~*~ 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 Thirty-Two

~*~ A Pendulum Swings Back and Forth ~*~



Sublime sunlight barely massages the horizon of California but the former N*SYNCer is already up and taking a relaxingly hot shower. Steam has already clouded the room even though it is very cold outside. It almost feels like it is about to snow in the always sunny state so this hot shower does wonders. Today is the day. Today is the day he is going to leave Justin Timberlake the superstar entertainer aspect of himself behind and just be a normal guy. Do normal things other people do. The thought is somewhat scary because he has not been able to separate himself from his celebrity alter ego in the longest while. There will be a sense of bareness and vulnerability that will be there but Justin is willing to show that side of himself to Kobe rather than anyone else. The singer is looking forward to it more now though. He knows it will give him a liberated feeling to tell someone everything.

He walks through his large master closet full of everything imaginable to find something to wear. He does not even bother to pack a suitcase because he knows there will be clothes there; his man's clothes so it is not a big deal. And, he is unsure of how long they will get to spend there alone. But the crooner will take a heavy jacket to traverse the snowy mountains of Colorado to get to his destination. He has not talked to his parents nor has he called Chasez back and no one will definitely be hearing from him once he leaves California. That is the way it should be for their time together. Justin grabs a fresh pair of boxers and couples it with a black tank top. The more layers of clothing he has on the better. On the top half of his body, Timberlake slips on an expensive cashmere Brioni sweater that his friend JC gave him for Christmas last year. It feels so warm and comfortable already against his skin.

The former boybander then finds a simple black pair of corduroy pants to compliment the new outfit he is putting together and he goes to the beginning of the large room to find himself a belt and other necessities. Once everything is in place, he walks over to the section of the closet that houses his heavy snow coats and tries to pick one out. He finally settles on a beautiful pure black mink coat that he spoiled himself with a few years ago. Laying it out on the bed, Justin heads back into the closet in search of a pair of shoes and maybe a hat to cover his head so neither it nor his ears will get cold. It should be snowing there. Deciding to go with it, he picks up a cashmere skullcap to put over his head and collects a pair of black leather boots that will be great for stomping out snow. The coat and hat rest behind him as he sits on the bed to put on his socks and shoes. The phone on the nightstand rings.

"Hey," Justin greets as soon as the lines connect together.

"Good morning Justin. You're sounding better and better," Kobe Bryant's sweet voice comes back to him.

"Well---today is supposed to be the first day of my vacation."

"Okay okay," he coyly laughs. "I can take a hint. Your flight is---"

"---Uhuh---at what time?" the former N*SYNCer plays along too.

"Whenever you get there because the world is revolving around you starting today baby boy."

The comment is so romantic and he comes back with, "So---everything is taken care of then? Even the chocolate covered strawberries I suddenly feel like eating?"

"You think I'd let you worry about anything? Especially today?" the baller asks. "You're good to go Mr. Timberlake. Just sit back and enjoy the ride."

"Hmm---I intend to."

"You will. Trust me you will."

"I do trust you," he admits over the phone.

"Uhuh. Well, you have a plane to catch---or not."

"Is that you way of telling me that you have to go?"

"Yep. I have some last minute things to take care of. So I'll see you later?" Bryant asks.

"I'm getting ready right now. You'll definitely be seeing me later."

"I'm just making sure. Bye Justin. Have a safe flight."

"Okay. I'll see you later baby."

Justin tosses his phone behind him and then gets up to check himself out in the mirror. Everything is looking great on him but he does not have the mink coat or skullcap on yet; he will put them on when he is ready to leave. Heading downstairs, he walks into the kitchen to find himself something to eat for breakfast. Kobe seems to be going all the way out for him. All he has to do is relax and go with the flow; this could become addicting in his still fragile state but he deserves to be pampered right now. He sips on a simple glass of orange juice and looks out the kitchen window into the apparently windy day outside. Timberlake feels special. Someone is going out of their way to make him feel special and happy. This is more than real. Timberlake struggles with leaving right now or forcing himself to hang out at his house for at least a few more hours. It is still very early in the morning.

As much as his impatience is gnawing at him, he has to wait at least a couple of hours. They will be together soon enough so he can wait it out. But the longing beyond lust is there. And it is more than a sexual desire to be with the basketballer. Their relationship is so much more than that. The R&B crooner walks to the great room of his mansion to relax and watch some television. It is the only thing he thinks will get his mind off of leaving to Aspen. But his mind starts to wander and it runs on JC first. He wonders how his best friend is doing and how he is dealing with the situation he is in. Their meeting is something else he is looking forward to because their strained relationship can no longer be ignored and has to be dealt with. Justin has to protect him; he has to look out for him because they are brothers. He is flipping through channels on the big TV in front of him to find anything to watch.

The television is playing but he hardly pays attention to it as he is thinking of everything that will happen in the rocky state of Colorado. There are so many endless possibilities as to what can be said and done and this alone is what is making him nervous. But he should not be. What they have together goes so far beyond regular dating and emotions that it frightens him. Justin sinks more comfortably into the sofa and lets his mind continue to run on how this vacation will be. He has never been this nervous about something before, even before going on stage, but this feeling is healthy and somewhat addicting. Time goes by but the songster is unaware of it because his brain is on overload. Everything has to turn out right this time. All the right things have to be said. He should not be this anxious and excited at the same time but he is. Leaving Justin Timberlake behind on the world's stage will do.

When he can no longer stand it, Timberlake snaps himself out of his mindset and shuts the TV off to get going. He then walks around his mansion to make sure everything is securely closed and all the lights are off as he has no idea on when he will be back. The house still makes him feel like an adult. All the windows and sliding doors are closed and he skips steps until he is on the second floor to make sure everything is safe there as well. And in his room finally, the former N*SYNCer collects his back coat and cap; he walks around to make sure everything is sealed before turning off the lights and heading downstairs. Keys are in his pocket and so is his wallet so that means everything is set. It is almost eleven now and since time is dragging on Justin decides to leave and leave himself behind. To forget about that aspect of his life and only be someone he has not been since his early childhood.

The rented car on his driveway will be relinquished at the airport back to its agency so that will be one less thing he has to worry about today. Not that Bryant is allowing him to worry about anything at all. He really is spoiling him. The sultry mink coat hugs his body comfortably and the cap tries its best to hide and keeps his head warm as well as protect from the high winds outside. Timberlake gets into the car and drives off towards Los Angeles International Airport. Traffic on the road is heavy but he comes down from the Hollywood Hills unscathed and continues his journey. It is only a matter of hours now before they can be together and by themselves. The fates will not ruin this for them. Justin turns on the radio and listens to anything interesting while he drives to LAX to get out of this state. There are a few bad memories stuck here that he needs to get away from to fully deal with properly.

Timberlake parks the car on the curb of a special area of the California airport and drops off the keys with a valet as he walks inside the restricted area of the building to sign the release forms for the car he is returning. Once everything is wrapped up with the car, he is directed to a small offshoot of the many larger runways and steps foot on the tarmac. So few get the opportunity to do this. To travel like this. One of the private jets has a short red carpet in front of the staircase so he knows this is the one for him. The R&B songster takes the pair of shades resting on top of his head and places them over his eyes and walks over to the aircraft. The wind is blowing colder and he knows his cheeks are red from windburn. It looks like he is blushing probably but the wind is really harsh for California. Justin walks the long path of the tarmac until he finally arrives on the red carpet leading right to the private aircraft.

"Good afternoon Mr. Timberlake," a blonde gentleman who looks only a few years older than him greets at the end of the carpet. "I'm Chase Crandon, your pilot for today," he extends his hand and Justin takes it in his own. "I hope you find everything to your satisfaction."

"Thank you," he says as they break hands and he walks up the steps into the plane.

He is unable to quite put his finger on it but the handsome blonde pilot explicitly remains him of Chad Michael Murray. Maybe it is the same facial features or body type. Or the same low haircut they both sport. Justin rests the pair of sunglasses on top of his head again and looks around for a seat to sit on. There is no one else on this large plane with him; Kobe is spoiling him rotten. There are only about twenty actual seats, more like recliners, and the rest of the space is full of private rooms and bathrooms as well as a grand dining room. There is even a game room complete with pool and air hockey tables. Just then a young woman enters behind him and introduces herself as his personal assistant for the duration of the flight. They shake hands and she is off after the brief introduction. He finally sits on a leather seat close to a window to peer out. I'm only going to Colorado baby---not across the world.

A rumbling starts from behind them and the giant engines on either side of the plane start to rotate and come to life. The pilot informs him that the aircraft is warming up and that they should be ready to depart momentarily. Timberlake fastens his seatbelt at the request of his pilot and he looks out the window immediately to see the plane beginning to move. This is always his favorite part of any flight; watching the plane slowly come to life and then gain speed before finally leaving the ground. On schedule, the aircraft moves to the edge of a private runway and momentarily waits until the proper clearance comes before it picks up speed. In a matter of moments Justin sees and feels himself in the air and they are off and above the skies of the state of California. Excitement is building inside and the singer looks outside as they are rising above many clouds. It is all coming together for them.

"Excuse me Mr. Timberlake?" the assistant snaps him back to reality.

"Yes---and call me Justin," he looks at her and smiles.

"Okay then. Would you like some champagne or something to eat?"

"I actually would like a glass."

"Very well then."

She walks away and he is left to wonder if he is deserving of all of this. The basketballer has thought of everything so far and it is making him feel more special. The stewardess returns shortly after with a full champagne glass of the bubbly liquid as well as a small tray with chocolate covered strawberries for him to snack on. Justin smiles when he sees the confection because he remembers their conversation over the phone earlier. Kobe really has thought of everything. He bites into the sweet treat and sips the champagne while he relaxes into the flight. The plane glides smoothly through the air mostly and clouds pass them by effortlessly and they are well on their way to the rocky state now. Timberlake eats a couple more of the chocolate strawberries and finishes all of the champagne before his assistant for the flight returns and removes everything from his vicinity. This is the life so many dream of.

The pilot informs the entire plane that they have reached cruising altitude of just about forty-one thousand feet and should reach Colorado within a matter of hours. The former N*SYNCer removes his mink coat and drapes it on a seat next to him as he completely settles in for the next few hours. He looks outside and walks around the plane to explore it since the seatbelt light is not on. The aircraft is a magnificent one and resembles a mansion more than it does a jet liner. It is the ultimate in style and class and the only way to truly travel the world. Justin returns to his seat and reaches into his pocket to fetch his phone. He fiddles around with the device to pass the time until he is on the Earth once again. But after a while, he becomes more relaxed and just manages to rest his eyes for a moment. Maybe he needs a little rest from getting up so early. Or maybe the excitement of the day is already wearing on him.

Justin keeps his eyes closed for a while until he hears the intercom go off and the pilot making it aware that they have started their descent into the state of Colorado and it should be about a half an hour before they are on land again. His eyes flicker open just as he feels the aircraft begin to lower itself more and more and slight windy turbulence take over. After getting up to put his coat back on, he buckles himself back into the seat and awaits the landing and to truly be away from his superstar self. They are so close to being together now. He wonders if his boyfriend is already at the cabin or if he will be the first one there. He has no keys to the place though; he does not even have an address. Timberlake will have to rent a car at the airport and he will have to call Kobe as soon as he touches ground again. Shortly before the plane is slated to land his assistant comes up to him and smiles.

"Justin---have you enjoyed your flight with us so far?" she questions in a serene voice.

"Yes---I have."

"That's good to hear. I have a package for you."

"Oh---I appreciate that."

"Enjoy Colorado sir."

"I will," the songster replies with a smile.

She produces a normal-sized manila envelope from a nearby counter and hands it to him before she leaves him in privacy to sit and buckle her seatbelt for the rest of their descent. Justin looks at the envelope; there is no writing on the outside. It is just blank and regular. He unfastens the clip and flips open the flap to see what it is. Inside, there is a sheet of paper with the address of where he needs to be as well as a keychain with three keys on it. One of them definitely belongs to a car because at the base of the long key is the symbol known all around the world for speed and luxury; the Italian bull signifying a Lamborghini. The other two keys the R&B crooner only assumes opens the door to the log cabin deep within the mountains of Aspen. Timberlake looks through the envelope to see if there is anything else and a small slip of paper floats out and lands against his lap. It has his boyfriend's writing on it

Enjoy your ride.

The plane lands safely on sleet-covered Earth and his excitement is now boiling over. When everything is clear, the assistant informs him that it is okay to remove his seatbelt and depart the plane. Even colder air rushes onto his face with the first steps he takes onto the frozen tarmac and then he looks around in the naked sunlight to see where one of the keys calls home. Right there at the edge of an unused airstrip in a crystal blue Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera that matches his eyes to a tee it would seem like. Of course, the key works and Timberlake hops in quickly to escape the harsh winds and light snow. He rests the manila envelope on the passenger seat and takes a deep breath. The car is brand new as it has that smell and Justin sees his initials etched into the fine leather of both seats' headrests as well as his moniker right above the stereo and navigation systems. The machine is beautiful.

"No way---" the singer recites aloud and a small piece of paper stuck to the steering wheel clears up any doubts he may have had.

I'm all yours.

This is unbelievable and he simply sits there for a moment to let it all sink in. His boyfriend just bought him a Lamborghini; a customized Lamborghini with his name all over it. The former member of N*SYNC sticks the key into the engine and then presses a solid blue button to officially start the car for the first time he suspects. The engine revs up like a roaring jaguar before falling to a silent purr in wait and anticipation. This day is already in fierce competition to be one of the best days of his life and not because of the champagne or the car but because someone is thinking so much of him to do all of this and treating him this way. Kobe really has thought of just about everything because the navigation system will lead Justin right to the house. Retrieving the piece of paper from the envelope on the passenger seat, he turns on the navigation system and copies the address into the machine.

He buckles his seatbelt and adjusts the comfortable seat, steering wheel, and even the pedals to his custom satisfaction before he is almost ready to go. Rearview and side mirrors are the last things to adjust and he is now ready to leave the airport. A vivid woman's voice enters the car and instructs him on where to go and he starts to ease his feet on the clutch and the pedal respectively to get the brand new car moving. Wheels move into motion and Timberlake starts driving himself off of the icy tarmac upon the request of the navigation system. The estimated time of this portion of the trip is just under two hours so he really needs to get going. This new car is the sexist thing and he honestly loves it. Justin is finally able to exit the airport and leave it behind as he follows the directions given to him. The car drives like a dream and feels like a little piece of heaven surrounding him. It feels almost surreal.

On a busy expressway, all cars cautiously drive to their destinations because of the frozen roads and he takes his time as well. Even though the car is meant to be driven fast he takes his time with it and listens to the directions carefully so he does not get lost. Justin's mind is void of thoughts dealing with his downfall on that club stage or his dangerous behavior of the last weeks. The future can be the only focus now and that is his main goal. Signs pass him by as he moves further away from the airport and that much closer to being excluded from the rest of the world. His phone vibrates against his leg in his pocket and he fetches it out to see who it is. The singing star sees his mother's name on the screen and he ignores it because he refuses to have this conversation right now. The only person Timberlake wants to see and talk to at this point is his boyfriend Kobe Bryant; it will happen soon enough.


A light dust of snow refreshes the land and falls on his protected shoulders and head. The orange globe is also slightly damp as it bounces up from the ground and goes into a netted hoop hanging in the sky above. He is in a warm sweat suit and gloves as well as a skullcap and snow boots while he shoots hoops on the outdoor basketball court in the back of his Aspen mansion. It may be snowing but it is not as cold as it could be. Kobe practices three pointers as well as layups while he patiently waits for his man. And he is extra careful not to exert himself too much. Vanessa is on his mind but he has to dismiss her because Justin will be here soon. He only got up here a few hours ago and the wait was killing him so he decided to keep his mind occupied by playing the sport he loves so much. The excellent traction of the boots prevents him from falling so he is free to practice any aspect of his game here.

Bryant thinks that Justin should at least be in Colorado by now but he will not call him. Everything is so close now that his body can feel it. They have to be together now. He rubs his cheeks every now and again because his face is the only part of his body exposed to the harsh winter weather but his faster heartbeat and racing blood manages to keep him warm almost all of the time. The abnormally tall pine trees houses snowflakes on their needle-like leaves and they almost wholly surround the house. There is a grand sense of privacy here seeing as the only part of the house that is visible to anyone else is the front and even then, other trees are in the yard and streets beyond. In the backyard however, there is a slight opening between the trees that leads deep to a lake. An icy lake that spans for miles and is majestic in its beauty and tranquility. He feels his cheeks as being frostbitten but continues to shoot.

His next neighbors are about a half a mile away on either side of him and the truth is that he has never met any of them, nor have they him. Perhaps it is better this way because not even the media knows he owns property in Colorado. Privacy is almost guaranteed. It is the perfect place to get away from the world. Kobe's mind is now fully on his game so the time passes him by without reservation or restriction. He wants them to stay here for as long as they want without having to deal with anyone else. The ball hits the metal rim and bounces back into the hoop and the baller feels sweat starting to form on his skin despite the frigid temperatures. The layer of light snow is beginning to get heavier but it is no bother to him as he continues with his singular game. Bryant rushes to the edge of his property when the ball leads him there and he takes a moment to catch his breath as well as enjoy the flakes.

The basketballer is getting anxious now because it is already the afternoon and the Sun is generously hidden by heavy snow clouds. It feels so good out here though. Timberlake needs to hurry up so he can hold him and kiss him and talk to him. Their bodies have been denied for too long and it is about time to make up for everything. The orange basketball hits the chilled backboard and bounces back to him and he runs up to score this time. Bryant dribbles it between his legs and then over his head; he is showing off to no one because no one is there. This is so relaxing already so he can only imagine how much better it will be once his boyfriend gets here. Kobe goes back to practicing his three-point shots while he continues to wait. There is so much he wants to tell Justin, and do with him that this wait is painstaking. But basketball does its job to keep him occupied for the time being.

He feels his heart rate pick up even more because of the activity and it feels good to actually play for fun without the cameras or added pressure from coaches and other players to win. And the constant bickering from coaches to pass the ball and be a team player. The constant win becomes a very heavy burden to carry on. The Los Angeles Laker becomes involved in his skills and game once again that he notices nothing else around him. The sliding doors that lead into the house are suddenly not alone as someone stands by them and watches him. Justin looks at his boyfriend as he runs around the court bouncing a basketball and shooting it on many occasions. He looks so cute. The singer secretly slips outside and walks closer and closer to the court while his eyes never leave the taller man. This is right on every level and if there were ever doubts before, they have truly vanished now.

Timberlake stops himself a safe distance away partly because he does not want to be seen. He simply wants to observe the man in front of him although all his nerves are screaming for him to go and kiss and hug his boyfriend under this falling snow. The place is beautiful; the log mansion is gorgeous and the surrounding land is magical. Snow is lining his black mink coat but it feels so good our here while he looks on. His hands are in his pockets and the snow is falling everywhere now so it might be best to go inside as it is getting heavier. It makes him feel good to be here and away from Justin Timberlake. He is looking and moving so much better. Bryant loses his hand on the ball and it rolls off the court and stops on the snow eventually. They are on opposite sides of the backyard now but when he picks it up and looks back they ultimately see each other. Kobe picks up the ball and jogs over to his man.

"How long have you been there?" Kobe questions when they are close enough and he holds the ball between his forearm and the side of his body and is looking so damn sexy as he does it.

"A little while. I was watching you play," he responds and is happy because his boyfriend's hand must be fully healed or at the very last stage of his therapy because he is playing and shooting.

"You look good---"

"So do you---"

He needs nothing more as he lunges into the basketballer's arms and kisses him hard and holds onto him tightly. It is purely emotional, stable, and innocent as they connect to each other all over again. Their cold lips are quickly becoming warmer against one another's and their hands are wrapped tightly to the other's body; he has since dropped the ball from his body. Justin closes his eyes and melts into the denied kiss while he feels a tongue flicker over his lips. They are warming up together and both are finally able to breathe even though the air is crisper and the snow is no longer falling lightly. This moment validates and satisfies all of their waiting and planning and problems of the past. Nothing else matters anymore but them and the house they will now be sharing. Kobe strokes his black mink coat around his back and tries to bring them even closer together for another assault. It happens of course.

"God I miss this," Justin claims when their kiss finishes.

"I miss you. Let's go inside---it's snowing hard now."

Kobe grabs the ball with one hand and uses his free one to hold his boyfriend's so they can walk together into the Aspen mansion. Both of them are finally here and their relaxation period can officially begin. They walk into the screened patio to be protected from the snow and he rests the ball in a silent corner before they both make their way inside into warmth. It is early evening now but as soon as they sliding door closes behind them, Timberlake looses all control over his brain and presses himself into his man and they kiss again. The baller is stacked against the glass door with his lover's aggressive nature taking them both over. He wants this more than anything; his body is literally yearning for it. Bryant opens his mouth and allows Justin's tongue to roam freely inside and take more control now than when they were outside. But it stops out of nowhere. It will happen in time.

"Damn baby! Damn---damn," the basketball star tries to catch his breath.


"How was your trip?"

He looks at his man and smiles, "You've been busy babe."

"Huh? What do you mean?" Bryant smiles back to play along.

"The private jet---the strawberries---you did all of that for me?"

"I did it Justin---" he says before they sweetly kiss again. "---Because you deserve the best always."

"You bought me a car?" Justin cannot hide his excitement.

"Well you wanted one so---"

"I did?"

"Well, you said you would consider buying one so I did it for you. Remember when we went out to dinner and I let you drive mine?"

"You remember that?"

Kobe stops for a second but then, "I remember everything you tell me Justin. Do you like it?"

"I love it baby! Thank you so much but you didn't have to---"

"---I know---I wanted to. And seeing the look on your face right now is making it all worth it. I did the right thing buying the car"

"You're worth it to me Kobe."

Justin kisses him to thank him for the car and they hold on to one another for a long while to truly reconnect with each other. Nothing bad will happen here. No one knows they are here together and it will remain that way. His boyfriend is making him feel more special with each passing second and there is no denying it. The Sun is gone now and lights fill the property both inside and out. The house has a rustic and comfortable feel to it and seems to be the ideal place to him. Kobe turns their attention to dinner; he has worked up an appetite shooting the ball in the backyard. They have dinner together, which has already been set up in the elegant dining room. Talk is light over the meal because all the other stuff will come in time. Nothing will be forced here either. The Los Angeles Laker will not pressure or push anything onto his boyfriend. When he is ready then he is ready. And that is all to it.

Snow batters the windows of the house as well as the grounds beyond as they finish up their dinner. Bryant really wants to show him the lake connected to his backyard but it is too cold to go out there now. Plus the house is warm and cozy so foreign air from outside is not welcomed. After the pair finishes dinner they quickly clean up after themselves and still talk lightly. He purposely ignores the deeper conversations because he is not in the right frame of mind to address everything at the present time. Justin just wants to enjoy this moment for what it is before they have to delve into all of his problems. But they will be doing it together as a couple so he is not as scared as before. Timberlake has an ally to be there for him and pick him up when he falls. Kobe was the only one who was able to pick him up that night at the hospital. He has fallen so hard emotionally and is becoming entwined in emotions.

"Did you like dinner?" Kobe addresses him after he safely sets the fireplace ablaze and returns to the sofa to join his boyfriend.

"Yes---I did. Is that a real bear rug?" Justin asks as he motions to a giant black rug on the floor so close to the fireplace.

"Yeah. I bought it a few years ago."

He looks at the head and then all four paws of the once living creature before he says, "Let's get on it."

"You want to? It might bite you---"

"I'll have to be careful then."

"Don't worry---" the baller reassures. "I'll protect you."

There is definitely something bothering him and he is starting to feel it. He is not sure if his boyfriend has picked up on it but his insides are hurting. These are the after effects of his dangerous and selfish behavior from the past. Timberlake is the first one to sit on the large real bear rug and he pets the former living animal on its stuffed head and nose. He has never been on one of these before. The basketball legend comes back into the room with a cold bottle of champagne and two wine glasses and joins him on the rug. Flickers of ember and shadowy waves dance across the room and they take him in. Deep into their clutches Justin is scared again and worried that he may never be able to comfortably release all of his pent up anger and frustrations of his life. It is really hitting home for him and he is frightened. His father's betrayal. His erratic behavior. Everything. Bryant pours two glasses of wine.

"This fire feels good right?" he notions to his preoccupied boyfriend.

"Yeah," Justin replies back with his chin resting against his knees and the fire in front of him burns into his eyes.

"Here---drink this."

"Thanks. Thank you for today. The plane, this time alone---my car," he looks at the basketballer and offers.

"Okay baby---talk to me. I'm listening."

"I don't know what's wrong with me," Timberlake has to remain strong.

"Why do you think there is something wrong with you?"

"It's never been like this before. This bad---"

"You have to take care of yourself," Kobe tells him and sips his champagne.

"I haven't been and look what happened. I'm so stupid---"

"No---I won't let you do that."

Justin looks deeper into the fire as it has captured all of his attention and thinks. The self-destructive behavior is coming back to affect him hard and he is not sure how to begin to deal or cope with it. Everything is boiling up and bubbling over within him that he just wants to scream or run away or punch something. Something destructive. This is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with. The R&B star feels like he is about to go crazy and is trapped inside his own self. He knows his boyfriend's eyes are on him and this is the only reason he is able to look at his problems straight on instead of bypassing them. Kobe's compassion and caring demeanor blankets him and it probably stands as his last piece of sanity left. This time away was needed on so many levels that he cannot even begin to explain it or experience it. The blazing fire before them crackles and pops in the new silence of the room.

"I'm so sorry I put you through all this," Timberlake says from the bottom of his heart when he looks over to his man.

"I don't need you to apologize J. I need you to let everything out and let it go. I don't want you to get hung up on it. I know it's hard---"

A distressed Justin takes a deep breath, "I---can only get so upset before I run. But I realize that's not it. I don't run away from a situation when I'm upset; I get away from it when I'm hurt."

"A lot of people do that babe and---"

"---But I let it build inside me until I couldn't take it anymore."

"I know---" Kobe protectively encircles his arms around him and holds them together while he tells everything.

"You don't understand how hurt I was when you lied to me about your wrist. I thought you didn't trust me to help you through it or that I wasn't worth telling," the songster keeps his voice from completely breaking.

"I know I was wrong for not saying anything. It was a stupid mistake and the last thing I ever want you to feel is like that. You are always going to be worth it to me Justin. I trust you more than I trust myself sometimes---"

"Really? Why?"

The Los Angeles Laker pauses for a moment, "Because you're always honest with me. Even down to every little thing. I can really say that I've never met anyone like you Justin."

The words touch his eardrums and then sink directly into his heart to remain there. Timberlake rests his head against his man's and wants to remain strong but he is fighting a losing battle. His insides are tired of fighting and his mind is completely worn out from stress and overexposure. So many thoughts are urging him to give up but a shining beacon is the only thing standing in his way. Justin finally figures out that this shining light that is stopping him from giving into himself is Kobe Bryant. Those words alone are managing to pull him back from the edge of the world. Talking about it to ultimately try and let it all go is doing something for him but it is not enough. Things are so far distorted but failure is not an option. The former N*SYNCer closes his eyes and does his best to relax with Kobe by his side holding onto him. He has to keep going forward; not look back. Everything will be out in the open.

"You---do believe me don't you?" the tall basketballer asks into the silent air.

"I do now---"

"So do you forgive me for being a jerk?"

Justin smiles sadly, "Yeah. Don't do that to me again okay."

"I promise you I won't Justin. I was stupid and selfish."


"Baby---" he requests until they look at each other. "Talk to me. This isn't the only thing."

"---It was at first but then---"

"---Then what?" Kobe gently presses on.

The fight with Kobe weighed heavily deep within him but now his new problem is his father and their blowout on that cool morning. There was never any doubt in his head that he and his boyfriend would eventually get through to each other but the situation with his dad is completely different and just compounded on an already fragile situation. And it is still a great source of agony and pain for him. The way they spoke to each other; the things his father said. Now that he is thinking about it and letting all the words, actions, and gestures sink in, everything is hurting more now than it did that night. Justin keeps to himself to try and form all of his emotions into the right words but it is hard. This is the only safe place he has to vent all of his frustrations and no matter how impossible it seems he just has to do it to prevent himself from going down the same road again. And crashing.

"It started with you. I know I can't blame you for everything. I'm not trying to---" the R&B crooner begins but cannot finish.

"Justin---it's okay. I'm worried about you and if blaming me helps then it's okay. I've made a lot of mistakes I know."

"No. I can't blame you for everything. I've made a lot of mistakes too and it's not fair to put it all off on you."

The baller kisses him on the cheek before, "I really want you to be okay Justin."

"I---" Justin starts but his eyes are drowned out.

Facing all these issues that are plaguing him is taking an emotional toll on him and he is weary to move on. This evening is overwhelming in so many other ways that he initially thought it would be. Timberlake remains calm and quiet as the house becomes still again. Sparks from the fire break and burn and a strong gust of wind from outside passes by to create urgent whiplash sounds. This place is so peaceful and beautiful. He has to enjoy it; this was the plan from the beginning. He cannot be Justin Timberlake now but he is having more trouble letting his more famous alter ego go than he anticipated. Kobe being here for him to talk to is a comfort and a true necessity but his emotions are raw and uncontrollable now. Small droplets of water stain his eyelashes and the skin of his face because there is no other outlet as far as he can see. The singer cannot help it and the pain has finally taken over.

"Tell me baby," Bryant requests and is unaware of his boyfriend's emotional distress.

"I—told my parents about me," his somber voice whispers out.

"Hey---are you crying?"

"I don't know what else to do," Timberlake gets out in between distressing breaths.

His boyfriend keeps him protectively close and then, "What happened?"

"My father practically disowned me."


"He doesn't want a faggot for a son. His words exactly---"

He can no longer hold it in and completely breaks down and starts crying. Justin rests the side of his face against both his kneecaps and closes his eyes as tears rush to the surface and overflow to soak everything. His boyfriend is trying to protect him but this is not working and everything pent up is being released too much too fast. There is nowhere left to go. He is upset inside because a father would never say such things to his son but then again, Kobe knows all too well what having an unsupportive and selfish father is capable of doing. He will never want that for his man but this situation is extreme. Despite everything, Timberlake needs the love of both of his parents because Bryant fears that he will go back to his old ways. And then nothing will have been achieved. The baller is right there with him but he is unable to say or do anything to stop his flowing tears. He feels so powerless.

"He---doesn't want me. My dad doesn't want me---" Justin sobs in between deep breaths.

"Justin baby---breathe. Breathe okay. Calm down."

"How can I? My dad hates me."

"He's just in shock---it'll pass. He'll realize he's wrong and come around. What else happened?" Bryant tries to comfort him.

"I---" his breaths are shallow and scarce now.

"Justin---breathe. Relax and catch your breath."

After a long silence, "I told them I was gay. And---then he asked me to look him in his eyes and say it. I'd---never seen my dad that serious before."

"It caught him off guard---"

"How else are you supposed to tell someone this?"

"I don't---know," the basketball star trails off lightly.

"I looked at him and said it. I was trying so hard to be strong," he reminisces about that night.

"You are strong---"

"I said it and he hit me," Timberlake wants to regain himself. "He smacked me in the face and I yelled at him to get out---"

"---He hit you?" Kobe asks in disbelief.

The Los Angeles Laker tries to keep his voice in check but he is more than upset now. Timberlake has done nothing wrong to deserve such treatment and this is unfair. This is another reason why his boyfriend has been so destructive in his behavior. It is dangerous but Kobe keeps his temperature and emotions in control and is there to hold onto the young singer. This protective side of him is drowning out all of his pores and consumes every one of his thoughts. Seeing Justin cry is making him crazy with angst and fear and nerves. He cannot protect him from this which, in his mind, is his job to do so. This evening is beginning to take a turn for the worse. Bryant had no idea that this happened to him; that Justin was keeping all of this inside with no one to turn to. Now all of his erratic behavior is starting to make sense. All the missed hours of sleep and lack of meals. He feels guilty now more than ever.

"I'm so sorry baby---" he softly whispers while he holds on tightly to the sobbing superstar.

"I---don't know what to do. I had no one to talk to and I started losing grip on myself---"

"I know---I know. I'm here now and I'm never going anywhere," the basketballer reassures when they eyes connect.

"What did I do wrong? I---can't help the way I feel."

"No---this isn't your fault. You did nothing wrong."

"I did everything wrong. My father hates me."

Justin wants to scream at the top of his lungs because the pain is surreal and now his whole face is wet with tears and red because it is how he gets when he cries. His breaths are shallower and his head is throbbing with ache. He does not want to appear this weak because he never has in front of anyone before but everything is getting too uncontrollable now. Kobe's comfort is the only staple that is refuting the urges to pull out all of his hair and going completely insane. The Los Angeles Laker arms are around him while they sit on the furry bear rug and he cries. He lets everything out because this is supposed to be a safe place for them both. Bryant feels something tug at his heart when all of this is going on and it is the same feelings from that night. Only this time they are stronger and more prominent in his mind. This is breaking his heart and he has to say or do something to get his boyfriend to stop.

"Justin---you have to be strong. This will pass. It'll get better---" Bryant is desperate for something, anything.

"---How? What am I going to do---" he looks at outside's blackness through a nearby window.

"I don't know but this hurts. Seeing you like this is hurting me."

"Imagine how I feel. This and then the fight with you made me fall hard. I---don't know what to do."

Bryant easily guides their faces back together for a kiss that is drawn out and appropriate at this time. It is sultry and meant to make him feel better. He gathers their empty glasses and puts them to the side along with the remainder of the champagne; it is a lot and neither is interested in finishing it. Now is not the time for champagne but something more. The singer looks confused and unaware of what is happening because he is so wrapped up in his mind. Like he is going under. Tears are still there but he is slowly trying to regain control of himself and to just let it all ago and enjoy this time here alone with his boyfriend. Justin does not know what is happening when he is lowered onto the rich and luscious black fur and feels a presence over him. Their eyes lock together and he runs his fingers up his basketballer boyfriend's trim but muscular biceps and shoulders. His eyes are drowned out in tears.

"What---are---we doing?" Timberlake almost uncomfortably asks.

"I want you to get away from yourself. I want you to stop being Justin Timberlake," he whispers when their faces gets closer and closer.

"I don't---think I can. I'm scared that things won't ever be the same again---"

"I won't let anything happen to you. You fell baby and I'm here to pick you up."

"I don't know what to do---" the jaded songster insecurely adds once more with tears still on his cheeks and in his eyes.

"I'm sorry. I don't know what to say."

"Tell me everything's going to be okay. Tell me I'm not going to fall this hard again. I'm scared and lonely and---"

"I can't tell you that everything is going to be okay Justin," Kobe looks deep into his eyes and it is the right time. "I would give anything to be able to say all those words to you but I can't."

"---I know---" it is a selfish request.

"But I know that everything between us will be fine. I can promise you that."

"How can you? How can you be so sure?"

"Because---I---" he is stumbling.

"You can't."

"Yes. I can. Because I---I love you. I'm in love with you Justin."

Before either one of them can say anything the star baller panics and moves in to force their lips together so the silence remains. What if he doesn't feel the same? The kiss is his safety and temporary immunity from that mortifying thought. Timberlake is thrown completely now but the kiss is too good to refuse or analyze further so he falls into it willingly. He closes his eyes and the last of his tears fall down his face and dries away. They are distant memories. Fingertips sweetly roam against skin and instincts become overwhelming clear at this point. Kobe caresses his face and hands and hair and everything else he can get his hands on because he desperately wants his boyfriend to feel the same way he does. He just has to. When Justin is around him, he gets these feelings that cannot be described so it has to be love. There is no way it can be anything else. He has fallen in love with another man.

"---Kobe---" the R&B crooner softly whispers when the kiss falls apart.

"Yes?" their faces are so close together.

"Do you mean it?"

"When you're near me I can't explain it. I feel everything good. I can't describe it Justin---" he repeats. "I love you. I love you so much."

Justin pauses for a while and allows the words to soak into his core. Someone loves him; someone is in love with him. His head is against the black fur of the once alive bear and his eyes would be staring up at the high ceiling were they open. Kobe's hands are on his sides and then arms and then face. It feels like they are everywhere at once though it cannot be possible. Everything is surreal and he cannot concentrate on where he is or what he is doing. A feeling of elation after months of entrapment and ruin. Tears roll off his cheeks but it is security now. His father cannot and will not take this away from him. Despite everything, Timberlake has earned the right to be in this moment with his boyfriend and no memory will rob them of it. The basketballer kisses his neck and then chin but he stops to look at the man under him. He truly is a beautiful specimen. This is right in every single way. Sin or not.

The singer opens his eyes and then kisses his boyfriend before he moves over to his ear and whispers, "I love you Kobe Bryant. I love you so much that it hurts when you're not close to me. I love you---I want you---I need you baby."

"I'm right here J. I'm always going to be right here---" Bryant replies with a great relief.

Justin lets go and connects their eyes together to say, "Make love to me. Make love to me---"

Their lips crush together while the R&B megastar wraps his still clothed legs around him and hands find sensitive spots to begin it all. The journey into passion and love. It is past time to let it all go; it will destroy him if he is not able to pick himself up and move on with life. Because life is never meant to stand still. His heart is rising in beats and skin is becoming that much more sensitive. No one could ever be in a better predicament. The howling wind of outside helps enhance the romantic mood of inside. The fireplace glows with life and silently hisses for unwanted attention. Kobe stops and looks at his boyfriend; their eyes are intense and he wipes away the last of his tears. Justin looks deeper into those dark brown eyes and honestly smiles for what he feels like is the first time in months. Even with that distraction, clothes start to peel away from flesh. Now is when he has to gain back control.

The Los Angeles shooting guard removes every article of clothing on the young, lithe body under him and foreign hand does the same for him. Seeing him naked is something the whole world wants to experience but will never get a chance to. The silky rug feels like heaven against their bare skin but that is not the only thing enticing about this situation. Timberlake moves up to form a kiss and when it is over, a pair of lips teases his ear and then jaw line and then neck. Kobe's tongue settles on his one of his light brown nipples and flickers at it relentlessly to solicit a moaning and tactile sensation. Hands catch one another and hold their place to surrender to denied urges. His head moves even lower on his man's body. His skin is so perfect; his body is so perfect. Bryant's tongue swirls everywhere it can until it gets to a hardened rod. A few strokes give it the attention it needs but it is still not enough.

He looks up at Justin and smiles before teasing, "Do you want me to?"

"Uhuh---" comes the needy reply.

He takes no further time and lowers his closed fist around his boyfriend's dick until he reaches the base. The pleasure from that alone is maddening because he goes so slowly and mockingly. The baller puts the head in his mouth and uses his lips to suck on it urgently and almost desperately. Now is about them and what they mean to each other; this is only one way of showing their linked connection. He would give up just about anything to be able to pleasure Justin both physically and emotionally. He uses his tongue and the tip of all of his teeth to easily graze against the songster's most sensitive area. He uses his hands to push Kobe's head further down and moans and grunts at the pleasure of it all. His body is shaking with satisfaction and he can even feel ripples of it down to his toes. They are finally together and all his problems seem to vanish; for the moment anyway. But it is right.

Bryant licks the underside of his shaft while his index finger strokes the very tip of his man's pulsating rod to derive even more satisfaction. It is too much pleasure and when he feels his balls begin tugged at and massaged, Justin cannot keep his mouth closed. He feels wetness against his walnut-sized balls and he realizes the reality that his boyfriend is licking him there. Soon after the basketballer moves his body around and Timberlake takes only a second before he grabs his man's hard pole and uses his tongue to bathe it with saliva. Kobe's dick is hard in his mouth as he sucks on it as if it is candy. This is what they both want and what they both so desperately need to elevate their relationship to that next level. Small grunts escape as the pair of lovers please each other orally and become reacquainted as a couple. Now the screaming from outside will not be heard. The snow falling is unaware.

Timberlake laughs when he feels fingers run against his inner thigh; it is purposeful because he is ticklish there. Their arrangement falls apart and lips join together once again to move on to something far more serious. Eyes are closed and blissful satisfaction is the only result of their lovemaking. Circling tongues sway against one another and their manhoods are throbbing for more selfish attention. The basketball legend uses his hands to spread his boyfriend's legs apart while their lips are still preoccupied. Their bodies have to be joined together to complete this day. He opens his legs and arches his body up into his lover's. He feels a little scared because they have not done this in a while and he knows his insides are healed up already but he wants it. Their chests meet with great force and it is somewhat erotic by nature. Kobe strokes his dick as he gets ready to enter Justin. But then he leans over to him.

"Hold on to me---" the shooting guard whispers to his lover.

"---Go slow---okay---"

He takes the advice and holds on to his boyfriend's strong shoulders and neck while they kiss to provide the necessary distraction. Only a moment passes and he begins to feel pressure take over his lower abdomen and it is starting. Justin relaxes himself and falls all the way into the kiss while he is being invaded for what seems like the first time again. There are a few initial grunts of pain but there is not enough discomfort present to make him stop. Unlike the first time. He wants this; they both want this. Bryant easily sinks more and more of his hard shaft into the young superstar at minimal pain but he is in lust mode so adrenaline is in control. He physically and emotionally lusts after Timberlake and has a short while after meeting him. It is only now that he realizes and is able to explain what he was unable to back then. Justin is so far under his skin that love is only the tip of the iceberg for him.

The former N*SYNCer's legs are on either side of him and he is still holding on to his upper body until it is over. Tingling sensations are becoming more frequent inside him so this will not stop. Muscles are tearing because of how big Kobe is but then it is done; he is all the way in. And then everything remains still. After the moment of adjustment passes, he draws out and drills back in with only a soft force to start out. The arms around his neck tighten but it is okay. Like maybe they will get stuck there. Lips will prove to be the best distraction yet. The basketballer sees the look on his man's face; there is no pain there and he wonders how it would feel. Weird for sure. But it might be worth it. Timberlake nods to him so the pace quickens and his thrusts become more sturdy and passionate. Both growl and moan at the intrusion while the speed between them rapidly increases to create ecstasy.

Friction starts to form itself between their mended bodies and its warmth is addicting and overwhelming. This has been denied for so long but no more. All the loneliness is behind them and being together is the only thing that matters. Timberlake uses his legs to hold on to his lover's lower body and groans during locking lips at the intrusion. The rhythm between them is smooth and effortless so maximum pleasure is attained. Kobe plunges harder and deeper with each turn and it causes unbridled passion and a streaming release of hormones and endorphins. Goosebumps scatter about on their skin and it creates even more sensation. Justin cannot remember the last time he felt this good. He cannot remember it because it has never happened. Despite every milestone in his professional or personal life thus far, nothing compares to this moment. Or the times they spend together as an unknown couple.

"Yes---harder my chocolate basketballer. Give it to me---" the R&B superstar coos and purrs out.

"You're really---getting into this aren't you?" Kobe tries to say in between labored breaths.

"I'm really into you."

The much taller man feels fingers clawing at his back but it is more of a stimulant than anything else. Justin's insides feel so soft and warm; it is his addicting drug. Being intimate with Vanessa is great but it does not compare to this moment. With Justin, he can truly be himself and not have to worry about saying the wrong thing or keeping secrets or even any insecurity he has. This is true love at its finest; it has to be because certain feelings and emotions still cannot be described. Kobe plows him harder and faster per his request and they both feel close to releasing everything. Kissing is more urgent and scratches and grazes enhance the mood enough for it to be over. Timberlake groans inside his mouth and arches his back up more so their hearts are practically beating as one on either side of their chests. Only separated by a layer of skin and bones. Not even separated by air or atmosphere.

The singing star removes his fingers from his boyfriend's back and rushes down to his pulsating pole to pleasure himself. They are too caught up in their own cozy world to even entertain their problems or anyone surrounding them. It was about that but no longer. Timberlake does not last long under his touch and the hot liquid spits out of his rock hard dick and lands all over his fingers and chest. He almost feels like curling up because the release is so intense but he cannot. Kobe feels this because he gets tight. The muscles constrict against his invading pole and it drives a new pleasurable sensation into him. The baller does not last much longer under these extreme conditions and cum floods up his dick and sprays deep into his lover. The harmony between them is rapidly becoming a thing of the past as t is falling apart. He easily pulls out and falls to the black rug to breathe and rest.

"Wow---" Bryant wants to catch his breath and his eyes are on the ceiling above him. "That was---amazing."

"You were great---" Justin wants to calm his breathing too.

"So were you."

"I can't believe it---" he says almost timidly.

"Believe what?"

"That you---love me."

Kobe looks at him and smiles, "Well believe it Mr. Timberlake. Because I love you."

"I love you too---" they kiss.

"Do you want to stay here or go up to bed?"

"Right here with you."

"I like that," the basketball legend muses and shifts himself to get more comfortable.

"Are you ready?"

"Huh? Ready for what?"

"Let's do it again," Timberlake pounces on him and is ready for round two.