These stories contain mature themes of sex, violence, and naughty words, and are not suitable for people under the physical or emotional age of eighteen. Also, if it is illegal for you to read stories of an alternative nature because of your geographical location, STOP. And if you don't like the idea of two XX chromosome people falling in love, STOP! This site isn't for you.

Nano #2: Equilibrium - Moment of Force

by: Jules Mills

Part One
- Impulse and Momentum

"I guess I'll see you around?"

Grace looked up through misty eyes from her packing, the quiet words bringing her out of some silent debate. It had not occurred yet to her that leaving would mean leaving her new friend. She stopped and looked up at the tall beautiful mahogany haired woman filling her doorway.

"Are you heading out to sea?"

"Probably, after I check out those two companies with Rachel."

Grace nodded, the urge to cry pressing against her chest. What a terrible ending to the best week of her life, she thought. Dana's thought were transversing the same lines.

"When will you be back?"

Dana shrugged. "I haven't thought that far ahead."

"Oh." She turned her attention to the zipper on her suitcase.

"Here let me help with that," Dana said walking over and grabbing the handle. She waited by the front door while Grace made a survey of the house, checked the windows, the stove, even though it had not been used in a week, anything that could go wrong. She felt like she was forgetting something and then, looking at the woman holding her suitcase, she realized what it was, and wanted to cry even more.

The jet black bird dog was sitting on the front stoop when they came out ,and followed them to Grace's Jeep. "You are welcome to stay here if you need to."

"No thanks, we'll be fine."

"Can I give you two a lift?" Dr. Wilson asked fidgeting with her keys, hesitant to leave.

"Grace, you need to get going. We are not in a hurry." She looked at her watch. "Goodbyes" were foreign to her, and she could tell they were not something she was going to like much. "Have as safe trip. And I hope everything works out for your dad." Dana opened the car door for her and bit her lip while she waited for the young woman to climb in.

Grace nodded and climbed up into the Jeep. Dana hoped that she had said all the right things, she felt horrible for keeping Grace away from her family all week, an ache forming in her chest.

Grace told herself it was way too early in the relationship to expect her to want to come with her, especially under such awful circumstances. But still she longed for her company, her companionship. And now, knowing that the time she had with her was ending and that she may likely not see her again, she needed her even more. Bravely, she put the keys in the ignition and slipped her driving glasses out of the visor and onto her face. Dana slammed the door closed as Grace started the engine.

"You should fill up your tank with ethanol, you're low," Dana pointed to her gauge.

The fact that the tall con was looking out for her only made the angst grow stronger. Dana leaned forward and placed a gentle lingering kiss on Grace's lips. They stared at each other a moment. "Goodbye, Grace," Dana said and pulled back.

Grace backed her car out onto the dirt road. She held a hand up to wave, a lump forming in her throat. My god, she thought I think I'm going to die.

She would have too, run off the road into a ditch, as tears filled her eyes, if Rip had not started running after the Jeep barking ferociously. Dana ran after the dog, watching her nip at the tires. Grace slammed on her brakes, coming to a skidding halt, a dusty cloud flying into the air.

Rip sat by the car door panting up at the bewildered doctor, when Dana reached the vehicle. She opened the door to get out, and before she could the dog had jumped up across her lap and settled herself into the backseat next to the suitcase.

"Looks like I lost both of my sailing mates."

Grace slid out of her seat and stood in front of her tall, dogless friend. "I would hate to split you two up."

"A better offer was bound to surface sooner or later."

"Will you miss her?"

"Of course. I don't sail with just anyone. They have to be pretty special, and well that bitch surely is special."

Grace was sure Dana was not speaking entirely about the dog by the way her eyes darted around, especially when Grace took the weathered hands into her own. "Is that what I am, a better offer." She caught Dana's pale blue eyes with her Crayola greens and held her gaze like a serpent its prey.

Dana had no idea of how to explain her feelings at that moment, had anyone asked. The dread and the impending double loss was draining her soul, and she would drop to her knees in the next few seconds if Grace did not drive away soon.

"Have you ever been to Kentucky, Dana?"

She shook her head, "No."

A quirky smile. "Do you want to join us?"

I would go anywhere with you, she thought. Her "yes" was returned by a brilliant smile.

After picking up some things for Dana from the boat, her computer, decent music, and clothes, they headed West, through the dwindling Apalachians, across Jersey, Pennsylvania, the tip of West Virginia, and Ohio, until they reached their destination. They drove through the Bluegrass and horse farms of Eastern Kentucky, across half of the state to a small town southeast of Louisville called Cox's Creek.

They had taken turns driving through the night, despite the fact that Dana did not have a license. Being in the DMV database is like giving away your first born, Dana had explained. Dana picked the music even allowing a few Madonna tracks into the line-up once in a while. Other than the moments she sensed Grace slipping into deep worry, the trip was pleasant as was the company.

Nineteen hours later, they pulled into the town. The leaves of the deciduous trees that lined the roads had fallen and speckled the yards with reds, oranges and yellows. When they pulled into the driveway of the doctor's childhood home, it appeared that the Wilson home was a daycare center.

"Good, Joy's here!" Grace exclaimed, a blue extended van was taking up the driveway and four boys of various ages, all blond, blue-eyed, and impish, scampered around the front yard whipping what appeared to be acorns at each other. One acorn thrown high pelted the windshield startling Grace.

"Little shit," Grace said flying out of the car, barely turning the ignition off first. She swiped a handful of seeds from the grass and began pelting the oldest of the boys.

"Yippee, Aunt Grace is here," One of the boys screamed. "Get her," another yelled, and all of the boys converged on her at once, whipping her with the little demon seeds in the back and ass. Joy trounced out the front door to find out what all the commotion was about, and when she saw it was her sister, she stooped to the ground and picked up a handful of acorns and began whippingt her as well. Rip was soon in the middle of the pack, barking at the boys, but they ignored her persistant yapping. Dana whistled, pulling the dog back to her by the car.

Soon the boys were out of ammo and resorted to wrestling. Grace was on the ground with all four little squirts giving her noogies and pinches, all the while giggling.

"Okay boys, that's enough, you know Aunt Grace will pee her pants if she laughs too hard."

That only gave the boys incentive and they began to tickle. Grace squirmed until she felt the uncomfortable pressure and began to panic. "Get them off, Joy, quick!"

Joy began to pull the boys off like ticks, one by one, until Grace lay drained, breathing heavily.

"Never do that to a woman who hasn't had a pit stop in four hours." She took Joy's extended arm and pulled herself to her feet. "That was so close."

Joy began to laugh and then hugged her sister, pulling her into her plump body and kissing her on the cheek. They whispered inaudibly so that Dana, who was beginning to remove their bags from the Jeep, could not hear.

"I want you to meet someone," Grace said leading her sister by the hand to the car.
"Dana, this is my sister Joy," she said when they reached the tall outsider.

Dana turned, wiping her damp palm on her pants leg before offering it. Instead of taking her hand, Joy pulled her into a welcoming hug.

"Anyone that Chipmunk actually brings home, has got to be special. Ah, shi-it, Matthew put Gramma's flowers back in that pot right now," she scolded the youngest of the blond elves.

"Chipmunk," Dana mouthed at her friend.

She received a swat for that.

"Mom should be here any minute. Then we're going to the hospital. You can ride along with us, there's plenty of room."

"Okay," Grace accepted not wanting to drive anymore. "Where is Daddy?"


"But he prefers Jewish."

"I know, but his doctor prefers Humana."

"What do you think about his doctor?"

"Grace, I wish you had called. Dad's not as bad as my Mom lets on. He's coming home tomorrow."

"But Mom said . . ."

"Gracie, come on, Mom wants you home."

"I was so worried. Shit," she was about to cry. "I hate when she does this." Tears of relief and anger were collecting in her eyes. Joy put her arm around her sister's shoulder. and squeezed.

"Where's mom now?"

"Having her hair done."

"Ah shit," Grace said laughing and crying at the same time, wiping the tears from her cheeks with her hand. "I can't believe I fell for it, again."

Dana examined the sisters' details. They were very similar physically, yet different. Joy was at least fifty pounds heavier than Grace, but with the same blond hair, green eyes, same dimples, and same laugh. Joy smiled more, and had an easy confidence, that came perhaps, with her elder status, or simply from accepting herself. Grace was confident, but it stemmed more from accomplishment and competition. She had a scrappy confidence, Dana decided.

She followed the women into the house and realized they had the same walk, Joy wobbled a little, both talked with their hands, and touched when they spoke to a person. Dana found herself liking Joy immediately, and sat with her talking while Grace made a much needed trip to the bathroom.

"I take it you're the reason Grace finally took a vacation?" Joy said placing a tall glass of Iced Tea in front of Dana.

Dana nodded, and then, uncontrollably pulled a face when she tasted the bitter liquid.

Joy laughed. "Mom likes it strong. I think she brews it in one of Daddy's old Army boots."

Grace came into the kitchen behind Dana, who was sitting at the kitchen table, and rested her hands on the wide shoulders.

"You didn't warn her," Joy said pointedly to her sister.

Grace saw the tall glass of brown liquid. "Sorry, forgot about that stuff." She rubbed the shoulders under her hands, then went to the sink and filled a glass with tap water and handed it to Dana. "Go ahead, you can drink the water here, and it's always good and cold."

Dana took a sip and tasted it. She was surprised that it tasted as good as any bottle water she had had. Grace filled a glass for herself, and sat down between the two women. Joy was watching both her sister and Dana closely, smiling all the while, yet staring mischievously.

Then she chuckled. "This is going to be such an interesting visit, Chipmunk."

"Somethin' caught your eye, Dear?" Faith Wilson asked the bewildered Greek woman who had been staring out the front passenger side window.

"I've never seen so much road kill in my life."

"That ain't road kill in these parts, Dana, that ther's dinner," Joy explained as she drove. The four children in the back seat giggled.

"Keep your eyes on the road, Crashly," Grace chastised, clearly embarrassed by the joke. Dana had noticed that Grace barely spoke more than one or two word sentences, if you could call them that, since her mother arrived. Dana wrote it off as one of those family dynamic things. Still, she looked back at her friend, and noticed a crease burrowing between her eyes, serious contemplation occurring in that brilliant mind.

Losing a family member, especially someone Grace regarded so highly, would be devastating. Dana knew this.

"Hey, Ma, that one's a possum."

"Yum, yum, remember where it is, Mark, so we can stop on the way home," Joy teased.

"Knock it off," Grace said crossly as the boys giggled. "We don't really eat road kill," she explained to Dana.

"Don't mind Grace," Joy said. "I got the sense of humor, she got the brains, and, well, Dick got all the testosterone. Most of it anyway," she added with a giggle.

Faith gave her oldest daughter a warning look, the one where her left eye droops, and her upper lip begins to pull up. Quite frightening by Joy's sudden sulleness.

"What do you do for a living?" Faith asked Dana. "You aren't a Peace Officer, as well, are you?"

"No, ma'am, I am most definitely not a Peace Officer."

"That's a relief." Faith looked at Grace. "What do you do?"

Dana could see that Faith had found her focus, and she was going to have to answer her, sooner or later.

"She's a seafaring ocean bum," Grace offered, to tick her mother off, which was most unhelpful to Dana.

Dana shot her a look. "Lately, I have been designing software applications that simulate how certain compounds react with the human body in order to replace animal testing in drug research."

"Oh, I like her," Joy said with an appreciative smile.

"You're a computer programmer," Faith sighed

"Sometimes. It's not my specialty."

"You should see the program ,Joy, its fabulous," Grace decided to help now.

"I would like to."

"Me too," Mark said, and then the other three boys repeated their big brother's response.

A few minutes later, the van pulled into the crowded parking lot of Audubon hospital. Joy made three trips through the aisles until she found a spot close enough to satisfy her mother. When she finally stopped, the kids grabbed their coloring books and crayons, and clamored out of the car.

"Look, Gracie, Richard's truck," Faith pointed to a large white dual-tired Dodge pickup truck with red pinstripes, a few spaces over from the van. "Richard's here!" Faith said a wide smile.

"Wee," Joy mumbled unenthusiastically, as her feet dropped to the pavement.

"Richard is your brother?" Dana asked quietly.

"Yeah, and a word of warning, I love my brother, but he has about as much charm as a skunk's ass."

Dana volunteered to wait in the lobby with the four boys, who behaved remarkably well for four boys. Matthew, the three-year-old, and with the shortest attention span, was understandably, the hardest to keep entertained. Luke and Jonah, the six-year-old twins, played Tic Tac Toe several hundred times, while the oldest read a Hardy Boys' mystery. Dana kept Matthew busy by drawing cartoon figures and then letting him color them in. Bugs Bunny was completely lime green, and Sylvester was pink and purple. When she ran out of pictures she showed him how to make paper airplanes, which wound up all over the open lobby. The other boys joined in after the first few flights. When Joy returned, an hour later, Matthew was babbling about wanting to be a fighter pilot when her grew up. Most of the adults waiting in the lobby simply wanted him to grow up somewhere else.

"Thanks for entertaining the kids," Joy said not having expected to be able to spend time with her father. The fact that none of the boys had a single injury impressed her immensely. "Grace wants to stay and talk to the doctors, so Dick is going to drive Grace and Mom home." She entwined Dana's arm within her own and began walking them towards the hospital exit. "Come on, Boys, we have to go find that possum.

"Can I pop it this time, Mommy?" Luke asked.

Oh my god, Dana thought as the automatic doors whooshed open.

Dana was told bluntly by Faith Wilson to stay out of the kitchen. Only she, Joy, and Grace were allowed in during dinner preparation. That, made Dana suspicious as to what exactly the meat at dinner was going to be, and where that opossum ended up. The isolation also left Dana with Dick and Noah, Joy's husband. Noah was as tall as Dana, fair-haired and blue-eyed, he had freckles peppering his fair skin, and wore tortoise shelled glasses.

"So how are tricks?" Dick, a male version of Grace and Joy, asked his brother-in-law.

Noah sipped at a green bottle of Rolling Rock beer and reclined on the couch. "Same as always."

"What do you do?" Dana asked the tall man the question of the day.

"I teach Chemistry at County High School."

"What are your chances this year?" Dick interrupted.

"I coach the Boys varsity basketball team," Noah explained in his soft-spoken way. "I won't know until after try outs next week," he explained to his brother-in-law.

"That Chapman kid's a senior this year."

"Yes, but he's inelligible."


"He can't pass math."

"So what! I couldn't pass math either, but I played." Dick stood up, shaking his head with disgust, and went into the kitchen for a beer

"I can't believe you won't let him play," he said when he returned.

"Don't you think being able to add is more important than basketball?" Dana inquired.

"Nooooh. He can hire an accountant for that. This is basketball country," he explained to Dana, "not Algebra land."

"I like your truck," Noah said changing the subject. "Who did the paint job?"

"I did it, two weekends ago." He turned to the tall woman who wanted to desperately be somewhere else. "What do you think about it?"

"It's big. Do you use it for towing horses or a boat?"

"Nooooh. Geez. Where'd Grace find her?" he asked the school teacher

"What are those extra wheels for then, are they training wheels?"

Noah spit his beer out and began to choke while Dick's face turned red.

"Nooooh," he said irritatingly slowly. "It's a dooly."

"A dooly?" she repeated as slowly. "And you have it for what, killing two opossums with one pass?"

Noah choked again. "Excuse me," he squeaked out before escaping into the kitchen.

A second later, Grace came out of the kitchen drying her hands with a dishtowel. She looked at Dana and smiled. "Dana, I need you to go Krogering with me."

"Okay," Dana said jumping to her feet with enthusiasm even though she had no idea what the hell Grace was talking about. But she hoped it did not have anything to do with road kill or monster trucks.

The patriarchless family sat around the dining room table eating what Faith Wilson claimed to be Southern fried chicken and corn bread. Dana was trying to decide what exactly would be the best time to feign illness when Mark, the oldest boy who was sitting next to her, spoke.

"Why do you have numbers on your hand? "

Dana looked down at the tattoo as did everyone else at the table. She was about to answer him when Grace answered for her.

"They're her phone number, Mark, so she doesn't forget it."

Dana looked at her friend, stunned.

"What if she moves?" Luke asked.

Dana looked at Grace for the answer to that one. Didn't think this through, did you Doctor, she thought to herself.

"Then she has this one crossed out and another one put on."

Dana rubbed her forehead, hoping that this would not go on much longer.

"What, is she stupid or somethin'?" Mark asked said and began to work a bone with his mouth.

Again, Dana looked to .

"No, Mark, Dana is not stupid," Joy said giving her sister a wary look. "But she does pick stupid friends sometimes."

Dana cleared her throat. "It's an identification number for a place where I lived with lots of other people. It's how they kept track of me."

"Like at Walmart," Mark chirped as he snapped the cartilage of the chicken leg with his teeth.

"Walmart?" his father asked.

"Yeah, Billy Huffy's mom works at Walmart, and she says that everything has its own number and that's how they know which shelf to put it on."

Dana smiled at the kid. "Yeah, Mark, it's just like at Walmart."

Noah patted his eldest on the head and pushed his glasses up his nose with a finger. "Dana, Joy tells me you're a computer programmer."

A nod as she ate her salad.

"What language do you write in?"

"IDNO, mostly, but it depends on the project and the graphics."

"Do you freelance? Or are you corporate?"

"Free lance."

"I teach TBD to some kids after school."

"Maybe after dinner, Dear, you can show Noah some of your work," Faith offered.

Dana did not like the way Faith said "Dear, giving her the eerie sensation Faith might be meaning "deer" and fantasizing herself behind the wheel of Dick's Dodge dooly with Dana caught in her headlights.

After dinner Dana placed her laptop on the dining room table with the adults wrapped around the screen while Noah was trying out the Imma program. "Wow, what a network you must have created."

Dana reached over and opened up a parallel window showing the program workings past the user interface. The visible code scrolled on its own while the program ran.

"I took the normal chemical reactions necessary to sustain a healthy body and fused it based on statistical characterizations and probabilitical reasoning to create the basic algorithms for the program. Then, I introduced the abnormal chemistry of illness, and labeled the evidence as active or passive inside this statistical framework of the algorithms I created. Then the active and passive data is combined in the Bayesian network. A probabilistic reasoning program interprets the data over a time frame and makes decisions as to what reactions the body may have."

"So it's crucial you have the proper belief propagation?"

"Absolutely. But microbiologists have chronicled most illnesses, at least the ones I have incorporated into the program, so that's not a real problem."

"Ha, it's only as good as modern medical science." Dick said.

"Maybe not even that good, because I have to interpret the chemistry and then write the variable and algorithm properly to describe the reaction as a function for the computer to understand."

"Where do you get you information?" Joy asked.

"The net and books primarily, the Merck company has several online databases for microbiologists and organic chemists."

"Let me try," Joy said nudging her husband slightly. He moved off the chair and Joy slipped into it. Dana showed Joy the animal programs and she spent the rest of the evening exploring them, cooing at the accuracy of the veterinary treatments. When Dana left the room to snatch a beer, Joy leaned to her sister and told her bluntly, "I don't know where you found her, but with that body and those breasts . . . brains, you'd be a fool to let her get away."


Continued...Part 2

Return to The Bard's Corner