~*~ 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 Forty-Six

~*~ Forfeit of Emotions ~*~



Weeks floated by since the basketball game and Kobe Bryant still thought about him. It was stuck in his mind; the two of them sitting courtside and acting like a couple. He was in the shower letting the water pound into his flesh to keep him from punching something or yelling at the top of his lungs. The warm water did nothing to console him however so he ended the shower soon after. Justin was too prominent in his mind and he was confused because these feelings should no longer be there. There was no way they could be together now and the baller wondered why he was dating Biel. It had to be some publicity stunt but he did not need that. Something was definitely off. He stepped out of the shower and used a nearby towel to dry off. Seeing him there was out of the blue and so distracting that Bryant played one of his worst games in his professional career. It still bothered him.

In the closet he shared with his girlfriend Vanessa, he put on a pair of boxers over his freshly cleaned skin and found a pair of shorts to cover them. A regular shirt covered his chest and then he made his way over to the part of the large closet that catered to winter clothing and jackets. Carefully looking over his shoulder, Kobe stuck his large hand into the inside lining of one of his long overcoats to search for a pocket. It had been his hiding spot ever since getting it only two days ago. Now was the right time for all this to happen. Inside the pocket contained a small black leather box with Vanessa's engagement ring in it. The jewelers worked hard to get it back to him as soon as they possibly could and now nothing was stopping him from moving forward with his life. They were meant to be together. Bryant opened the box to look at it but quickly returned it to its hiding spot when he heard his name.

"Kobe---are you still in the shower?" his girlfriend asked as she entered the room.

"No baby. I'm getting dressed."

"Do you want something to eat or are you still not hungry?"

"No. I'm good," the basketball legend responded while coming out of their closet.

"Are you sure?"


"Honey what's wrong? You've been acting strange for weeks now," she noticed and sat on their bed next to him.

"Hm. Maybe I need a break."

"You work so hard. Maybe we should take one together. We could go somewhere private just you, me, and the baby---" Vanessa took his hand rested it on her growing stomach.

She was a little over three months pregnant now but still they had not announced it to the press formally. And she did not show at all but that was all going to change soon. He had to do this. They could be so happy together. Bryant sat completely still as if he expected the feel the baby kick but was always disappointed with his impatience. Getting married was the best thing for their family. The baby was going to have two parents that loved and adored it. There was no need to dredge up past mistakes. He kept so many of them from her. The Los Angeles Laker kept his hand over his unborn child and wondered what it would be like to be a father. It was never a dream of his until Vanessa told him she was pregnant that day. Ever since then, he was unable to stop thinking about his child. A look and smile passed through them in their silent bedroom until he finally got back to his lingering emotions.

"Do you want to do that?" Kobe asked for her opinion.

"It's like your mind has been so preoccupied for weeks now. A little break could be what you need sweetheart."

"I don't know what's wrong with me. I should be over him---" he said only the first part to her.

"Do you want to talk? Is it the baby? Are you---"

"—No. No. It isn't the baby. I want him so much."

Vanessa smiled, "It could be a girl you know? But I guess we know what you want."

"You sound surprised."

"Not at all."

"What do you want?"

"A healthy baby to start our family," she honestly said.


She held on to her boyfriend's hand and they both sat in silence and thinking to themselves. It was the truth; since finding out about his child's existence Kobe had loved and wanted him or her. He was not so much worried about the baby as he was about Justin. There was no right to think about him anymore but what they had was something that defied all logic. And he missed it like crazy. But the time to be selfish and indulgent was over because in a few short months he was going to be responsible for a life. The baller could no longer afford the luxury of self-doubt so a clean break from Timberlake was the only option left. He thought of the beautiful pink diamond ring in their closet and realized that he just inadvertently created a great opportunity for himself. The timing was perfect for it and moving on was the only thing left to do. They could never be again and it had to be accepted.

"So---what are you going to do?" Vanessa's voice spoke to him.

"Leave LA for a while. Get away from the city."

"Okay. Where do you want to go?"

"Aspen. It should be empty this time of the year. I just need some down time babe."

"Yeah okay. When do you want to leave?"

"Now," Bryant came back with."It'll give us a chance to get away and reconnect."

"Baby are you sure? Can you get away?"

"I have to. We need some alone time."


"Get ready and while I get the plans together. We'll leave later this afternoon."

Bryant kissed her sweetly before she disappeared to close up the house and pack up the necessities. He returned to the closet to retrieve the special ring. His insides felt it was the right time to ask her. And Timberlake made it painfully obvious that he had moved on even though his motives were unclear. Bringing her to his domain was disrespectful but it was over between them. The sooner he faced that then the sooner he could heal and move past it. The basketballer hid the ring in his pocket and called to set up the trip to Aspen. It was late spring so the city and mountains should pretty much be abandoned. Privacy and alone time was a guarantee. Vanessa returned a short time later to take a shower and get herself ready. Maybe Kobe would work up the courage once they were there. Regardless, it was going to happen whether he was ready for it to or not. And a part of him was excited.

He is outside sitting on the basketball court while the hot Sun beats upon him. Vanessa is upstairs resting as she has a headache brought on by the pregnancy. His stomach is in tight knots and his head is spinning around to the point of explosion. This place is completely different when it is not covered in snow. Completely different without Justin here. Everything inside the house reminds him of the time they spent here together. What was the highest point in their relationship. Kobe remembers the bearskin rug and what happened there and how the two of them slept together in the same bed his girlfriend is now resting in. These thoughts should not cloud his mind but they do and if they were to ever slip, only dangerous consequences would come about. For them both. His obsession is unhealthy. This place has so many memories of them being together that bringing her here was a bad idea. It is too late now.

The Los Angeles Laker looks up into the blue sky as if it will somehow offer him the answers he needs. The solutions to his problems that will never be known by any other. Timberlake was the only one he could truly be himself with and now that they are over, it feels like a part of him has been ripped off and destroyed. He cannot talk to Vanessa about the steroids he once took or the deep resentment that only serves to hide his pain and hurt about his failed relationship with his father. Or how much he was in love with another man. Still is in love with another man. Kobe knows moving forward is the only way because looking back to the past will only manage to tangle him up in the mess he made of his life. Now that a new life is on the way that he will be responsible for, there is no room to slip or make mistakes. Not anymore. But loving Justin Timberlake will never be a mistake. Not to him anyway.

Bryant gets up from the hot floor and stretches his long limbs out because it is all too much to sit here and think about. He has to walk or run or scream or do something to get out of his own head. Being trapped in there will cause his to lose his sanity so he goes to the place where he knows he will calm down. The season is different but he is hoping that the atmosphere of the lake will remain the same. The same lake that took Justin's breath away and the very same lake they shared a passionate kiss by what seems like a lifetime ago. Kobe walks further away from the house containing his sleeping girlfriend and deeper into the woods that seem far less daunting in the daytime and not frozen over into a desolate wasteland. Sweat glides down the back of his neck and down his firm biceps as the pilgrimage to serenity continues. The baller is genuinely caught between them both but can only have one now.

After walking through enough woods and dodging multiple flowering branches, he ends up on the outskirts of the no longer solid lake. It stretches as far as the eye can see and the water has a dark blue hue to it. It has not lost its magical quality or atmosphere but he automatically agrees that he likes it better during winter. Finding a large rock almost on the edge of the water, Kobe fidgets until he finds it comfortable enough to sit and be by himself. He has to seriously reevaluate his life and what he wants from it. What he wants to teach his unborn child. Why he is unable to forget about the former N*SYNCer. The Sun is shaded by some trees and a cool breeze blows only for a second before it is gone. Vanessa deserves a truly devoted man by her side and he wants more than anything to be that type of man. He has to be completely devoted to her and their unborn child for this to work. It has to work.

But he was there with a girl. Justin was at the game with a girl and he was kissing her and they were holding hands. Bryant locked thoughts of that game away until he was sure he could deal with them but they make no sense. He has questioned why over and over to try and figure out a motive or what is truly going on but his mind will not come up with anything concrete. Whenever their eyes did manage to connect throughout the chaos of the game Kobe could not feel the man he fell in love with. It was a strange and puzzling sensation and that is what made him distracted at the game. It got deep into his head and infected his ability to play. He only wants to know why Timberlake did that. Why he is dating a woman. These questions are not valid to ask however and the basketball star has no right to ask him them. It is selfishness on his part once again but he cannot have them both. Not anymore.

The water was still most of the time as he looked out at it to see if his future will be set with this act. There can be no more thoughts of doubt or trying to see what his life would be like if it was to go in a different direction. The direction he wants it to go in. But Kobe fails to realize, or maybe he just does not want to see, that a life with Timberlake would be beyond impossible. Having to remain exclusive and keep their relationship a constant secret from the world would surely be the cause of its downfall. No relationship can survive being constantly covered up and denied. And they would both lose their careers if word was to get out about them being together. Going either way is a disaster and Bryant has to keep thinking this way so that his love for the young singer can begin to wither and die. It is the only way to get him out of his heart. It is harsh and will hurt but there are no options left.

"Why can't I leave you alone Justin?" the basketballer questions himself as he looks out to the serene lake. "Why can't I stop loving you?"

They already have answers though. The two questions he just made a reality by speaking aloud already have answers to them. As much as the LA Laker tries to deny it or bury it deep down inside, there is no place left to run and no hidden crevasses left inside him. Timberlake is the love of his life. He loves another man with all of his heart and wants to spend the rest of his life with him. This is why it is so hard to let go and move on. Even after Kobe bought the engagement ring for his girlfriend, it still is not enough to get him past his failed relationship. The other man has conquered his soul and has his heart captured in the palm of his hand. Justin's boyish smile and the way his cheeks turn red when he gets a compliment or is embarrassed and his unwavering honesty and loyalty make him irresistible to anyone. There will never be another like him and Bryant has to get used to them being over.

"Damn. Not anymore---" he mumbles under his breath.

He remains at the shore of the pristine lake to allow his thoughts to run rampant for as long as possible in the hopes of them leaving him forever. He can no longer think of Justin Timberlake. Especially in an emotional or sexual way. No more of his passionate kisses. Or their primal conversations. Kobe leans down on his knees and lightly brushes his fingers against the smooth surface of the water hoping that maybe they will guide him back to Vanessa. Because she is who he belongs with now. She and their unborn baby. And he will not allow this child to grow up in a broken home or enduring the emotional abuse his father put him through. The baller knows he is going to be a devoted and compassionate father to this child. Justin taught him how to be this way during the time they spent together. Timberlake taught him that showing emotions is not a sign of weakness but one of strength.

Warmth mixes with coolness against his fingertips as the water tries to invade his body but it mainly goes unnoticed. It has to be this way. His heart has to belong to Vanessa and the baby now. And, even though the pregnancy is unplanned, he wants the baby more than anything. And even more, he wants it to be a little boy. A little boy he will not force basketball upon and support him in any decision he decides to make. Bryant smiles at the thought of him creating another life and he knows he loves the child at this point, way before it is even born. He is going to try his best to be a great father to this child no matter the sex. After retrieving his hand from the lake, the shooting guard shakes the excess water off and knows he has to go back soon. Go back to the house to eventually propose to his girlfriend. He has to give himself the encouragement and peace of mind to go through with his plan.

Maybe this was a mistake. Maybe bringing her here where they spent those glorious weeks together was a bad move. And to propose too. But Kobe was beginning to feel stifled in his own city and had to get away for his sanity. Vanessa knows none of these things and she never will. So he is soon going to be engaged with secrets he has to hide for the rest of his life. For the sake of their relationship as well as to protect their child. He sits on the leafy ground with his hands around his knees and his fingers tied in a knot in front of him as he looks out to the lake. This place has been so good to him. Every time he needs to clear his head or get away from being Kobe Bryant, this is one of the few places that allows him to do so. And Justin knowing about this place also makes it all the more harder to see it the same as before. But it is not tainted in a bad way, just a painful one. A twinge now resides here.

"I have to do this. It's the right thing to do for everyone involved," the shooting guard is still convincing himself. "Forget about him. Leave him alone and move on."

It sounds weird talking out loud to himself with no one around in the vicinity to hear or reply back but there is nowhere else to turn. He has no one to talk to about what he is going through. To a great extent, he has to keep himself guarded around his girlfriend because there is a whole other life she knows nothing about. So there is this whole part of himself that he has to keep hidden away for the rest of his life. Kobe can no longer afford to act on the feelings of the other part of his life. He will do what he has done before Timberlake came into the picture; just look but never touch anything. When he is married to Vanessa, he refuses to cheat on her because she does not deserve that or all the horrible things he has already done to her without her knowing. She does make him happy and keeps him sexually pleased so hopefully it will be enough to sustain him for the rest of their lives together.

He has no one but himself to blame for the mess that is now his life. But the baby may be a change to set some mistakes right and get him back on track to loving Vanessa and her only. The baby is his new beginning and it will not be tainted by his burning desires or selfish pleasures. He has to grow up and move forward with his life. His girlfriend has been kept waiting long enough and she at least deserves a ring on her finger and the security that comes along with marriage. Maybe this will offer him that extra bit of security or whatever else it is he needs to settle down his life and be happy with her. Bryant keeps his eyes focused forward while the Sun's light seeps through wherever branches and leaves are not covering to reach the ground and him. The basketballer knows he cannot stay hiding here forever and that his life is not on pause. He will have to leave and go back eventually.


Filtering through his memory and emotions proves to be useless because the basketball stud still cannot summon up the courage to perform the act he brought her here to do. He feels weak and stupid for not being able to express what he knows he feels deep down and what the situation warrants. Kobe lets days slip by without so much of a mention as to what he wants to do but his girlfriend is enjoying the mountain air and being away and together with him. The only idea she has at to them being here is for her to relax and regain herself away from the busy city. Even where they live up in the hills of California gets busy because other celebrities are their neighbors and the paparazzi is always out and about trying to snap unwanted pictures. Bryant is glad that she is enjoying herself and this time together; it shows on her face how relaxed and at peace she is in this place. She is happy.

She is outside sitting on a lounge chair and watching the Sun set while her boyfriend is just finishing up a well-needed shower. He was out there with her earlier practicing as she sat and watched him so his body needed to be washed and cooled off after he was finished shooting. Bryant emerges from the bathroom with a stinging feeling in his mind. His body has droplets of water nestled between muscular crevasses but he is not worried about that at the moment. The forefront of his brain suddenly realizes why he feels so out of place. This is Justin's house. He wanted so badly to give this house to his former boyfriend. This is his closet. Kobe looks around and frowns because all the clothing from before has disappeared. It feels like their time here never happened. All the clothes have been donated and the house clean of any evidence of Timberlake being there. It is like he never existed and it hurts.

This is why Kobe is so upset and slightly depressed. Because the weeks they spent here together were among some of the best in his life and now having to deny it and see this place like this is emotionally messing him up. He wonders what would have happened if Justin did decide to take this place when it was offered to him. This grand house with a closet full of clothes bought specifically for him. Maybe he would not be feeling this way if he had accepted the house. Looking back though, the basketballer does not know what he was thinking offering him the house. It was a mistake that could have resulted in serious repercussions especially seeing how much Vanessa loves it here. She would have questions of course and then he would have to come up with even more lies to cover his tracks as to why the house no longer belongs to them. Maybe everything worked out this way as it is for the best.

"Dammit," he mumbles under his breath. "Why is this so hard?"

It feels like the time he spent by the lake is slipping away from him along with his will to go through with his plan. He spent so much time out there talking himself up to do the right thing and to get rid of his fears and doubt but all that seems to be miles away. Kobe is itching inside to get this over with or to go away or to shoot again. He has been having withdrawal symptoms ever since he stopped but no one would ever know because he is always in control of his emotions. The Los Angeles Laker is now under so much stress that he wants to feel the poison hit his system again. But that is no longer an option as he promised himself the drugs would stop. Not because Justin left him but because they became too much of a crutch. Too much of a burden to handle or go back to. Joe Bryant's voice is still inside his head. It will be there forever but poisoning himself to get rid of it was not worth it in the end.

He was so weak for so long and using steroids only proves that. Timberlake was right all along but his rage and pain blinded him as to the damage he was causing himself and the relationships he cherishes so much. To feel that desperate and powerless shows how bad a place he really was in. A place he still is in and has to cope with every single day for the rest of his life. But now Kobe feels like he is caring less about gain approval because he lost his boyfriend. Someone that still means a great deal to him so his father's scathing words and actions pale by comparison. He still takes it one day at a time because there is always going to be deep emotional scarring attached to and plaguing his childhood. Steroids are not the answer though. They never should have been the solution to his emotional distress and Bryant is now starting to realize it. Maybe losing Justin made all this possible.

Kobe Bryant gets himself dressed in a casual polo and jeans because he is losing time to the Sun and it has to be done tonight. He quickly hustles to dry off his hair and put on a pair of sneakers to leave the house. A small sprit of cologne and a quick glance at the mirror in their bathroom assures him that he is ready to go. But the most important thing is missing and he enters the closet once full of his boyfriend Justin Timberlake's clothing to look for the last piece of the puzzle. There can be no going back or time to think about it anymore. It is all over and done with so forward is the only way to look. The baller finds what he is looking for and easily conceals it in his pocket before leaving their bedroom behind and heading down the stairs. Vanessa is still lounging outside as the Sun dips dangerously low onto the horizon. She is aware of his presence behind him but waits for him to speak first.

"You enjoying yourself babe?" Kobe walks in front of her and kneels down to give her a soft kiss on her cheek.

"It's so peaceful out here. And the air is nothing like in LA," she comments.

"You got that right."

"How was your shower?"

"Good. Good. I want to show you something before the Sun goes down."

"What---now? What is it?"

"Come with me," Bryant stands up and extends his hand for her to take.

"Where are we going?"

"You'll see baby. Relax."

Vanessa looks up at him quizzically but takes his hand eventually as she gets up from the chair to see what is going on. They share a short and sweet kiss but he knows time is precious at the moment so he lets nothing else deter him from for what he has been training his body and mind to do. Together, they walk close to the edge of the property and the beginning of unincorporated forests. It is this but there is a slight path through to the lake. Kobe has to convince her to take the journey with him because she is scared. He assures her that he is her protection and that this is something very important to him so she agrees but holds on to her boyfriend's hand tightly. The basketballer moves some branches aside to allow her passage and they are on their way to that magical place. Nerves are building inside but he keeps pressing forward for both their sakes. For all three of their sakes. It has to be this way.

"Where are we going? Deeper into this forest Kobe?" his girlfriend is easy.

"Just relax sweetheart. I got you. I wouldn't let anything bad happen to you."

"I know---but I'm scared."

"Don't worry. We're almost there."

She calms herself down and keeps going because this is obviously important to her man. And, she can see an opening where the Sun's rays are more prominent so that must be where they are headed. They are so close to it but the day is getting progressively darker so she is still worried. Kobe keeps their hands together as she follows him closely to their final destination. He is nervous but he was more so when he led Justin out here in that snowy winter night under the silvery moonlight. Because he knew then. That time has passed though and there is no going back. He can no longer think about it. The shooting guard looks back and smiles to signify that they are almost there. Only a couple more steps and he will have to act out what he has been pushing himself in his mind to do. The ring is burning a hole in his pocket and threatening to fall and get lost under leaves and grass. He has to breathe.

"Come here," Bryant pulls her through the last bit of forest and into the vivid opening. "I want you to see this."

"Wow. What is this place?"

"A lake. Someplace I come to think or be by myself."

"It's beautiful."

He contemplates and, "You should see it in winter."

"The Sun is going to set soon."

"Yeah I know. Are you alright?"

Vanessa looks out as far as her eyes can see, "Yes. This place is perfect. I can see why you come here."

"I've been coming here for a long time. I like it even more in the winter."

"Oh. We should have spent some time up here this past winter then."

"Maybe," Kobe immediately gets uncomfortable at the mention of the idea.

"---So---why are you showing me this place now?" Vanessa questions.


He has already come this far and he truly does love her. And he loves the baby inside her more than life itself so this has to be the right step to complete their family. The necessary step. Bryant looks out into the pale blue waters of the untouched lake and sees the Sun rapidly dipping below mountains. It was now or never he felt. If his nerves did not deter him then something else would. He just has to take the leap of faith inside himself and hope for the best. His fingers caressed the hard bump in his pocket and his throat suddenly feels dry. Vanessa walks up to her boyfriend and hugs him from the back but he breaks away and positions her in the perfect spot as he rehearsed in his mind. She is confused as to what is going on but says nothing as Kobe's face gives nothing away. It looks to be void of emotions and she is about to say something but stops when she sees him get down on one knee in front of her.

"Oh my God---" she says, completely unaware as she covers her mouth with her hands.

With his right hand over his heart and his head bowing down, the basketballer begins to speak, "Vanessa you are my heart. I've loved you for almost as long as I've known you and I can't imagine not waking up every day for the rest of my life without you next to me. I am a better man because of you and I am a lucky man because of you. Let me be worthy of you because I love you with everything that I am. You are my one. My only. Will you marry me?"

After he asks the big question the superstar baller digs into his pocket to present the ring he meticulously picked out only for this occasion. And he looks up to her, to her eyes, waiting for the answer they both want to hear. The case opens to reveal the flawless ring and she looks too stunned and surprised by everything to even react or respond. But Vanessa does start crying because it is too much for her. Kobe immediately sees this and hops up from kneeling to embrace her. Whispering words of encouragement and love, he tries to calm her down but he knows that the tears are overwhelmingly happy ones so he stops and just holds her in the waning sunlight. They really should be getting back because it will be dark soon but this moment has his undivided attention. No work. No career. No Justin. They are the only two people left in the world and Bryant is eagerly awaiting and anticipating his answer.

"I'm sorry," Vanessa sniffles a little when they break apart.

"No don't be. I know this is an emotional time for you."

"Yes," she says shortly.

"Yes? You'll marry me?" he tries to get everything straight.

"Yes. Yes. Yes."

Hearing the answer makes him go wild and lose his demeanor from before and they kiss and kiss passionately under the already sinking Sun. Streams of tears still run down her face but she is beyond happy that her boyfriend has finally made the ultimate commitment to her. They are going to be married and live happily ever after with their unborn son or daughter. The Los Angeles Laker holds on to his new fiancée and kisses her one more time before reaching into his pocket to retrieve the ring. Something that was forgotten with the fog of emotions that the proposal caused but it will be rectified now because she deserves it and so much more. She looks on as he opens the leather-bound box to reveal the beautiful piece of jewelry it once concealed. Vanessa is in awe just by looking at it and starts weeping again when it touches the nail and skin of her left ring finger. He begins to put it on for the first time.

"There---we go," he says after it slides on and fits as it should.

"Oh my---" she can barely speak and only stares at it. "It's magnificent Kobe."

"Do you like it?"

"I love it. I love you."

Bryant smiles as he goes in for a kiss and then, "I love you too. More than you'll ever know Vanessa."

"I can't believe we're going to get married."

"Anything you want baby. But it's already dark so we better head back."


His fiancée says it like she does not want to leave the place but they have to go back now. It could become dangerous if they spend any more time out in the vast wilderness and in the dark. One more glance back at the lake, the space that means so much to him, and the newly engaged couple begins to make their way back through tree branches and shrubs to the house. Vanessa cannot stop looking at the ring as they walk back together because she is so happy. It is exactly what she wanted; the custom ring itself as well as him proposing. He is supposed to feel happier than this. This moment is supposed to make him feel special and grand because it is something he has wondered about since being little but there are hardly any feelings inside him. Kobe feels hollow and alone but smiles when she looks up at him to signify how happy she is. It is not supposed to be this way. Feel like this.

The pair emerges from the wood and onto the backyard of the house as the Sun is more than gone now. Lights from around the house guide their way better and he keeps the fake smile on his face but his mind is only on Justin. He was the first person to see that special spot by the lake after all. Coming here was a mistake. Bryant cannot help feeling this way because it is one of the happiest times of his life right now but a shadow or entity is hanging over it to ruin everything. They enter the house and he locks the sliding door behind them and hears Vanessa ask if he wants something to eat. While his stomach is empty, he has no appetite to eat anything so he declines and sits on the sofa to start watching TV. He is about to flick on the television when she comes in and sits to straddle him and starts kissing his face and neck. His hands just rest on either side of her as the assault happens.

"Oh---that's nice," the basketballer gets out.

"You like that?"

"Uhuh---like that."

"Let's go upstairs."

She gets off the sofa and grabs his hand to get him up as well. Everything downstairs is locked up and lights are off as they make their way through the first floor and to the staircase. His brain is too far gone to think about what is really going on. He just wants to be by himself to think or have someone to talk to before he explodes trying to keep it all in. Vanessa is leading him into their bedroom but he is in no mood to make love to her. But he must put on a brave face because he is supposed to be happy. So Bryant scoops her up into his arms and carries her into their bedroom. This is supposed to be a happy time in his life. It has to be. They kiss on the way there and he still finds himself comparing. Justin's lips are supposed to be rougher and tougher than hers because he is a guy but it is so far from the truth. It is weird. Kobe wants to shake his mind free of the vice grip it is in. Still to this point.

His new fiancée is a little heavier than he knows her to be but there is a reason for that. But he is still able to take her into their bedroom and easily rest her on their bed with their lips continually being pressed against one another's. Some part of him is unsure about this. Aside from him not being in the mood, the basketballer is scared that he might hurt the baby if they have intercourse. There is no statistical probability of course but he is still concerned that they should not be having sex. Vanessa has fallen deep into the mood though because of her overpowering happiness due to being engaged. Bryant runs his tongue over her lips and enters her mouth freely and knows how quickly this will escalate into something serious. She is already beginning to take his shirt off and feeling the skin of his back. He pulls up and back but she follows him to keep their lips together. He does it again.

"What's wrong baby? Why'd you stop?" she questions his inopportune timing.

"I---I'm not sure---"

"Are you alright?"

Her fiancé fastens his shirt back to his body and, "I don't want to hurt you."

"What are you talking about?" Vanessa sits up and becomes serious.

"The baby I mean. I don't want to hurt the baby."

"Oh Kobe. You're so sweet---but so misguided."

"What does that mean?"

A part of him knows there is no way in the world he can harm the baby because it is not possible. But he really feels disconnected from the world right now and does not want to make love to her. He only wants to be by himself to try and work through all these conflicting emotions he is feeling. He feels that he has lost piece of himself or a quality that makes him a man. It is not true but something inside the baller is missing. Vanessa did say yes to his marriage proposal but he still feels so alone inside. She crawls on the bed and gets up on her knees to hold on to his body. This is obviously something she wants to do right now so he has to oblige her. Kobe will stop hurting her and this is one small step towards that. He kisses her softly although he still wants her explanation. Maybe then it will be real. Maybe hearing the words will snap him out of his own head and he will be able to make love to her.

"It means that there is no way you can hurt the baby sweetheart. And, the doctor says it's more than okay for us to be intimate. In fact, she encourages it," she states when their lips are no longer together.

"I just don't want anything to happen."

"Aww baby. Nothing will. I promise."


He kisses her softly before lifting up his shirt to reveal his chocolate body. She works her way back onto the bed and he follows her because there is no getting out of it right now. But he knows he will be able to perform so there will be no worrying or awkwardness in case it does not happen. The shirt is tossed aside and his hand rests on her thigh as he hovers over her to bring their lips together again. Kobe closes his eyes and tries hard to get into the mood; it will come eventually. Vanessa wraps her legs around his lower body and grinds their clothed hips against one another's to get a rise out of her man. He too grinds back to meet her while beginning to work off her blouse. Buttons become undone and her shirt too is tossed away when she is down kissing and sucking on his neck as if she wants blood. It is erotic in a vampiric way and his neck has always been one of his more sensitive spots.

Justin knows this all too well. His hands are on her breasts groping them through fabric as one of her hands run down his bare chest to grab his manhood. She knows he likes it when he is grabbed there so she wastes no time giving him what he wants. Her stomach is beginning to show but unless she tells people, they would not suspect a thing because she does a great job of hiding it. Bryant pulls her bra down and attacks her breasts with his tongue and mouth. Hands squeezes through buttons to get pants free and he wiggles out of them and tosses the pair away with his foot. Now he is getting in the mood because he is forcing himself too badly. The baby is still on the basketballer's mind but having sex will not hurt her or him. She too comes out of her pants and has since taken her bra away. He hooks onto her panties and slides them down to have her completely naked under him.

Pregnancy agrees with her because she is glowing from head to toe. She used to be enough for him but not anymore. Being with her is still satisfying of course but now the LA Laker knows how much more he can be involved in. Well, before Timberlake left him anyway. Her legs are split as he is licking her to solicit moans and pleads for more. He flickers his tongue quickly and roughly against her vagina while stroking her legs and her hands on his head. This is the only foreplay he is willing to do because he wants this over. Kobe wants her sleeping so he can think or be by himself or go outside to scream. But she will never know of his growing anxiety and unhappiness. He is thinking about his child's future. And to best raise and protect his child, marrying and living with his or her mother is the only way to go. They can never know about his past with Justin Timberlake. It would ruin him.

"You ready?" he asks.

"I'm waiting for you."

"Then maybe I'll keep you waiting," her fiancé teases her.

"You can't do that. I'm carrying your child. And I'm so horny," Vanessa sucks and licks his index finger seductively. "This pregnancy makes me horny all the time. I need you."

"You're so dirty---" Bryant laughs and it breaks the serious mood his mind is in.

"I know how you like it. Now give it to me."

He is being extremely unfair and selfish by staying inside his mind and only worrying about himself and his feelings. She is ecstatic that they are finally engaged and only wants to show her boyfriend how grateful and happy she is that they are one step closer to walking down the aisle. Being in this same bed makes him such a hypocrite. A two-faced hypocrite in the worst possible way. Sleeping here with her and with him makes Bryant both a liar and a cheater and the worst kind of adulterer. This is where he slept with Justin for all those night and now he is sleeping with his new fiancée here too. The room still belongs to the young singer though. This whole house does and he realizes what a stupid move it was to bring her here to propose. Maybe he will end up selling this place because the memories here are too much. Vanessa probably will not allow it though. She got engaged here.

Their hands interlace like a pair of genuine lovers as he begins to enter her to heightened gasps and moans. She is extra sensitive all over because of the baby so his touch and penetration is amplified tenfold; it is not enough. He is careful to go extra slow even though he can never reach the baby but the stigma is still there and he cannot seem to get rid of it. Kobe pushes easily but she is pushing against him because she wants the friction already. Vanessa wants to feel his body inside hers. It is this act that created the life that is now growing inside her and it is the most beautiful thing. She lowers herself even more onto her man's throbbing dick and gets ready to ride it. The baby is the furthest thing from her mind because her hormones are unstable and she is always horny for sex. It does not always have to be love. Bryant feels all of himself inside her and wants to wait but she cannot do so.

Her legs are on either side of him and she begins moving back and forth against the bed to create a rhythm between them. He starts to get into in and meets with her thrusts while he lean in for a kiss. Her legs now hook onto his lower back and she begs him to pick up the pace in only a way she knows how to. Tongues explore familiar grounds and bodies yearn for passion overflow as both of them get into a routine rhythm of lovemaking. But as slow and patient the baller wants to be, his fiancée wants is faster and harder. She wants that spot deep inside here assaulted almost to the point of being broken. It is the pregnancy. Reluctantly, he obliges her request and moves faster and deeper into her. It is to the point where their raw skin smacks against one another's in harsh sounds and Vanessa only wants it more. She really is horny and wanting him in the worst way possible. He only gives.

The newly placed ring on her finger shines and fits her magnificently. His eyes are focused on it as he continues to plow her with great force to hit her spot over and over again. He feels himself getting close to finishing and is sure that she is not far behind. Hopefully she will be too tired to do it again because he really does not want that. She bites his bottom lip and scratches his back and arms as if she is trying to possess him. Or like it is some sort of sexual ritual that must be performed. Bryant does not mind this but he hates having scratches on his back. He licks her neck and pushes further into her as if he is trying to reach the baby. This moment cannot be tainted by thoughts of insecurity and Timberlake. Like this whole day has been. So he is finally able to put it out of his mind and continue pleasuring his soon to be wife. Kobe is unsure if she will want the wedding before or after the baby.

"Uhuh! Harder baby! Hit my spot---" Vanessa screams out in ecstasy. "Right there---"

"I'm close."

"Me too. Give it to me!"

That sensual voice and her touch send his insides shivering and he concentrates with all that he is to satisfy her as much as he can. Her sensual body quivers under him and it is enough to send him over the edge so he drives into her one last time to release himself there. He has to use the bed for support and feels her tongue on his ear and jaw as she encourages him. Once perfect thrusts are now a crumbled mess and the basketball stud softens and pulls out of her. Once resting side by side, the pair engages in pillow talk before Vanessa kisses him goodnight and trails off to sleep. Bryant can only look at her but he has to look away soon after because all the guilt is festering inside him and the longings are still there. He has to get away if only for a quick moment so he gets up and walks to the bathroom to clean himself up. The mirror will not see his eyes right now. It will only hurt more.

Lying in bed, Kobe has to wonder what it all means. It is like he is forced to. What life has in store for him and why he was so easily taken away from Vanessa to be with Justin. Sleep will not come to him now and he does not even look over at her as she is fast asleep His eyes only dart from the ceiling to the large windows showcasing outside and back. He is supposed to be happy but he is not satisfied; a piece is missing and he does not have the tools to find it. A hopeless situation thrusted unto him. The shooting guard closes his eyes to maybe fall asleep but that smile is there. Those pristine blue eyes enflame him. As quickly as they close they are open again and he clears his throat and rubs the back of his neck. A headache is coming on. Despite his selfishness, there is a child to think about. And Bryant only wants a little boy. A little boy who is nothing like his lying father. I'm engaged.