This story contains FICTION of a male-male nature. Do not read this if you are:
- too young, or
- too narrow-minded, or
- living in a city/state/country where it is illegal.
Again, this is FICTION. While I have bumped into the BSB here and there in Orlando, I do not make any claims about any of their sexualities.
NOTE: If you have not read 'Forever', I suggest you do so before reading this story.
EXTRA DISCLAIMER: This chapter is more...spiritual than I normally write. It is not intended to explain the secrets of the universe, nor is it intended to cast a disparaging light on the beliefs of the universe's occupants. It's just a story.
A light breeze caused the tall prairie grass around me to shift slightly. I could feel it rustling against the skin of my legs, tickling me just a little. The whisper of the stalks rubbing one another echoed softly in my ears. Serene. Peaceful.
The sun beat down, brighter and more beautiful than I'd ever seen before. I glanced up, staring straight into the light. My mind registered that my eyes should be burning from the brightness of it. But, they weren't. I shifted my gaze to the side, noting how blue the sky was. It was a shade of blue I'd only ever seen in Brian's eyes years before. Or, in my dreams not so long past.
`This is a dream,' I thought distantly.
I took in the landscape around me. Flat prairie, broken only occasionally by rolling hills. As far as my eyes could see, the golden yellow grass swayed in the breeze. Back and forth, with a swirl caused by a gust of wind here and there. It was breathtaking. I felt so relaxed, at ease.
`Not a dream,' I thought again, `Heaven.'
"Not exactly, Dylan," a soft voice spoke, breaking the rhythm of the grass and wind.
I glanced around, trying to place where the voice had come from. As I turned, I caught a shimmer in the air out of the corner of my eye. When I looked back, the shimmer was gone, replaced by a beautiful woman. It was someone I recognized, or at least thought I did.
"Mom?" I asked. Somehow, in the dreamscape that I now knew I was in, I wasn't really surprised to see her. I was, however, surprised at her appearance.
She was young again. I hadn't seen her look like this since my earliest childhood years. There was a healthy glow in her face, and her eyes, those eyes that so closely mirrored my own, shone with an inner light that nearly blinded me as the sun should have. Her black hair was thick and fell in waves down to her shoulders. Her step was light, easy, without the pain and stiffness that had accompanied her last years.
"Yes, Dylan," she finally answered after I'd studied her awhile. "It's me."
"But how?" I wondered.
"Is it really important, son?" she answered my question with one of her own. I thought it over a brief moment before shaking my head.
"Not really," I said.
"Good," she replied, as though I'd passed some test.
"What are you doing here?" I asked. "Or what am I doing here?"
"I just came back as a guide," she said.
"A guide?" I asked.
"Dylan, things don't work like I've always thought," she explained. "There isn't really a heaven, or a hell, for that matter." She paused, obviously reconsidering her words. "Well, there are, but not in the sense that I was always taught."
"What do you mean? Isn't this heaven?" My curiosity got the better of me. She gave me a knowing look and chuckled as she shook her head.
"No," she answered. "This is sort of a...a visitor's center. A meeting place between your world and...well, what comes after."
"But," I began, but she interrupted me.
"Dylan," she scolded, "you're overanalyzing again. Just suffice it to say that your mind cooked this up so we could talk. Leave it at that." I nodded, and she continued.
"Good, now as I was saying, I'm acting as a guide. There's someone else who wants to see you, someone who's been trying to reach you for a long time."
"Who?" I asked.
"Him," she replied, pointing behind me.
I turned to see a young man standing there. I guessed his age to be around 20, roughly the same age as Mom now appeared. I wondered in the back of my mind if that was normal here. I shook my head slightly, keeping my mind from getting involved in too many details. I studied the man in front of me.
He was very handsome, and strangely familiar. He had strawberry blonde hair and green eyes. His skin had the slightest tan. As with Mom, he looked healthy, almost glowing. As I stared into his eyes, it finally dawned on me who he was.
"Preston?" I gasped.
"Hello, Papa," he replied.
We stared at one another. The dreamscape around us shifted, pushing us apart, bringing us closer. The sun darkened slightly, and the wind began to pick up. Somehow, I knew it was responding to my own inner turmoil.
"What," I began, then broke. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to see you," he said matter-of-factly.
"I think you already covered that, Papa," my son answered with a nod at Mom.
"Preston wanted to see you, Dylan," Mom spoke up from my side. "But, you wouldn't see him. After a time, it becomes...difficult for us to do things like this, so I'm told. The...well, the spirit tends to lose the way back.
"So, when I came, Preston asked me to try to bring him back to see you. We knew you would be receptive to seeing me, if not him. I carried him to you for a visit."
"You make it sound so simple," I said. "Why doesn't this happen more often? Why haven't others talked about it?"
"Because it's just a dream, Dylan," she replied, a little sad. "You'll forget a lot of it when you wake up. Too much knowledge of what comes later can be...harmful."
"There are a lot of people who really don't need this, Papa," Preston spoke up as he walked over to us. "Most people can handle and accept dying, even if they don't think they can. Visits like this are...rare...special."
"And...I'm one of those who can't handle it?" I asked.
"No, Dylan, you're one of those who can," Mom said. "If you allow yourself the chance."
"What do you mean?"
"When I died," Preston explained, "you didn't give yourself the chance to deal with it. You buried me, way down inside." He sounded sad, hurt.
"I'm sorry, Preston," I whispered. "It just hurt so much. I felt so guilty."
"And that's why I had to come," he said. "You have to let go of that, Papa. What happened wasn't your fault. I knew I shouldn't have gone there, but I did anyway. You weren't responsible."
"But, I was," I argued, taking him by his arms. "You were my son, I should have been watching you."
"Papa," he smiled at me, "it was my time to go. I wasn't intended to stay any longer."
"Why not?" I asked.
"I can't tell you that," he replied. "Some things you can't know, even in a dream."
"Actually, you already know the answer, Dylan," Mom spoke up, laying a hand to rest on my shoulder.
"I do?" I wondered.
"And, someday, you'll understand," she said.
"But, not today," I said. She shook her head. I turned back to my son.
"Are you okay?" I wondered.
"Of course, Papa," he answered, a large smile on his face. It clouded over a moment later. "Except when I look in on you and Daddy. You two are so sad all the time, even when you don't show it."
"I know, Preston," I whispered. "Papa kind of screwed up on that one."
"Dylan," Mom took my attention again. "You both screwed up. A marriage is a two way street, but so is a break-up. You both made mistakes, and it's time to rectify that."
"Do you think I can?" I wondered, not for the first time.
"Papa," Preston spoke up again. "You and Daddy are meant to be together." My heart soared when I heard that. He raised his hand a moment later, a cautionary look on his face.
"That doesn't mean that you WILL be together," he continued, "only that you're supposed to be. Whether you end up together is still up to the two of you."
"But, there's at least a chance," I said. I knew I would forget it when I woke up, but it was still comforting knowledge.
"There are always chances, Dylan," a new voice fairly boomed from the side opposite Mom. I turned to see another familiar face standing there.
"Dad!?" I exclaimed, shocked to see my father there.
"Grandpa," Preston spoke up, "how'd you get here?"
"Janie and I have been tied together for nearly 30 years in some fashion or another," my father spoke up, amusement on his face. "It would be difficult to find a place in ANY life where I couldn't easily follow her." There was a glow about both Mom and Dad that only intensified as he approached us. I wondered in the back of my mind if Kevin and I would ever produce that in one another.
"You already do, Dylan," Dad spoke, answering my un-voiced question.
"Dad," I spoke, then stopped.
"There's not much time left now, Dylan," he spoke softly as he stepped to my side. "These visits are short, if only to keep too much knowledge from crossing over. You only need to know one other thing." He paused, turning me to face him full on. "Your mom and I and Preston all love you very much. And, we support you in whatever you do." He paused. "I'm sorry it took me so long to be able to tell you that."
"Oh, Dad, I," I began, then stopped as I realized that he wasn't there anymore. I turned to Preston, but he, too, was fading. I shifted quickly to Mom, only to discover that she was already gone. I was alone.
"NO!" I yelled. "MOM! DAD! PRESTON! WAIT!"
"Dylan!" Someone yelled at me. I looked around, trying to find who'd called me.
"DAD?!" I yelled again, thinking it might be my father returning.
"Dylan! Wake up!" Yelling again.
The dreamscape shattered like glass around me, and I found myself staring up into Kevin's eyes. A look at my surroundings told me I was in the living room where I'd fallen asleep on the sofa. I sat up, struggling to maintain a hold on the dream, which was already fading from my memory.
"Kev?" I whispered his name as a question, searching for an answer, to what I didn't know.
"You were having a dream," Kevin whispered in reply. "You were talking to someone, then yelling for your mom and dad, and Preston."
"I...I was," I tried to explain, desperate to tell him...something...something I couldn't remember. "I don't know, I can't remember."
"Are you okay?" he wondered, concern evident in his voice.
"I...I don't," I began, then took a deep breath, trying to get control. "I don't know, Kev," I said, finally.
"What did you dream about?" he asked.
"I...I wish I knew," I told him, sadness evident in my voice. "It was something important. And now it's gone." I sighed, shook myself.
"I'll be alright, Kev," I whispered a moment later.
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"Yeah," I spoke a little more confidently. "Yeah, I'm sure. I'm sorry I woke you up."
"It's okay, D," he whispered, his hand coming up to caress the side of my face. "Wasn't sleeping that great, anyway."
"Something wrong with the bed?" I wondered, playing the host.
"Not exactly, no," he replied. "It just...it didn't have you there."
"Oh," I said, rather foolishly.
Neither of us moved, neither of us spoke. His hand still rested against my cheek. I could feel the warmth of his thigh next to my side where he was sitting on the couch. All that could be heard was our breathing.
Finally, he shifted and stood, a sigh escaping his lips. I wanted to ask to join him, wanted to ask if it was okay to be with him. But, I was afraid. Our rapport had been stretched tight, nearly snapped, several times in the last day or two. I didn't want to do something that would cause it to break completely, so I held my tongue as he started to walk away.
He moved across the living room. I found myself watching his butt in the dim light of the moon. The gaze was so natural, so habitual, that I nearly broke out in laughter when I realized what I was doing. Somehow, that simple thing made me feel better, like I could do anything. And, suddenly, I knew that I had to take the risks with Kevin if I was ever to find the rewards.
"Kev?" I spoke his name softly just before he stepped from the room.
"Yeah?" he turned around sharply, nearly colliding with the wall.
"Could I...that is, would you mind if I...slept...with you?" I asked. In the dim light of the moon filtering in through the window shades, I thought I detected a smile on his face.
"That would be nice," he whispered before stepping back over to me and offering me his hand.
I took it, following him from the room. We still had issues between us, but somehow, deep in my heart, I knew now that we were meant to be together. And I wasn't going to let anything get in the way of that.
To my committed fans:
Well, you probably SHOULD be committed if you've actually stuck with me this long. I know, it's been two months since my last posting. I wish I had some grandiose excuse to tell you, something that would garner tons of sympathy and nodding of heads.
But, I don't, so I won't waste your time. Suffice it to say, life happens.
Thanks to ye few but faithful who have written me over the months. Rest assured that I HAVE actually gotten your letters, and I do appreciate them. Hope that you continue to enjoy the story in the future.
On that note, be assured that there will be more of Equilibrium. When is anyone's guess, but I don't intend to just quit posting without some wrap-up. Actually, the only new stuff I've written lately is for the epilogue, so I know it does end eventually!
Take care, one and all.