~*~ 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-Six

~*~ No Hindsight ~*~

 

 

Quiet thoughts roam inside his head while he drives away from the Los Angeles International Airport tarmac with his new Lamborghini as they go their separate ways for the first time in weeks. How everything was left weights heavily on him though. They had a fight on their last night in the freezing paradise of Aspen, Colorado. It is late in the afternoon and the giant orange Sun is setting on the west side of the world while the airport disappears in the rearview mirror. The sleek machine stops at a red light and Justin closes his eyes and as soon as he does, their second to last conversation of their getaway replays in his head. The vibrant anger coupled with the scary prospect; the tinge of loneliness. And their final conversation in the mountainous mansion barely had any substance. It almost felt like a generic goodbye rather than something else. Something else it should have been. More than anything else.

The night's air is chilly when he pulls up to his driveway and the car comes to its final resting spot. His neighbors across the street are sitting on their porch rocking on chairs together as they look at the new Italian machine adorning his driveway. They are an old couple who have been married more than half their lives with the husband being retired from the Stock Exchange and sitting on a hefty fortune. This is how they are able to afford this exclusive neighborhood. Neither has any idea of who Justin Timberlake is and, when he first moved into the neighborhood, they thought he was a drug kingpin. Irony. Their eyes are on him as he gets out of the car and gather his things. The singer turns around and waves at them through their well lit street; the pair raise their hands to acknowledge him. He only has to laugh at their assumption because of how farfetched it truly is. But they are nice.

"They probably still think I'm a drug lord," Timberlake says to no one but himself.

Justin walks into his black house but feels no anxiety of coming back. This was his one fear after leaving Colorado but it has been subsided. There are so many other things his anxiety is torn in between but being home creates a comfort inside him. Lights flicker on and he walks into the kitchen to grab something to drink before heading upstairs to take a shower and relax. In his own room once again. The singing star strips away the clothing that hides his body and heads into his master bath to clean himself. He passes the large mirror over the marble-top sink and sees it shining. The exquisite cross and its garnet centerpiece captivate him for a moment so he can recall the night it was given to him. It reminds him of all the nights they spent together on that snowy mountain away from everyone else. His naked chest and torso jolts up because a sudden burst of cold breeze floods the bathroom walls.

The once frigid air mixes with the hot one let go by the blasting shower and steam forms to create a distant sauna effect. His muscles are relaxed and his head is calm. The way they left off their vacation from the world is devouring his soul. Kobe has to stop taking those drugs. He has to have faith in himself. Timberlake is frustrated because he does not know what else he can say or do to get through to his man. To get him to quit. It seems as if everything has already been said or fought about. When he stops enjoying the shower, the R&B songster turns the faucet off and grabs a towel to cover his wet body. The sauna feel is warm in the bathroom when he is over the sink brushing his teeth. Justin wipes away the steam buildup on the mirrors and looks at himself while he scrubs his teeth clean. The bathroom door opens and all the steam disappears. His phone lights up, sounds, and vibrates on his bed.

He looks at the number and picks it up, "Hey."

"Hey. I was just calling to see if you got home okay," Kobe's silky voice asks him.

"I did. I just got out of the shower."

"Oh. Okay. Listen, I'm sorry about what happened. I didn't mean to snap---"

"Okay."

"---Justin---"

"What do you want me to say Kobe?" the singing superstar comes back with as he is slipping on a pair of boxers and black sweatpants.

"I didn't call to fight. I just hate how we ended our last few hours in Aspen."

"We? I can't take credit for that one---"

"Okay Justin---you're mad at me. I get it," he remains completely calm when he says this because his boyfriend did deserve it then and will certainly get it now. "But you can't shut me out. Talk to me."

"I want you to stop but you don't want to. What else is there to talk about?"

Justin did not realize he was this upset. His curt answers and refusal to open up only clouds his judgment and pushes them further apart. It is not even about his upset and hurt or his man's sorrow and sorry though. The steroids are at the center of this major issue dividing them. Now that Kobe has come clean about his true need for the drug, he should be able to get past it and learn to lean on himself and his relationship to get through this harsh abandonment and resentment. Timberlake fears this will drive him to this void that he knows his boyfriend will never be able to escape. The baller is being selfish for taking these drugs rather than trying to face his problem and possibly his father. This extreme strain is wedging their feelings for one another and the further it goes unresolved, the harder it will be to get it resolved. He lies on his bed and looks up at the ceiling as if it will give him answers.

"Please---let me think about it," Bryant tells him and wants to stop this conversation because it reminds him of their conversation up in the icy mountains.

"There's nothing to think about."

"Justin---please."

"Fine. Whatever you say," he calms himself down because these feelings should never be validated.

"Did you have fun?"

"You know I did. I'll never forget what you did for me there."

"Good. I'm glad you liked it," the basketball legend relishes in the small sight of relief.

"I loved it. Everything about it."

"Everything? Even---" he trails off.

"---Even the fight. It makes me realizes how much I care about you. And I know you don't want to hear this but I won't give up on this. On you---"

Kobe sighs and then, "Wow. What can I possibly say to combat that?"

"Nothing. That's the point."

Their conversation has completely changed for the better now but those lingering feelings are still there. Maybe Timberlake is getting through to him. This is a delicate subject so he has to approach it cautiously and not be overbearing and judgmental. Or issue ultimatums or threats. He rubs his eyes and scratches his head while listening in on their conversation and offering his opinions wherever necessary. His mind is already conceiving notions as to when they can meet up again to be with each other. Kobe is still asking him about the house up in the mountains. It is an enormous gesture but it still does not feel right for him to accept it. Just the thought of it puts the R&B songster at a slight ease though. Maybe it is the frozen lake for the back yard or all the new memories that were recently created there. It is something truly special. A special place where they can be together for a very long time to come.

"Are you tired?" his basketballer boyfriend asks him.

"Yeah. I'm about to go in a few minutes."

"Okay."

"But---I need to ask you something," Justin needs his permission.

"Uhuh."

"I'm going to talk to JC soon because he's been worried about me and, of course, he heard what happened."

"Yeah?"

"I want to tell him about us."

"Oh---" Kobe's apprehensive reaction provides the response for him.

"He's my best friend and I know I can trust him. I don't want to lie to him because despite everything, he's always been there and accepted me---"

"Okay okay. Slow down."

"I want at least one person to know about us. It hurts that I have to hide this kind of love from the world and it hurts even more that I can't tell someone I trust completely," he says convincingly.

"I don't know J---I don't think it's a good idea."

"Why not? He won't say anything and I hate lying to him. Come on---"

The Los Angeles Laker ponders this, "Are you sure we can trust him?"

"I'm positive and---wait---we?"

"Yeah. So---you're sure?"

"I know we can. And I really want to."

"Okay. I guess so. If you say we can trust him then okay. You are a great judge of character---I mean it's how you fell for me right?" he laughs.

"Whatever."

A scary thought passes through his mind during their conversation in the form of an ultimatum. He remains silent and listens to his man talk over the phone while his head wraps around the idea. But he is being a hypocrite to himself. It is extreme and selfish in certain ways but something drastic must happen for him to stop relying on these drugs. The drugs or him. Either the tall basketballer quits his dangerous habit or Justin will force himself to leave him. He is completely distracted now but it is not selfish. He is not only doing this for himself but for his boyfriend as well. The further away he is from these drugs then the happier he will be and they will be as a couple. Timberlake cannot bring himself to use this underhanded method to cleanse his relationship. As much as he wants to do this his love for Kobe Bryant will never deserve such scrutiny. And this cannot be the only option to keep the drugs at bay.

He feels the temptation crawl on his skin and sink deeper into his pores to make him even consider the ultimatum. It is crazy and tactical and unfair to even bring it to this. But, the singer is backed into a corner and options are becoming more and more limited. Kobe is mentioning something about meeting up but all future plans fall on deaf ears. The occasional hum or laugh keeps him only slightly involved in their phone conversation. As much as he hates doing it, the former N*SYNCer tucks the thought deep away, where all his thoughts concerning his boyfriend reside, for contemplation later. He will sort it out later when he becomes fully aware of the ramifications of such a thought. Bryant's silky voice reminds him that he made the right choice and he waits for the perfect moment to rejoin their chat so as not to arouse suspicion. It is sneaky but will have to be done to save himself.

"Yeah I agree---" Timberlake interjects himself.

"So you agree---that my head is too small for my body?" he laughs. "I knew you weren't paying attention---"

"Huh---what?" he is obviously caught.

"So something's on your mind. Are you going to tell me or are we going to continue this game of cat and mouse?"

"I guess I'm just tired."

"Are you sure?" the baller asks because there seems to be something else.

"Yeah. I'm going to get some sleep and---adjust back to being Justin Timberlake."

"Okay. Remember to call me if you need to talk or if you're feeling overwhelmed again. We don't want what happened to happen again."

"Oh so you want me to lean on you but when I ask you to lean on me you just dismiss it."

"Justin---" his boyfriend begins to say.

"Okay. I will call you if I need to talk."

"Justin---"

"I'm fine. I have to get some sleep."

"---Okay. I love you."

"Love you---"

 

Few days pass and the celebrity aspect intrudes back into his life but he is both physically and mentally prepared for it. What happened before will never happen again. The ultimatum is stuck into his mind though. And Kobe's blatant refusal to lean on him instead of the drugs pushes him further and further on the idea. But he could never give up his boyfriend. It will be a false threat. Justin has been doing countless new interviews and press conferences to explain his recent behavior and disappearance. It is a necessity for his career. The same questions are always asked but he takes it in stride and just relaxes himself whenever he starts to feel overwhelmed. California is cool and the crooner plans to stay at home for a few more weeks before getting back to his schedule of never knowing what state he will be spending the night in. It is a hard adjustment but completely worth it in the end.

JC Chasez is in California doing a few events and personal appearances but the two best friends will meet up within the next few days. The pair has so much to talk about and the day cannot come soon enough. Finally, one person besides himself or his boyfriend will know about their relationship. Maybe it will not seem to be such a huge secret and bring him some sense of relief. For the most part Timberlake has finished explaining his now infamous fall on the world's stage but of course everyone wants more. The lie is as clever as he is. Justin simply tells the public that he was unable to sleep properly and his eating habits were skewered. And it all led to extreme exhaustion when his body went beyond its limit. It is not all a lie granted but the truer version of the story will never be revealed. They buy it and now the young singer is working past his misstep and looking to the future in his career.

Outside is dark with only a slight hint of the Sun as the former N*SYNCer is sprawled out on his large bed regaining rest after last night. His presence was requested at an industry party high atop the Hollywood Hills and he got home later than originally anticipated. It felt good to get back out there though; get back to his peers and colleagues. The cool air is lifting but there is still a distant fog and dewdrops linger on leaves and grass. Someone has descended on his property amidst growing sunlight. The dark stranger walks up the driveway and then stops in his tracks as soon as light shines on something he has never seen before. Crystal blue shines into his eyes and he walks over to get closer to its source. The Lamborghini is magnificent. The Sun is just coming above the horizon now when he knocks on the door and waits for an answer. Lights flicker on inside the palatial home to come alive.

"Hey stranger," his best friend says. "Wow---"

"JC---what are you doing here?" Timberlake asks, not sure if he is fully awake or not.

"You might want to invite me in and put some clothes on before you ask any more questions."

He looks down and sees himself in boxers only and, "Oh. Come in. I didn't think you'd be here so early," his brain is functioning properly now. "Relax. Put some coffee on. I'll be back."

"Someone had a late night."

"Shut up and go," Justin laughs and heads for the stairs.

He walks upstairs to the second floor and heads back to his room to shower and brush his teeth to prematurely begin his day. He is only going on a few hours of sleep but sometimes this is how it has to be. Something strange happens in his stomach; it is nerves. Despite whom he is, Justin still experiences nerves from time to time and that is healthy but he has rarely ever experienced this type of nervousness. It is the same feeling as when he told JC that he was gay. This type of nervousness is an emotion he can live without. The R&B crooner brushes his teeth and hops in the shower quickly because he wants some of that coffee. Their talk is weighing heavily on his mind now and second thoughts form themselves but there is no turning back. He finishes his hot shower and slips on a pair of clean boxers, gray sweats, and a white wifebeater before heading back down.

"Hey---you're back," Chasez notices when they are in the kitchen together. "What's up?"

"Hey bud," he walks over and they hug tightly. "What's going on?"

"Nothing man. Just here sipping some coffee."

"Good. You made some. I need it."

His best friend eyes him, "So---about this late night. Where were you?"

"I went to a party in the Hills and came home late. Do you want some breakfast?"

"That sounds nice. I'll help you."

The pair sips their coffee while preparing to make a small and cozy breakfast to begin the day. Just seeing him makes Justin feel a little warmer and safer. Eggs, waffles, and sausage links are on the large counter of the kitchen and ready to be cooked. Pots clank and dishes scratch against one another as both men busily get to work on making a meal to enjoy. Smiles, laughter, and light conversation happen but something is different. JC looks different. He seems more emotionally mature and well-aged. Timberlake has been selfishly thinking of only himself for the past few months that life is slipping past him unnoticed. He has missed so much. After only fifteen minutes in the kitchen, everything is finished and ready to be devoured. Chasez places the waffles on the table and then goes back for the coffee. They both sit and smile and sit across from one another to eat breakfast. Nerves are in place.

Justin cannot bring himself to begin the conversation that has to happen. He quickly asks shallow questions to avoid the real issues or to prevent things from going deeper. Or he drinks coffee to buy himself time. The whole Sun is just above the horizon now and light floods everywhere to awake the Earth. They finish up breakfast together and practically nothing is left. Kobe runs on his mind. His consent is there but nerves still are getting the better of him. This is his best friend. The hardest part is already done. JC walks with his cup of refreshed coffee into the den and relaxes into a portion of the comfortable leather sofa. He finishes up in the kitchen and looks out the window for a brief moment. Timberlake mentally slaps himself to shake the nerves away and puts himself in the proper frame of mind to confide in his friend. At least one person will know about his love. Maybe it will make something easier.

"Justin---where are you?" he bellows from the den.

"I'm coming," Timberlake calls back and then heads over. "What's up?"

"Sit down. Stop avoiding me already---"

"What---do you mean?" he asks as he sits on the sofa next to his best friend.

"I don't know. You tell me."

"You're different."

JC smiles, "Okay---we'll play it this way. For now."

"Go on."

"Well---I've been spending a lot of time in Paris. She told me she loves me. She's happy about the baby. She wants us to try and make it work."

"Oh. And what do you think about that?"

"I'm not in love with her J. But something changed. I love her because she's about to give me a child but I'm not in love with her."

"Wow---that's a change," the young singer states as he focus all of his attention on their conversation.

"I know. Listen, I'm sorry I got angry when I first told you about this. I know I apologized before but I want you to know that I value your opinion. I always have. You're my best friend."

"I know."

"I'm going to try and make it work but I don't think we can be together."

"Yeah. I understand."

JC Chasez has changed. This is a new outlook for him and a complete change from that conversation they had so long ago. There is a small sadness about him though. It is all there in his eyes. The prospect of having a child is amazing of course but Timberlake is sure that he did not want it to happen this way. But the new outlook is a positive step in the right direction and he cannot be faulted for that. He sips his coffee and remains silent for a while forcing them both to think. Justin looks over to see him looking down at the floor with the coffee cup clasped firmly between both his hands. It is clearly bothering him but there is nothing that can be done now. It is far too late to look back or regret anything further. He moves closer on the sofa and rests his hand on his friend's shoulder while the quietness is apparently magnified. Another gulp of coffee and then Chasez looks straight ahead without moving.

"I want to be a good dad."

The former N*SYNCer rubs his shoulder, "You will be Josh. You're going to be a great dad."

"I hope so. I am sorry for the things I said Justin."

"Don't worry about that. You couldn't keep me away if you tried."

"Thanks man. I appreciate that," Chasez gratifies and he rests the cup of coffee down near the sofa. "But hey---that's enough about me. I didn't come here to complain about my life. What about---"

"Wait---wait. You can talk to me about anything Josh. I'm always here for you bro."

"Yeah I know. And those statements go both ways so start talking JT."

"---Uh---"

"Oh no. I'm not going to be the only one who spilled his guts today. Don't make me kick your ass to get it out of you," he laughs.

Timberlake is unsure of where to begin so he starts at the very beginning and wants to leave no important detail out, "Okay. Remember that charity basketball game you stood me up at a while back?"

"You'll never let me forget that will you?"

"Not the point. And of course I won't. Anyway---something happened."

"---Something? Justin---you know I hate guessing games. Come on---"

There is no turning back and he hesitates at first but, "I met someone. At the game."

"What---are you serious? Do I know him? How did it happen? You've been holding out on me---"

"Slow down," the megastar singer laughs.

He smiles it off and waits for the right moment to begin his long story. Filling in his best friend is one thing but the ulterior motive of this conversation is for him to get a big part of his life out in the open. Even if it is only to one other person. Bottling in all his feelings, both good and bad cannot be healthy so this is a huge release for him. But there are some things he will never be ready to talk about to anyone but his boyfriend Kobe. He will share as much as he can with JC but certain details will be purposely left out for the sake of reason and protected privacy. Timberlake smiles and he knows that his friend's eyes are on him, eager to pump him for information about who the mystery man in his life is. The idea is becoming more comfortable to him. He can tell that Chasez wants to fire a million questions his way but he is being patient and waiting for him to open up. Regardless, it is not that playful.

"Talk to me J. It helps a lot---" his former band member expresses.

"We went to dinner that night after the game."

"Who?"

"Just listen. This is hard---I haven't told anyone," Justin tells him.

"Okay. You know you don't have to tell me anything you don't want to right?"

"I have to tell you."

"Why?" JC is intrigued now more than ever.

He dodges with, "So we started calling each other and hanging out whenever we could. It hasn't been easy."

"I know. You are on top of the world these days. Privacy isn't exactly your friend---"

"Not just that. Everything---"

"It must be so hard---keeping it all inside."

Timberlake hangs his head and looks down at the floor in a moment of silence. Talking everything through is supposed to make him feel even the slightest bit better but no such satisfaction is being experienced. In fact, he feels worse than before. Having to rehash and reevaluate his entire relationship thus far to someone on the outside looking in is robbing him of that pleasure of freedom and relief. His best friend rests his hand against his shoulder and is in no hurry to make him talk because this is obviously hard. Sometimes the words just do not breathe life. Both sit in silence, plotting their next thing to say or even their next emotion to feel. Justin hates this but forcing himself through it will be worth it in the end. All questions will not be answered right away but keeping an open line between him and someone else besides his boyfriend Kobe Bryant will be his salvation. It is a necessary lifeline.

"Keeping everything a secret is impossible. Always looking over my shoulder or keeping my phone secure or constantly watching what I say in front of anyone. It was---"

"---That's what happened isn't it? At the club that night---" Chasez puts the pieces of the puzzle together.

"I was going through a rough time with him and I couldn't talk to anyone. I stopped eating. I stayed awake every night. I had nowhere to go so I just worked."

"That's a bad habit of yours. I noticed it even back in the days of the band. Whenever something was really bothering you, you'd rather go to the studio or do an interview than talk to someone."

"And I remember us fighting about it more than a few times. Who knew you'd turn out to be right?"

He smiles, "Okay---you're going through some things so that one's free. There won't be more."

"He wasn't the only reason I let all these things happen. Or did them to myself. I don't know anymore---"

"Who is this guy?"

"Josh I told my parents that I'm gay."

"Wow---really? And?"

Justin painfully recalls the night, "It---didn't go so good. Bad actually. My dad hates me. He doesn't want a gay son."

"What---no. Give it time J. All of this is so new to him."

"Don't you get it!" he snaps. "My father disowned me because I'm gay. He hit me."

"That was---harsh. You haven't talked since then right?"

"And say what? I can't help how I feel or who I love---"

The former N*SYNCer feels his voice about to break from the pressure and stress that is supposed to be behind him. This was the whole purpose of the vacation. But he was able to put it off long enough for him to recover from it; he has to talk to his parents. As much as it will hurt, it is something that has to be done. He talks it down but it will always weight on his conscience heavily. JC thinks about what to say but nothing happens. He has known Justin's parents for a very long time; they are like a second pair of parents to him. Hearing it is unbelievable. His father has always been an amazing and supportive man throughout their childhood and even during the hectic days of the band's lifetime. Something changed. Chasez has admitted to himself that he was slightly disappointed when his best friend came out to him but his love for him as a brother quickly extinguished that. His father is way off.

"Is this why you had to tell me?" he carefully asks.

"No. I can deal with my dad's disapproval. I guess I just wanted to make it real somehow."

"What do you mean real?"

"Having someone else know besides me or him. I love him so much that it hurts to keep it all inside and just between us. I love him Josh. And I wanted to be honest with you."

"Oh. Okay. I don't know how real I can make it though---"

Justin examines this statement, "Finally telling you makes me feel so much better."

"Yeah? Well that's a good step."

"I know. So, he snuck in when I was in the hospital after that night. And then he suggested we go away so I can recover and I agreed."

"That's what happened then. You practically fell off the face of the Earth."

Timberlake laughs, "That was the plan. We went up to Aspen to get away from everyone and everything."

"Look," they find each other's eyes. "Despite everything, I can see that you're happy. And you'll get past all these little problems."

"You really think so?"

"I know so. You're a really great guy Justin. Anyone would be lucky to have you."

"Thanks."

"And I know you're feeling better---" Chasez draws him out.

"Why do you say that?"

"Because---you bought yourself that sexy ass car outside. I saw it."

The beautiful blue Lamborghini. The car that matches his eyes almost to a tee. He laughs at the last comment lingering in the air. Timberlake knows that he can barely put off revealing his boyfriend's identity anymore but the car brings back so many happy memories. It has far surpassed the rest of his exquisite collection as his favorite and most loved. Their frozen oasis away from the world. Kobe's special lake. Everything. Chasez stays quiet but he is secretly wondering who this man is. His best friend is so extremely happy so he is dying of curiosity. There will always be problems and obstacles along the way but true love will always be worth it. From what he sees, Justin looks to have found true love. There is a special and never before seen sparkle in his eyes. JC looks over to see him smiling out of nowhere so something is up. It is time to solve this mystery and come clean about everything.

"What's that smile about?" his former band member asks.

"Huh---oh," the sexy crooner snaps back to their conversation. "I---uh---didn't buy the car."

"Oh. A gift from Jive? You have made them millions---"

"No. It is a gift. But from---"

JC laughs to himself, "Man---how stupid am I? He seriously bought you that---car---out there?"

"Yeah. Trimmed and all."

"Damn Justin. It's like that? Okay---you've avoided this question since the beginning of this conversation it seems."

"Okay. Well I asked him if it was okay to tell you about us."

His best friend looks at him before, "You had to ask his permission to talk to me?"

"No. Of course not. I meant the part about me and him. I was going to tell you everything else regardless. I didn't want you worrying about me," Justin does his best to explain.

"Oh."

"It's not my place to talk about him without him knowing. Especially about something like this. So I had to see if it was okay."

"And---is it?"

Timberlake swallows hard and remains silent momentarily until, "He's a basketball player. Your---favorite basketball player actually."

"---You're---lying. Kobe---"

The R&B songster smiles and nods his head to signify that he is telling the absolute truth. The initial shock is amusing but he does not laugh outside because silence befalls the room once again. But an underlying feeling eludes them both. JC's surprise quickly fades and the conversation becomes more serious and somber; his tone denotes such at least. He thinks and thinks about something, anything to say to break the now uncomfortable silence but nothing will volunteer itself. His best friend is dating the basketball legend Kobe Bryant and he bought him a car and they went away together. This is very serious. Justin feels an even heavier blanket of shrouded emotions leave him once one of his most deepest and private secrets are revealed and he is not condemned for it. There is nothing that can make this moment any better. Both men hug and but crucial shreds of support is unnoticeably missing.

 

Neither man realizes that the entire day has almost eluded them completely. JC even drove the car around his neighborhood. The offer of dinner is on the table but he really has to go so he declines. But he is lost deep in thought. Ever since he found out that Kobe Bryant is dating his best friend, something feels off. And since that moment, the internal struggle has begun but it has always been a losing battle. Justin seems so happy though. He is trying to find something to blame him for. The Sun is setting on the west side of the world and cool air breathes against the windows and trees beyond the luxurious homes on the street. Chasez finishes up his beer while they are in the kitchen talking and trying to figure out when they will see each other again. He is getting ready to leave and Timberlake looks a little disappointed but it could not last forever. It always has to be like this in the world he lives.

They talk on his porch for another few minutes until a black Escalade SUV stops and waits at the edge of the street for him. JC smiles and the pair hug to say their goodbyes before parting ways and getting back to their lives. Today was a wonderful day. Many of his feelings were revealed and he was supported for it. Timberlake is now sure that collapsing on stage will never happen again because if he is unable to talk to his boyfriend then he can talk to his best friend. Nothing will be kept inside anymore. He watches as Chasez walks down the long walkway and jump into the car in the night and is whisked away. The black night gets cooler so he heads inside and to the kitchen to clean up the small mess they both made. He will call Kobe later tonight to say good night. Justin heads upstairs to take a shower and relax himself for the rest of the evening when his phone buzzes and rings. It is him.

"What did you forget?" he laughs and greets.

"I love your faith in me J. No---I didn't forget anything."

"What's going on?"

"That was some talk today."

Justin remains quiet but, "You mean who I'm dating. You haven't said much about him. I actually expected more because he is your favorite player after all."

"You know me---I don't like getting into people's relationships."

He laughs, "Since when? You were like the press when I was dating Britney."

"Hey---I wasn't that bad. I just was making sure you were treating her right. I felt like I had to look out for you."

"Oh---and you've been looking out for me ever since? Is that it?"

"You can be a handful. I know I said it before but I'm sorry I wasn't there for you during all this."

"I told you not to keep apologizing for it. I'm more to blame than anyone else."

JC tries his best to say things as they pop into his mind but he is also playing a game of words. He will soon be tangled in his wordplay and be forced to untangle the mess and come clean. But he cannot bring himself to do it. He could not when they just spent the whole day together and he is sure he cannot now. It will hurt everyone that is involved. But it has to be done. This cannot continue. He gets up to his hotel room and is taking his shoes off while trying to not to talk about Kobe Bryant. It makes him uncomfortable. It is not because they are a gay couple; he has completely accepted Justin's lifestyle and will never pass judgment on that again. Chasez rips off his shirt and rubs his bicep while cradling the phone against his shoulder. He strained the muscles in his arm at the gym only a few days before. Something then enters his mind he immediately concludes as a great idea to steer clear of the baller.

"Listen. I know I'm still a few months early and I haven't talked to her about it yet but how would you feel about being my child's godfather? I've been thinking about it for a while---ever since you talked me into my senses."

"Wow---I don't know what to say," the singing star is completely taken aback.

"Yes would be nice."

"Um---sure."

"Such enthusiasm. What's wrong?"

He sighs, "You really should ask the mother. I mean she might already have someone in mind or she might not even want godparents for her child. If everything's cool between you two then of course I would love to be his or her godfather."

"Really? You're sure?"

"Yeah. Just talk to her and let me know. I'm really glad you asked me Josh."

"I am too. You'll be great."

"Are you happy for me?" Timberlake asks the loaded question. "You've avoided talking about him. Or us together. Is something wrong?"

"No---"

"Josh tell me."

"I am happy for you Justin. No one deserves this more than you. I can tell how much you love him by your voice. I know you're happy."

"Sometimes I can't believe it."

"Um Justin---" Chasez starts to say.

"Say what you want to say JC. I know you have something to tell me."

"I---don't think he's right for you."

It will be subtle at first because his best friend deserves at least that. But it is hard. Justin so deeply loves this man but it cannot be. From their day spent together it was apparent but he cannot walk away from this situation and not say anything. They have to look out for each other, especially since what happened but it will be easier said than done. That is why this is so hard. Kobe helped him through that difficult period but now things have drastically changed and he will have to adjust once more. Chasez looks up at the ceiling in his room knowing that he should go take a shower and get something to eat before relaxing himself and ultimately going to bed but this will not leave him alone. Timberlake is na´ve in no way but he is in love and this makes it so much worse. He swallows hard in the silence because he knows his best friend is waiting for an explanation for his words. It nearly becomes painful.

"I thought you were happy for me JC---" he remains calm but his voice gives him away.

"Justin I wish I could be as happy for you as I let on earlier. What I said I meant. You deserve everything good and decent to happen to you. But this---"

"---I don't understand. We've been together for months now and he hasn't done anything to hurt me," Justin lies to himself because he remembers the steroid use but that is irrelevant at this point.

"---He will. Trust me Justin. You have to trust me on this."

"How can you say that to me Josh? What makes you think that he will hurt me? Where is all this coming from?"

There is a long silence, "Justin---please trust me."

"No. You haven't given me any reason not to trust him. I love him and he loves me. Is this why you haven't said anything all day? You don't like him?" the young songster starts piecing the once unknown missing fragments of their day together.

"It's not that. He's not right for you."

"You don't know that. You can't even say that. You don't know what he does to me. You have no right to say that."

He is obviously not budging on his opinion and nor should he because no concrete evidence has been presented over the course of this conversation. His former band member sighs and remains quiet to regroup his thoughts and try to find a different approach to take for this to work. He knows Justin, sometimes better than he knows himself, so that is why he is being this careful. This thing with Kobe is really special to him so everything must be taken into consideration to avoid making wrong moves. But he will not stand by and see Justin made a fool of. That is unacceptable. The sensitive approach is not working and JC can tell that he is getting more upset as the conversation progresses. This is the last thing he wants but everything has to be out in the open. The line is so quiet but it will be for no longer. It is time to come clean and tell him everything he knows. To get him away from Bryant.

"Justin look---I'm only looking out for you. You have to stay away from him. He doesn't deserve you," Chasez make an attempt.

"Why are you telling me all these things?"

"Because---he has a girlfriend alright? You have to stop seeing him because he has a girlfriend."

"What? No he doesn't---" Timberlake is shocked at the accusation but tries his best to hide it.

"Justin, listen to me. He has a girlfriend. Her name is Vanessa and they've been together since high school."

"That's---not true. It's a lie."

"It's not a lie. He is---was my favorite player so I should know. You have to believe me. That's why I haven't said or asked much about him. I was trying to find a way to tell you."

"No. He can't have a girlfriend," he is more stunned now than anything else.

"I know you're hurt J but I couldn't let you keep going without telling you. They've been together all this time. And maybe he's playing her or you I don't know but I had to tell you. He's not worth you."

"Are---you sure about this?" Justin's voice is weak and seemingly broken now.

"I wouldn't have even brought it up if I wasn't. I'm positive."

"Okay---"

"Do you want to talk?" his best friend offers.

"No---no. I have to go JC."

"Okay. Call me if you need---"

The line dies before the rest of the sentence could complete itself. This was a bad choice to tell him over the phone. It somehow feels like taking the easy way out. He should've been there in person to comfort and talk to his best friend. This has now become a difficult time for him. Everything is so messed up. The former member of N*SYNC rests his head on his palms and thinks. He is seriously contemplating going back to Justin's house to be there for him but he might want to be alone to think and sort through his feelings. It is by no means a selfish request. But he is worried now more than anything. Chasez rests his phone to charge and walks into the master bath of the suite to take a shower and eventually get some sleep. He sounded so hurt on the phone. It keeps gnawing at him to go back over there to be there for his brother. But it probably will not help. Timberlake is strong. He will move on.