Author: Pyro

Rating:NC-17 to R

Disclaimer: Credit goes to Annie Proulx, Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana, and Ang Lee

Notes and Summary: What if Ennis had said yes when Jack came up to see him after the divorce? What if Jack had then divorced Lureen and they bought a ranch? This is that story.

Whiskey River

Chapter 1

The postcard came on a Monday. Ennis rarely wrote, as bad as his eyesight was, and his handwriting was terrible. Jack took it back into his room and sat down on the bed to read. He stared in disbelief at the note.

Jack, me'n'Alma split. She took the girls, married the grocer here in Riverton. Said she got sick of low payin' deadend jobs. Wanted a real life. I got to pay a hundred and fifty in child support every month, and I only get to see the girls once a month. Thought you should know.

Ennis.

Jack noticed the address was Riverton, but not the same as before. He swore. It looked like rotten luck was going around. He and Lureen hadn't shared a bed in months. He'd moved into the guest bedroom, and things had started to get strained between the two of them. Thank God Bobby hadn't noticed anything. Then again, the both of them doted so much on him, he mightn't ever have thought anything was different.

"Christ," Jack sighed. He should go up and see Ennis. He had to deliver some farm equipment to Waxahatchie tomorrow. The day after, he'd drive up. See Ennis, spend some time with the folks. He flopped back on the bed, then looked up as the door creaked open. Lureen stood in the threshold, in her houserobe, no makeup, but bleached blonde hair combed, arms crossed.

"What's that?" she asked.

"Ennis sent me a postcard. He'n'Alma split. I'm gonna head up there after I get back from Waxahatchie. See him, do some work up at the folks. Back in a week or two."

"That so."

"Yup."

Lureen sighed, seemed to slump a bit. "Jack, what are we doing?" He gave her a quizzical look. "We don't sleep together anymore, don't hardly talk, and are barely in the same room together. Hell, I've been seeing more of Bill Pruitt over at the feed store than I do of you."

Jack sighed and scrubbed his hands through his hair. "Yeah, I know. Hell, you'd probably be happier with Bill Pruitt than you are with me. Hell, Lureen, the only reason you married me was because your daddy didn't like me. To be honest, I don't like him all that much, but I never wanted to make you choose between us. It wouldn't be me you chose. I love Bobby, you know that, but I can't do this anymore." He looked at Lureen.

She smiled, a soft, gentle smile that he hadn't seen on her face in years. It was a little sad, a lot knowing.

"You want to go back up to Wyoming."

"Yeah. There's some land up there, base of Brokeback Mountain. I want to start up a cow and calf spread. Maybe talk Ennis into partnerin' on it. Best damn cowboy I ever rode with. Build a place so's his girls and Bobby can come up." Jack's eyes were far away, and his voice was dreamy. Lureen could almost see that ranch.

"Bobby won't want to move up there. You can have him for summers, but he stays here for school." Jack grinned at her.

"Wouldn't dream of it." Lureen snorted.

"We'll talk more about it when you get back."

"I'm gonna put a down payment on that land up there when I go. I been saving up for it." He stood up and crossed to her, pulling her into a hug and kissing her hair.

"You're still my best girl, and the only gal I'll ever love. But we ain't in love anymore, are we?"

"No. Not for a long time now. You go back to bed, you've still got that drive to make. Say bye before you head to Wyoming."

He hugged her one last time. "Will do. Goodnight."

"Night."

The trip to Waxahatchie went as planned, and Jack got home in record time. As he was packing his gear, Bobby came out and stood on the wheel of the truck.

"What'cha doin'?"

"Packing."

"Where ya' goin'"

"Up to Wyoming. See a friend, see the folks, look at a ranch." Jack grinned, knowing exactly what his son wanted to hear.

"When are you coming back?"

"Week or two."

"You gonna stay?"

"For a bit. Your mom and me have some things to work out. Then I'll be moving up to Wyoming."

"What about me?" The little boy's voice was plaintive.

Jack looked at him steadily." You'll live here, with your Mom. Summer time, you'll live with me. How's that sound?"

"Why can't we live together? Don't you love me anymore, Daddy?"

"Oh, baby," Jack grabbed his son up in a hug. "'Course I do. Me and your Mom, we just can't live together anymore. Doesn't stop us from loving you."

"Why you want to go all the way to Wyoming?"

"Well,"Jack still had not put down his son." Your grandparents live up there, and I'm gonna help 'em get the ranch back in shape. I got a friend up there I'm hopin' to talk into goin' in on a ranching business with me. If I'm not living with your Mom, then I want to be in Wyoming. That answer you?"

"Yeah."

"Good. Now scoot, I got ta get gone. I'll see you in a week or two."

"Bye, Daddy."

"Bye, son."

Ennis Del Mar wasn't one for sitting around. After he wrote to Jack, he'd gone home, and thought. Jack was coming up here. Jack had called from Waxahatchie, and was leaving for Wyoming as soon as his delivery was made. Ennis had been very drunk when he worte to Jack, and he still couldn't believe he sent the postcard. Ennis looked around the ramshackle two room house. Bedroom and kitchen, with nothing to separate them but a small low wall, which the bed butted up against. A small bathroom and a minuscule closet completed the space. Not much could make it look better, but Ennis cleaned. Washed all the dishes and put them up, scrubbed the walls and floor until the chemical stench made him sneeze. Put on fresh sheets and then paced.

When Jack drove up, Ennis bounded out the door and had grabbed him in a hug. Nearly dragging Jack from the truck, and back into the house. Jack squawked in surprise, then let himself be drug. Jack held Ennis close as the bigger man buried his face in Jack's shoulder and shook. Jack rocked him and whispered in his ear.

Ennis pulled back and took Jack's face in his hands. He leaned in and kissed Jack, long, devouring kisses that took forever to come up from. Ennis toppled them on to the bed, shedding shirts and boots. Still kissing Jack, he unfastened both their jeans, wrapping long callused fingers around the hot sensitive flesh within. Jack arched against him cursing softly. Ennis's eyes gleamed, enjoying watching Jack come undone under him. When he'd reduced Jack to breathless begging, Ennis stripped off their pants, flipped Jack over, slicked himself up and dove in. Jack gasped and clenched around Ennis as he came, and Ennis followed shortly after.

Ennis rolled them to the side, not wanting to slip out just yet. Jack was still breathing hard, and shook and clenched every so often. Eventually Ennis slipped out, making Jack groan. Jack rolled over to his back, and pulled Ennis down to lay on him. Ennis lay his head on Jack's chest just over his heart. Jack stroked his hair, and heard Ennis murmur into his shoulder.

"I sure am glad you came." Jack smiled.

"Me, too."