Graduation Present

Chapter Twelve

Kellen sat on the edge of the stage of Madison Square Gardens Arena. As he stared at the thousands of now empty seats, his mind raced with thoughts of the day. The show had gone well though he wasn’t allowed to play in it. His supervisors thought it best to have him sit this one out, but the show was a success. Kellen knew it sounded flat without his keyboard back-up, but the fans didn’t know that. They were more focused on the five singing stars of the show. He continued to sit there and think. Then the events of that morning invaded his thoughts like a thief…

The sun showed through the curtains of JC’s hotel room and into Kellen’s eyes. He stirred slowly. When he opened his eyes, he was facing his angel, his Josh. JC was peacefully sleeping. Kellen continued looking at JC. Then thoughts of the previous evening washed over him. He looked down at the sheets and then back up at JC. JC’s eyes were opened this time. Looking, looking right into Kellen’s eyes as though he were trying to read Kellen’s soul. "Good morning," JC said.

"Yeah, I guess," Kellen replied fidgeting his hands.

"Do you want to talk about it?" JC asked placing his hand on Kellen’s shoulder.

"Yes, and no," Kellen said. JC sat up to listen to him. Kellen sat up as well. "I want to talk about it because I know I need to get over it and talking it out is the best way. I don’t want to talk about it because part of me wants to wish the whole thing away like it never happened, but I know that is unrealistic."

"Kellen, I know that you want to forget the whole experience. I would also, but I want to be here for you." JC said. "If you ever want to talk about it, I’ll always listen. I promise." JC finished. They both shared a hug. Just then there was a knock at the door. JC and Kellen broke their hug and got off the bed. JC moved the blankets in the chair to look like he had been sleeping in it. Kellen just sat in the bed wondering how to deal with his friends, and supervisors. JC walked over to the door and opened it. He stepped aside as Ibrahim, Mel, the tour doctor and two unknown men came into the room. Kellen looked at each member of the group carefully. Ibrahim was caring for some papers, the doctor was carrying a folder, and Mel was carrying a laptop and what looked like a recorder. Kellen tensed when he saw one of the two strangers wearing a police uniform and the other wearing a suit with a badge hanging out of one of the coat pockets. "Can we help you guys?" JC asked.

"Hi, my name is Detective Richards; this is my partner Officer Michaels. We need to speak to Kellen about last night's events and get his statement." The stranger in the suit said shaking JC’s hand. He crossed the room and shook Kellen’s hand then put his things down on the table. He opened his briefcase and pulled out a writing pad, and a miniature tape recorder. "Can you come over here and sit down Mr. Bradley; I need to ask you some questions about last night. We found the crime scene and the man who apparently attacked you. We were able to conclude that there was a struggle involved. Is there anything else you can tell us?"

"Oh, there was a struggle alright." Kellen said nodding his head. "I was walking, and I thought I heard something behind me so I started running to get away from it, and was tackled from behind. The attacker turned me over onto my back and wouldn’t let me go." Kellen said trying to remember every detail. "I struggled as hard as I could to get free, but it was futile. He wouldn’t release me. He pulled out a cup and tried to force some liquid down my throat. I wouldn’t open my mouth and he grabbed my jaw and pried my mouth open. He said that I was going to enjoy it and to just let it happen. Then he undid my belt and pulled his own pants down. I lost it when he reached into my pants. I picked up a rock a hit him in the head with it. It stunned him and I got up to run away but he tore my shirt and grabbed my shoe. I kicked him with the other foot in the face. He fell to the ground, and I ran away as fast as I could, but whatever he had in that cup made me dizzy and I fell and lost consciousness." Kellen stopped to regain some of his composure, and then continued. "I only remember bits and pieces after that. I woke up and my brother was here, I think my mom was here and the other guys were all here, but that’s all." Kellen finished.

Detective Richards turned around and said something into Officer Michaels ear, and then he turned back around to face Kellen. "Well young man, your story matches exactly to how we found the crime scene. We’ll take this statement to be processed and then the judge will need to dismiss the case."

"What case?" Kellen asked.

"Well, anytime there is a crime we assign a case number to it and with this crime, we have an injured man who is in a coma at the moment. Now that we have your statement, we can let a judge review it. If he dismisses it, you’ll be free to go."

"What if he doesn’t dismiss it?" JC asked looking at both Kellen and the detective.

"Kellen will be charged and it will have to go to court to prove that he was only defending himself," Richards said looking at Kellen. He immediately tried to ease Kellen’s nerves when he saw the young man’s face losing its color. "It’s very unlikely that will happen. We have a statement that matches the scene of the crime, your own tour doctor has given us copies of the medical report he did last night, and we did a background check on both Kellen and his attacker. Kellen’s is spotless, unlike the other guy’s."

"Do you know who he is?" Kellen spoke up.

"We did find a driver’s license on him. His name is Dan Mitchell." Officer Michaels answered.

"You said he was in a coma?" Kellen asked.

"Yes, he is. When we found him, we were too late. If he does regain consciousness, he won’t be anything more than a vegetable for the rest of his life. We’ve been trying to locate any family he might have, but so far we haven’t found anyone." Richards said. Kellen sat there taking in what the detective was telling him.

"I need to take some pictures of your face Mr. Bradley." Officer Michaels said taking a camera out of the opened briefcase. Kellen looked up at him. "We need to document any possible marks and it looks like you have some on your jaw and lip. You said he tried to pry your mouth open and I think it left a bruise."

Kellen stood up and followed the detective to a wall and stood against it. The detective took several profile shots then told Kellen to face the camera for more shots. After that, the officer put the camera away. "Are we finished?" Kellen asked.

"Do you still have the clothes from last night?" Michaels asked. Kellen looked at JC who pointed to the dresser. "We’ll need to take these. There could be skin fragments from your attacker on these." He began putting the clothes into bags. He even bagged Kellen’s shoe and put the lot into the briefcase.

"Well, I think we have everything we need. We’ll get this taken care of as quick as possible. There shouldn’t be any problems with this case. It should be closed more quickly because of the celebrity status involved and it won’t be in the newspapers." Detective Richards said. He stood up and closed the briefcase, then walked over to the door. Everyone else got up and followed him. "Have a good day Mr. Bradley." Richards and everyone else walked out of the room leaving Kellen and JC alone.

Kellen sat on the bed and looked at the floor. JC walked over to him and stood in front of him. "It will be okay Kellen." JC said "They’ll get this all worked out. We all know it was self-defense." Suddenly JC felt arms reach around his waist and Kellen’s head was against his stomach.

"I just want this whole thing to be over Josh," Kellen said hugging his boyfriend. They stayed in that position for a few minutes until Kellen heard his mother’s voice in the other room. "Shoot!" He said getting up realizing that he only had on a pair of JC’s boxers and one of his t-shirts.

"I guess we get to see how good our acting abilities are," JC said looking at Kellen.

"Yeah, are you sure you want to do this? I’ll tell her now if you want me to." Kellen said.

"I want you to tell her when you are ready to and not a moment before," JC said helping Kellen stand up.

"Do you have any pants I can wear until I can change?" Kellen asked. "I know that if we don’t make an appearance soon, my mom will come in here."

"I have some lounge pants in my suitcase. You can wear those." JC said walking over to his suitcase and grabbing the pants. He threw them to Kellen who put them on over his boxers. Then the two men walked out if the room.

"Well, look who it is," Lance said as Kellen and JC emerged from JC’s room.

"Good morning Buddy," Kellen said.

"You’re up Sweetheart," Kate said walking up to her son and pulling him into a hug. "How’s my baby boy feeling today?" she asked.

"I feel fine Mom, but I don’t want to talk about it right now. I’ve spent the last hour talking to the police and I just want to let it rest for a while." Kellen said a little hot. He was tired of everyone asking about his condition. It happened, and all Kellen wanted to do was get over it and not have to talk about it to everyone. He noticed Justin sitting on the couch looking off into space. "How are you this morning Justin?" Kellen asked sitting on the couch next to the youngest member of NSYNC.

"I’m fine. How are you, Kellen?" Justin asked quietly.

"I’m fine, but there is something I need," Kellen said. He had a feeling that Justin was still feeling bad about last night and wanted to put a stop to it. He wanted to be friends with him. "I need some coffee. And I think I’m gonna run down to the lobby and get some. I would like you to go with me, but only if you want to."

Justin looked up at Kellen suddenly surprised that he would invite him anywhere after last night. But then again, they had forgiven each other; hadn’t they? "Uh, sure I’d like to if you want me to." Justin finally replied.

"Ok, let me go change real quick then we can head down." Kellen turned and walked back into JC’s room and shut the door. Kate looked at JC strangely and so did the rest of the guys, but shrugged it off after a few seconds. JC was wondering why Kellen didn’t just go down to his room to get clothes because he didn’t keep his clothes in JC’s room. Justin stood and walked over to JC.

"Do you want to come with us?" He asked JC.

"Uh, I think Kellen wanted you two to go by yourselves," JC answered.

"You actually trust me with Kellen after last night?"

"Kellen was able to forgive you, which means I forgive you as well. Be we have come to an understanding. I was wrong to doubt Kellen, and so were you. We just have to learn from this and move on so that nothing else like that happens in the future." JC said in a hushed voice so that Kate couldn’t hear them. Everyone made small talk for a few minutes then JC’s bedroom door opened and Kellen came walking out wearing JC’s clothes. Kellen looked at himself then at JC and back at himself.

"What do you think?" he asked JC.

"I think it looks great," JC replied shaking his head and laughing. Lance noticed Kellen’s attire and also knew who the grotesque clothes belonged to. Only JC would pick a color scheme like that. He decided to keep his off hand comments to himself for Kellen’s mom’s sake.

"Are you ready?" Kellen asked Justin.

"Yeah, let’s go." The two walked out of the room flanked by two bodyguards who had been waiting out in the hallway. As Kellen and Justin walked down the hall, Kellen noticed that Justin was being too quiet for his normal Timberlake self.

"What’s on your mind?" he asked the young singer.

"Not much just thinking about some things."

"Do these things involve last night?"

"You’re very perceptive," Justin said. "I just can’t stop thinking about what could’ve happened and if the worst would’ve happened, it would’ve been my fault," Justin said blaming himself as the two of them walked into the elevator with the two bodyguards in tow.

"But, the worst didn’t happen thank God. Justin you can’t keep blaming yourself. I came to a realization this morning. The guy who assaulted me last night is at fault. He should not have done what he did. He had no right to do that. Now, you could’ve prevented what you did to me as far as hitting me, but I understand why you did it and deep down, I admire that. You care about Josh." Kellen said as they walked out of the elevator and into the lobby. Justin started walking towards the continental breakfast area, but Kellen walked towards the hotel exit.

"Wait up Kellen," Justin said running towards Kellen. "I thought we were getting coffee."

"I don’t really care for this hotel’s coffee. I’d rather have a mocha from Starbucks. There’s one down the street about a block." Kellen said as he walked out of the hotel with Justin following. The two bodyguards put some space between them and the other two men. It would be a dead giveaway if they followed too closely.

Justin and Kellen had just placed their orders and were finding a table to wait at when Kellen noticed Justin’s quietness again. "You’re not still bothered about last night are you?" he asked.

"No, I’m just bothered about my not being able to trust people anymore. I used to trust everyone, and it seems like the longer we’re in this band, the less we all trust those outside of it."

'Bingo’ Kellen thought. 'Now we’re getting to the heart of what makes him tick’. "Maybe you’ve all been used so much, that you’re afraid to trust anyone for fear of being stabbed in the back," Kellen said hitting the nail right on the head.

"Yes, that’s it exactly," Justin said playing with his straw. "I want to trust you Kellen and be your friend. I’m just afraid that if I let those walls down again, I get crumbled." He said. Kellen started to speak, but Justin had to add something. "I want to trust you, believe me, I do. And I would like to be your friend also…" He paused. "Will you help me?"

Kellen was deeply moved and wanted to do anything he could to help the young singer. "Of course, I will. All I ever wanted was your trust and friendship. If you ever want to talk, you can call me or come to me. I’ll listen and if you want Josh there also, we can do that too."

"Thank you," Justin said sticking his hand out for Kellen to shake. Kellen shook it immediately.

"Kellen Bradley!" A waitress yelled from the other side of the café.

"I guess we better get our order and get back to the hotel before they send out a search party for us. We still have a sound check to get to." Kellen said. Justin laughed and the two of them stood up, got their orders and walked back to the hotel.

Kellen was brought back to the present when he heard footsteps on the stage.

"I thought I might find you out here," JC said walking out onto the stage. He walked up to Kellen and sat down next to him and watched his boyfriend sit almost oblivious to his presence. "Penny for your thoughts?" he asked.

"Are you sure? It might send you to the poorhouse. I have a lot of thoughts." Kellen said turning his head to face JC. "I’m not sure what’s bothering me. I feel fine, but everyone thinks I needed to sit the show out and they keep treating me with kid gloves." Kellen said letting his emotions out. "I’m not a kid Josh."

"I know, and I would never treat you like a kid. That would be too weird. Not to mention a little wrong. Then it’d be like dating a minor." JC said trying to relieve the tension a little. Kellen Just let out a laugh and looked back out into the empty seats.

"Is it worth it Josh?" Kellen asked after a few moments of silence. JC looked at him confused. "I mean us, you and me? Because I don’t want to drag you through the dirt and I definitely don’t want your career to be ruined because of me. It’s not right to push my problems on you and let your life take on a load this big." Kellen said shaking his head.

JC grabbed Kellen’s shoulders and turned him back around. "It is worth it. You mean the world to me, Kellen. I’m not going to let you go that easily. You’re stuck with me. I welcome your problems because if they affect you, I want them to affect me. That’s what making a commitment is about. I want to commit myself to you. I love you." JC said with such passion that Kellen bent in to kiss him. The two of them shared a romantic kiss that seemed to last forever. When they separated, Kellen looked into JC’s eyes and saw the deepest love he’d ever known.

"I’m sorry for doubting us." He said.

"Everyone has doubts; just don’t let it break us up," JC said. Kellen stood up and started to walk back towards the dressing rooms. "Oh, by the way, you look really sexy in my clothes." He said watching Kellen walk.

"Yeah, I know I look sexier than you do in them," Kellen said looking at JC and then dashing off in a run.

"I’ll get you for that one Mr. Bradley," JC said standing up and starting his own run.

"You have to catch me first Mr. Chasez," Kellen yelled running out of sight.


Any questions or comments can be emailed to me at Josh Brandon

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Thank you.