~*~ Every last word of the pages to follow is from an author's vast imagination and is therefore not supported in true reality. Although the characters to be featured are prominently factual, the numerous scenarios, situations, and events they will encounter throughout the course of the tale are not! Its principal objective is that of enjoyment and entertainment to you, the reader.

~*~ Underage reading or any other illegalities is not condoned nor encouraged in any way by said author. He also will not tolerate any form of plagiarism towards any of the words to come as they are his and his alone. Neither the author nor the Nifty Organization makes a profit from this, or any story, posted on their site. He does it of his own freewill.

~*~ Address any type of question and/or feedback to jc71883@hotmail.com, making sure to add a relation to the story on the subject line of the e-mail as to guarantee its reception.



Chapter Fourteen

~*~ Unforeseen Circumstances of Choice ~*~



Beginning his day earlier than the Sun, Justin Timberlake gets himself mentally ready to shoot the video for his first single of his more mature album. The idea excites him like a child caught in a candy story and hopes the single, as well as the upcoming album, will be successful commercially as it is emotionally in his mind. So much growth and maturity is going into the final product that to have it fail would be a setback and disappointing. SexyBack is the song's title and his ideas have already been relayed to the director in his two free days so everything is basically set for the video to be made. Even though it happened two nights ago, falling asleep and waking up with Kobe Bryant's arms around his body is still fresh in his mind. He is entering dangerous territory but cannot stop or protect himself from doing so. Something inside is driving him forward to chase the forming feelings.

He woke up a little later than usual to feel something warm and comforting pressed against his back. The heat spanned from the very top of his neck to well past his butt and calves to beyond his toes. Kobe was so close to him and their bodies were formed so close together in such an innocent way. Nothing happened last night but waking up next to him was more than enough. The singer wondered how long it had been like that throughout the course of the night. He did not remember it being that way last night before they went to sleep. They just spent the night together in the same bed. Even though they did not do anything, the fact alone was still a big deal. It has been a very long time since he slept in the same bed with someone he was both sexually and emotionally attracted it and Timberlake now began to feel deprived. But the craziness of the dream prevented him from being intimate.

Justin easily slipped away from the other man's grip and moved toward the edge of the bed where he sat up and looked back to see the other man sleeping on his bed. He slept in his clothes, something he rarely ever did. He was thankful though given the situation because, if clothes were to come off, there was no telling how far things would have went. That was how it was; the songster could barely control himself whenever he was around him. Bryant still had his clothes on as well. He stood up and towered over him and looked down at the Los Angeles Laker as he slept. His face looked so calm and smooth and he looked like an innocent little boy. It was all too easy to get lost in his sleeping frame. Kobe shifted but was completely unaware of the eyes on him as he slept. Timberlake wanted to kiss him and hold him and touch him. Things were moving too fast inside his head.

When the pop star finally caught himself, he quietly walked away from the bed into the bathroom to brush his teeth and shower. The nerves that once plagued him last night are mostly gone and he was starting to feel more like himself. More like his real self and not the alter image he had created for the media. He was getting more comfortable with the idea of him and Kobe being together. And even being intimate but that was still a ways off yet. It was still so new but Timberlake was going to make sure and try his best to see where it could lead. Too many times in the past he doubted himself in relationships or thought he was not good enough to try different things when it came to his career but no more. Unbeknownst to him, Kobe Bryant was giving him confidence to accept that he was a gay man in a world where gays were not as equal as others. In a world where they were looked down upon.

Lukewarm water stung his skin as he showered himself and thought further into his psyche. He always did this when he was in the shower. The water seemed to clear his mind and allowed him to focus on the major issues of his life somehow. There was a healing property there and he took full advantage of it whenever the chance presented itself. The singing star wondered what his friends would think or say if they found out. Or his mother. His father. With everything in his life being so intertwined, it was only a matter of time before strings started coming loose or even bursting away. Timberlake lathered every inch of his body with a large bar of soap and washed his face clean before he got out and dried his skin off as best he could. He had no clean clothes in the bathroom. He had to go out there. Justin quickly glanced at the mirror and opened the door to step back into the bedroom.

Kobe's sleeping visage was nowhere to be found when he looked over at the bed and then around the large room. There was no one in it. Justin found himself looking around again; he did not even remember that he was naked and still wet with only a damp towel around his waist. He heard no sound and wondered if the basketballer left already. Without saying goodbye. Maybe it was a mistake he realized. A small knot formed at the very bottom of and he remembered that he had to change. But Bryant could not have left without telling him or saying anything. That was not the type of person he is from what Timberlake already knew about him through their many talks. He walked into the closet to get clothes from his suitcase and emerged a while later with a pair of black boxer briefs on with the towel draped around his neck. He heard someone walk into the room and turned around at once.

"Oh man Justin---I'm sorry," Kobe said after he barely walked past the doorway. "I didn't know you were changing---"

Justin immediately felt hot redness rush into his cheeks at his state of undress and being in this predicament. It should be no different because during the days of N*SYNC, the five of them were usually cramped in one dressing room where they had to quickly change and get themselves ready. The difference here though was that he was in a relationship with this man. A relationship that has not taken that full intimacy step yet. So, it was awkward. He stood across from Kobe in his boxer briefs alone and even though he knew he was not, he felt naked. He knew the baller's eyes were taking him in and it made him feel uncomfortable. It was like he was almost stuck and could not move from the spot he was adhered to. Timberlake then realized how stupid he was being. There was no need for him to be embarrassed or ashamed because he knew it was just self sabotage again. He just smiled.

"It's okay. I thought you left---" the songster tried to save himself.

"Without seeing you---why would I?"

"---I thought maybe you---" Justin began.

"What---thought last night was a mistake?"


"No. I don't. Do you?" the Los Angeles Laker cautiously asked.



He walked over to the shorter Justin and they looked at each other for a while without saying a word. He had to look up slightly because this basketball star was so tall. And he was so cute. The entire suite got quiet and it was like if each of them was studying the other. Maybe each tried to figure out what to say or do next. Justin thought himself stupid for what he just said and he wanted to take it back more than anything. What happened was never going to be a mistake. Timberlake felt emotionally alive, something he had not experienced in a very long time. He had been so alone because he did not want to admit who he really was because just the prospect of that thought scared him. It seemed that whenever Kobe Bryant was around him, he said things without thinking them through and only ended up regretting doing so. He hated it. And it had to stop if their relationship was to stand a chance.

"Good morning Kobe---" he got out lowly.

"Good morning Justin," came the reply.

The pair embraced in a kiss right there and he felt Kobe's hands travel down his naked torso to rest on the small of his back right above the elastic band of his boxer briefs. It was such a desirable moment between the two of them that all the awkwardness from moments ago was gone. Their bodies pressed together once again and it served as a reminder of last night. His skin was greeted by wrinkly clothes but the soothing hands that sinfully played on his back made something inside shift into overdrive. That touch of his. His smell. His taste. Justin rested his arms and either side of the taller man's broad shoulders and left them there as their moment of passion continued to flourish against the morning's Sun. Bryant's hands made their way from the tiny arch of his back to stay rested on his hips as he held them together. Tongues wrestled for pleasure with both men reaping the rewards.

When the kiss ended, Timberlake quickly finished putting on the rest of the clothes he retrieved from his suitcase and they shared breakfast together. It felt great as they talked and enjoyed pancakes, bacon, eggs, and orange juice prepared by the hotel. He knew the time would come but he did not want to think about it. The morning was far too pleasing to think about any negative thoughts. But it had to happen. When neither could no longer deny what had to be done, they walked with their hands together to the door to say goodbye. Kobe had to be in Detroit for scheduled events he could no longer put off. Not anymore. This was an insight on to how their relationship would be. Justin sighed and looked down at the floor but the baller effortlessly lifted his head back up and pressed their lips together to show him how much he would miss him. The passion behind it was undeniable.

Justin only watched when their hands fell apart and the much taller man walked out the door and into the lonely hallway. Their eyes never left one another's. He loved looking into those blue eyes of the pop star and wondering what it all could possibly mean for him. How their being together would actually work. There were so many more questions than answers inside mind. There were so many secrets involved in keeping this quiet. He was being completely selfish and uncaring of how everything could be. Kobe Bryant kissed him one last time before they finally broke apart and went their separate ways. Timberlake looked on while the basketball star walked down the long hallway and disappeared behind a pair of heavy steel doors. The night alone was enough to make him feel alive inside. Alive in a way he had never felt before. Even in past relationships with women.

The video set is already buzzing with cameramen and set designers as well as extras being strictly told of what is needed of them. Everything is well under way for the first video off his sophomore solo album to be created. Timberlake walks in and is immediately ushered into hair and makeup and his wardrobe is explained to him while he is sitting on the chair. This is how it always has been with very few changes along the way when shooting music videos. The concept is futuristic and daring and a little bit sexier than his past videos but the lyrics alone warrant that appeal. Justin has never liked putting makeup on his face but he does like the end result when he is looking at the video. It hides every single flaw and makes him look almost perfect to the eye so it naturally has to be done. In a silent moment in his head, he mentally prepares and concentrates for a long day of shooting and reshooting.

The day starts out with partying shots utilizing most of the extras so that the set is not completely crowded throughout the entire day. The less people on set, the more work can get done and he wants to wrap this video so it can go into postproduction as soon as possible. Take after take the pop star sings without a voice as he hears his song booming in the background. Making music videos has always been one of his favorite parts of being a recording artist because it will always serve as a reminder to him of the various stages of life he has passed through and he will have proof of it in the form of videos. It traces his professional career as well as personal through the types of videos he has been in. The days with N*SYNC were his teenage years while he is a more mature adult now. Justin's whole life is either somehow directly or indirectly reflected in the videos he has already been a part of.

After lunchtime, which happens around three in the afternoon, the set is mostly cleared out because the shots with the many extras have concluded for the day. The rest of the day consists of solo shots as well as shots with his love interest. Justin can keep his cool, like he always has in the past, because he is a professional. No one knows he is dating Kobe Bryant and the whole world believes him to be single at the moment. He can kiss a girl now and not feel anything unlike before. When he was trying so hard to kiss girls and like it. The former boybander realizes that his former love Britney Spears was the only woman he has sincerely cared about. But he knew they were not meant to be. At around midnight, the day finally wraps and Timberlake is more tired than hungry. He shakes the director's hand and leaves the stage behind for the night. His cell phone has a missed call from the baller.

In the hotel room he showers and orders a dinner of salad and steak and eats it all before realizing that it will not give him any extra boost of energy. He is far too tired because of his long day at work and his body wants to shut down for the night. The star wheels the cart outside his door and leaves it there before returning to the suite and yawning. When his body drops onto the bed of his room, he is gone with sleep. There is no turning back now. Timberlake's body softly increases and decreases with every slow breath he takes when he sleeps and the Moon's light dances on his skin. The darkened room keeps the ambiance of peace within it until his cell phone lights up next to him. It takes a short while but it begins calling out for anyone to hear. Justin body is motionless until the noise is finally able to wake him. He is not sure of what is going on but instinctively reaches for the device next to him.

"Hello?" his voice is groggy and low.

"J---what are you doing man?" JC Chasez asks him in a strange tone.

"JC---what time is it?" Timberlake starts to stir and finally sit up on the bed.

"I don't know. Four maybe---"

"I'm sleeping JC---what's going on?"

"---Nothing---" his voice is different. "I wanted to see what's going on with you. We haven't talked in so long."

He clears his throat and asks, "JC---are you in trouble?"

"No. Why would you think I am?"

"You sound different---"

"---How---" his best friend interrupts.

"Your voice. Talk to me Josh---"

Justin rubs his eyes and reaches over to turn on the lamp that is so to the bed. His eyes cringe at the sudden invasion of light to the room and he switches his phone to speaker so he does not have to hold it to his ear. The dark outside tries to lull his exhausted body back to sleep but his mind is beginning to reel at this late night call that does not seem to make any sense. Whenever he refers to JC by his real name, both know that it is a sign of how serious things are between them. And he is worried as to where and how far this conversation will go. Timberlake yawns and closes his eyes momentarily so he can gather the strength and focus his mind to find out what is going on here. He is genuinely concerned about his best friend because of the way he is sounding and talking. He sounds drunk almost. It could just be a drunken phone call. He waits for Chasez to oblige his request and talk. It is silent.

"You're all off having your solo career and shit---"

"What does that have to do with anything?"

"You broke up N*SYNC Justin. Your selfish ass broke up the group and left everyone behind."

Timberlake is hearing these words for the first time and he is completely taken aback by them. A cold shiver travels down his spine with shocking results along the way. This is completely out of left field and he feels almost like it is not real. That it is not happening right now. He never had any idea that his best friend held such resentment towards him because of the disbanded N*SYNC. But the group members had other interests and felt it was time to give up the band to pursue other goals and passions. Every one of them agreed it was for the best for them to go their separate ways. He always thought JC was supportive of him and his solo career; at least he always acted like he was. Justin thought that they were both supportive of each other. Hearing the words hurt and he remains quiet for a long while because he cannot physically answer. The malice in his voice is disheartening.

"---I had no idea---"

"---Stop only thinking about yourself. You say you care but do you even buy that shit? When was the last time you talked to Lance or Joey---"

He has never heard JC be this drunk before; these things had to have been bottled up inside him for a long time. And the bottle has finally overflowed with spite and hatred and envy. The hurt is in his voice as well as he spills everything Timberlake suspects has been hidden away from the world for a while now. He has to know where all this is coming from and why now, without any warning, it has decided to manifest itself. The songster wonders where his friend is and why he had so much to drink this night. It starts to worry and scare him for the safety of an obviously drunk Chasez. Justin does not understand where these feelings are coming from now because he thought that when the members of N*SYNC decided to go their own ways, everyone was happy with the decision. That meeting went well and every man of the former group truly wished the other well. It makes no sense.


"Don't even start with your bull Justin! I've heard it all from you. You don't care about me---"

"Josh I do care about you. You're my best---"

"Fuck off! I'm not your best anything. The money's your best friend. That's all you want," the drunk former member of N*SYNC hisses and slurs his speech.

"Where are you?"

"Why the hell do you care? You're not fucking some hoe---or maybe you're back on Britney---"

"Josh calm down and let me help you---"

"I don't want your fucking help! Oh shit---I forgot you're gay now. Do you have some dude over there---do you have his dick in your mouth or stuffed up your ass? Maybe it's both---" Chasez sneers and laughs spitefully. "I wonder what the beautiful media would do with such a juicy piece of gossip---their supposed crown prince of pop loves to get down on dick."

Justin stays absolutely quiet at the comment almost like he has stopped breathing. It hurts badly and his insides feel like it is being ravaged by someone he trusts so implicitly. No words can escape his lips. No thoughts can form inside his brain. He wants to be upset badly but he cannot do it to JC and especially in his current state of drunkenness. There is no point in arguing or getting upset with him when he is this badly intoxicated. But the words tears through his flesh like razors and the fear of him going to the media rises immensely. He has never been drunk like this in all the years they have known each other. It is a true test of Timberlake's patience but he fears that he is losing because he never expected his best friend, whom he considers a brother, to talk to him this way. He feels stripped and hurt and his skin is raw again. Chasez is hurting him in so many ways he is not even aware of.

"---I---" the former boybander stumbles back on his words because he cannot think.

"---Are you crying?" his best friend condescendingly relays the question to him.


"You say you love me Justin but you don't give a shit about me. You just forgot about N*SYNC and never looked back. That shit hurt. You know I would do anything for you---" Chasez sounds like he is either on the verge of crying or passing out.

"I do care about all you guys---"

"Whatever---I don't care anymore."

"Josh! Josh!"

The line dies and he is left wondering what just happened or if he is caught in some twisted dream. Wondering if he should call back to try and figure out what this all mean. And where all his pent up anger is coming from. His body and mind is left bleeding though because of all the cuts and lacerations he just sustained from one of the hardest conversations in his young life. Timberlake tries to remain calm and wrap his head around the conversation but he feels weak and harassed. He wants to break down and release all the pain but he will not cry. He will not let JC's words violate him in such a personal way. But everything inside is banging and it feels like it will come bursting out of his heart and chest. It is a surreal feeling. Justin feels his eyes getting watery though and his hands are shaking slightly. His hand does its best to wipe away the water. He cannot sleep now.

Turning on the light in the grand room, the upset star walks over to the recliner and sits back on it while his book full of lyrics rests on his lap. Even though he is in no mood to write, he decides not to waste his newfound time dwelling on his best friend's words. Sleep just will not come to him as easily right now even though he is so tired. It is extremely hard for Timberlake to put the harsh and evil words out of his mind but he cannot dwell on it. JC was drunk and not making any sense in his slurred speech. He then thinks about Kobe and their relationship and secretly questions if he is doing the right thing. Doubts that he thought he already worked through start to resurface themselves and create more bruises on his tattered skin. If they were to get caught then their careers would be in great jeopardy. Now he is more confused than ever and is scared because true feelings are starting to form.

Shooting for the video this time is not nearly fun as it was the previous day because of all the words that are sticking to his every thought. As much as he wants them to leave, they stay and cause doubt and sadness. JC is one of a very few people in the entire world that can say things that he will take to heart because of how close their relationship is. But he is unsure if the relationship is broken now or even if the two of them should speak about what happened. Justin is not sure of what to do and on a few occasions, he has to stop the shoot because his concentration is in so many pieces. Throughout their whole friendship Chasez has never spoken to him in such a way. His tone was mocking and condescending and it still manages to rip at his skin the things that were said in the early morning hours. He barely forces himself to get through the shoot because Jive would reprimand him if he did not do so.

Another long day of shooting wraps up and Timberlake is more than happy to finally be able to go and be by himself for a while. The crowded set and numerous voices of today only managed to give him a headache but it is all over now. Tomorrow will be the last day of the shoot and it mainly involves touchups and fixing minor discrepancies to make the final edit of the video run as smoothly as possible. It should not be anything too demanding. Justin only wants sleep and understanding because he is unsure of what to do about JC. They have not spoken since it happened and he still wonders why JC had so much to drink that night. The pop star wants to call him but a part of him is stopping the impulse. He does not know what they would say to each other. Calling might only make things worse where both will end up saying things they do not mean and cannot take back.

It is well past ten when the former N*SYNCer arrives back at his hotel for the night and he simply drops down on the comfortable sofa of the great room and stares off into space. Stares off into the problems that have imaginary manifested themselves high above him. He did not feel much like shooting a music video today but he had to be professional and get it done. There have been many times in the past where Justin did not feel up to a performance or interview but he did it anyway because it was expected of him. His body is aching for rest and he is too comfortable to even get up from the sofa to go into the bedroom. The cushiony chair becomes warm and malleable under his tired body while he lets his mind wander any way it wants to. Timberlake begins nodding off a short while later and is about to fall asleep when his phone chimes in his pocket. It screams loudly.

He looks at the display before flipping it open and greeting tiredly, "Hey."

"Hey you. How did the shoot go today?"

"Huh---oh, good I guess."

"What's wrong Justin?" the Los Angeles Laker asks.

"Nothing---tired," Timberlake responds back in a weary tone.

"You just got back?"

"Yeah. I'm on the sofa lying down. Oh man---"

"What?" comes the immediate response.

"My head's---spinning. Hold on---"

"Justin? Justin---" Kobe calls out twice.

"I'm here," his voice is low.

"Did you eat?"

"No---not really."

Justin sits up on the sofa once again and feels his head moving when he is still and the walls seem as if they are spinning. He is dizzy and his vision is blurred momentarily before he starts to regain his composure and his sight is sharp once again. A quick spell but something inside is still not right. His body is undernourished and he pushed himself hard today for the video. Maybe he should not have gotten up so fast from the sofa. The singing star remains on the sofa for a while longer while Kobe Bryant's voice of concern sounds in his ear. He is genuinely worried and it is so sweet. Walking into the bedroom a short while later, he looks for the menu near the phone because he has to order something to eat as well as take a shower before going to bed. Food should be the answer because he does not remember eating a formal meal, or anything for that matter, all day. Timberlake feels his body giving out on him.

"Get something to eat Justin. And call me back later."


Following the advice that he just received over the phone, the superstar orders himself a very late dinner dinner and makes his way to the shower now because he knows he will not want to do it any later than it already is. His body will get lazy and he will not want to shower after he eats so now is the time to do it. The water stings his eyes fully open and he utilizes this advantage and small burst of new energy to shower himself clean. Steam fogs the mirrors of the bathroom and Justin is happy about this because he does not want to see the doubt and confusion he knows is scribbled all over his face. Etched into his eyes because of Chasez's words that day. Usually, showering allows him to relax and sort through his thoughts but not this time. His body wants sustenance and does not have the life force to deal with the deep betrayal of his best friend. He gets out soon after and ignores the mirror altogether.

Resorting to a pair of boxers and pajama bottoms alone, Timberlake answers the door to receive his food and slowly eats it to replenish his body of vital nutrients. The suite is too quiet as he eats and he wishes Bryant were here to talk to. Talking to him has become so much easier and he truly listens and offers great advice. Advice is what the former boybander needs right now more than anything. For someone to listen and offer unbiased advice. His dizzy spell is over but he is still tired and wants only to sleep. But more than sleep, Justin wants a break from thinking. As hard as he tries to forget or leave those words in the back of his mind, it just does not stick. When he closes the door from returning the cart outside his phone goes off again. He smiles when he walks into the bedroom to get it. The name displayed is not the same as before though and his heart clutches up and possibly remains still.

"JC---hi," he tries his best to say and remain normal.

"Man J---I miss hearing your voice," an energetic JC's voice comes back to him. "How are you buddy?"


"Justin---what's wrong?"

"No nothing," comes the fast response.

The singer is not sure he should bring up their last conversation especially since Chasez seems to have no recollection of it. But they will need to talk about it at some point before it eats him alive. Memories of that night must be vague in the other man's mind he suspects. He is talking to him as if nothing is wrong or nothing was ever said. The songster questions whether JC was truly that drunk to the point where he could not remember saying the things he did or if he is simply trying to cover the fact that he cut Justin with his words. Thinking it could possibly be the latter hurts Timberlake all over again and he cannot begin to cope with it. Either way, nothing will get resolved if both act as if nothing happened but he is not strong enough to deal with it right now. He just wants to talk to Kobe and go to bed. This new stress will only work against him to shut down his body faster.

"Justin---what's going on? What happened?"

"I'm just tired JC---" he snaps.

"Why are you talking to me like this? Are you mad at me?"

"No---I told you I'm tired. I had a long day."

"---Every day is long Justin---"

He gets the answer he was not hoping for. He will never have the conversation he wants unless he initiates it himself. And right now, Justin does not have the stamina to start that conversation and possibly be hurt even more by someone who is supposed to be like a brother to him. This will have to happen some other time and preferably when they are face to face. Because no matter how hurt he is, he wants answers and is owed an explanation. JC's brutally harsh words still fluctuates in the back of his mind and even though he never wants to think about them again, they will always stay with him. He really thought they told each other everything and had the type of friendship where they could say whatever they wanted to one another. That hurts the most. Timberlake is about to say something when the phone begins to vibrate against his ear. He looks at it to see Kobe Bryant calling him back.

"I have to go JC. I have an early day tomorrow," the former boybander is not sure if it is a lie or not.

"That's it? Something's bothering you---tell me J. I'm worried."

"Nothing, nothing. I'm fine," he says as calmly as possible while he feels the phone still shaking on his ear.

"Okay fine," JC replies in an almost uncaring tone.


Before Justin could get anything else out the phone call is severed and JC leaves him alone. The new tension between them becomes abrupt and unyielding in any way so it becomes even harder to approach the subject of the forgotten conversation. Perhaps the both of them just need to cool off and gather their thoughts before speaking to one another again. He looks to see that Kobe has given up on his phone call as well because he took so long to end his last phone call. The singing star takes a few moments to himself to think before he plans on returning the call. How could you act like nothing happened? Either Chasez was a very good actor or he truly does not remember his words that night. He does not know which is worse but stops thinking about it. Burying those thoughts deep inside, Timberlake picks up his phone again to dial the basketball player. It rings twice before connecting.

"Are you feeling better?" Bryant comes on the line and says.

"Yeah---I ate."

"Good. You had me worried there---"

"Worried---why?" he asks.

"You sounded bad."

"I'm tired. I woke up really early this morning---" Justin responds but immediately regrets doing so.

"For the video?"

"Yeah---and I wrote some lyrics."

He is not sure if he should tell the other man what transpired between him and JC in the early hours of that morning but he wants to so bad. Timberlake wants to tell someone so he can vent about it and finally get it off his chest and out of his mind. A small something deep within stops him from opening his mouth though. This is something he and his best friend have to work through alone and bringing more people into it will only cause more problems and become messier than it needs to be. Chasez's words cut him badly though so he is just takes it all in and bottles it up. Like he does with the things that truly bother him. It is his unhealthy way of dealing with extremely painful situations. Justin knows he is lying to Kobe but he cannot bring himself to tell him. He would feel guilty for doing so. He feels guilty for not doing so as well. So either way he is caught in a web and hates it.

"You'll burn yourself out babe---" the Laker slips up and replies.

"---Did you just call me---"

"---Yeah---" Bryant comes back with, sounding a little embarrassed.


"Sorry," Kobe says after deadness fills the air.

"No don't be. It just sounds weird hearing it from another guy," Timberlake admits honestly.

"I thought it would feel weird to say it but you saw how it just slipped out---"

"So I'm your babe then?" he finds the slight humor in the situation and it is helping get his mind off his rough conversation with JC.

"You're my baby Justin---if you want to be."

The slight insecurity in the NBA star's voice tells Justin that he is sincere in his words and for the first time since they started their friendship, he can see the foundations of a true relationship begin to formulate themselves. It is both comforting and frightening at the very same time but he will not allow his own doubts and apprehensiveness to plague a foundation they both have worked so hard to build. They will not overshadow a relationship where Kobe Bryant treats him with the respect and kindness so many deserves but few ever get the chance to experience. The former N*SYNCer will not give that up or succumb to his nerves or doubt. There is no room for that anymore and he feels that their relationship has instantly taken a huge step forward. A step into the unknown but Timberlake welcomes what he cannot see. It may be unconventional and wrong but he wants this relationship. He wants Kobe.

"I want to be. Why aren't you in LA---" he cutely puts over the phone.

"The same reason why you're in LA---work."

"Work sucks."

"If you weren't singing to the entire population of teenage girls in the world then how else could you afford your expensive cars and houses huh?" the basketballer over analytically states.


"Hardly. I'm not that much into teenage girls."

"I bought my parents a house in Tennessee with my first paycheck," Justin reminisces about receiving his first major paycheck while still in the group N*SYNC.

"I bought a ring---" he stops.

"I thought it was only musicians who bought bling with their first check. What kind of ring was it?"

There is a long pause before Kobe replies with, "A ring I saw that I liked---" he hesitates and says lowly. "Is the video done?"

"Tomorrow's the last day with solo shots of me. Then it'll be done."

"Sounds good."

Timberlake says surprisingly, "I want to see you."

"When and where and I'll be there," he enthusiastically comes back with the answer.

"You sound happy about something---"

"I like spending time with you Justin. A lot---"

"I like spending time with you too. What about we meet up on Saturday and maybe hang out for a day or two? Do you have anything planned?" the singer interjects his idea out there.

"I think I'm supposed to be in DC this weekend but forget that. Where do you want to go?"


"Okay. Oh---I can't wait for this weekend now!" Kobe Bryant exclaims like a cute little boy.

"Me either. I need some sleep."

"Okay---good night Justin."

"Night baby," he laughs.

"You laugh but it sounds so sweet coming from your lips."

"Good night Kobe."

"Good night Justin."

The pop star falls asleep shortly after the phone leaves his ear and completely forgets about it, leaving it uncharged on the bed next to him. His body can no longer force itself to stay awake, even if it was to talk to the other man more. Even though cars are out and about in Los Angeles, the night's air is still and quiet enough to create the perfect mood to fall asleep under. He is starting to become so comfortable with Kobe and knows he can be himself around the basketball star. Trust and a strong bond are there and is becoming stronger every time they talk or see each other. It makes his insides quiver with anticipation and desire for the weekend. A weekend where Justin is not sure of what will happen or what he will allow to happen. Not sure of how far things will go or even if he is ready for that. Timberlake's sweet slumber will carry him throughout the night and into the morning.

Most of the shots on the last day of shooting involve him standing in front of a green screen to create the illusion of setting and singing into the camera as well as giving various headshots to he edited into the video during its postproduction phase. Justin is between the set and hair and makeup a few times and it is late in the afternoon when everything is finally over. His fist official video from his new and untitled album is ready to be pieced together. The singer will need to come up with an album title before the video is released to the public. If he has no ideas then Jive will step in and create one for him. They really want this album wrapped and ready to go already. And putting out this video so soon will create a buzz that will sell the album. At least that is what they are all hoping. Timberlake knows there is a lot riding in the success of this single and the album he poured himself into.

After another exhausting day of work, he enters his suite and immediately heads for the shower to wash the buildup of the day off his skin. His mind innocently runs on Kobe Bryant and it goes crazy with all the possibilities the weekend could bring with it. Timberlake flicks on the television in his room and watches something he does not know while continuing to towel off his skin and find a clean pair of boxers to wear. In bed, he watches some videos for a while and waits to call the baller. His eyes feel heavy though and his heart rate is slowing down because his body is getting ready for rest. Justin is unaware when he begins to nod off but he is awake again. The tired superstar points the remote towards the TV to shut it off and grabs a pillow to hug before going to sleep for the night.