, I did and I still do love you."

"Nick—oh Nick!" I cried, hugging him to me as the tears streamed down my face. I caressed his cheek, smiling through my tears as I poured out my heart to him. "You could never be a monster in my eyes and I want to forgive you Nick, honestly I do, but right now I just—I can't. You hurt me so much—and what hurts me the most is that I'd already given you my heart and I wanted to be with you and no one else. JC meant nothing to me then, but you ripped my heart out and destroyed what we had in less than 10 minutes. It makes me wonder if you really ever loved me, or if you just loved the idea of me."

"Wh-what do you mean?" he asked, looking like a deer caught in the headlights. One suspicion confirmed.

"I mean do you really love me—Nicole Lynn Cavanaugh, or do you love the fact that now you know what it feels like to sleep with an almost Black woman?" I asked softly, moving away from him and staring at him as he processed what I'd just accused him of. "Nevermind... I already have my answer. Please leave Nick."

"Nikki, your color never mattered to me. I loved you because you made me feel safe and happy for the first time in forever. I know you probably don't want to believe that, but it's true. I love you for you, but if you want me to leave, then I will," Nick stated, sounding more defeated and sad than I had ever heard him. "Just... just know that I do still love you Nicole... and I'm sorry I ruined what we could have had... goodbye love."

"Nick wait," I said just as he was opening the door. He turned to me with so much hope in his eyes that whatever anger I'd felt for what had happened just melted away and all I wanted to do was be in his arms again. I could feel how much he wanted to make a move to come to me, but fear held him in place. So I did the only thing I could—I held my arms out to him, saying simply, "Please... don't go."

The moment our lips touched, I knew that nothing else mattered to me but having this beautifully gifted, but haunted man in my arms and in my life. Time seemed to stand still as his hands caressed my face. When our lips separated, I looked into his eyes and found that they saw me as I was: fragile but strong, and I knew that if I let him back into my heart, things would never—could never be the way they were... they would be better.

The kiss was tentative at first, almost like he was afraid that I would bite him or scream, but as I responded to him, Nick relaxed, pulling me to him as the kiss deepened. I lost myself in him, melting into the warmth of his embrace. When the back of my knee hit the couch, we broke apart long enough for Nick to sit down. He sat watching me like a curious child, like he didn't really know what to make of me again.

"I missed you, Nicky," I whispered as I sat on his lap, nuzzling the side of his face. "I don't ever want to be away from you again."

Nick didn't respond with words. Instead his arms came up, winding around my waist and holding me tight as our lips met again. This time the kiss was gentle, almost teasing, like we were rediscovering each other after a long separation. Soon my shirt was unbuttoned and he caressed my nipples through the thin layer of fabric covering them. I sighed softly, absorbed in the way his tongue glided over mine. So absorbed was I in our kisses that I never heard the door open and someone walk into the suite.

"What the fuck is going on here!" a voice I had come to dread bellowed, fury barely contained. I jumped off of Nick's lap, covering myself as I tried to shield Nick from the intruder's fury, but it would prove to be an exercise in futility.


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I don't know any of the members of «N SYNC, Backstreet Boys or any other celebrities mentioned. I don't know anything about their sexual orientation or the orientation of any other celebrities in this story (even though I wish some of them were gay). This story is fiction and you shouldn't take it for anything else but that. This is for entertainment value only folks.