This story contains FICTION of a male-male nature.  Do not read this if you are:
   a) too young, or
   b) too narrow-minded, or
   c) living in a city/state/country where it is illegal.

   Again, this is FICTION.  While I have bumped into them here and there in Orlando, I do not, in fact, know any of the BackstreetBoys, nor do I make any claims about any of their sexualities.

NOTE:  If you have not read 'Forever', I suggest you do so before reading this story.

Equilibrium:  Beyond Forever


    The keys made a jarring noise as they hit the glass top of thetable in the hallway.  I winced, afraid for a second that I'd crackedthe top until I realized how foolish that was.  The table topwas fartoo sturdy to be broken by a set of keys falling.  I sighed loudly tomyself before turning and walking down the hall to the stairs.

    The house was silent tonight.  It still felt strange beingin such a quiet and...empty place as this.  I'd think that, eventually,I'd adjust to the solitude again.  After all, I'd lived mylife virtually alone for ten years before...

   I shook my head, refusing to journey down that path in my mind again. 

   Too much pain. 

   Too much heartache. 

   If I went there, odds were good that I wouldn't return for several days or more.  The depression caused by those memories was one that never eased, never let up.  And, while it may've been true that time heals all wounds, I was beginning to wonder if it was even possible to have enough years left in my life to allow time to work it's medicine.

   I flipped the switch on the wall as I walked through into the kitchen.  A warm, soft light surrounded me from all sides.  One of the first things I'd done when I moved in was to remove the glaring fluorescent light fixture in this room and replace it with recessed lighting.  I couldn't stand the bright light then.  I couldn't stand a lot of things back then.

   The empty fridge practically laughed at me when I opened the door.  I'd again neglected to buy groceries on my way home from the airport.  It was looking like another call to Pizza Hut would be in order.

   I dropped into my easy chair, sorting through the handful of mail I'd carried in.  I'd only been gone three weeks this time, so the mail was a manageable stack.  Since I had a service pay my bills, all I really ever received here was junk mail and the occasional book, magazine, or DVD from my subscription services. 

    Of course, since I never took the time to read, or watch movies, unless I was working out in my home gym, the unopened packages from those services tended to stack up, too.  I couldn't stand to be idle long enough to enjoy those leisure activities anymore.  Yet another thingthe past had managed to steal away from me.

    `Nothing very good this month,' I thought as I droppedthe pile on the end table next to me and eased my head back ontothe chair.

    International flights always took the most out of me.  Not only was the flight itself twice as long as anything domestic, but I alsohad to deal with the time zone shifting, which sometimes had me arriving atvirtually the same time I'd left.  Or, possibly worse, had me showingup more than a day after.

   I listened to the silence around me.  I couldn't even hear the low hum of traffic that always seemed a part of life in the city.  Somehow, everything was totally still, as though the world had suddenly frozen in time, allowing only me to continue on.

   An eerie, unsettled feeling overtook me, and I shook myself.  I remembered that I'd been out of contact for nearly two days.  I stood and made my way to my home office to listen to my voice mail, possibly check in at the main office to see what, if anything, I might've missed.

    I punched the speakerphone as I settled in to my desk chair.  The familiar pulse of a stuttered dial tone greeted me, indicating I did, indeed have messages waiting for me.  I pressed my voice mail speed dialsetting and again eased back into the chair.  The first message was noreal surprise.

   "Hey, it's Stephanie.  Just calling to check how the flight went, as always, and to see if there was anything you needed me to take care of.  I'd tell you that I'll see you in a few days, but I know better.  So, I'll see you tomorrow at the office."

   I allowed myself a small smile at Stephanie's cheerful, professional tone.  She'd been my assistant for nearly three months, and she was working out very well.  Unfortunately, she was almost twice my age and prone to pretend she was my mother.  It concerned her a great deal that I never took any time off.  I always let her know that I appreciated her thought; however, I never let her know why I couldn't rest.  Why I couldn't stand to spend that much time alone. 

   "Hello, this is Ms. Barbara Cole calling from Avon for the lady of the..."

   Fast forward.


   Next message. 

   I froze when the voice came through, a voice I hadn't heard in over a year.  A voice I'd expected never to hear again.

   "Um...hi, it's me," he said, sounding upset.  "Something's happened...and...I...uh that is, WE...we, uh, need you.  Please call me.  PLEASE!"

   He left a number and hung up.

   I replayed the message, doubting myself, doubting that it was really him.  Why would he call?  How did he get this number? 

   The silence of the evening faded, replaced by a growing murmur, a murmur that I was sure only I could hear.  A murmur that soon became a dull roar as memories came rushing back, memories that I'd hoped, and even prayed, would never return.

Author's Notes:

    Well, I'm back.  It's been about six months since the lastchapter of 'Forever' was posted, and a month or two longer since I actually finished writing it.  In that time, I've put pen to paper (or rather fingers to keyboard) a number of times to start a sequel.

   Unfortunately, nothing ever seemed to come out that I liked.  Then, back in early December, an idea hit me, and I just started writing.  Thanks to Rachel Lewis (author of 'Escape', 'Choices', 'The Fragile', and more) for inadvertently triggering the idea for me. 

    You might ask why I haven't posted any part of this before nowif I had already started it almost two months ago.  Well, the answer  is that I wasn't sure anyone would really like the work. 

   For one reason, 'Equilibrium' is a much darker story than 'Forever' was.  For another, there's no sex in the story thus far, and I'm not really seeing any in the near future.  Since this is an 'erotic' story archive, I wasn't sure how appropriate it would be to post here.

   And, finally, I'm not sure how long the well will give water, so to speak.  There's nothing I hate more than getting into a good story, then suddenly having it stop.  And, I didn't want to do that to anyone reading my work.

    Anyway, having said ALL of that, I'll simply say that opinions are welcome.  You can e-mail me at my e-mail.  I will TRY to respond to everyone's e-mail; however, Iget busy with other things a lot and don't always get to it.  Hope youenjoy the story. 


PS -- pack extra Kleenex...I'm told you might need it.

Favorite Boy-band Stories (in no particular order):

...    Any story authored by Rachel Lewis (check out her site at Rachel's Stories )
...    Studio In The Country ('bout time you updated, Mike!)
...    Brian & Me (Ditto, DLS)
...    Beneath It All (indeed, anything by ScottyT)
...    'NSync:  Lance 'n' JC (DCKevin)
...    The One & The One: 2Gether At Last (Kyriel & Rick)
...    Boy Meets BSB (it's a classic by LuckyLou & got me started on boy-band fiction)