~*~ 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-Nine

~*~ Stealing Seconds to Make a Lifetime ~*~



Vanessa was up early in the morning and voices could be heard throughout the house. Maybe she was entertaining. Bryant emerged from the shower hoping it was going to clear his mind but it was a failure. Justin's actions in the bathroom during the gala still had him on edge and his eyes gave nothing away. There were as cold as ice from the harshest regions of the world; the vivid blue sea that used to be in them had frozen over into a thick wasteland. And it was his fault. The shooting guard knew this but still held out a little hope of them getting back together and being the couple they once were. Beads of water are stuck on his skin as he was in front of the mirror and getting ready to brush his teeth. Life felt so incomplete without having the songster to talk to. She was too good to him of course but Kobe knew he could never talk to her to way he talked to him. It just was not that way.

Throwing on some clothes to cover his tall body, he made his way out of their room and down the stairs to see who the guest or guests were that was in their house so early in the morning. But the basketballer stopped at the foot of the stairs and started to feel a little sick as he began to overhear what was being said. She had hired a wedding planner it would seem. But she never said anything about it. Maybe it happened recently and she forgot to mention it. Both have been preoccupied in their minds, especially him. With a baby coming and him not being sure now if the mother was who he wanted in life, the emotional roller coaster inside Kobe threatened to derail and expose him for who he really was. A liar and a cheat incapable of feeling or exchanging genuine emotions. The Los Angeles Laker listened on as they already started talking about flowers and guests and venues. No backing out now.

"Good morning honey," he greeted once he walked into the kitchen and saw papers and swatches and samples scattered all across the table in the nook. "Oh, we have a guest."

"Morning babe---" Vanessa got up and kisses his cheek. "Yes---this is our wedding planner. Her name is Verona Kay and she is highly sought after so be nice."

"I'm always nice," Kobe told. "It's a pleasure to meet you Ms. Kay."

"Verona---please. And the pleasure is all mine Mr. Groom."

The lady, who looked to be in her mid to late twenties, got up and shook his hand. She was slightly taller than his fiancée and had raven-black hair with a dark shade of green for eyes. She looked to be Italian, or at least partly so, and was professionally dressed and groomed for her meeting. Vanessa informed him that she hired her about a week after they got engaged and that they have been busy with planning ever since. It was also evident by the mess the breakfast nook was in how busy they were. Kobe wanted to extricate himself from this situation because he really was starting to feel sick for some unknown reason. After introductions, he walked over to the refrigerator to grab a bottle of orange juice. His stomach is just not hungry so juice it was. Both women took their seats across from one another and got back into the groove of working as Bryant made his way over to see what was going on.

"So, Kobe---will you be joining us here at the table? I value all the input I can get from the couple," she invited him to sit with them.

"I have to run errands today. Maybe sometime soon," Bryant was his charming self. "I just have to say that I love her so much and money is no object for this wedding. Whatever she wants I'm fine with because I love her and I trust her."

"You heard that right Verona? Time to start spending all his millions," Vanessa teased and smiled.

"---Very funny. Well if that's all---I'll be heading out ladies."

"Wait a minute. Can you look over the guest list and see if there is anyone else you want to add?"

"Now baby?"

"Yes now. Come on---"

He sat next to her and gave a look when she placed a very long list of names in front of him to study and go over. Kobe really did not want to be doing this right now and he was completely honest when he said he trusted her taste for the wedding and that anything she wanted he wanted. But she must want him to share in this experience with her. For them to bond even deeper than they already were. All women got like that during this important time in their life so he did not fault her for it. The pair of them was already busy talking colors and table sizes and shapes as he began to run down the list. There were a lot of people on the list from her side of the family and many friends; some whom they have not spoken to in years. Now they were talking about table linings and touching on centerpiece ideas. Bryant continued his work until he got to the last page when his heart surely skipped one beat after the next.

"When---uh---when do you plan on sending out the invitations?" the baller was nervous and anxious.

"Guests should already be receiving them. We sent them out a while back," the wedding planner stopped her work and informed him.

"Why? What's wrong honey? Do you need to add more people?" Vanessa was the one to speak.

"No nothing. Can I talk to you for a minute?"


Both excused themselves from the table and headed to the other side of the kitchen for some privacy before, "You invited Jessica---and Justin?"

"Yeah. Jessica and I talked during that gala event and got to know each other. Why? Is something wrong?" her eyes were only on his.

"No---I mean we barely know them," Bryant tried to cover his tracks.

"Well I can't take back the invitation. He probably already got it by now. And you two seemed like you were getting along at the event. Is there a problem?"

"No---no. No problem at all. I was just a little surprised I guess. Caught off guard."

"Well don't worry. Both of them seem like really nice people. It will be great to have them there. Don't you think?"

Kobe lied through his teeth with, "Yeah sure sweetheart. Whatever you say."

"Okay okay. I get the hint. I know you want to head out and get away from all this wedding stuff. A man can only take so much. Go run your errands."

"There isn't anyone else I want to add. I think you covered everyone."

"Okay good. So I'll see you later then?"

The basketballer kisses her on her cheek, "Yeah. See you Verona."

"Take care Mr. Groom."

This was all news to him. Everything was moving so fast when it came to the wedding but seeing Justin's name on that list caused him to stop in his tracks. The morning has taken such a disastrous turn that plans had to be changed. He could no longer go and run his errands anymore; instead he had to go clean up a huge mess Vanessa inadvertently made by inviting his ex boyfriend to their wedding. That would only be salt on his wounds and this was why Bryant made extra sure not to say anything about their engagement when they were all at the gala together. But she had to have mentioned it to Jessica and this was probably how they got to talking. Heated blood was rushing through his veins when he got into one of the cars parked outside and sped off toward only one destination. Kobe's mind was racing and he knew the day was going to be difficult. He continually kept hurting Timberlake after all.


And this is where he ends up in front of his ex boyfriend's mansion, a little nervous to actually knock on the door to signify his presence. The front gate is uncharacteristically open so he is able to get onto the property without detection. Bryant waits in front of the double doors to try and gather his thoughts or work up the courage to knock on the door. He lends his back to it and looks out to notice the Lamborghini parked off to the corner. It still looks brand new and practically untouched. Maybe he just washed it. He is being ridiculous and turns back around and knocks on the door in front of him. The house seems to be so quiet. Like maybe no one is home. But then an engine roars from behind and a car pulls into the driveway with the gate closing behind it. Kobe turns around to see a car driving up and parking on the driveway; it dies shortly after. Justin steps out and they look at one another.

"What? What are you doing here?" the former N*SYNCer grips his keys as he walks up to the front porch of his house where his ex boyfriend is standing.

"I---need to talk to you."

"Of course you do. Would it happen to be about a piece of mail I received?" his face and tone is unchanged from its hard exterior.

"You know? You---got it?"

"I did."

"Listen---I didn't know that she invited you. I never thought something like this would happen. Can we go inside and talk?" Bryant begins explaining himself but asks instead.

"Isn't that what we're doing here?"

"Please Justin---"

He moves aside so that the megastar can open the door that leads into his house. A presumptuous move but something that has to be done. There is hesitation and anger for a brief moment at his unknown cockiness but it happens and both become privately tucked away from the world. Justin does not want to get upset anymore or fight or even talk to him. What they had has passed and he has to pick up the pieces and move on. All the plotting and need for revenge and power made him lost to himself and also pushed away his once great friend Chad. Bryant studies him, as they are both silent, and wonders what he is thinking or how he is doing. He wonders if he will run into the same man as that night at the gala event. That uncaring and almost heartless man that the Justin Timberlake he knows is nothing like. A raw moment between them; the combination of jagged words and negative energy.

"So it's true then? You wouldn't be here if it wasn't."

"I'm sorry. I didn't know she had already sent them out or that she invited you," the baller looks at him but their eyes do not connect.

"Why did you come here? Just to tell me that?"

"I didn't want you finding out this way. We are getting married."

"The invitation already told me that," Justin continues coldly.

"Can you look at me? I don't want this negative energy between us anymore. The Justin I saw in the bathroom at the gala that day is not the Justin I know. The Justin I loved."

Timberlake still refuses to look his former boyfriend in the eyes. There is no need to. He simply came to explain the invitation and now he should be going. There is no more room for talking. Wheels are already set into motion to make the basketballer a married man and no matter how hurt and angry he may be, he will never come in between someone else's happiness that way. Being hurt that way profoundly changes a person and his persona decided to lash out at the world and even everyone who cared for him. But that is all over now. The R&B star realizes just how immature he was being on his secret vendetta against this man and how it amounted to nothing as badly as he wanted it. Maybe it was supposed to bring closure or recapture power or just make him forget but it managed to do none of those things. Justin wonders what is going to happen now. It really is the end for them.

"Save it! Your lies were more convincing when I cared," he dismisses his emotions and quickly says.

"You're saying you don't anymore?"

"What are you doing?"

"Don't end us Justin. I'm not giving up on you."

The words cut so badly that it spurs something inside the singer and, "You're fucking crazy! You're engaged to be married. Did you forget about that?"

"No. I just miss you so much. I miss being with you. Talking to you. Holding---"

"---Stop! Stop it! This is some kind of sickness with you. I hate you. I hate what you did to me," Timberlake says in between gritted teeth.

"You know, the opposite of love isn't hate---it's indifference. And if you hate me then that tells me that we're still connected and that you still care," Kobe Bryant honestly does not know what he is doing but the words are just flowing out of him as if they are driven by some supernatural force.

Something inside him breaks loose and it can no longer contain his anger. As badly as he wants to keep this visit short and a civil one, the words he is hearing cut like a razor and his insides start to bleed all over again. After it took so long for it to start mending and healing. Almost closed scars have been sliced open and Justin cannot contain his outburst. It is not fair. The basketballer's overconfident words and his seemingly smug attitude are driving him back to a place he is still struggling to get out of and leave in the past. He is getting married and yet he is still saying all these things that should no longer be true. Should no longer be felt. How can he be going through with this if he still has all the unresolved feelings? Timberlake is confused by this conversation but he knows he wants to stop. They no longer have anything to say to each other because marriage is the last step. They cannot be saved.

"Go. I don't want you here anymore. Leave before I say things I don't want to," the songster turns around to finally face him and almost demands.

"I didn't mean to upset you J. It's---not as easy to talk to you as it used to be," Kobe says from his heart.

"Why should you care? You've already moved on and so have I. Nothing left to say or do or feel---"

"We both know that's a lie. What we had will never come along again for either of us."

"You are the biggest hypocrite. I can't believe I used to---" he begins but stops himself right at the peak.

"---Love me? Being around you makes me say and do stupid things sometimes. It's just how I get. You do something to me. I'm sorry."

The Los Angeles Laker hangs his head after apologizing as if he is thinking or worried somehow. Things have escalated so tensely between them in such a period of time that both men are still in amazement by it. These feelings are no longer supposed to be here. Frustrations and hurt are boiling over the top and Timberlake walks into the first room from the front door and sits on a sofa there to regain himself. He will not let this man get the best of him; he cannot continue to get the best of him. But he can identify with how he feels. When they were together before the songster himself has been guilty of saying or doing something weird or wacky at times. But both would usually laugh it off or laugh at how awkward the situation was. Despite everything, they were so comfortable near one another that those few tongue-tied moments were just laughed off and never thought off again. But not anymore.

"I love you Justin. I've always loved you," he is saying.

"No. You don't get to say that to me. Not now. Not anymore---" the former boybander's voice trails off.

"I know. I know I owed you the truth. I should have told you from the beginning."

"You owed me your fidelity."

It is the truth of course. Neither of them would be here and in this situation if Kobe was honest with himself and his ex boyfriend from the very beginning. From that very first meeting in the locker room after that charity game. Now they cannot express their feelings because they can no longer be together. And he is going to marry a woman he has been with for years. Timberlake can in no way compete with that nor does he want to anymore. There is no future for them so all these words and unsolved feelings are meaningless. Despite dipping so low, he still has some of his dignity and morality intact. Silence fills the room and both think of which other directions this conversation can go. The tension in the room is starting to make him sick and give him a headache. No two people should ever be placed under such intense pressure and scrutiny. Bryant knows he is not making the right decision.

A stunning move shocks them both when Timberlake takes off the necklace with its encrusted diamonds. In a span of only a few moments it has become far too much of a burden to carry so it must go. The memories tied to it was of a much happier time when the future of their relationship shone brightly but it is no longer the case and he is finally able to remove it from around his neck. Kobe looks on but remains quiet because he is unsure of what to say or even do. So many complex emotions are bouncing off them both that it is confusing and tiresome to try and sort through them all. All the sacrifices were for nothing. The secret meetings and having their schedules purposely intersecting was only a waste of time because it all lead to this. He is tied to a woman because of a baby and the other is dating a beautiful actress for the press. And to hurt his ex boyfriend. There is just no looking back now.

"I don't want this back," the shooting guard says when the expensive piece of jewelry ends up in his closed palm.

"I don't want it at all."

"Justin don't be like this. I want you to keep it."

"Memories that will never come true again," is Timberlake's out of place response.

"They can if you want them to. If you let them."

Bryant moves closer to him and their bodies touch for the first time in what seems like ages. His shoulders are still sculpted and muscled. His chest is still warm and cascading. Those lips are still begging to be kissed and tasted. But he is scared of kissing him. Scared that touching another set of lips that are not Vanessa's will somehow make their engagement invalid. Make her ring a worthless piece of rock. His mind just cannot help itself though and those eyes are the same as ever. So vibrantly blue with the faint promise of hope and love. Still. Even after everything he put Justin through his eyes are so optimistic. Deep past the layers of wanted revenge and unforgivable betrayal and cold loneliness. He is truly a remarkable man. This only solidifies that even more. Timberlake remains completely still as he is being approached and is frightened to let himself fall into this love again. It will not stop.

"No---" the former N*SYNCer so softly whispers as if his life's essence is being drained away from him.

"Please---let me. Please," their lips are closer now than they have been in months.


"I want to. And so do you."

Timberlake blinks his eyes for what seems like the first time ever and, "I---have to be strong. Take it and go."

He is in a dream-like state and his words drag on into eternity. They are so soft-spoken and surreal that he wonders what really is going on around him. If they were just that close together or if he is now hanging on by his last shred of sanity and good humanity. Justin blinks over and over to try and remove the glazed look from his eyes and bring himself back to reality because there is no use in going down this road again. No matter how good it may feel, there will never be only two people in this relationship and the songster is not going to share. He regains himself and steps back and away from the dangerous situation that is Kobe Bryant. Lips never touched and emotions never became validated. The basketballer looks at him as he pulls away and remembers where he is. He did not come here to say all these things but it is just flowing out of him as blood would were he deeply cut. It is difficult.

"Please---I don't want to go." Bryant almost pleads to stay.

"I can't be around you like this. Not anymore."

"Sometimes, you hurt the person you love the most," he is saying. "I've heard people say this but never believed it until now."

"What does that mean? You're going to hurt her?"

"No. But I don't love her the most."

"Why are you marrying her then?" Justin asks the fair question and looks at his once boyfriend directly in his eyes.

"Because I love her. And---"


"And---she's pregnant."

It should have been expected but the words cut through him like a bloodthirsty saw without remorse or shame. And now all the pieces fit together to create a wholesome picture that is flawed and based upon sacrificing emotions. Justin cannot look at him as these words are spoken and only wants him to leave now. There really is nothing left to say after it is all out in the open. This is why the baller came to his house. Not because of the invitation or the wedding but to explain his reasoning behind the wedding. The pregnancy. He wonders how he is supposed to feel after hearing this. Maybe his heart will stop and give out on him. Maybe his entire life can no longer be held up by the sliver of hope that somehow, things were going to work between them. Timberlake cannot stop being hurt by this man. He cannot stop allowing himself to fall over and over again. He cannot stop loving him. God---no.


Weeks pass by and he is still not able to get his head clear of what is going on around him. As the wedding date looms closer, Timberlake gets agitated and seemingly out of control for no apparent reason to the public. He lashes out at times and becomes very defensive when he hears even the slightest criticism. It is not healthy and he feels as if he is losing his mind. Like he is about to have a nervous breakdown or fall to pieces with no way of picking himself back up. Something has to be done because this cannot continue. There is also an overwhelming feeling inside him that he cannot trust anyone. Even people he has known and worked with for years. Justin is in a horrible place and only wants to move past it and on with his life. He is tired of Kobe Bryant hurting him. He is tired of holding on to a strand of hope that fate will put them back together. It all has to be over now.

His outbursts happen at any time and are becoming more frequent. Even against his managers and the people who hold his career in their hands. At a very important meeting earlier today to begin establishing his headlining tour he became irate and frustrated that things were not getting done as fast as he wanted them to be. His managers, publicist, and more important people were there and he acted extremely unprofessional. This marriage and baby is so far under his skin that he cannot help himself anymore. Justin cannot wrangle and control his emotions and Kobe Bryant is getting the best of him. The meeting ended early when he caught himself enough to say that he was not feeling well. A pathetic excuse but the songster did manage to get out of the situation but refuses to reexamine himself or what is going on internally. He is over this man. It is not supposed to affect him this way.

All his hard work of trying to move on has boiled down to nothing. Getting the basketballer out of his head and heart is now further away than humanly possible. The exact opposite is supposed to be true because this is another betrayal but Justin somehow feels like he has lost him all over again. It is a weird crosswire of emotions and nerves that is pushing his body to its absolute extreme limits. He cannot be around people. This negative force is gaining power inside and is making him say and do things that he would never be a part of were he not hurt. Sanity is being robbed from him with no way to hold on to it or stop what is happening. Outside is late night and the suite is lonely and dark as the former N*SYNCer lies on the bed with his eyes glued to the ceiling above him thinking about the meeting today and how out of place his behavior was. This cannot continue on. The cell phone rings by his head.

"J---what's going on? I got your message. You sounded out of it---" JC Chasez starts off even before he has a chance to greet the call.


"Talk to me Justin. I'm worried about you---"

"I can't do this anymore. I---just can't. I'm not strong enough."

"Do what Justin? Hey---are you crying?"

Tears stream down his face and he remains quiet to sob hoping that he would not be heard again. But it is no use as his former bandmate is busy firing off questions and asking for answers because of how worried and scared he is for his best friend. Justin uses the back of his hand to wipe away water from both his eyes but it is no use as they keep coming and he continues to sob as his body has no place else to turn. The built up emotions get him entangled in its web and he can no longer deny the fact that he is still as much in love with Kobe Bryant now as he was before their relationship broke apart. All the anger, resentment, and plotting got him back exactly to where he was before and that is what hurts the most. No progress has been made in all their time apart. The R&B songster controls his breathing and tries desperately to remain in control but it is a losing battle. Like it has always been.

"Justin---stop crying. Please talk to me," his best friend's words are desperate too.

"I'm losing Josh. I'm losing myself somehow---" he gets out in between labored breaths.

"Is this about Kobe? Did you see him? Did he say something to you?"

"No. Yes. I don't know."

"Don't cry. You're stronger than this. Don't cry J."

"But I'm not. I want him back. I want us back," Timberlake finally tells someone else what has been in his heart this entire time.

"You can't mean that. I know you don't."

Stillness is on the line once again and occasional sobs can be heard. Justin is startled inside himself that he just told someone else what he has tried to kill and destroy in his heart so many times. The kind of love that is only found once a lifetime for the select and fortunate few. He wants to take it back or end the call but he truly has nowhere else to turn with no one to talk with. A father that disowned and abandoned him. A mother who is uncomfortable with his lifestyle and still thinks her son will grow out of it. And a perfect man that he had to let slip through his fingers for the sake of his own sanity. Timberlake feels as if he is having a breakdown or that his heart has finally been sliced open to fully bleed out. Maybe it will shrivel and wither and die. JC stays quiet because he is thinking of what to say or how to approach what he should be saying. Blunt is the only way because of how gone his best friend is.

"Calm down okay Justin. Don't let him get to you this way. You are way too good for this. Too good to be feeling this way," Chasez tries to talk back.

"I'm not. I'm not good---enough."

"That bastard never deserved you. You know that deep down."

"I love him Josh. You don't know what and how long I've been trying to kill that love. I'm going crazy."

"You're not going crazy. Stop saying that J."

"I can't," the R&B crooner tries to get a hold of his rampant emotions and stop crying.

The situation seems hopeless as he tries to talk Justin out of the worst feeling his young life has experienced thus far. But the words are not so easily formed because of the delicacy of the circumstances and he does sympathize with him very deeply. But he can no longer harbor these illicit and salacious feelings for the basketballer. The man who broke his heart. Just grabs tissues nearby and wipes his eyes away as well as his running nose in an attempt to regain himself. The songster feels a throbbing headache coming on as his heart is being drowned out by watery tears. Maybe it will stop him from feeling anything every again. Maybe time will stop here so he will not continue to feel like the biggest failure with an irreparable vital organ. Timberlake sniffles and the tears subside for now as he closes his eyes to think on what his next move should be. If there are even any moves left to make.

The vendetta is obviously over and he has lost in the most terrible ways imaginable. All the plotting and planning and calculations have led him to fall on his face and worse, crush his own heart in the process. It was never worth it and now he has Jessica to deal with because she thinks he is very interested and dedicated to her. It is the furthest from the truth and now he has this relationship to deal with. Another thing Timberlake blinded himself to in his quest to bring Kobe to his knees. But he must love her if she is pregnant. It has to be the truth. He closes his eyes and remains silent as Chasez does so as well. All other options seem to be exhausted and there is nowhere left to go. This must have been bottom. This must be what it feels like now that he has truly opened himself up to feel again. But Justin needs a lot of work before he can rebuild his life and move on from the greatest love of his life.

"Come here---" JC says into the phone after an eternity of silence.

"---Huh? What?" his voice is more stable now.

"Come here. Stay with me. Drop off from the world."

"What? I---can't do that."

"Justin---you need time for yourself to recover and move past all this. Being out there in the public, you could slip up or break down. Even you need a break."

The distressed crooner thinks and, "I can't JC."

"Listen to me---you need this for yourself. None if it will mean anything if you can't live in your own skin."

"I can live in my own skin."

"Your head is a mess J. A jumbled, fragile mess. I know you. You have nowhere else to turn. Come here. To your head back together," his former bandmate makes all valid points.

"And what---so you can look out for me?"

"When am I not looking out for you Justin? I don't mind because I care so much for you. And you're hurt. Hurting---"

The singing megastar ponders these words and wonders if he can even drop off the face of the planet like he is being convinced to. There are so many things that are in the works for him. The tour being the biggest. But he also has television appearances lined up for the future as well as countless photo shoots and magazine interviews. His publicist would kill him were he to just pick up and disappear. But JC is right and ignoring that he needs time away to be by himself will only prove to be detrimental in the not so distant future. It is way easier said than done though and he is confused as to what he should be doing. His personal life has become such a spectacle and full of personal negativity that this is needed. Justin is tired of feeling drained out and alone and worthless because he could not hold on to love. A love that he still wants but is no longer an option. He has to get that now. There is no more time.

"I know you. We wouldn't even be having this conversation if you weren't in trouble. If you didn't have any idea what to do."

"Don't try to analyze me. And I told you I didn't," the former N*SYNCer is quiet but responds.

"That's not what I'm doing and you know it."

"I don't know what you're doing."

"I want you to come here so no one knows where you are. And take your time to sort through everything that's going on with you."

"And your girlfriend is okay with this?" he just has to know.

"She will be. This is my house too. Sort of---" Chasez laughs a silly but endearing laugh. "And you can spend time with Stella."

"Josh I don't think---"

"---So you're saying no to your goddaughter then?"

"Don't put this on her. I'm in serious trouble here Josh. I need time by myself."

"And you'll have that here. We'll leave you alone if you want. Please Justin."

"What about Jessica?"

It is a valid question because he consciously dragged the beautiful and unknowing actress into his whirlwind of a life and she is caught in the middle of the crossfire between him and his struggling emotions. He has to eject her from the sinking ship that is his life no matter how much he knows it will hurt her. Justin knows Jessica's feelings towards him are becoming serious and devoted and the guilt is overriding his sanity. Chasez remains on the line trying to convince him to drop off the face of the planet in Paris to bring his life back together. It sounds almost too good to be true but he really has nowhere else to turn. And he does not want anyone knowing where he is going and why he is going. The tears stop but his nose is stuffy and he is still feeling hopeless and like he will never again find what he had with the basketballer Kobe Bryant. It is a one in a lifetime love that is gone.

"I don't know why I did this---" Timberlake says with shame. "Put her in all this."

"You have to leave her behind. Leave it all behind. Come here and tell no one. You need this for you J."

"How can I do that with my career going the way it is? No one would understand my leaving."

JC says, "You would. And that's all that should and does matter Justin. You need to get better. You have to because you can't go on carrying these negative emotions. I'm scared of what could be next."

"What does that mean?" Justin asks.

"Drugs---alcohol---ruining your career. I don't think you know how far down these emotions can drag you."

Justin starts crying again but he does not want to. The words hurt badly because they are completely true. These broken emotions could be his downfall and has the great potential to ruin his career. Something he has worked so hard and dedicated himself to for so long. He has already had that one incident in Miami where Timbaland had to bring him back so it is not out of the realm of possibility that he turn to drugs to relieve himself of his stagnant emotions for Bryant. The R&B songster quietly sobs on the phone while his mind tells him that there are no other options left. The road has finally come to its dead end and he can neither move forward nor go back. JC remains quiet because he does not know what else to say. And he certainly cannot force his best friend or pressure him while he is in this obvious fragile state. That would be counterproductive and dangerous to push any further.

"Okay. Okay. I'll come," he is completely defeated and drained out.

"Justin---you do know this is the best thing for you right now right?"


The phone call ends and he tries to pull himself together and stop crying. This is the best thing for him. It has to be. Timberlake wipes his face with his hands and starts getting ready to leave everything and everyone behind. He is too emotionally raw to talk to anyone and sends an e-mail to his publicist that he will be unavailable until further notice. The message is short and says only want it needs to. The problem will be dealing with Jessica and hurting her for something that she truly does not deserve. The singer does not have the strength to break up with her and knows he will not have the mind to answer the questions she will have. This dark cloud hanging over his head is destroying his life. Justin makes sure everything is in order in his house and uses his own money to fund a private jet so no one can track him. It is slated to leave only a few hours from now so he continues packing.

His world is upside down and he cannot be here anymore. Their love is over and the bad blood between then is only his fault. Kobe is getting married and has a child on the way. They are lost to each other because he will not pry a father away from his family. He will not sink himself to that unforgivable level so now all his emotions have to be cut from his body. This is what Timberlake hopes to accomplish on this secret trip to Paris but he is concerned at how long it will take. He still struggles with lingering feelings for the baller and they have not been together or intimate in so long. Their relationship dissolved so long ago but he is still stuck in the same place now that he was all those months ago when he found out about her. Nothing has changed but the deep-seeded hatred for the man. Justin wipes the last of his tears away and gets ready to step outside and away from the world he knows.

A car arrives as the next hour passes by and Timberlake thinks about all the mistakes he has made in the past as he is being driven to the airport. All the time he wasted on a relationship he knew deep down had no future because of how high-profile he is. How high-profile they both are. Now he is left with a broken heart but knowing that he was at least able to experience true, real, passionate love at least once in his life. There is never going to be another like Kobe Bryant in his life and the R&B crooner is left feeling alone and guarded. His only focus is to get better and become the man he once was. The caring, laid-back man that did not plot and scheme and hurt innocent people or used them like pawns in some demented game from hell. Justin knows he has to get back to that if there is any chance of him moving on from his broken relationship and to start out anew. His world had to be broken in order for this to happen.

And he has to make peace with himself before he can make peace with his father. They have not spoken in so long and whenever they had, it was only a few words at a time and the tension caused by it was acidic. He does not want any more fighting or bad blood or negativity between them. The man is his only father and he is entitled to make mistakes just like everyone else. Just like so long ago when he left his wife. Justin closes his eyes and feels as if he is about to cry again but holds it in. It has been too much for the longest time but the rage drove him. Now that it is gone, the real emotions can see the light of his soul and healing can begin. He will stay with JC and Selene and Stella for as long as it takes for him to get better. And the one positive thing Timberlake can think about while he is staying there is that he will get to spend time his extraordinary goddaughter. Her light will bring him back to his true former self. The beautiful little girl has that effect on him.



The End