Based on the *NSYNC video - "Gone"

His bare feet padded across the cold wooden floor boards of the old apartment. The silence of the empty room was interrupted by the slight dripping of water from the faucet. The shadows, from the only light coming through the windows, casted an eerie glow upon the few things that were left in the room.

He looked out of the window to the street below. Only a pigeon came to visit, giving some reprieve to his sullen heart. It grumbled a few notes and flew away.

He sighed heavily, leaving his breath fog up the window. He wiped it away, only to see his withdrawn face stare back at him.

An unexpected tear fell quickly down his cheek, but, he didn't wipe it away. It only seemed to dull the pain that burned in his heart.

Another fell as he turned away from the window. He walked back into the kitchen, grabbed a mug and filled it with boiling water. The tea bag floated for a bit and then sank to the bottom of the cup.

He opened the fridge, only to find it as empty as the apartment. The light inside illuminated his exhausted face. His black muscle shirt meashed with his black pants.

He closed the fridge, finding nothing in it, and walked back to the table to sit down. The hot water steamed as he put it to his mouth. Quickly, he took a sip of the soothing mint tea, only to have it burn his throat as it went down. He winced in pain for a second before taking another gulp. The heartache seemed to lessen when he added more pain.

The small clock on the wall clicked away as he finished and cleared the table. He made his way to the bedroom and sat down on the sheetless bed. He hadn't thought of putting another on now that he couldn't sleep without her by his side.

His mind flew through flashbacks of them together. Of them and his friends. Of her birthday and other private moments. He missed the laughter they shared as he painted her toes one day on that very bed. The one that he now sat on that was so empty and cold.

The tears he could not escape kept rolling down his soft cheeks. This had continued through days and days since she had left him. The phone kept ringing, the answering machine kept picking up. The intercom to the main door in the lobby kept buzzing, but, he was dead to the world.

He kept wondering why the pain wouldn't go away. He wondered why he just couldn't function without her. His friends understood the real reason but knew it was right for him to move on. He had gone through this before, but, this time it was different. She just didn't leave. She was gone. She was gone forever.

He stood up once again and walked back towards the door. He stopped and looked at the empty closet where all her clothes used to hang. Now it was nothing but empty space and hangers.

His chest grew tighter with every breath. He walked into the bathroom and once again saw his somber face with blood shot eyes filled with a new glaze of fresh tears. He didn't know what to do with himself anymore. The whole apartment was filled with memories he couldn't escape. Everywhere he would look would bring pain like a knife to his heart.

He walked back to the kitchen and pondered if he should leave the small hole that he had lived in for so long. As he neared the door, he noticed something sticking out from behind the fridge. He leaned down and picked it up, only to fill the broken glass with more tears, as he stared intently at the picture of her.

His body filled with anger as he threw the picture against the wall, shattering it into a million pieces. He followed it by punching the wall a couple times as he cried. Eventually he turned and slid the rest of the way down, his body giving way from his exhaustion. He sat and bawled like a child, more than he ever had done before.

With his head in his hands, his sobbs had quieted, but were still loud enough to be heard down the echoing halls outside.

He remembered her parents insisting on taking everything that was hers. Everything that they could hold on to they took. The only thing left was the picture they left behind. The picture that he had now shattered. He leaned over and brushed the remaining fragments of glass away and pulled the photo out of the frame. He brushed his hand over her face as he remembered that day almost two weeks ago.

She kissed his lips so passionately and touched him with soft caresses before she went out. Her friends had planned on taking her out for her birthday, only a few miles away. She quickly put on the necklace that he had given to her the night before. She smiled as she said goodbye. It was the last time he saw her.

The buzzer went off, breaking the silence and making him jump out of his daze. He could hear their voices calling to him from down below but he still made no effort to answer. His eye lids became droopy. For once maybe he could sleep as he still sat on the floor. After a few moments there was once again silence. He quickly fell asleep.

They were surprised that the door was unlocked. They snuck in silently, almost tripping over him on the floor. They noticed the broken glass and the picture on his lap. They noticed the thirty or more messages on the answering machine, the empty sink and fridge. They looked at his frail body, wasting away from the lack of sleep or food. Their hearts broke from the condition he let himself get into.

"Justin? You need to get up." JC said as he shook him. The others helped wake him which seemed like forever.

His eyes opened slowly as he started to mumble. "What? No. Leave me alone."

"You need to eat something. God, I don't even recognize you." Lance added.

"I don't want to eat." he paused. "I don't even want to breathe."

JC sighed heavily as he shook his head. "Now you're getting up!"

As he finished, he leaned down and pulled him up from the floor. Justin stumbled a bit to regain his balance but then quickly moved away.

"Man, leave me alone!"

"You need to get out of this funk you are in." JC replied.

Justin snickered. "As if you would know exactly how I feel and how difficult letting go actually is."

"You're right, we don't" Joey jumped in. "But, we can't just let you live this way."

"And why should ya'll care anyway?"

"That's a stupid question. You know the answer to that." Joey replied.

"Yeah well. This is the way I want to live."

JC laughed. "No it's not. We know you. This is so not you."

"You need to let go. You need to get on with your life." Chris finally spoke.

"Maybe I don't want to."

"Yes you do." JC demanded. "And even if you don't like it, we are getting you out of this apartment and into some new scenery."

Justin sighed. "Please guys, just leave me be."

"No." they replied in unison as JC and Lance grabbed each arm to drag him out of the apartment.

"Man, come on, let go!" Justin demanded.

Lance stopped and looked at him with a serious glare. "You need some fresh air and a new perspective on things. You need to clear that brain of yours and right now no is not an option."

"Yeah." Chris agreed. "And you need to get rid of that picture." he said as he grabbed the picture out of Justin's hand and threw it back down on the floor.

"Hey!" Justin tugged from their grip as they walked out the door.

"Justin!" JC said as he gripped Justin's head between his hands. He looked at his best friend in the eye once he grabbed his attention. "You need to let her go. You need to move on now!"

Justin's eyes began to water once again but he could not cry in front of his friends. He turned his head out of the grip of JC's hands and looked back inside of the apartment. He stared at the picture on the floor, letting a single tear roll down his cheek. He felt a couple different hands touch his shoulders in support.

But, this time, he wiped the tear away as he closed the door. With a now tranquil heart, he could finally walk away.



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