Justin slammed the driver's side door of his Mercedes and ran towards the front door of the hospital. Camera flashes sparked all around him, almost blinding his path to the sliding glass doors of the entrance. Security held the reporters back as they shouted questions at the blonde haired man pushing his way through:
"Do you know the condition Britney is currently in?" "Where were you at the time of the accident?" Justin ignored them all, his face set like stone and his gaze set straight ahead. He no longer cared about the media, or what they thought of his relationship, the only thing that mattered was her.
Once inside, he made a line straight to the reception desk. "Where is she?" he demanded.
The receptionist looked up at the harsh tone and recognized the famous young face looking back at her. Becoming flustered, she scrambled through the papers scattered on her desk and finally found the on she was looking for. "Room 238B. Right up the hall and to the left."
Justin was gone almost before she could finish. The crowd in the waiting room watched his determined stride as he quickly turned the corner. Bodyguards stood at either side of Britney's door, their faces set in a sad, cold, stony silence. They saw him, nodded silently, and opened the wooden door labeled 238B.
Britney's mother, Lynne, caught him lightly by the arm and stopped him before he stepped inside. "She's unconscious.. but every so often she calls out for you..." Something caught in her throat and she forced it down before she could continue, "The doctors don't know what will happen. They say the next 24 hours are the most critical. She needs you Justin..."
Justin nodded and embraced Lynne tightly. She had always been like a second mother. "I need her too Lynne.. I won't let her go." He turned and stepped inside the room, closing the door behind him.
There she was, lying in the hospital bed, motionless. Justin's heart wrenched in pain at the sight of her head bandaged up in white cloth, stained with blood. From the first moment he had heard the news, it felt as if his heart had been put into a vice, and with each second someone turned it a notch tighter:
The phone rang. Justin casually picked it up, "Hello?"
"Justin, it's Lynne. Britney's been in a car accident. She's at the hospital. Please hurry.. she keeps calling for you..."
He looked at her, leaning against the closed door. Her eyes were closed, and she almost looked...
Justin stopped himself from taking that thought any further, walked over to the empty chair beside her bed, and sat down. She looked so fragile, like a china doll that could break at the slightest gentle touch. Britney had always been so strong, it killed Justin to see her like this... so helpless.
He slipped his strong hand into her soft, slender one. "Hey B.. I'm here." He gave her hand a soft squeeze of reassurance. She was still silent and did not move.
'God.. Why did it have to be her?' Justin asked silently. 'I can't lose her.. she's my everything, I need her.. please.'
Emotions built up behind Justin's bright blue eyes, and as he felt the oncoming of tears, he closed them. "Britney.. I'm here for you, just like I'll always be here for you. I'll always be here Britney."
"J..." she whispered, almost inaudibly.
Justin's eyes shot back open and he looked down at her. She was still motionless, and for a moment Justin thought he had imagined her call. "Britney.. I need you. Just like I support you, you support me. I can't go on without you. Everytime I've needed someone.. you were there. You were always there, and I still need you to be there.. please.."
Tears slowly rolled down Justin's cheeks as he picked up Britney's hand and held it against his chest.
"J... Where are you?..." the hushed words tumbled from Britney's pale lips.
"I'm here Britney, I'm here." He ran the back of his hand sofly against her cheek. "Please don't leave me.. I don't think I can do this without you. I wouldn't ever be the same without you in my life... Open your eyes Britney, come back, talk to me please!"
The tears streamed down Justin's face. 'Why did you do this to her?! To me?!' he demanded silently, 'I can't lose her.. please don't take her from me yet..' He never quite realized how much this spunky girl from Louisiana had meant to him until now. He was on the brink of losing the girl he known for almost forever.. a life long best friend.
The other guys of *NSync quickly arrived, one after the other. They silently waited with Lynne outside Britney's door. No one spoke and they stood together silently praying for their friend.
"J... I need you... Where are you?..." Britney whipered, and her eyelids slightly fluttered, but remained closed.
Britney's words made Justin come to another realization. He didn't care about their managment, the media, or the fans. Britney was his life, his love, and his future.
"I need you too Britney. We both need each other. You can't leave me. Not yet.." He took a deep breath, "I want to be with you for the rest of my life. In my future.. the only sure thing I see is you. You and I together, it's the only thing that makes sense to me. I can't think of my life with anyone else... Britney, I love you."
"I love you, J... C.."
Justin was stunned and felt his heart rip in two. Her words were soft, but clear. He dropped her hand and it fell neatly beside her on the bed as Justin stumbled backwards, knocking his chair over in the process. A look of complete disbelief and pain fell over his face as a new set of tears sprung to his eyes.
"Britney.. what?.. why.." he whispered, as pain tore through his heart and then further rampaged his entire body. The one.. the only girl he ever truly trusted, who he gave his heart to.. and his best friend had betrayed him, together.
"J... Where are you..?" she called again.
But it wasn't Justin she called for, and the single letter ripped through him like a knife. The painful tears stung Justin's eyes and his voice caught in his throat as he turned away from her, unable to look at her anymore.
The other guys had heard the loud clanging of Justin's chair hitting the floor and quickly entered the room. They saw Britney, still lying motionless on the stark white hospital bed, and Justin on the other side of the room, turned away, staring at the floor.
"J... C.. I need you.." Britney's hushed whisper filled the room.
The room was absolutely silent. Justin turned and looked at JC. His eyes were red and dry, there were no tears left now. In their deep pools of blue there was a hint of a love-light, that once burnt brightly, but was now lost.. never to be found again. Lines of worry and concern were etched into his face, and it made him seem years older than what he was.
He looked at his best friend and said nothing. His eyes were blank. Despair and sadness had left nothing but empty shell. Taking one last look at Britney, he silently turned from the room and left.