~*~ 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 Sixteen

~*~ A Whirlwind Inside Their Head ~*~



The weekend they spent together is still fresh on his mind when he goes back to work the next week and is reluctant to do so because he is spoiled. He wants the weekend, and perhaps even more time together, to happen all over again. Timberlake has to promote his new single and stir up hype for his album but he is sure that once the radio stations pick it up, SexyBack will sell itself. The beats married to those sultry lyrics will create more than a solid foundation for him to build upon to sell this album. It is simply that type of song with everything about it being perfect. His schedule is crowded with every photo shoot, interview, charity event, and general appearance he thinks humanly possible but he begins it without hesitation or displeasure because he is still high from the weekend he just had. Justin doubts that anyone or anything can take it away from him so he diligently gets back to work.

Timberlake remembers how he was looking at Kobe that night they were both naked and in bed together after they took another step forward in their relationship. The basketball star was sleeping next to him and had no idea that he was looking, observing him. Everything from his closed eyes and kissable cheeks to his cute lips and slender neck. Bryant's powerful chest rose and fell as he slept and it was hypnotic and captivating. His beautiful chocolate brown skin kept Justin captivated and lost for what seemed like hours. The way the moonlight enhanced it up also played a role in him getting lost. He never wanted it to end and would lay there together with the other man forever if he could. He shakes his head out of the clouds because he has to concentrate on work. The album has to be the main focus of his thoughts so that the fans can see that he is as passionate about it as he is in his mind.

The R&B star is currently in Seattle doing a few promotional events his publicist set up for him as the weekend fades farther and farther away in time. Timberlake does a radio show in the morning and attends a luncheon on the importance of music in children's lives. It is a worthy cause that deserves adequate funding to keep the youth motivated and confident rather than idle and uninspired. In his experience, uninspired youth with no positive outlet in their lives head down a road of hardship dysfunction. He remembers how much more he liked going to school when he was younger simply because of his music class and teacher. It was back then, and still is to this day his creative outlet and a way to positively showcase himself to the world. Justin honestly does not know what would have become of him if music was not there to greatly influence him at such an impressionable age.

The conference lasts longer than he expects and he sees a few familiar faces but mainly keeps to himself because his mind is still haunted by thoughts of Kobe Bryant. They are so unconventional together but it works on so many deeper levels. What he once believed has to be gone. He is distracted from his outer surroundings and feels guilty because he is not listening or paying attention to a single word any of the speakers have to say. The singer wants to focus his concentration but aside from his thoughts, his head feels like it is about to split open because of the headache he has. It is because he has not had much to eat for the day. Maybe his body is shutting down on him and this is the first sign. When things get this hectic with his schedule, Justin barely has time to eat or get a full night of rest because of the demand of him to be everywhere. He wants food. He wants to listen. He wants Kobe.

Justin also remembers that he will see his mother later on. She is in Seattle specifically to see her son and he cannot deny her even though he just wants to go back to the hotel and pass out from sleep. His life will never be as easy though. She has not seen him in what he can only assume months so it has to happen. There is no way out of it nor will he create one. When things conclude at the function, former boybander sticks around to take a few pictures as well as grant a few autographs before disappearing through a virtually empty exit to an awaiting car. During the ride Timberlake contemplates calling the basketball superstar but decides against because of the lack of privacy and he is not in the mood to talk much with his throbbing head still bothering him. And Kobe will only be worried about him and putting that unwanted stress on his boyfriend is not far nor worth anything.

He rests his head against the seat and closes his eyes for a moment to think about what else he has to do while out here. He and JC have not spoken in a long while but the words his best friend said to him while he was drunk still slices through him. It only adds to the headache but cannot stop being thought about. Even after so much time has passed from the incident. Remembering how good Bryant's touch is keeps his head from falling off the ledge though. Justin starts thinking about the many talks the two shared over the course of that weekend and how almost all his nerves and anxiety about their relationship is gone now. His beliefs are still instilled within him but he has to deal with that on his own. Timberlake hops out of the car and walks into the hotel and straight towards the elevator. He does not look around or even bother with anyone else until he enters the room. He knows his mom.

"Mom?" he calls out into the seemingly empty suite. "Mom where are you? I'm here---"

After calling out a few more times and walking through the entire luxurious suite, he comes up with nothing. No one is here and he is a little puzzled. It is strange and Timberlake starts to take out his cell phone to find out where she is when he starts to feel lightheaded and dizzy. The room spins before him and he has to sit down before his body gives out and he falls to the floor. That is how badly his head is loose; it is in the clouds right now. Making his way over to the sofa in the great room, Justin sits down with his head in his hands and tries to wait for it all to pass. He doubts he even has the energy to make it to his bed. Aside from fatigue, he feels as if his head is being split open into two separate pieces. He has never experienced a headache this bad. The sensation threatens to have his mind go numb. He is exhausted and closes his eyes to rest momentarily. Even the blackness is spinning.

The afternoon is slowly but surely leaving the west coast state as the R&B singer has no knowledge of it. The giant mass of flames in the sky easily shifts to the other side of the world as Justin Timberlake continues to innocently rest on the sofa of the great room. His young body is curled up together and his breathing is steady and deep. Kobe has gotten on him, even though their relationship is young, to take care of himself and to not push himself too hard. But he is used to this amount of work and little sleep so he does not understand why this time is any different. Bryant worries about him just like Justin worries about him; it is a mutual understanding and caring for one another. A clicking sound breaks the silence of the room and it is the lock of the door. It opens and a blonde woman enters the darkened suite and closes the door behind her. She sees no one in her immediate vision.

"Justin?" she calls out to her son.

She has a few bags in her hands and ushers them to the kitchen where she turns on the light. She rests everything on the counters in front of her while looking around to see if her little boy has appeared. He is supposed to be here for them to meet up. Justin is all over the world at any given time so meeting up to spend time together is an opportunity that has to be taken full advantage of. When no one shows up, she begins to call him again but stops after the first syllable because she sees someone lying down on the sofa in the next room. The kitchen provides a great view into almost every other room of the suite with the exception of the bedrooms. The woman walks over to see her son sweetly sleeping with his body almost in the fetal position. His skin looks pale and when she touches his forehead with the back of his hand, it is hot and feels sickly. The mother inside her immediately takes notice.

"Justin sweetheart---" his mother softly says.

There is no answer and she touches the burning hot skin on his forehead again and trying to think of that to do. She then feels under her son's neck and it is the same temperature. He is sick and she wonders how long he has been this way. Timberlake barely has time to call her because of how much he is working and how hectic is schedule is so she knows he probably is not taking as good care of himself as she would like him to. As she tells him to. His mother knows how much stress he has been under lately and but even with all that, it is still no excuse for him to ignore his body and push it beyond its limits. Justin's mom kisses him on the cheek; he stirs briefly but mainly remains unchanged before she heads back into the kitchen to prepare him something to eat. His temperature feels extremely high and she becomes slightly more anxious and worried about her superstar son.

Lynn searches through the cupboards and refrigerator to only find minimal ingredients needed to make her son something to eat. Out of options, she calls downstairs to the concierge and relays a list of items she needs and is promised that they will be at her doorstep in about ten minutes. So she waits and takes care of her little boy until she has what she needs to continue on. Timberlake stretches out his body and tosses around on the sofa to try and get more sleep but sharp pains in his stomach strive to keep him awake. He opens his eyes and his nose is bombarded with the smell of homemade cooking. His mother has to be here. Justin sits up on the sofa and looks over to the kitchen to see her tending a pot and not noticing him. His head is still dizzy and his skin is burning up now. The singer does not know why he is this sick all of a sudden. He sits there with his head in his hands hoping it will stop.

"Here honey," the former N*SYNCer hears his mother tell him.

He looks up to see that she is offering him a bowl of homemade chicken soup but he denies it, "No---I don't want that."


"I don't want that mom," Justin tells her in a weak voice.

His mom is serious when she refers to him by his middle name and her face alone should tell him not to deny her anything. He does not want soup though even though his stomach is craving food through jagged pains. Justin's body is telling him that he is hungry but he has no appetite for food. Any kind of food whatsoever. All he wants to do is sleep and then it'll go away. Lynn only looks at her son and rests the hot bowl of soup on the table near them before sitting next to him on the sofa and remains quiet. Timberlake rests his head back onto the sofa and closes his eyes because of how heavy they are. The headache is still there and his throat is beginning to feel sore and dry. It is possible he has the flu but he hopes not. There is still so much promotion and events that have to get down to properly hype the album. His mother looks at the tray onto the coffee table and then down at his head.

"Justin Randall Timberlake," she addresses him while running her fingers through his short hair. "You have to eat this son. It'll make you feel better."

"I don't want too---I'm not hungry."

"You always were a hard patient to take care of when you got sick," she reminisces of when he was younger. "You need to eat to keep up your strength Randall. I made your favorite chicken noodle soup."

The sick R&B star sits up and stares straight ahead before asking, "When did you get here?"

"A couple of hours ago."

"I've been asleep that long---" he mumbles.


"What time is it?"

"Almost nine. Justin---are you alright?"

"Yeah. Mom I have this thing to go to in a few minutes---"

"No---" Lynn cuts in and silences him. "You're staying right here so I can take care of you since you don't care to do it yourself."

"I do take care of myself---" Timberlake tries to defend but he will never win against his mother.

"You can't go anywhere in your condition Randall. I won't allow it."

"Mom I'm a grown man."

"So---you're still my son aren't you?"

He regrets the words and wants to take them back as soon as they come out because she is only worried about him. It must be hard for her not being able to call or see her son whenever she wants because of his job and celebrity status. Timberlake knows his mother only has his best interest at heart and he really should force himself to eat because of the needed energy but also because he so rarely gets to taste his mother's home cooking anymore. Everything is always restaurants or catering or quick bites. Once the room becomes subtly whirling the former N*SYNCer takes the tray from the table and slowly begins eating the fresh hot soup. It is hot against his pink lips and he feels her eyes on him as he nourishes his body. Making sure he regains his strength. Justin's limbs feel weak and he wants to stop but forces himself to eat the hot food because it does begin to make him feel better.

"Sorry---I didn't mean that," he gets out in between sips of the soup.

"How long have you been sick honey?"

"Just this afternoon. It came out of nowhere. I don't know---"

She looks at him and proclaims, "I think you should see a doctor. I can take you---"

"No---no doctor. I'm fine mom."

"You don't sound fine Justin. I'm worried---"

"---Don't be," Timberlake softly cuts her off. "It'll go away in no time you'll see."

His mother shoots him one of her looks but eventually decides to give in to her son's words. She suspects he will always be a hard patient to take care of because of how much he hates going to hospitals. Even since he was a child growing up in Tennessee, going to the hospital was always the end resort for him. The last thing she wants is for an argument to form between them so she lets it go and only smiles because, despite everything, she is happy to see and be spending time with him. The star feels his mom kiss his cheek before she gets up and walks back into the kitchen to take care of the mess she made earlier preparing the soup. After the bowl is empty, Justin does begin to feel stronger and his head stops going around in circles. She is right, of course. But, it also makes him feel hot and like his skin is on fire. The fever coupled with the hot soup is making him sweat. He needs a shower.

"Mom I'm going to take a shower okay---" he calls out to her.

"Okay. I'm just cleaning up here. I'll make some tea for you when you're finished," she sweetly responds back.

"Okay. Thanks."

Justin gets up from the sofa and makes his way to his room to shower and try to get more energy in his body. His mom is right; he is in no condition to go anywhere tonight and makes a mental note to text his publicist to excuse his appearance. The soup soothes his throat and he is feeling much better than before. A gnawing guilt eats away at him while in the shower because he is not being completely honest with his mother. Timberlake cannot tell her though. He just cannot bring himself to say the words. Hot water swathes his body in a misty cocoon and the vapor does wonders to clear his mind of all its impurities. The only thing still standing within the endless cortex of his brain is Kobe Bryant. All the things that were said and done during that almost perfect weekend in Miami. No one will understand what he is feeling. No one will understand how much cares about the other man.


Pulling up to the wrought iron gates of his Malibu mansion, Kobe Bryant waits for the large metal bars to subside before he crosses over into his property. The Sun is hot and beating down on everything as he waits to gain entrance to his home. He follows the magnificent driveway until its peak, which is right at the entrance of his house and kills the engine of one of his prized Lamborghinis there. The baller looks around as if he does not recognize the place and rests the back of his head against the headrest before closing his eyes. To organize thoughts and try to shake his feelings of missing Justin. It is always easier said than done however and each passing becomes harder for him to get his boyfriend out of his mind. He lets out a low sigh and his body springs back to life. Bryant gets out of the expensive Italian sports car and moves around to its trunk to gather his stuff from it, two duffel bags.

A moment of brief hesitation clouds his mind as he is at the double doors leading into his mansion and other life; the life the fans know of him. The only life anyone will ever know or find out about. Quiet desperation creeps into Kobe's head and he has to stand there momentarily to overcome it. The bit of anxiety and the house of severe secrets he now seems to be living in. Justin is his bright spot. He always will be. His hand is on the brass lever but he takes another moment alone before he is finally able to open it and enter the overly large house. Inside, everything is immaculately in place and expensive furniture and paintings adorn the floor and walls. The Los Angeles Laker drops his bags in the foyer and temporarily forgets them as he begins to walk about to see if he is alone. The house is silent as he makes his way around it looking for any sign of life.

He passes a pair of large glass doors that leads to the outside deck which houses the patio, pool and spacious backyard. An ironic thought passes through him about the first time he saw this house and how he needed convincing to buy it. It is extremely luxurious and requires a lot of maintenance but he did buy it. Bryant steps out onto it and back into the heat and sees her there working in her flower garden. Her long wavy black hair is tied up haphazardly in a bun and her honey skin glistens with a light layer of perspiration. Her soft hands are masked by gloves and she is completely oblivious to him as she is busily digging a shallow hole to plant yet another flower. A beautiful and vibrant blue flower. The exact type is unknown but Kobe just stands there and watches as she does her work. It is her most favorite thing to do even since they were back in high school together.

There is a lump in his throat and an abyssal sinking inside his stomach. It became prominent when the car pulled up the driveway and then before he entered the house but now it is at its peak. Approaching her now will only result is questions he is not sure he has the answers to. The basketballer has been feeling like this increasingly for the past few months now. He fights it away every time of course but it is becoming progressively harder to do so. When Bryant attempts to remove the lump from his throat by clearing it, she does not hear it or his attempt to get her attention. She almost expertly removes the delicate flower from its pot and carefully puts it into the hole in the ground. It immediately blends in with the rest of the colorful plants in her well manicured garden. Kobe walks closer to her and stares at the back of her body before he is finally able to say something to make his presence known.

"Hi baby," he swallows and greets.

"Kobe---hi honey. When did you get here?" his longtime girlfriend Vanessa asks him.

"A little while ago."

Vanessa immediately leaves the bare plants on the floor and fingers her garden gloves off before getting up and turning around to face her man. He is so much taller than she is but it makes no difference. He is home and they can spend some time together after having missed him so much. She holds on to his body and he hugs her back before they share a sweet kiss. He has to lean down slightly to do so. The moment is intimate in the garden of their extravagant home. His girlfriend kisses him hard because of how much she misses him. Every time he has to go out on the road and away from her. She wants him to take her on the road with him but he does not want her exposed to that lifestyle. They travel together on occasions but Kobe much prefers her to stay away from the spotlight because it is a dangerous thing. He does not know what he would do if something were to happen to her.

"How was your trip?" she asks when they break apart.

"The same stuff happening. These publicity things are hard work. I don't know how these musicians do it all the time," he admits honestly.

"It's okay sweetheart. You're home now. You can take a shower and relax and I make us dinner."

"Oh that sounds so good baby."

"I'll finish planting this first while you go take a shower. I have to hurry---it'll be dark soon," she notices while looking on the horizon.

"Okay---I'll be upstairs."

"I love you."

"I love you too," Kobe recites back and is off after another kiss.

The shower does not do much to clear his mind or make him feel any better about what he is doing. It is not supposed to but he hoped something would change. Clearly, nothing will until the baller physically does something to warrant a change. He has known Vanessa ever since his sophomore year in high school and she has been by his side throughout every challenge and obstacle of his career so far. Cool water washes and kneads Bryant's chocolate brown skin while doing nothing to ease his mind or his growing guilt. She is the only one he comes to when he has a problem or when the world of basketball starts to overwhelm him. When the pressures of being on top threaten to crumble him or when monotonous press events promise to tear his mind in half. His girlfriend does not deserve this. She has done nothing to make him think otherwise. Kobe is being selfish and the guilt is bothering him deeply.

Justin is someone who has captivated him from the beginning. Ever since they first officially met in the locker room after the charity game. It was confusing but strong enough for him to pursue it and what it could possibly mean. And his instincts about the other man have not been wrong ever since then. They have something special growing but everything is so complicated. Bryant feels his life being so complicated. But he instantly felt drawn to the young singer that day and his feelings were validated the day they kissed in his Lamborghini under the pouring rain. The confusion will end up hurting two people he cares so much about. Kobe deserves neither of them because of his strong urge to continue seeing both of them without consequence. Water touches every part of his naked body and he is startled out of his thoughts when he feels a pair of hands run along the length of his back.

"You looked so tense outside. Maybe I can help," she passionately says.

"What did you have in mind?" he turns around and faces his love.

"Well I haven't seen my handsome boyfriend in a few, long weeks---"

He takes the cue and kisses his girlfriend sweetly on the lips while tucking any and all indiscretions away to hopefully be forgotten. The sweet lip lock turns to a sensual one and her hands roam all over his strong body. He wants this. He needs this to feel good and to evaporate some of the guilt running through his veins because they have not been together in weeks. She has been waiting for his return and for his touch. Craving the sensation her boyfriend is able to make her experience. They both move under the constant spout of water in the large walk-in shower and continue their passion that has been prevented in the past weeks. Kobe's once resting heart rate becomes more agile and his attentiveness starts increasing to where the pain of lying is being drowned out. Things are becoming difficult for him but pleasure always manages to take his mind away from mounting problems.

Vanessa feels her back being pressed into the cold wall with her boyfriend's large hands touching every inch of her naked flesh as possible. No guilt or second guessing can show itself here. He has to be able to perform not because he has to but because he wants to. She deserves that release at least. Bryant runs his hands from her neck over her breasts and rests them on his favorite place on her hips. His full handprint would be visible there if possible because of how many times he has held her there in the past. Her body is perfection and his only. She moans softly when their kiss falls apart and his full lips explore the path his hands just took down her body. The baller almost bites into her neck and gently gropes her breasts for himself. Her nipples tense and harden at the intrusion and he toys with them for an added touch of pleasure. Pressure is applied and satisfaction is gained.

The Los Angeles Laker puts every single though he has of Justin Timberlake out of his mind for this to work. Every thought of their kisses and fulfilling conversations and even thoughts of what they did together sexually while in Miami. They all have to disappear for him to please his girlfriend and enjoy the pleasure himself. Kobe does not know what he was thinking when he got himself involved with the younger singer but it was something he had no control over. His body wanted Justin. His body still wants Justin. His body wants Vanessa. He cannot stay away from Timberlake because he honestly does not know how to. Things are quickly becoming a mess and the Bryant is not sure how long it will be before he is caught somehow. He might slip up or the paparazzi might snap him or he might sabotage himself. Maybe by his own self. The latter seems the most reasonable to him.

His longtime girlfriend kisses his neck hard as she massages his rigid butt through blissful lust and love. All the running he does on the court keeps him in superior shape and she is wild about him. His perfect bodily specimen pressed into hers is maddening. Tongues scrape together and skin grinds off one another in a well practiced dance. Kobe is funny and sweet and attractive and caring and honest. Skin touches skin even further and lips explore once forbidden zones in their ultimate quest for sexual conquest. Vanessa gasps for air when her boyfriend sucks hard on her skin to give her a hickey right above her breast. She is ready. She feels they both are to continue on. Bryant feels his ears being played with and he goes crazy because that is one of his spots. If not his ultimate spot. Justin will figure that out eventually. She pulls his head closer to her and kisses his lips once before moving over to his ear.

"I'm ready baby. Go slow," is sensually whispered to him.

Bryant is excited and stimulated by the words and ultimately, the invitation. Aside from what he did with Justin only a few days earlier, he has not had much in the way of genuine human touch lately. He likes to think of himself as a normal guy but sometimes his sexual tension flows into overdrive and he cannot control it. His needs will be satisfied and his guilt killed at the very same time. The basketball stud positions himself directly in front of her and she easily parts her legs to give him the access he needs into her. Kobe kisses her as he enters her because he knows how painful it is because of his size. How will it be for him? Vanessa grunts and moans as she adjusts her body against the wall to accommodate her man. The kiss takes some of the pain away as he is applying pressure and pushing into her. She hisses and bites the very top of her man's ear to get him more in the mood if it is possible.

The thrusts are slow and warm as their bodies reconnect to one another's to recoup lost passion over the past weeks. He moves back and forth while his lips are on her neck and her hands are resting on his broad shoulders before moving down to cup her breasts. Thumbs run across her tactile nipples simultaneously and her breasts bounce up and down as she is riding him. Bryant keeps the pace steady but is starting to feel the urge to press on and go further and faster. He wants Vanessa to take him there and for neither of them to ever look back. Her hands squeeze his shoulders and it drives him even more to start plowing her powerfully. The basketballer holds out for as long as he can before rocking his hips increasingly until he is plunging in and out of his girlfriend at a much faster and more satisfying rate. Shuddering as he feels her lips and teeth graze and suck on his neck as she moans.

Vanessa grabs onto his butt as his lower body rubs up against hers and his dick shoots deep into her awaiting cavity. Into her warm and wanting body. Their bodies are one and he uses one hand to press against the tiled wall behind his girlfriend to gain support so that he can keep doing what he is doing. Eyes closes and moans come to life while she continues to feel his butt and it is turning him on more than it ever has before. Kobe bites her neck easily and uses both his hands to cup and massage her breasts in between them again. He feels himself so close. It has been too long in his mind. It is not long before his girlfriend starts meeting his thrusts and their lips lock in one steamy kiss after another. The shower is long forgotten as they continue making love and giving in to their bodies' desires for one another. Desires that should begin and end with her but are extended way beyond the spectrum.

Bryant drills into her one final time before he feels himself erupt in the middle of his last thrust. At the peak and it feel more rewarding somehow. The once smooth rhythm they had between them is torn away and he pulls out of her immediately and looks down to see cum still spitting out of his dick and landing on the water soaked floor below them. He leans in and rests his head against Vanessa's while he waits for his body to climb back down from its high. She encircles her hands around her waist and nibbles on his ear as he regains himself. It does not help because doing that could rev him up all over again. But Kobe is sexually satisfied at the moment so he will not allow it to go there again. At least not so soon. The moment is intimately raw and the baller wonders if it is worth sacrificing. Worth jeopardizing. When he comes out of his thought he hears words spoken softly into his ear.

"I love you Kobe---I love you so much," Vanessa is saying.

"I know."

He is distracted with thoughts, not realizing that he does not say the words back even though he knows he feels them. She is the first person and only person he has ever loved as well as said those three words to in his young life thus far. She knows he feels it though so it does not bother her in the least. They continue on with the shower for its meant purpose and Vanessa emerges first with a towel wrapped around her wet hair and one covering her otherwise naked body. Kobe remains in the shower a few moments longer for the solitary and to think. He's never felt this way before; it is like he is being pulled in two completely different directions by the two people he knows he cares the most about. Bryant suddenly starts to feel sick in the pit of his empty stomach. Maybe he just needs food. His sudden feelings for Justin are making him uncomfortable but he cannot stop for the life of him.

They eat dinner together as a couple while catching each other up on the past few weeks of life. The basketballer is mainly silent throughout dinner and lets her do the talking. It seems like the right thing to do at the moment but he does not know why. Perhaps there is nothing to say. Maybe he should stop while he is ahead and no one knows what truly is going on. It might be out of his system already. But Timberlake is not. He, and their relationship, is not some experiment or trial that needed to happen before he could move on. It is not like that for them. When she notices that he is so quiet, talking stops and she looks at him. Nothing is said in an awkward pause before he begins the conversation again with something new so as not to have the silence between them. Bryant finds himself staring and appreciating her beautiful hair and eyes and face even more. He catches himself doing so.

His girlfriend Vanessa is resting her head on his naked chest while she sleeps on their bed. Her hand is on his flat stomach while one of his strokes her highlighted hair. The Los Angeles Laker rests his chin against her head and stares directly in front of him inside their darkened bedroom. He is thinking of Justin Timberlake. The other life beginning to form between them. And he is unsure of how much longer this can continue to happen. He wonders where the singer is and what he is doing right now. Looking at Vanessa, he kisses her on the top of her head and his eyes moves all around their extremely large master bedroom. His skill in basketball got him everything he has. Bryant still sees himself as that little boy now learning to play the sport. He does not know when it will register to him that he has made a mark in the professional world or that he is on top of the empire that is Kobe Bryant.

Gently resting her head against a pillow in lieu of his body, the baller shifts uncomfortably until he is up and off the bed completely. His semi-naked visage crosses the blackness of the spacious room until he comes to the door. Looking back for a second, he remains there because of his mounting guilt. It will all have to be swallowed and dealt with because he will not stop things with Timberlake. That is not an option and he selfishly tells himself so. Kobe opens it and softly closes the door behind him as he makes his way into one of the many other bedrooms of his house with his cell phone clutched tightly in his palm. He enters the room and sits on the edge of the bed found there and looks through his phone for Justin's number. Bryant has to hear his voice, even if only for a couple of miniscule seconds. That sweet voice that they whole world is addicted to. The phone begins ringing against his ear.

"Hello?" Timberlake's voice is groggy and sleepy.

"Hey---sorry I woke you up," he apologizes.


"Hi. I just called to see what's going on."

"Um the same."

Bryant sighs and lies on the bed before saying, "I wanted to hear your voice."

"Kobe---are you okay?" Justin sounds almost full of life now.

He hears something distant and off in the other man's voice; something that is not quite right. The former N*SYNCer scratches his head and looks out the window as they talk on the phone. It is the closest either is going to get to the other tonight and it is always going to be the sad nature of their relationship. It seems as if Kobe has not accepted that truth but they both have to if their relationship is to even have a chance of surviving. Justin wants to hear his voice too but he knows something is wrong by his tone only. It will be even harder and more draining than conventional relationships. Unanswered silence goes by on the line as he tries to figure out what to say next. Bryant is not giving him anything and he wonders if his boyfriend is upset with him in some way. Maybe he said something or unknowingly did something or missed something. Just when the stillness becomes unbearable, it is broken.

"---I miss you Justin---" he says lowly.

"I miss you too."

"I didn't mean to wake you up."

"I know. I'm glad you did," the superstar singer replies earnestly. "I like when you call me."

"I like when we talk. I like talking to you."

"Is something bothering you? Where are you?"

"Home," Kobe Bryant responds to the second question and bypasses the first entirely.


"In LA. My house."

"Oh---it feels good doesn't it?" Justin tries to lighten up the conversation and perhaps get a laugh out of him.

"I guess."

"Tell me what's wrong baby," he hears himself say. "I know something's bothering you."

"How do you know that?" Kobe comes back with.

"Because of the way you're talking. Are you mad at me?"

"I have no reason to be. I'm not Justin. Trust me---"

"Kobe what is it?" Timberlake asks again.

The shooting guard sighs and shuts his eyes in an attempt to get rid of all his problems and the questions that are specifically directed towards him. It does not work of course. It never could when he is this deeply involved. He hates the fact that Justin is being completely honest with him and he cannot do the same in return. Above all, both value honesty and trust in a relationship over anything and everything else so it is disheartening to Kobe and he is ashamed of his behavior. This is what is bothering him. What the hell kind of relationship can we have if he's honest and I'm not? The question spins around in his head so much that the words start becoming puzzling to him. He cannot do this to him. He does not want to. But he cannot help himself and wants it all. Bryant's palm rubs against his face and eyes because he is tired. He wants to get back into bed with Vanessa and sleep until morning.

"I just miss you," is all he can say at the moment.

"I know you do. I want you right here holding me."



"What do you like about me?"

"You're sweet and caring and make me feel special. I haven't met anyone like you in a long time and I like that you're honest and I can tell you anything. We can talk about anything. It's hard to let people in because of what we do but I trust you," Timberlake explains his emotions as best he can.

"---You shouldn't---" Kobe lowly and almost sadly responds.


"Maybe I'm not worth it."

"Don't say that. You're worth it to me. I really like you Kobe Bryant."

The Laker is stopping himself from saying it back. The words and emotions are at the very tip of his tongue but they refuse to be spoken and it makes the moment inopportune. It is just like what happened in the shower with Vanessa earlier but now within his other relationship. Damn! Something deep inside is preventing him from saying what he really feels because of the wrong moves he is making that will eventually wreck two people's lives. The wrong moves he willingly accepts and makes the words stick to his throat and has mounting guilt building inside his mind and heart. He is so selfish and uncaring. Exactly the opposite of what his boyfriend just described him as. Everything Justin believes and just said about him is a lie and Kobe cannot handle the guilt at this point. He wants to be by himself to think. Timberlake's voice is so soothing in his ear though but he fights it to get away.

"You should go back to bed---" is his attempt to end the conversation. "I'm sorry I woke you up."

"I told you it's okay. You still haven't told me what's wrong," the former boybander reminds him.

"I'll call you tomorrow okay?"


"Good night."

"Good night," he responds, confused.

Kobe Bryant pulls the phone away from his ear and rests on the unknown bed for a while before he gets up and makes his way back to his master room in the darkness. His stomach muscles feel tight and his shoulders are stiff and tense. He would love Vanessa to rub it for him. Or Justin. He wants to feel good about what he is doing. It will never come that easily though because it is worth it. Bryant feels that both relationships are worth it. He slips back into bed and tries to close his eyes for the night. Even though his girlfriend is right beside him, all the basketball star can think about it the other man and how dodgy he was with him just a few moments ago. He has not done anything wrong and he at least deserves answers to all the questions he asks. Kobe groans lowly. Timberlake was the first thing on his mind when he woke up this morning and he is the last thing on his mind right now.