~*~ 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-Eight

~*~ Scars Left Underneath ~*~



Only waiting for tonight is nerve wracking and is the singular most focused thought in his mind. There is only a photo shoot tying along with an interview for a magazine that he had to do this morning but that is all over with. It is now early evening and he is sitting outside on his patio along the pool to get the last few rays of sunlight before the day ends. The heartbroken superstar's eyes are closed as he rests on the lounge chair under the perfect rays trying to relax. The meat is marinating in the refrigerator to be grilled later and all the ingredients for the wild rice are ready on the countertop. Justin opens his eyes and looks out at the sky blue water of his swimming pool, almost lost in the crackles. Gusts of flaring winds chill the once comfortable afternoon and he decides to end it and go back inside to cook the meal for later. Kobe Bryant is due within a couple of hours along with the inevitable end.

Strong juicy scents of grilling meat escapes the barbeque grill as the steaks burn and sizzle under the intense heat. It is already late in the afternoon and half the Sun has sank below the horizon while he is outside turning the meat. The rice is almost done and smells delicious. He does not know what to say or how to handle this. Now that the night is here, everything is tense and his skin is quivering. Timberlake rests the finished rice on a platter on the table and puts some hard liquor on the table; he has a feeling he will be needing it as the night progresses. The steaks are still on the grill so he makes a quick side salad to go along with the meal but there is nothing for dessert. Justin has a feeling that the two of them will not make it to dessert so he does not prepare for it. He has kept his phone off the entire day, even at the photo shoot, so he can think of what to say. Nothing comes.

The songster washes away the musk of meat while in the shower and even shampoos his hair. He shaved before as if he is trying to look his best. Blasts of water massages his skin until he is satisfactorily clean and then he gets out to dry off and change. In the closet, a pair of black Valentino slacks calls out his name; they show off his butt perfectly. A black silk button up shirt goes with it and he picks out a few more accessories before laying them on the bed and getting ready. Conflicting emotions stir in his conscious thoughts that this may be wrong but also something else. Justin slips on a belt and tucks in the expensive shirt into the equally expensive pants and then slips on a pair of shoes and walks back to the bathroom to gel his hair. Cologne splashes across his neck and he steals a quick look at the mirror. As soon as he hits the bottom floor of the house the doorbell rings. His timing is flawlessly uncanny.

This is not a date.

The former N*SYNCer figures it out before he opens the door to, "Wow! You---look---amazing---" Bryant stares him up and down in the door frame.

"Come in," he moves aside.

"Here---" he gives his boyfriend a bottle of expensive champagne with a red bow tied around its neck. "I'm supposed to bring something the first time I came here I know. I hope you can forgive me."

"I'm hoping so too."

"Ohh---you smell like cherries."

Justin clutches the expensive bottle of champagne as their bodies undeniably moves closer to one another's and a kiss happens. A distant, unwelcomed kiss. The glass bottle in his fist feels like it is about to break and come crashing down. A tongue roams inside his mouth and he becomes tenser than ever until the intimacy is finished. Kobe stares him in the eyes and smiles but his eyes give him away. Something is happening. Something is going on. They walk into the kitchen together where the champagne rests on the counter and everything is finalized before moving into the dining room for dinner. The baller pulls out his chair and they both sit and begin to serve themselves food. It is quiet but eyes are on him always. Timberlake mixes vodka with very little orange juice. The alcohol will not be diluted that easily. His insides are shreds as he eats and thinks. This is rapidly becoming too hard.

"This is so good. Is there anything you can't do?" Bryant smiles as he watches his boyfriend pour more liquor.

"I'm glad you like it."

"You're making a strong cocktail there. I don't even think it can be called a cocktail anymore."

Conversation over dinner is so light and uneventful that the shooting guard's suspicions from before has no choice but to be confirmed. They both drink more than they should over dinner and everything tastes perfect. Justin is even impressed with himself but the dark cloud brewing inside does not allow him to accept or even acknowledge it. He mixes himself another cocktail once he sees his boyfriend doing so but he uses less alcohol because his head is already slightly off balance. The pair finishes dinner together and they look at each other searching for what to say next. Bryant gets up and kisses him to thank him for dinner but the young singer pulls away after a short while and loses his nerve. He quickly gets up and begins clearing the table; he can barely walk in a straight line. Everything finds its place in the kitchen once again. They walk to another part of the house. This is so hard. Why is this true?

"Dinner was excellent babe---" Kobe gratifies once they get to the great room. "I'll have to find some way to thank you."

"Yeah. It was---"

"Are you okay? It feels like you're a million miles away."

He has to work up the courage, "I---uh---"

"What? Talk to me."

"I'm so stupid---" the former N*SYNCer's thoughts are all over the place because of the alcohol. "I thought I could do this---"

"What's going on Justin? You've been distant ever since I got here. Tell me."

"I know about her. I know about her!"

He screams out in pain the second time and walks away to give himself some room. The darkness from outside seeps in through the window he is now standing in front of trying to control his seething anger. His boyfriend's eyes light up with shock and fear but he does not know that yet. His body is stunned on the sofa and nothing can be said because he knows. All of a sudden, like speeding trains sharing the same track, both his lives have collided and he is at the heart of the mess. The Los Angeles Laker regains his mind and quickly thinks of something, anything to say but this accident is destined to happen today. It cannot be helped. Timberlake does not want to do this anymore; he just wants to crawl into bed and go to sleep to forget this day ever existed. They can no longer be in a relationship. He has lost all trust in his lover and best friend. Inside is so raw and threatening to burst.

"I---I---" he stumbles out as he gets up from the sofa.

"You what? You're sorry? You want to explain?" the writhing pain rushes outward.

"How---did you find out?" it is a stupid question.

"Does it matter? It's true isn't it?"

Completely defeated and exposed, Bryant replies, "Yes. It's true. Vanessa and I have been together since high school. But---"

"---There's nothing else to explain. I want you to leave now."

"Justin---let me explain. Please baby," he request as he walks behind him and rests his hands on either of the singer's biceps.

Timberlake nudges himself away, "No---don't touch me! And don't call me that. Get out."

"I don't want to lose you J. I love you. Let me explain."

"Explain what? How you've lied to me ever since we met? How you'd go out with me but you always went home to her? How did you think this wouldn't destroy us once you were found out?"

Single tears already slide down either side of his cheeks as his boyfriend tries to hold him but he breaks away and walks behind the sofa. They cannot be that close to each other because he might do something he will regret. It feels like a high degree burn every time the basketballer touches him and his head is now foggier than ever. The alcohol is kicking in but does nothing to stop the bleeding pain inside. But he wants more. Justin walks out of the room and back into the kitchen to get something else to drink. Maybe a few more will begin to numb the pain. Bryant follows him but will not touch him again until he is more calm and ready to talk. He takes a drink himself to calm his nerves and silence his fears that their relationship is over. The fear is perfectly rational but he refuses to accept it as fact because that would destroy him in so many ways. He needs to be with Timberlake. To be whole.

"Don't drink so much J. I know you're hurt---" he begins.

"You can't tell me what to do! Not anymore. Just go home to your wife," the former N*SYNCer spits back and presses up against the kitchen counter for brief support.

"She's not my wife. We're not married."

"Yet. She will be your wife won't she? Just go."

"No! I'm not leaving you like this. I'm so sorry I messed up but I can't take it back now. Just like I can't take back or lie about how I feel. I love you so much Justin---you're so much a part of my life."

"Shut up! Shut up!"

"You know it's true."

"Maybe but you're not. It's over! Get out!"

"No. Stop drinking."

"Stop telling me what to do!" Justin completely snaps. "Get out and go home."

He leaves the kitchen and all the drinking behind and walks off to another part of the house hoping to finally be alone. In the living room, he presses his back against the wall and hangs his head down so it can stop spinning. The Los Angeles Laker follows soon after and just stands at the other end of the room to look at him. He is so hurt and vulnerable, almost broken. This is not fair and he now hates himself for even playing this dangerous game. His selfish needs and indecent moral scruples have cost him this relationship. This wonderful man who deserves nothing but love and respect. Now everything is broken because of him and his need to satisfy his own desires. But he wants them both. He cannot let go of either and he refuses to. This will be fixed and he will continue to see them both. Timberlake looks down at the floor before finally looking up at him at the other end of the room.

"---Justin---" he tries to walk forward.

"Stay back. I'm not going to do this with you anymore. It's over."

"No. It's not over because I love you and you love me."

The heartbroken star looks over at him again, "I don't want this. I don't want you."

"We have to be okay baby. I can't lose you," the basketballer cautiously walks closer and closer.

"You took advantage of my trust and my love. How can we be okay? Answer me."

"I---don't know. I messed up but I can't lose you."

"I can't trust you so we can't be together anymore. Can you please leave? I really don't want to do this anymore."

Justin keeps asking the same question over and over but nothing ever comes of it. He is wounded and confused and slashed and raw and this confrontation is dreaded more now than before. He can barely stand without the wall because of the alcohol and he grabs his head because a huge throbbing ache now relies there. Bryant is finally in front of him looking deep into his eyes to show how sorry he is. This is not happening; his life has crashed down all around him. Inside is roaring with anger and guilt that he cannot hold his gaze for long. The cloudy crooner looks away and stays completely still because he cannot move; it feels like he is trapped in this house. Neither says anything but Kobe's arms are on either side of him, preventing escape, so he looks back at him to get him to move. The baller's eyes are slightly red; it has to be from the alcohol alone. He has no remorse for his selfish behavior.

"---Move---" he is so broken inside.

"No!" Kobe yells out. "No---stay here and talk to me!"


"Talk to me! Talk to me Justin!"

"Why is it you're the one allowed to be angry after everything you've done and lied about?" the former boybander completely gets under his skin and replies.

"Because I can't lose you. I love you!"

"I want you to go. You fuck with my emotions and when I finally catch on, all you can think about is you?"

"Stop! That's not true baby. I---"

"Stop calling me that! Get away and go home to your wife!" he yells out and tries to push himself free.

Timberlake is getting more upset by the second when he tries to push himself free the second time. Nothing happens but his boyfriend is losing patience. This is so hard and violence will only escalate into something far worse but his insides are shredded and he has nothing else to lose. He wants to hit him, hit something, to try and drown out the immense pain his heart is leaking out. Kobe's eyes are vivid with a mixture of bright anger and fright, as if he does not know what to do or what will happen. Everything he tries to get through to his young love seems to only push him further and further away and he is teetering on the edge. So dangerously close to the edge. But he will not move as they are still secluded in that corner of the living room. Frustration builds and minds become tense and cloudy as judgments are compromised and words escalate into far more than is meant. The situation is uncontrolled.

He tries to push free again and screams, "I said move! Get out of my house!"

Bryant grabs both of his hands right as the push starts and holds them there before howling, "No! I'm not leaving here without you!"

"Get off!"

"No!" he counters and pins both of Justin's wrists against either side of his body.

"Let---me---go! You're hurting me."

"Just relax and talk to me."

"There's nothing to talk about! I'm not taking you back! You fucking screwed up my life! You screwed up my head. I'll never forgive you or want to see you again. Get out!"

"I'm not letting you go! Not until we work this out. I want you so bad---"

"What---are you going to rape me?" the hurt star cries out as tears stream constantly from his face. "Is that what you want to do---rape me?"


Complete shock and horror takes over the basketballer's face as he finally unpins his boyfriend's arms from against the wall and steps back. He went too far because now real tears are involved and his hurt and resentment over his actions all falls into place. He puts his hands on his face and rubs as his eyes become both blurry and watery. Justin is looking at him with fear in his eyes and he is unable take it. Eyes are disconnected and the room is hugely filled with sorrow and overwhelming guilt and remorse. His head is spinning too so he sits on the floor right in front of his boyfriend and keeps his face in his hands. Both have had too much to drink and he is not sure how he will be able to drive home tonight. Timberlake looks down at him from the corner of the living room as he continues to silently sob. The tears will not stop even when he uses the back of his hands to wipe them away. It is melancholic.

"Please---you have to forgive me. I never wanted to hurt you," Bryant says from the floor as he looks up.

"It's all about you then? What---about me? What am I supposed to do now? I'm still in love with you but I guess my feelings don't count because they're not yours. Go home. I'm going to bed," he tries his best to leave all the anger behind his teeth.

"I love you too and I want you."

"You're serious? No. Just go Kobe. There's nothing left."

The revelation is false on every front but he is tired and just wants to hit his bed. All the raw emotions pent up inside him will be calmed after a night's sleep and the sooner he can escape the better. Justin can barely hold himself up without the wall but he tries his best to leave the room. His head is so foggy and in rambles that it is becoming impossible to retain any more information from this night. Bryant looks over and gets up from the floor, his head is drugged too, and walk slowly out of the room. He shakes his head to try and clear it when he follows his boyfriend to finally catch up with him sitting at the base of the stairway with his head pressed on his knees. His body goes up and then deflates every time he takes a breath. It is almost majestic. The baller sits in front of him and remains silent until he starts to stir and look up from his knees. His eyes are red from a mixture of tears and alcohol.

"I'm too drunk to make it up my own stairs---" the former N*SYNCer lowly says, hating the irony.

"You're not drunk. You're just tired. Here," he says as he gets up. "I'll help you up."

"No. I'm fine. Go. You're drunk anyway."

"I'm not. You had more to drink than I did. I'm helping you."


It is not one argument he will win nor does he have the energy to. His boyfriend towers over him and extends his hand out while intently staring into his eyes. There is no choice left so the young singer lets himself fall into it all perfectly well knowing he will come to regret it when his judgment has returned. He places his hand into the other man's and they both help him up to his feet while they never stop looking at one another. Timberlake is about to start on the first step when he is completely shocked to feel his body hoisted off the floor and high into the air. Kobe picks him up from the stairway and waits for him to get comfortable before taking each step one at a time and slowly. It is a complete surprise to both when Justin wraps his arms around the baller's neck on the ascent to the second floor. He then rests his head on against his muscular chest and closes his eyes for a momentary second.

On the second floor the shooting guard follows a familiar path down to the master bedroom. It reminds him of that day after the hospital and how broken he was. Now he is broken in a completely different way and it is not his fault at all. He opens the door to the large room and traverses it through almost darkness in the same slow pace until his shins gently bump into cold wooden framing. Bryant rests his boyfriend gently on the bed and turns on the nearby lamp on the nightstand. When light enters the room he finally realizes that Justin is sleeping and must have been in his arms all along. It is such a comfortable space though it is a hard time for them as a couple now. But he cannot have his cake and eat it too. Neither of them deserves him for this deception. He kneels down on the floor besides the bed and looks at Timberlake while he sleeps. He has put him through so much tonight. And it is not fair.

"Good night Justin. God I love you so much," the chocolate stud whispers and moves in to steal a kiss.

"You can't drive. You're drunk," he murmurs in his sleep before completely drifting away.


Morning has to come and everything from the past must be deal with again in order for the day to truly progress forward. Darkness still blankets the sky and artificial lights still continue to roam freely. Justin is comfortably cuddled on one end of his large bed with the covers hovering slightly below his cheeks. He is still fully dressed from last night with the exception of his shoes and socks. Silvery light pierces only certain parts of his room and dance on the parts of the wall and floor it touches. The Sun will soon beckon into the sky to form another day that will be full of unanswered questions and heartbreaking conclusions. The young star tosses lightly in his sleep and unknowingly reaches over to the other half of the bed as if trying to touch something or someone who obviously is not there. His bed is empty but this will become apparent later on in the new day. Unawareness is blissful now.

The four corners of the room are the darkest but one of them is different. On a large sofa in the corner closest to the bed is a dormant figure. Legs are crunched up and the pillow case matches the set from the bed only feet away. He sleeps off the liquor too but this morning will be one of the most difficult for him emotionally because the train collisions of both his lives is over and now searching for anything surviving is the only key. Kobe Bryant unconsciously nibbles on his bottom lip as the moon's light dabbles across his chest and melts his dark chocolate nipples. He could not drive home last night because everything was so impaired that it would have been a true hazard. He was uncomfortable at first on the sofa but he could not sleep on the same bed as Justin last night. It would be wrong. If his boyfriend ever allows him to touch him again it will have to be on his terms. No forcing.

Everything is so messed up as the Sun fights the Moon away to begin anew all over again. Rays shine in on the shooting guard first; his face cutely twitches as nature does its best to wake him. He turns away to avoid the inevitable but it all must happen. Only a few minutes elapse before the light finally wins and tickles him awake. His head is still a little foggy but he is much better than last night. Bryant sits up in the large sofa and simply watches the darkness recedes away to the other side of the world. Then his eyes land on the sleeping angel of the room. Justin fidgets at the intrusion of light and has no idea that a pair of eyes are only looking at him. But all that is about to change. A short time passes before his eyes finally flutter open and he stretches his limbs out. The digital clock on the nearby nightstand says it is only a few minutes before eight. It is too early and his head is still pounding sharply.

"Hey---Justin," the Los Angeles Laker clears his throat and announces himself from the corner of the room.

"---Kobe? What---are you doing here?" Justin looks over to where the voice originated and asks. "My head is screwed."

"Relax and rest. We can talk later."

He sits up on the bed and turns on the night lamp before, "Why are you here? Isn't Vanessa going to be worried that you didn't come home to her last night?"

"I couldn't drive home last night. I was---"

"---Where does she think you are?"

"Iódon't know," Bryant replies to the awkward question. "I haven't called her yet. Justin we really---"

"---You should call her. She'll be worried."

"I don't want to talk about her. I want to talk about us."

"There is no us anymore."

Bryant gets up from the sofa and walks over to the bed and kneels down so very close to it just as he did last night. There will be no yelling and screaming this time; all that has passed and now only the future remains. He rests his hand on the bed and the unbearable silence never stops. He tries to rest his hand on Justin's but the latter, only showing a few fingers from beyond the blanket, moves away quickly and keeps staring forward trying to remain strong and together for himself. There is no reason why he should be here; things ended last night so he should have gone home. Now he cannot begin to recover with the baller still here and trying to salvage their relationship. Timberlake rubs his face in his hands then starts pulling off the cufflinks from his shirt and he unbuttons the top few buttons as well. When he is more focused he notices the state of Kobe's undress.

"Can you put your shirt on---" the heartbroken star makes the simple request. "And I think you should go."

"We really have to talk about this."

"What's left to say?"

"So much---" Bryant begins as he fiddles his wrinkled shirt back on.

"What do you want from me Kobe? What do you want me to say?"

"To talk to me. I don't want to lose you."

There is a long deadly silence before, "Why? Why didn't you say anything after that basketball game? Why did you lead me on? You said nothing about her."

"Can I?" Kobe asks as he motions his hand towards the bed to sit.

The former boybander silently nods his head and moves himself further on the bed to make space. This talk has to happen because the tough questions will get answers no matter what they are. He at least deserves that from this situation. He sits on the edge of the bed and never takes his eyes of this man he loves so much. This man who he has completely hurt and betrayed. It is still so early in the morning and his head is still slightly foggy but closure will hopefully come today. The Los Angeles Laker looks directly at him and even though the stare is not returned, he tries to answer all the questions as honestly and compassionately as possible. There is no more lying now. All his secrets are out in the open and he feels naked and raw but if it were anyone else but Justin it definitely would not be worth it. He is the only person that will ever see him this skinned and emotional. His boyfriend deserves it at least.

"When I first saw you on the court---we had the coin toss and I couldn't stop looking at you," Kobe begins to say.

"I remember. I---thought you were trying to intimidate me."

"No. That wasn't it. I was captivated by you. I felt this intense bond I when I looked at you---looked into your eyes. My body couldn't stop staring at you. It's weird---I can't explain it but I know I never felt anything like it before."


"I don't know," Bryant says as he lets go a smile. "And then when we spoke for the first time in the locker room, I started trusting you right there. That's when I knew for sure that I had to see what it all meant."

Justin takes a moment, "Yeah. The last time I checked I wasn't the one who couldn't be trusted."

"Okay. I deserve that."

"You didn't sleep on the bed next to me last night? Why?"

"What?" he continues to look at him and asks. "You fell asleep while I was carrying you upstairs. I put you on the bed and then I realized you were right when you said I couldn't drive. I wasn't going to take advantage of you."

"I thought you would."

"Justin---I'm so sorry about this. I never wanted to hurt you. I hope you can forgive me."

Despite everything from earlier in the night, Kobe took care of him and made sure he was okay. He is still here making sure he is okay. This is so hard. He is unable forgive him right now though; he cannot even stand the thought of looking at him because it hurts. It all hurts. The singing star rubs behind his neck and think of what to do next or say next or what should happen next. He should not have drunk so much last night; everything that needed to be said would have been and then this could have been avoided. Light has completely invaded the room and even create shadows on the bed they are both on while pure silence still looms in the air. Timberlake keeps his eyes outside as the wind gently beats down on everything; he wants some coffee or something to drink right now. Then it all makes sense. Bryant's selfishness is showing itself once again and it infuriates the other man to no end. No more.

"I can't believe you," the former N*SYNCer's voice fills the room.


"You---want us both don't you? You want it to be like it was before. I need you to tell me I'm wrong."

Kobe remains quiet for a minute until, "You have to understand how---"

"---No. Is that it? Is that what you want?"

"I can't give you up. Don't ask me to because I can't."

"This isn't happening. You seriously want me to do this?"

He looks at him and says honestly, "---I can talk to you about anything. We have this bond---"

"---No. I just know all your secrets so you can no longer lie to protect yourself."

"Justin---it's not like that."

"So who would this be fair to? Her---me? You continue your life with her and she keeps thinking you're the loving boyfriend. And then you sneak around with me on the side? That's fucked up," Timberlake is starting to get upset all over again. "The only one this is fair to is---you. It all makes sense now. Selfish---"

He stops the rest of the sentence and closes his eyes to maybe wake up from this dream. He cannot give up his love for the chocolate basketballer either sitting here next to him but their road has come to an end. There is a cliff there now and jumping over it to continue on is nothing short of impossible. It is a dead end on so many levels. This idea is ludicrous and self serving that it cannot even be considered but he seriously wants him to. It would be a disaster because Justin considers himself a giving and sharing person but the line must be drawn at some point. And he is no home wrecker. His insides would eat him alive if this were to flourish anymore. A clean break is most needed now. Kobe tries to hold onto his hand again but nothing comes of it because he moves away when he notices that the advance is unwelcomed. Making things more complicated than it needs to be now is not the best idea.

"Sorry---" Bryant says softly. "It's just that I've never been around you for this long without touching you."

"Do you love her?" he realizes he never asked the question.

"It's com---"

"---Do you---love her?"


"Why are we here then?" the R&B songster shoots back.

"Because I love you too and I don't regret it. I don't regret what happened---only that I lied to you all this time. And that I hurt you."

"You want to put one---two people who you claim to love through that? While you figure out what the hell you want for your life? Who the hell you want in your life? It's all about you isn't it?"

"I need some more time to figure out the right thing," Kobe honestly interjects.

"And in the meantime what---you keep screwing her behind her back and lie to her face? See me in the shadows and then go back home to her?"

"I have to know if you're the right one for me Justin. I never expected to fall for you as fast as I did but I did fall for you. Hard."

"So I have to put my life on hold until you make up your mind about which one of us you want more? Is that what you're asking?"

Just the thought of this idea is so farfetched and incomprehensible that he cannot say nor do anything more to respond to it. The Sun continues to rise outside the large mansion because the day has to go on no matter how tragic any scenario may become. The Los Angeles Laker searches his mind for something worth it to say to try and win his boyfriend back but he realizes how selfish everything that has come out of his mouth sounds. Justin is supposed to be the selfish one in this situation; telling him to leave her so they can be together but he does none of that. But he still will not look at him; ever since the beginning of their conversation earlier this morning. And for the first time since his secret was revealed, Kobe wonders what his life would be like without the man sitting on the same bed as him. No one else in the world knows about them but it does not matter. What they have is real and true.

"Answer me---" Timberlake almost demands now. "Is that what you want from me? To wait for you?"

"I---love---you Justin," is the only thing he can think of to say.

"Stop saying that! Is that what you want?"

Kobe remains still when he answers, "Yes. I want it to go back to how it used to be. I know it's selfish and I may be a jerk but I can't lose you."

"I'm not hearing this. You want our relationship to go back to how it was---when I thought I was the only one involved in your life?"


"How can it now that I know what's really going on? I can't believe you'd think I would do this. I told you last night that it's over. I don't want to see you anymore Kobe. I can't---I won't do what you're asking me to."

"Baby---please. I know you still love me as much as I love you."

"You don't love me as much as you say Kobe. If you did then none of this would be happening," the young megastar surmises. "If you did then you wouldn't be asking me to do this."

"Please---please let me make this up to you."

It is one of the hardest calls of his life thus far and at times he is lost by it. But no matter how much he wants to, the innate goodness deep within his core prevents him from taking this conversation and any further action. The apologetic and hopeful look on Kobe's face when their eyes finally meet for more than a second is not resistible or easily fended off. The truth is there; he really wants Justin to do this. To share him with someone else. There is no way this will work. He will regret it down the road. The pleasure and thrill may be exhilarating at first but the novelty will eventually wear off and reality will sink it. If it already has not. The morning is already getting away from them and he really should go home to her, though he seems less worried about it than he should be. Timberlake unglues their eyes and looks to his moral compass to give him the answers he so desperately needs.

"No. No---I won't do it. I'm not going to share you with anyone. Neither she nor I deserve that. I'm not taking someone away who obviously belongs to someone else," the R&B singer hotly says. "Is that that kind of person you think I am?"

"No. I don't belong to her. We're not married---"

"It doesn't matter. You've been in a relationship with her since you both were in high school. That's a long time Kobe. I know she doesn't want to share you."

"She doesn't have to know. She doesn't know," Bryant has the nerve to say.

"And she won't know from me because this is over. Go back to her. She'll be worried about you by now. You should go home and be with her."

"Justin---please. I need to be with you."

"No. Not anymore. I'm not going to be involved with someone when we both know that he goes home to someone else," Justin states honestly. "It doesn't work like that for me. I want all of you because I gave you all of me. I won't settle for fifty percent of you. And I know Vanessa wouldn't either if she ever found out," he says in frustration.

"You don't know that. Don't presume to know what my relationship with her is like okay---"

"I know it can't be as stable as you apparently think it is because you came after me didn't you?"

The shooting guard looks at him with a twinge of anger and, "That's not fair and you know it. Are you purposely trying to get me upset Justin?"

"No I'm trying to get you to leave. And what the hell do you have to be upset about? I find out you have this whole other life that you've been keeping from me and you're the one getting upset?"

"Okay you're right. I'm sorry. I'm sorry---" Kobe trails off. "This can't be it for us."

"It is. I want you t leave now. I don't want to see you again. There's nothing left to say."

The Los Angeles Laker cannot accept this but the time is going and nothing is getting accomplished even though all feelings are present on the table. There are no more secrets between them but the cost of this honesty is too high for either of them to pay. Their once perfect, yet ignorant relationship is compromised and has to be sacrificed because of his lies. The truth came out too late but he has a feeling that Justin would have left him anyway if he himself had told him much earlier in their relationship. The young star is noble in that way. But something has been gnawing in the back of his mind since it happened last night and he needs to bring it up for his own piece of mind. Bryant does not want to leave but Vanessa has to be more than worried about him at this point. His second relationship will not go down with this one. Though it is clear that this one cannot be saved. Kobe has to know now.

"Last night you said something that---threw me so far off," he begins to say slowly. "I need to ask you before I go."


"I know I shouldn't have grabbed your wrists the way I did and I'm really sorry I did it."

Justin adds as he lifts his hands away from his body, "Look what you did to me."

"God---they're red. I'm so sorry baby. I didn't mean to act like that or hurt you."


"That's not all---"

"What did I say? Did I say something to upset you and that's why you pinned me to the wall and forbade me to move?"

"No. I crossed the line I know but so did you," the chocolate basketballer threads carefully because another argument now would be counterproductive.

"Me? How did I cross the line Kobe? When I tried to escape from your vice grip---" he says as he waves both his wrists in the air to show off the burning red proof.

"You asked if I was going to rape you. If I wanted to rape you. What did that mean?"

The former N*SYNCer looks away to hide the tears forming in the back of his eyes because it all comes crashing back into him. He did not want to bring up his wrists because he knew it would lead to this and possibly a fight. But they burn and are red and irritated and he has never felt so violated by anyone before. Last night goes in and out of his mind but all thoughts fragment together to become one of the worst. Kobe looks at him intently for an answer because he needs it. He would never hurt his boyfriend or disgrace him in that sacred way but for Justin to actually have a thought in his head that he would, even for a split second, tarnishes all of his emotions. All of what he once believed about himself. He closes his eyes tightly for the tears to recede because he will not be weak now. He did nothing wrong and there was a moment when he thought that the baller would rape him. It was in his eyes.

"Exactly what I said last night," Timberlake strongly says. "I saw something---felt something."

"Justin---you thought I wanted to rape you? That I was going to?"

"Yes. Why else would you hold me to the wall like that? Why else would you look at me the way you did?"

"Because I needed to get through to you," Kobe defends his past actions. "I wanted us to talk and you weren't listening to me. I didn't know what else to do---"

"So you pin me to the wall and tell me you want me while your eyes are fiery red? Of course you were going to rape me. So why did you stop?"

"Because I couldn't believe you'd actually think I could do something like that to you. I love you so much Justin. I could never take advantage of you that way. I was so shocked when you said it that my mind just went blank," he pours his feelings out there to be lambasted.

"But you can take advantage of me in every other way right?"

"You really thought I was going to rape you last night?"

Now is not the time to lie, "Yes. I thought you were going to. You forced me against a wall. You're taller and stronger than me---how was I supposed to think or react?"

There is a long silence until Kobe gets up and finishes buttoning his shirt and fixing his clothes and then, "And that hurts even more than losing you."

The Los Angeles Laker somberly says this before checking for his wallet and keys and walking out of the room leaving him still sitting up on the bed. At the doorframe, he looks back one last time and their eyes meet briefly before he walks out of the room and his life. Timberlake just stares at the barren doorway while heavy footsteps step down the hallway and disappears once upon the stairs. He hops out of bed and makes his way to the upstairs balcony attached to his room and slides the door aside to go outside. In the faint distance the front door closes shut and he walks all the way to the edge of the balcony and rests his hands on the banister. Kobe Bryant appears below him as the balcony overlooks the front of the house. His car is parked next to the Lamborghini and the door slides up as he approaches to get in. Then he looks up to see Justin looking down at him. They are over.

Rays of sunshine beat down on his wrinkled clothes as the car reverses out and waits for the gate to fully slide open before entering the street. It remains stagnant on the street for a few seconds before speeding off down the residential neighborhood and turning the corner to completely disappear. And this corner is where the young star's eyes remain for now. Outside is comfortable and he clutches onto the banister as tears roll down his face and melt into his hands and the railing. Now it is all said and done and he has crashed into a brick wall and left alone to pick up the pieces of his shattered love. Justin remains still and lets all his angst out, not even thinking about what he has to do today or the fact that he is single again. After finding what he thought was the perfect love, he is single again. His insides are so fragile that he will not be going anywhere today. He cannot be around people now. They are over.