Author's Notes:Apologies in advance for any flagrant inaccuracies in the following chapter regarding real estate, finance, or law which result from me torquing what little I know on these subjects into a framework to fit my plot needs. I've done my best to not make it seem silly or contrived, but since I'm not a laywer, a real estate agent or an economy major I could very well be talking entirely blathering nonsense. Oh, and these chapters comprising my first fan-fiction, I wasn't sure (still aren't) about the whole "disclaimer" bit, but as I see it at the beginning of everyone else's story I feel I should now start putting it in and make it official... or, well, unofficial... you know what I mean. All characters not of my own creation are the sole property of Annie Proulx, and possibly Focus Features, not really clear on that, but in any case I hope she doesn't mind me moving them around in her world(or they in theirs, whichever is appropriate), which I do with the utmost respect. As I'm not profiting by these pages, I feel satisfied that "it's all good", as it were.
Oh, and also... WARNING: very, very highly graphic and adjective-laden description of man-on-man sex follows. If you don't like reading about two men getting squelchy (though if you didn't, why would you be reading this?) I suggest you stop reading after they head to their room, and skip ahead to the eighth-from-the-end paragraph.
Time Enough to Get it Good: Chapter 4
August 23rd, 2004
He led the mare into the barn, soaked to the bone and shaking the rain from his coat and hat. Turning on a light, and a small heater, he set about wiping her down. He was looking forward to a hot shower and a warm fire, and either hot chocolate or whiskey, he hadn't decided yet. That would just depend on how lonely the house felt when he got there.
November 8th, 1979
The landscape rolled by in long, low undulations, the broad plains of Oklahoma showing slight variations in level made apparent by their speed. Jack knew Ennis was as anxious as he was to reach Fort Supply, and their little home-away-from-home motel, but he wished Ennis would cut back the speed a bit, so he'd have time to explain things to him. At this rate they'd cover the fifty miles in under thirty minutes, and he figured he'd need more than that to convince Ennis.
They'd stuck around Thistledown long enough to be polite, Jack enjoying a glass of Holly's iced tea and catching up with her, Ray, and Ennis, stopping by Bart's trailer and giving his well-wishes. But it was less than two hours before they'd hopped back in the truck and started out.
"You tryin'a get me pulled over again, Cowboy? I've had my fill a cops this week," Jack said, trying not to sound exasperated.
"'Again'?" asked Ennis, giving him the eye. "This got somethin' to do with that damn fool grin you was wearin' when you pulled up?"
Jack laughed in spite of himself. "No, and afore you go off half-cocked, I got a little story to tell you. And no, it's got nothin' to do with the law. Well, not cops, anyway."
Ennis was a bit confused and plenty annoyed by what Jack was leaving out, but since he knew Jack was doing it on purpose he wasn't about to rise to the bait. "OK, let's hear it, Rodeo."
"...so, I thought about her, an' you an' me an' ol' Brokeback, all the way back here. That's how I got myself pulled over, by the way. Was speedin' like the Devil was on my tail and didn't even notice. All I could think about was gettin' back here and telling you," Jack finished, searching Ennis' face for a reaction.
"Jack, you know I ain't got no head for business. Why don't you tell me how this works out so good for us?" Ennis asked, and his tone made it clear to Jack that he thought it was indeed a damn fool idea and he thought he understood it perfectly. Still, the fact that he was willing to talk about it was a pretty good sign, Jack thought.
Still, he wasn't about to let Ennis get away with that tone of voice. He heaved a big, put upon sort of sigh, and managed to do it without giving himself away with a grin. "Alright, lemme break this down for you, real simple like, as I know you ain't coordinated enough to think an' drive at the same time," he said, and managed to keep most of the smile out of his voice, too. "That ol' fuck Aguirre left behind a whole lotta land at the base of Brokeback, along with those Park Service regulated lands under lease higher up where he pastured the sheep, right? Plus, all them sheep, too. Now, 'parently he was screwin' Uncle Sam and now they wanna take the land and sell it off at auction to pay for as much of the debt as they can. Trouble's gonna be, as I see it, that ain't nobody in Signal's gonna know about this auction unless the government puts the word out, 'cause ain't nobody in Signal give a damn when Joe Aguirre kicked the bucket. He musta been a bastard to ever'one, 'cause his girl told me there weren't anyone come to the funeral, or check up on him."
"Yeah, I know he was a mean old cuss, don't need you or his filly to tell me that, Jack."
"Well, put it together, Ennis. She likes me, thinks I'm an ol' pal of her Daddy's. And she seems like a real good sort a person, so I'd like to do right by her. If she could keep the government from doin' too much hollerin' in advance of this auction, by confirmin' she's got buyers already, we ain't gotta run the risk of someone like some developer biddin' too high against us. An' we know, an' the government fellas gotta know by now too, that they ain't gonna get anythin' outta trying to auction the sheep off, 'cause Kelly and her Momma wanted to sell the flock in the first place, so they'd have already tried to sell the sheep off and there weren't no takers."
"Our share at Thistledown's worth a pretty penny, Ennis. If we was to buy up that land, and the sheep, the government gets its money, and since we c'n keep there from bein' too many other buyers, we should get a real good price. We get a decent stock ready made, and we can shift it over time to cattle if we like, or horses, or just keep tending sheep. An', if we do a good turn by Kelly and her Momma, let 'em keep their house and build our own, not charge 'em too much in rent or nothin'... well, Kelly at least seems like the type to do right in turn, and she had t've learned it from someone, so I fig're her Momma must be a decent sort. I don' think they'd give us away if they ever found out we ain't brothers, so I'd like to do right by her and her Momma, and it never hurts to have folks owe you a favor. And keepin' as much money in the local economy, makin' sure we do business with local folks as much as we can, we'll prob'ly be able to keep trouble from ever comin'. Folks'll turn a blind eye to a lot as long as the money's comin' in."
"Don't know, Jack. Kinda sounds like hogwash, to me..." Ennis paused, a long, full pause. "Why Brokeback? We could take our money and go wh'rever we want. Ain't gotta hang our shingle back in Wyoming. We both know it ain't the best place for fellas like us."
Jack didn't answer for a moment, holding himself still while the confusion and hurt caused by Ennis' question subsided He don't think about some things the way you do, Jack. Take it easy. Still, when he spoke, there was a definite edge to his voice. "'Why Brokeback?'... You even gotta ask that?"
"I ain't sure, Jack. I mean, I wanna get our own place an' all, but you know what happened to old Earl and-" he started to say it, but Jack cut him off. Differ'nt thinkin' be damned, yer gonna understand why this is important, Ennis Del Mar, if you ain't never understood before.
"I met you on Brokeback Mountain, you bone-headed jackass!" Jack said, loudly, his voice seeming almost a shout in the confined cab of the pickup. "Everythin' that's been good in my life started up there with me an' you an' those goddamn sheep that summer. I know Wyoming ain't likely to be the most welcomin' place, an' I know we could sell our share at Thistledown an' buy a patch a land jus' about anywhere we took a fancy to. But it feels right, Ennis. It's like, I don' know, fate or somethin'! Cain't you feel it?" Jack asked, wishing he could really express in words what had made him pull off in Signal, what had been chasing around the back of his mind ever since he'd spoken with Kelly Aguirre.
"I don't give a damn about Earl and Rich," Jack pressed on, "and what happened to 'em when you was a kid. We ain't them, Ennis, and it' ain't 1953 no more. Hell, when I travel around, business takes me back down to Texas, or to Kansas City or St. Louis, I see stuff. Read it in papers, hear it on the radio, or see it on the news, or just wanderin' into the right neighborhood lookin' for a drink on them overnight trips... Ennis, guys like us are comin' out in the open. Y'know, that's what they actually call it, when they let folks know about 'em? Coming out, they call it. Them guys's buildin' whole communities for 'emselves in big cities. Times're changin' Ennis, and while there're like to be plenty of folks who don't hold with our kinda life, I'm thinkin' it ain't too likely that we'll have villagers with torches an' pitchforks coming ta burn down our castle." Jack paused again, studying Ennis. "I been jawin' an awful lot, Cowboy." Jack's expression turned softer, apology mixed with embarrasment. "An' I'm sorry for teein' off on ya like that. How d'you feel about it?"
"Jack, I...hell, Rodeo, I know what Brokeback means. I ain't stupid, it means somethin' to me, too. I met you up there, don' forget. It's, well, it's important, no mistake." Ennis looked troubled, wore the look Jack knew meant he was unsure if he was saying what he meant to, getting the words out right. Jack was surprised then, when what he said next was pretty much crystal clear. "But Jack, I ain't worried 'bout no villagers with pitchforks. I'm worried 'bout a few mean bastards with tire-irons blindsidin'... us."
Jack knew Ennis had been about to say "blindsiding you", but was trying to keep from hurting his feelings. Jack knew Ennis couldn't help thinking more about his man's safety than his own. Hell, Jack also thought he could take on the world if needs be, and still he worried about Ennis' safety, even though he knew Ennis was plenty tough. Jack actually thought it was pretty sweet of Ennis, doubly so since Ennis tried to be considerate of his feelings.
"Ennis, that fight was four years ago, now, and I was angry 'bout a lot of other stuff, too. It's alright that you wanna take care'a me, keep me safe. I wanna do the same for you, Cowboy," he said, stroking a thumb down Ennis' cheek. "And that's the point, Ennis. I know we'd be safer from those mean bastards with tire-irons in a place like New York City or San Francisco, but I don't wanna live in those places, Ennis, an' neither do you. It'd stifle us. We need wide open spaces, Cowboy. So, we gotta take a little risk, wherever we go. But I trust you, Ennis. I trust you to watch my back an' keep me safe, Ennis, an' you c'n trust me to do the same for you. Me an' you, standin' back-to-back... let those bastards with tire-irons jus' try."
Ennis laughed. "You sure are brave, Rodeo. Or damn stupid. Prob'ly a little a both." Ennis reached up, grabbed Jack's hand, held it tightly. "Truth is, I wish I was half 's brave as you, sometimes."
Jack almost laughed, he was so stunned. Me? Braver'n Ennis? Yeah, that's likely... "You kiddin'? I don' think you ever backed down from anybody in yer whole life. Only reason I c'n be brave is 'cause I know I got you watchin' my back. You give me strength, Cowboy, don' you forget it."
"Jack... lemme think on this one, OK? It's pretty big, y'know."
"I know. I ain't expectin' miracles. You give it some thought for a coupl'a days."
"Jack, Ennis! Haven't seen you two in more'n a week!" Bob Wallace, the owner of the Sleep-Rite Motor Hotel, came around the counter in the small, homey lobby and gave them each a firm handshake, pulling them into a quick hug. Though it was obvious to both men that his hug lingered over Ennis just a shade longer.
"Hey, Bob. How's it goin'?" asked Ennis, only slightly uncomfortable with Bob's attention. Jack pushed down a laugh, but was unable to keep a grin from cracking his face. When they'd first started coming here, Jack had picked up on Bob's infatuation with Ennis as soon as it'd developed, but Ennis hadn't and Jack knew if Ennis did know it'd make him uncomfortable, so he let it be. He knew that nothing would come if it, he trusted Ennis, and he figured it best to leave Ennis in peace as long as possible. It'd taken Ennis almost two years to figure out why Bob was slightly more friendly to him than Jack, though Bob treated them both perfectly decently. Once Ennis has cottoned on, his manner turned just akward enough at Bob's attention for Jack to be amused without Bob noticing that they'd caught on.
"Oh, fine, fine. Your room's all ready, you know I always rent that one out last. Try to keep it open for you two cowboys, never know when you're gonna turn up!" he laughed, and went back around the counter, pulling open the registry book.
"Anything new and excitin' going on in the Fort, Bob?" asked Jack as he signed them in, and handed thirty dollar across the counter to Bob, who took the cash and dropped it into the till.
"Not too much, not too much... gonna be a wedding next month that'll be a big to-do. 'Couple of the local big-wigs' kids're getting hitched. They're paying me to organize the reception," Bob said, pride obvious in his voice.
"Hey, tha's great, Bob," Jack replied with a smile. Bob was pretty well known in Fort Supply for being able to put together a really fancy party. He didn't cook much, didn't do the flowers, or anything else that went into all the different elements, but somehow he seemed the best person in town at getting it all put together and making the choices of who'd cater, what band would play, what colors to use for the tablecloths, etc. It amazed Jack and Ennis that he could come so perilously close to being "out", as they called it, especially with his slightly effiminate mannerisms, but somehow instead he'd become fairly well-liked. Oh, he still had to deal with the occasional high-school kid shouting "fag" and "queer" at him, but he'd never been attacked or had his property vandalized or anything.
Jack figured it was because he wasn't actually out- he never talked about guys openly, never actually dated one, not even in secret- that the town was OK with it. As long as he made himself useful in a way that no one else could, he was alright by them, as long as he wasn't officially a fag. Jack's happy mood dampened slightly, as this train of thought took him to that place inside that was increasingly fed up with how the world treated guys like him and Ennis. Guys like Bob, too, though in Jack's mind Bob was still in a different class than himself and Ennis, somehow more queer than they. Still, however queer a fella is, ain't no call to treat 'im like shit jus' 'cause a who they love, he thought.
"Yeah, it should be real fun. And I'll make some good money, too... not only do they have no idea how much things like foie gras and orchids actually cost, but they've got no idea how much or how little of anything is needed to be 'in style'. What they do have is plenty of money," he said with a grin.
Jack laughed loudly at that, his briefly dark mood lifted. Hell yeah, Bob. You stick it to those hateful bastards but good. "'S what they git for not takin' an interest in cult'ral niceties," he said. "What the hell is 'foie gras'?"
"It's a pate." Jack continued to stare a question at him. "A pate is a kind of spread, you put on little bits of bread. Foie gras is goose liver." As Jack pulled a grossed-out face, for that did sound downright disgusting, Bob laughed and handed them their key. "Alright, you boys have a good time. There's nobody else in the motel at the moment, and if someone checks in I'll put 'em plenty far away from you. You have as much fun as you like," he said with a grin.
"Um... yeah, much obliged, Bob," mumbled Ennis, tipping his hat. Any overt comment about his and Jack's sexuality, even a veiled one, made him uncomfortable. Jack thought it was sweet, most of the time.
"Yeah, thank'ya kindly, Bob," added Jack, as he and Ennis grabbed their bags and headed off to their room.
Ennis grabbed Jack's bag from him, tossed them both into the corner as Jack closed the door behind them. As he turned around, Ennis grabbed him, laying a deep, passionate kiss on him, pressing into him so hard they slammed up against the door.
Jack returned the kiss to him, with interest. What'd I ever do without this man? Ennis thought briefly, then the thought was swept away as more blood surged to his already raging hard cock when Jack grabbed him around the waist and hoisted him up in his arms, still kissing him, and took the five strides necessary to tumble onto the bed.
They tussled for a few minutes, wrestling as they ripped shirts and pants from one another, doing their damnedest to keep their mouths pressed together the entire time. Ennis ended up on top, pinning Jack down, enjoying the feeling of Jack's mucles flexing underneath him as he tried to buck out, enjoying the feeling of power he got from holding the hot bronco down.
"Looks like yer pinned, Rodeo. Ain't as easy when yer the bull, is it?" he growled, grinding his stiff prick against Jack's hot manhood. He moved his head closer, bringing his mouth to suck on that sweet spot on Jack's jawline, just south of his ear, that made Jack writhe underneath him.
"Oh, Ennis... fuck, Cowboy!" Jack moaned, bringing his legs up and wrapping them around Ennis' waist. He grinned up at Ennis, locked his ankles and squeezed thighs made powerful from years of horseriding and rodeoing, visibly taking pleasure in the grunt he forced out of Ennis as the lean cowboy's breath was stolen. Ennis felt another thrill of pleasure at Jack's strength, flexed his own muscles against the pressure. Jack could've made him say "uncle", but Ennis bluffed and rode it out for a few moments, smiled down even though he was breathless and redfaced, and shook his head. Jack grinned back, relaxed his grip. "You got me, what'ya gonna do with me?"
"Whatever I please, Jack fuckin' Twist," Ennis said, loudly, mock-threat in his voice as he sat back on his haunches, grabbing Jack's hips and pulling him up and closer, propping his arms at his sides to support Jack's lower body as he dove on Jack's cock. Jack, his legs draped over Ennis' shoulders, let out a roaring "Hot damn!" and knotted his fingers in Ennis' hair, bucking up into Ennis mouth. Ennis went at it a for a minute or two, then pulled back, feeling Jack's fingers relax and slip from his head, saw Jack's eyes, glazed with pleasure, come up to meet his own. "Ya like that, do ya Rodeo? How's this?" So asking, he dove back in and sucked Jack's balls into his mouth, one after the other, pulling one in and sucking and slurping on it, rolling it around in his mouth before letting it go and tackling the other one.
Ennis was in heaven, loving how at the same time he was getting off on sending his man into ecstasy, he was also getting off on the control he had, the power he could have over Jack in this most intimate way. He didn't think about it in those terms, exactly, but he knew there were two flavors of pleasure mixed into the emotions inside his head and heart when they fucked, and he knew well enough where they came from.
Jack, as always, went wild at what Ennis was doing, hanging on as best he could, but he started bucking and thrashing, his fists grabbing handfuls of the sheet on the bed as he gasped and cried out in hot joy. "Alright, I give, I give!" he shouted, grabbing Ennis' head again. Ennis let Jack pull him in close, kiss him again, softer this time, still as deep and passionate, felt as much as heard Jack's throaty whisper in his ear, "Fuck me, already, Cowboy. I been waitin' all day."
Ennis growled with pleasure, pulled back, stopping long enough to suck on one of Jack's big nipples and make him writhe and shout again, and leaned back to reach into the side pocket of his bag, pulling out the little jar of Vaseline. He slathered up his cock, and started jacking it slowly as he spread some onto Jack's warm hole, easing in a finger, kneading it, working it to warm it up and get it ready. After a couple of minutes he grabbed Jack by the hips again, Jack spreading his legs and draping them over Ennis' shoulders, lifting himself up, and Ennis took aim and pressed forward, his world dissolving into a rush of pure ecstacy centered at the head of his cock as it popped into the tight, warm joy that was his Jack. In concert with his overpowering rush, he heard Jack moaning and crying," Aww, Cowboy! Yeah!"
Ennis started slow, building a rhythm, pressing his hips in as he supported Jack's lower body, Jack spread out before him on the bed, sweaty, manly, angelic. Ennis couldn't remember when their sex had started to change; they still went at it as rough as ever most times, hard and heavy, but more and more often he wanted to see Jack's face when they did it, hungered for the sight of Jack's eyes while they fucked, instead of that little thread of shame making him want to take Jack from behind. More and more often, their sex was a little less rough and fast, a little more slow, deep, tender. And more and more often, Ennis wanted to feel Jack inside of him as much as he wanted to feel himself inside Jack. Those times were still a bit rare, and likely always would be. But still, they came more often as time went on. This wasn't one of those times, though.
Their rhythm quickened, breath coming in ragged gasps, calling each others' name back and forth with every powerful thrust... "Oh, Jack", "Oh, Ennis", "Yeah, oh, fuck! Jack"...their hard bodies drenched in sweat, every bulge and flex of muscle standing out in gleaming detail from it as they bucked. Ennis was pushing in harder and harder, wrapping his arms around Jack, trying to push all of himsef inside, Jack wrapping his legs around Ennis, then his arms as well, drawing him in, tightly, trying to pull all of Ennis inside himself.
"Oh, FUCK!", they bellowed, together, coming in unison in a pounding swell of fire and joy and raw lust that obliterated the universe around Ennis, leaving only himself and Jack, twitching, heaving breaths, slowly coming back down from the dizzying heights of heaven. Slowly, ever so slowly, Ennis felt himself soften up a bit, heard the soft sucking sound as he plopped out of Jack, felt Jack sigh in relief and loss at it. Ennis just lay their, enjoying the heat of their bodies pressed together, the sweet stink of Jack's sweat mingled with his, feeling his exposed back cooling and drying while the wet heat of their passion lay safe between them.
After a time, he felt Jack shift underneath him. "Goddamn, Cowboy. That... was... fuckin' fantastic!" Ennis felt Jack's arms encicle him again, lightly stroke the back of his head. Strong, rugged arms. Safe arms. How can I feel so safe with him, like he's gonna take care of me, an' still need so bad to keep him outta harm's way, like I gotta keep him safe? Ennis wondered, but he took pleasure anyway in both feelings. More and more often, he could accept the contradictions inside that his life with Jack brought him, and put them aside in favor of the happiness which that life brought. It was easy, putting aside all the little lingering doubts and fears, in moments like this. He knew they'd be back later, when they went and got supper, or when they drove back to Thistledown, or sometime in between. Suddenly, a revelation of sorts took place within Ennis. If I c'n only feel this right, this whole, this free in moments like this, then I want more moments like this ta happen. I need life t'be filled with times like this, an' Jack surely deserves 'em... and to do that...
"What is it, Ennis?" Jack asked, concern in his voice. Ennis pulled back a little, meeting Jack's eyes, and realized that he'd gone all tense, wearing the frown that meant his mind had gone somewhere that bothered him. Jack looked up, ready to care for him, patient enough to leave him be if he didn't want to talk about it. Ready to fight for him. Jack had fought for them, a lot harder than Ennis had done. Well, it was his turn to fight, now. His turn to fight the man who'd stood in their way all this time: himself. He'd fight himself, and the world if it came to it. He made himself relax, as much as he could.
"I love you, Jack Twist," he said, his declaration of love to Jack a declarartion of war to the fear and doubt within himself. "You'n me, we're taking that land up on Brokeback."
Jack's eyes lit up, that dopey grin that Ennis held so dear spreading across his face. "An' I love you, Ennis Del Mar," Jack said, and kissed him. "Damn, that's twice in four years we said that. Guess we must be serious." After a moment, his smile dimmed a little, though it didn't come near to going out. "Are you sure, Cowboy? I mean, really sure? I never in a million years fig'red you'd decide this quick. I thought I had a whole mess a convincin' ahead a me..."
Ennis smiled, and sighed, scooted down a bit to lay his head on Jack's chest, feeling the still-drying sweat and heartbeat against his cheek. "No, Rodeo, I ain't sure. I ain't sure about a lot a things, an' buyin' land in Wyoming ain't the least among what I ain't sure about. But, what I am sure about is that I need you in my life more'n I have you there now, I need you there forever, an' I think you deserve a whole lot better'n what you had so far. It's high time we started that sweet life, an' if I wait 'til I'm sure to start it, we ain't never gonna get there."
Jack laughed, a sound of such happiness that Ennis could hear the tears in it, even though his vision was filled with the gentle curve of Jack's muscled chest, the little tuft of hair around his dark nipple. "Cowboy, I think you just might be the bravest man I ever known." Ennis felt Jack's hand on the back of his head again, gently stroking his hair. He heard the clink-snick of Jack's Zippo, and heard the quiet crackle as he sucked on the freshly lit smoke. After a moment, he heard the satisfied exhale, reached up to take the cigarette as Jack held it before his eyes, took his own long drag, feeling the smoke warm his lungs
Only 'cause you make me brave, Rodeo, he thought, but he didn't say it.
They lay like that, sharing a smoke together, eventually drifting off into a foggy doze. Neither one of them noticed the passage of supper time, and they didn't rouse from one another's embrace until breakfast.