~*~ 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.
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~*~ To Remember Just to Breathe ~*~
No matter how bad any situation is or becomes the light of a new day will always bring with it the promise of renewed hope and resolve that things will get better. It is the job of time itself. Timberlake sweetly slumbers in the coldly sterile room that was most uncomfortable last night because of all the machines around and the lack of privacy. He is not a fan of hospitals but all the neglect and self-serving has to stop now because it is where he ended up. He has to listen to his body because shunning himself is how he wound up here in the first place. It has to be all over the news this morning and everyone must know by now. Getting out of this hospital intact will be a mission in and of itself but he will figure that out when the time comes. When strangers walk into his room and start deliberating amongst themselves, the singer tosses on his bed before finally opening his eyes to see his guests.
"Good morning Mr. Timberlake," a middle-aged doctor with a long white lab coat greets him. "How are you feeling?"
"I've had better mornings---" he replies in a rustic voice.
"I'm sure of that," the doctor smiles to him as one of the two nurses that complete his entourage walks over to check up on him. "Are you in any pain?"
"Any dizziness or fatigue?"
"No---I feel a lot better now."
The nurse closest to him checks his IV pouch and also the tubing that runs up to his arm to see if everything is in working order while the secondary nurse writes down notes on a clipboard. Timberlake has so many eyes on him when he is performing but the three pairs that are on him now is nerve-wrecking and making him feel anxious. The doctor approaches him and takes his hand; he is feeling for a pulse or rather any irregularities with the vital mechanism of the body. Surprisingly, his hands are warm contrary to popular belief. The female nurse adjusts the needle that pierces his skin and he winces slightly from the intrusion. Justin hates needles and hates them even more when they are lodged into his skin. Everything seems to be in order so she rejoins the other nurse and they finish up the forms. Hopefully they are his release forms because he cannot spend another night in here. It will be too hard.
"Can you two give us a moment please?" Justin's doctor requests of his two assistants.
"Sure doctor," the both reply and step away.
"Is something wrong?" the former N*SYNCer asks once they are alone.
"No---your vitals are stable and your senses are normal. You should be fine."
"So can I get this thing out of my hand?"
"That can be arranged. I just need to know what happened. What do you remember?"
"I started seeing black and felt hot. And then it all went black and I woke up here last night," he recalls.
"Classic signs of exhaustion. When you came in last night, you had nothing in your system. No food, barely any water. What are your eating habits Mr. Timberlake?"
The R&B star stays silent before deciding to tell the truth with, "Normally they're good but it's been tough the past weeks so I've been skipping meals or just eating something small."
"So you haven't been taking care of yourself then?" the doctor probes further and is taking his own notes now.
"---I don't feel comfortable---"
"You don't have to worry about confidentiality Mr. Timberlake. The only thing the media knows is that you are in the hospital. They don't know the nature of your condition or anything else. It will stay that way. We are only concerned for your health and safety."
"Thank you," Justin signals a small relief. "I have been really busy lately."
He sighs before, "I cannot stress how important it is to take care of yourself. You have to eat and drink plenty of fluids. If you keep your strength up then you will keep your health up."
"You can never be too busy to eat or drink something do you understand?"
"Nothing is permanently damaged and your color is back. I most believe you can be released within the next few hours."
"Thank you," the singer replies again.
His doctor's last words are, "You have to take care of yourself."
The recovering superstar nods his head gratefully as all three people leave the room and gives it back to him. He is looking out the window and remembering his decision and promise to Kobe Bryant last night when he surprised him. The baller skipped out on a game to be at his side. How did he know? How could I forget that? A nurse from before returns with a plastic bag full of his things from last night and hands it to him. The same clothes he wore on stage and fell to his knees in. Justin is reluctant to wear the same clothing but there is no other choice unless he chooses to walk out of the hospital in his gown or naked. He is being ridiculous. There is nothing wrong with the clothes. These feelings have to be shaken from his mind. They were fine for him to take the stage last night and they are fine now. The nurse smiles when she rests the package next to his body on the bed and speaks.
"I'll go get your release work ready Mr. Timberlake. I believe these are all your things," she perfectly does her job. "Another nurse will be in soon to remove the IV."
"Do you need me to arrange a ride for you?"
"No---thank you. I'll figure something out."
When she leaves he opens the bag to find his complete outfit from last night as well as his cell phone and wallet. He still has his boxers on under the hospital gown and his hat is a little crumpled but everything is there within the plastic walls. Timberlake wants to take a shower before he leaves but he needs a ride somewhere. He has no car here and the media swarm outside he knows is more than excessive. Again, he is not alone as a new nurse announces herself and walks over to him to get the needle out of his arm. Justin has to look away when she starts tinkering with it because he hates needles. The singer closes his eyes and tries to pull away from his arm as she works to remove the foreign object from him. When the new nurse finally pulls it out, he breathes a solitary of relief to himself and he is one step closer to being out of here. This cold, sterile room is no place to spend another night.
She informs him that it is okay for him to wet his body and then leaves him alone again. He will figure something out after he brushes his teeth and takes a shower. He wants to get the smell of the hospital off of him and being in this hospital gown is not helping. With his hand being free now, he is able to move around so he sits up on the bed and gets ready to walk to the bathroom. They are right; his body feels so much better. Justin sets his foot on the floor and carefully walks to the bathroom to get himself ready to leave. The R&B star brushes his teeth and takes a quick shower jut to wet and refresh his skin for the new day. The clothes feel stale on him but it works. Upon examining his face in the mirror, he sees that his normal color is back but he does need rest. The only reason he is so strong right now is because he wants to get out of here. Timberlake reaches for his phone and only dials one number.
After four rings, "Justin---hey." Kobe Bryant asks when he is away from Vanessa.
"Can you come and get me from the hospital?" Justin's voice is low and private.
"They're letting you go? You're okay?"
"Yeah---we'll talk when I see you. Come and get me please---"
"Yeah baby of course. Now?" he looks over his shoulder to make sure no one is hearing him.
"Yes. They're doing my paperwork now. Can you use the same way you used last night to come and get me?"
"Okay Justin. I'm on my way. I'll call you when I'm in the parking lot."
"Okay. Bye---" the singer responds quickly and hangs up before running his fingers through his short and wet hair.
Not a moment later, an unknown nurse enters his room with the promised release papers for him to sign. She smiles warmly as he sits back on the bed and looks over the documents that require his signature. She excuses herself from the room so Justin is left in privacy to sign his freedom. All the places that need his personal touch are highlighted and it does not take him long to finalize everything. Now comes the wait. He is anxiously awaiting his cell phone ringing. It is on the bed next to him and he rests the finished paperwork on the nearby desk. The R&B superstar leaves the phone and walks over to the large window that the room offers. It is a beautiful hospital on beautiful grounds. Timberlake's room is overlooking a large lake and he stares out at it and starts remembering. Last night, his boyfriend left somewhere he had to be to come here and make sure he was alright. How could I not?
Just then his phone goes off and he hastily picks it up without even looking at the number, "Hello---"
"Justin---sweetheart? What's going on?" his mother Lynn worriedly questions her son.
"I---" he stutters because he does not need this right now.
"It's all over the news this morning. Are you okay? Where are you now? Tell me---" she is almost frantic now.
"Mom---calm down. I'm fine. I'm still in the hospital."
"Your father and I are so worried about you---"
"I doubt he is," the former N*SYNCer says mainly to himself.
"We're coming to see you."
"No---I'm leaving now."
"They released you already? That's great honey. We'll be there to pick you up soon," his mother refuses to hear any of his words.
"I'm already leaving the hospital now mom," Timberlake lies because the only person he wants to see at this point is his boyfriend.
"Someone. I'm fine."
"Okay---so when can we see you?"
"I don't know---"
"Justin---what's wrong? What did the doctors say?"
"Nothing---I have to go."
He suddenly ends the call and knows she will call right back but he will ignore it. As much as he wants to be by himself right now, the thought of being with Kobe is overshadowing everything else in him. He wants that vacation so badly. Away from his family and bosses and publicists. Away from Justin Timberlake and this mess of a fallen star on stage. He would go right now if he could but he is unsure of his boyfriend's schedule so he has to talk to him and see where everything is. Justin knows his phone will be ringing nonstop starting soon and he wants to turn off the device. He will do so right after he is safely in Bryant's car. That phone call alone is vital to him. And so, he waits for it with ever fiber that comprises him. As if on cue, the phone rings again and then again and then again. Justin only checks it to make sure of whom it is. When it rings again, it is finally the one he wants it to be.
"Are you here?" he is impatient because being here is getting to him.
"Yeah baby---I parked in the same garage as yesterday. The top floor."
"Do you want me---" the basketball stud begins but it cut off.
"No---I'll meet you."
"Okay. I'm in the Southwest Garage."
Justin clicks the device shut and glances over the room to make sure that all his belongings are on him because once he walks out of here he is not returning. The new nurse returns and he motions to the desk where all the necessary paperwork is and she immediately collects it. She smiles before leaving but he summons her back to ask directions. Justin asks where the Southwest Garage is and the easiest way to get there from here and he listens carefully at the directions. The hospital is bigger than he initially thought. When she leaves, the singer waits a minute before he does so as well. Explicitly following one of his nurses' instruction he navigates through halls and elevators to get out of here. The same hat from last night does its best to shield him from the public but it seems like all happens to pass by are doctors and nurses who are busy is their own work to notice him. This is great for now.
Timberlake finally is able to breathe fresh air as he leaves the hospital and is directly in front of the garage his boyfriend is waiting for him in. From where he is standing, he can catch a small glimpse of the main entrance and what is going on there. Pure chaos. There are news vans and paparazzi and cameras and civilians as well. It makes him kind of sad that his breakdown is only good to the rest of the world as a short gossip but he will not go back there. Justin slips away from their clutches and is soon shielded by the four concrete walls of the parking garage. He uses the steps instead and climbs all the way up to the sky so he can finally leave this place. At the very top, there are surprisingly many cars but in an isolated section he sees a tall man slickly leaning on a black Lamborghini. In his signature style. He walks over to him. And then their eyes meet and continue on from last night.
"Hey---Justin," the baller greets with a huge sigh of relief on his voice.
The moment is one of the most purest the recovering star has ever felt as he walks into his boyfriend's welcoming arms and kisses him. Kobe easily holds their bodies close together while they both close their eyes and fall into everything that means anything to either of them. Justin's kiss is much stronger than the one from last night and this can only be a positive sign. Seeing him looking stronger and healthier is all the basketballer wants. No one is here to see them but they both pull away because it is still a public place. It is then that Timberlake notices the metal brace that is used for the last stages of his man's recovery. Kobe opens the door for him to get in and then closes it before walking over to his side to get in as well. They click their seatbelts shut and give each other a small glance before he starts the car and they leave the hospital and all the unwanted attention behind. He sighs.
"Thank you for coming to get me---" Justin softly says while he is looking through the windshield before him.
"What do you mean---there's nowhere else I'd want to be. I could barely sleep last night because I was so worried about you."
"Hold my hand baby."
When their hands meet and rest against one another's, the Los Angeles Laker holds him tightly while every so often looking at him and smiling just to make sure he is alright. Justin feels safe in this moment and he does not want it to end because he desperately needs security in his life. He looks down right below the gearshift at where their hands are connected and realizes it again. He is so secure in himself right now and it is all because of his boyfriend. Kobe is cruising in third gear until they get to a stop sign and the slender machine almost shuts down. It is only when they start moving again that he starting thinking about the metal brace. He is in the final stages of his treatment but it is still a sore reminder of his struggle as well as the fight they had over the very injury. No. None of that will cloud his judgment anymore. Bryant is here for him when no one else is. That means everything to him.
"Why are you so quiet J?" Kobe questions him.
"I have a lot on my mind---"
"Okay---well I know exactly what to do about that."
"What do you mean?" the singer questions.
"I mean---Justin---" he says while he picks up their combined hands from below the gearshift and kisses his boyfriend's. "That you go away with me. It'll get your mind off everything."
"You remembered that?"
Justin smiles with, "Yes. Can you?"
"I'm doing this especially for you baby. For us. I just need a couple days to get everything straightened out and then I'm all yours."
"Do you want me to take you to your house?"
"Can we hang out?"
Kobe looks away and then comes back to reply, "I want to but I have some things to take care of today. Plus I think you need a lot of rest."
"Don't worry---we'll have some alone time together soon," his boyfriend reassures him.
"For how long?"
"As long as you want baby. For as long as you want."
The former member of N*SYNC keeps their hands tightly bonded together while he presses his head against the headrest and closes his eyes to start catching up on the rest he needs. He is not as strong as he thought because his body is tired and he just wants rest now. Closing his eyes feels so good as much as he does not want it to because of who he is with. But everything is right and he feels so comfortable in the moment that it is impossible for him to not relish in it. Kobe looks over at the sleeping man next to him and suddenly feels happy that he is resting. He has to get Vanessa to understand that he needs to do these publicity junkets. It is now obvious that he needs Justin just as much as the singer needs him. Every time the car stops because of a light, stop sign, or traffic, the baller looks at him. He is sleeping so peacefully against the leather seat. It must be so exhausting for him.
He weaves into and out of traffic but cautiously as to not awake his sleeping boyfriend while getting them back to his place. Bryant told Vanessa that he is out for the day running errands and she is out doing a bit of shopping so he is practically free. And, although Justin is looking a thousand times better than he did yesterday, he does not want to risk anything so he will back off. As much as it pains him to do so, he will back off and give his man all the space he needs. He's so exhausted. My baby. Kobe has time to allow his mind to run free when they are at stop lights. Every once in a way, the mechanical voice of his navigation system reads directions to him that Timberlake typed into its databank shortly after entering the Italian speedster. The baller knows the neighborhood of the house, seeing as he has been there before, but not exactly how to reach it. The car ride is smoother now though.
Kobe feels it when the pressure on his hand is substantially subsided and he knows that his boyfriend is truly resting now and away from him. They pull up to the lavish neighborhood and drive past all the exquisite homes in search of the right one. Now that he is in a residential neighborhood, the baketballer can drive much slower so his eyes are on Justin more and more. The navigation system gives its final piece of direction to as he turns into the last familiar street and looks for the house. The street seems longer than he remembers and he slowly drives by the large homes to find which one belongs to his sleeping boyfriend. When he finally sees the one he recognizes the most, Bryant pulls up the long driveway and silently kills the engine in front of the grand garage door. He looks over to see his Timberlake and just stares silently. He wants to let him sleep and it breaks his heart to have to wake him.
"Justin," the Los Angeles Laker sweetly and softly calls out. "Hey---"
He wriggles his body smoothly before finally opening his eyes, "Hey---did I fall asleep?"
"Yeah you did---"
"Hmm---I'm really tired."
"I know baby."
"I feel dizzy," Justin drums out in an almost dreamy voice.
"Let's go---you'll feel better once you're in your bed."
The basketball stud hops out of the sleek sports car and quickly walks over to the passenger side of his car. He opens the door and holds his hand out for his boyfriend to grab onto as a true gentleman would. The wind seems to have gotten chillier since their secret rendezvous at the hospital and it cannot be healthy. Justin almost critically holds on to the other man's hand and he presses deeply into his body for the support he so desperately needs. He also rests his head on his man's broad shoulder while they walk up to the house together. It is such a beautiful moment despite all the obstacles facing them both. The fallen singer tries to reach in his pocket for his key but when Kobe sees this, he stops him and sticks his own hand in there to retrieve the key to the mansion. Bryant is trying hard to hide his worry and fear as he lets them both into the house and closes the door to shut the cold wind out.
"Can we rest here for a minute? I---don't think I can make it upstairs yet," Timberlake's voice sounds even weaker than before.
"Here---I got you."
In a surprising move, Bryant scoops up the R&B singer into his arms to carry him upstairs. Now he is even more worried but he will remain strong for them both. His head immediately rests against his chest while his arms hook around his neck to hold on. His skin is hot but his breathing is soft and concave. The pair slowly makes it up the stairs, one at a time as an extra precaution, until they are safely on the second floor. Timberlake being so close to him is intimate emotionally and not sexually and oddly, it feels better. So much better. Kobe securely holds him and walks a lot of the second floor until he reaches a pair of double doors. He's so grand. The baller flips the handle open and enters his boyfriend's private space. The inviting bed immediately catches his eye so he walks over to it and tenderly rests Justin on it. He opens his eyes only when the basketballer sits next to his lying body on the bed.
"Thank you---" he warmly says.
"You're really hot---"
"I know---I just need some rest. I'll be much better after---"
"Promise?" Kobe stupidly blurts out before thinking because his nerves are shot and he is scared.
"I promise. What's on your mind?"
"You---I've never been this worried or scared about someone before," he confesses and he hates himself for it because he does not want Justin to worry more.
"I'm sorry baby---"
"No---no. I just want you to get better. You need your rest now."
"No---stay here with me."
Bryant thinks about the offer but he cannot so, "I really want you to get some rest Justin---and I know you won't with me here."
"Stay with me until I fall asleep," he requests.
Justin holds on to one of his hand and their eyes meet intensely; it only means one thing. The tall basketballer moves closer and closer until their faces are not even inches apart. He is not the one to make the first move but their lips connect together in a caught moment of concentrated emotion. He has to rest one hand on the other side of his boyfriend's body to support himself while they both give in to each other completely. Nothing else matters. His phone has to be ringing off the hook but it has been off since shortly after he left the hospital so he will get nothing. This is the songster's time alone and interruptions from the outside world will not be tolerated now. Especially now when he is so deeply entangled in his boyfriend. The kiss is intimate but not anything sexual. It is purely for comfort, relief, and a piece of mind at this point. Bryant would never take advantage of this situation.
When the kiss breaks off, Kobe playfully closes his man's eyes to force him to get some sleep but it does not work for the moment. He wants to stop giving him so much attention so he can finally get the rest he needs but it is so hard. Justin looks around his room and is fighting everything he is to stay awake. He will eventually lose but he will cherish the moments he has left. The fallen singer feels it when the other man's lips touch his forehead and that does it. Timberlake can no longer fight off the oncoming onslaught of recovery. He looks into his boyfriend's brown eyes a few more times before his lids flutter and then close. Bryant feels a strong sense of relief and anxiety lift off of him that he cannot describe when he sees him finally slipping away. After a good half an hour of simply looking at him, the Los Angeles Laker kisses him softly on the lips and gets ready to leave. I'm in love with you Justin---