Author's notes

Hi from the author! This chapter marks the halfway point of the story, and there are exactly 12 chapters to go after this, so I've decided to take this moment to say a few things.

First of all, a massive thank you to everybody who is reading along and leaving feedback. This is the first time I've ever written fanfiction and I'm very flattered that people seem to be enjoying it, I enjoy reading the postive reviews that are being left, both on here and across the three Brokeback forums that I'm a member of. While we're on the subject, I'd like to thank all of my forum friends, they know who they are, for their support and in some cases, their help with certain ideas. I love you guys 3

Second, I can confirm that I WILL be writing a sequel for this story, that will take place some months after this one finishes. I aim to finish this story in late August start writing the sequel in early September. I'll put in some notes in the last chapter of this story confirming the date.

Third, thanks again to everybody who is reading along and enjoying it, leaving feedback and/or adding it to their favourite stories, I am aware that some people have and I'm flattered. Hope you stick around for the second half and that you look forward to the sequel!

Thank you again.

Kathryn xxx


Chapter 12

Ennis quickly fumbled with the key in the lock, Jack nibbling and kissing at his neck, hands all over him. The door banged open against the wall and they staggered through, Jack slamming it shut behind them. They pulled at each others' jackets, ripping them off and throwing them to the floor as they kissed passionately, breathing heavily.

Neither of them was entirely sure where this had come from. Ennis had been perfectly fine while renting the room, but the next thing he knew Jack was all over him and they were eager to get inside and on that bed.

Ennis pulled Jack backwards towards the bed as they removed their shirts, never letting go of each others' lips. They could feel their erections through their pants, pressing into legs as they sank down onto the bed. They moved up to the head as they removed their pants, their sweaty, slippery bodies rubbing together, limbs twining and melding.

They finally broke their faces apart to breathe, panting. Jack's eyes were shining, full of lust and love. Ennis ducked his head and started sucking at his neck, his hands gripping Jack's hair as Jack ran his own hands down to Ennis's ass. He let out a quiet moan and pulled Ennis closer.

"Ennis..." he breathed. Ennis lifted his head and looked into Jack's eyes.

"What?"

Jack had a gleam in his eyes. "Flip me over."

Ennis looked surprised. "You what?"

Jack nodded. "Flip me over. I wanna do this the good old fashioned way."

Ennis drew back slightly. "You sure? I don't wanna hurt you none."

"S'alright. It ain't gonna hurt with the lube." He tilted his head. "Don't get me wrong. I love doin' it face to face, but...I wanna do it the other way tonight. I want it rough. I want ya to ride me like a buckin' bronco." He whispered fervently, kissing him. He trusted Ennis enough to know that he wouldn't deliberately hurt him, and that he would do anything to avoid hurting him by accident.

Ennis paused, and then nodded. "Okay." He flipped Jack over onto his knees where he began to shake with excitement. He retrieved the lube from his jacket and got back on the bed behind Jack. He slicked himself up and threw the tub onto the bed. He enveloped Jack in his arms, kissing the back of his neck. Jack moaned and trembled with desire.

"Ennis...please..."

Ennis finally gave him what he wanted, sliding inside with ease and then snaking his hands around to Jack's groin, taking hold of him. Jack lifted his own hands and gripped the headboard tightly in anticipation. Ennis moved in and out, taking one hand off Jack's erection and leaning forward so he too could hang onto the headboard. At least, he'd been intending to grab the headboard, yet when he'd flung his hand out it had made contact with Jack's, so their fingers linked together as the thrusting continued.

"Faster!" Jack choked out. Ennis obliged him with enthusiasm as they both gasped for air. His other hand was rubbing at Jack, hard fast strokes in rhythm with his thrusts. Jack gripped the headboard tighter as he struggled to stay on his knees, feeling Ennis's hand grip his tighter.

"Gun's goin' off!" he yelled, shooting right at the headboard as Ennis simultaneously exploded deep inside him. They both shuddered as their knuckles turned white, and then they collapsed onto their sides, Ennis still holding onto Jack.

They lay there, panting, seeing stars as their senses struggled to catch up to them. Ennis shuffled forward so he could spoon behind Jack, hugging him.

"Fuck." He breathed into Jack's ear. Jack pulled his hands up and kissed the palms, then the fingers, then linking them with his own.

"Yep, an' it was a good one, cowboy."

Ennis chuckled quietly and kissed Jack's ear. "How come you wanted it like that anyway? We ain't done it like that without standin' up since Brokeback. We've done it from behind standin' up, like in the shower, but...this is different. Right?" he asked, leaning up on his elbow so he could see Jack's face.

Jack turned himself onto his back so they could lock eyes. "Yeah it is...I dunno really, I just wanted to do it like that. The feelin' just came over me." He murmured, tracing Ennis's jawline. "Ya know...you got steel in yer backbone, Ennis. Yer real tough an' I love it."

"You do?" Ennis asked. He'd been described as tough, but had never figured that anybody would be attracted by it, but then again, Jack was a man. Men and women probably liked different things when it came to attraction.

Jack nodded. "Yep. When we met, you were real quiet an' shy, remember? I know I told myself I was gonna behave around ya, but I can't deny I was really into ya, I loved how tough an' manly you were. That streak is probably what caused that first night to happen the way it did, that you took charge. Turned me on like you wouldn't believe." He smiled. Ennis kissed him lightly, pleased that he'd made Jack happy that first night, despite the inevitable pain he must have caused him. He remembered his thoughts about letting Jack be in charge. Jack would know the pain, so he would probably try and help Ennis to be as relaxed as possible. He would definitely need Jack's lead when the moment came. It would probably turn out to be like their second night in the tent, with Jack holding him, kissing him, helping him to relax.

They broke apart and Jack looked thoughtful. "Ya should know...I saw that streak when we was in Lightnin' Flat, an' you stood up to my daddy. You was protectin' me, an' I'll never forget it. An' then...when you took charge that night an' got us safely outta there...you were so great, Ennis. I love you...so much." Ennis stroked his cheek, wiping the escaped tear away.

"I love you too darlin'."


Some time the next day, they had crossed the border into Texas and were driving towards Childress, where the rodeo was to be held. They'd bought some fresh sandwiches from a gas station along the road and since Ennis was unable to eat and drive at the same time, Jack was breaking bits off sandwiches and popping them into Ennis's mouth, making sure to let his fingers linger there, just to tease him. Ennis loved it though.

When both of them had had their fill, Jack yawned and lay down on the seat, head on Ennis's lap. He smiled up at Ennis, eyes twinkling, and Ennis stroked his hair as Jack fell asleep. Jack felt warm and happy.

He dreamed. He had dreams of what their new life would be like, wherever they decided to settle. He dreamt of a house and stables and land, their own property. He dreamt of stock and barn animals like cats and dogs, and the staff they would be hiring to help them. They'd have to make sure the hands were comfortable working for them of course; they would have to be honest from the start.

But mostly, he dreamt of Ennis. Right from that day in Signal, that felt so long ago, where he'd woken up thinking that it was all over, he'd fantasised about a home with Ennis. He'd had little choice but to push these hopes to one side, but then Ennis had surprised him by telling him how he felt and what he wanted. Now he could think about the future again, knowing that Ennis would be in it. No, Ennis was it. He dreamt of them waking up together every morning, working together all day and then going to bed together every night. Giving themselves to each other with enthusiasm and then holding each other tight. A simple life, some might say, but it would be everything they would ever need.

Jack slept with a smile on his face, which Ennis was pleased to see. His number one priority, as always, was to look after Jack and this included making sure he was happy. It tore him up inside whenever Jack was upset, especially if he'd caused it. It was the least he could do for Jack; make him happy after everything he had suffered through. He was putting Jack's happiness before his own, and he had to admit he felt good for doing it.

Jack's dreams shifted further into the future. He was now dreaming of a family. He knew perfectly well he and Ennis could never have children of their own, but maybe one day they would be allowed to adopt, or use a surrogate. That was always a possibility.

He was dreaming of something else now. He and Ennis, standing side by side in front of a priest, their families and friends sat behind them. Strangely enough, they were wearing their normal cowboy gear instead of suits, but that suited them better. It was truer to who they were, a very important aspect. He heard himself say words that he longed to, looking deep into Ennis's eyes.

I, Jack Twist, take thee Ennis Del Mar...

When his turn was done, he heard Ennis speak the words, and felt the tears in his eyes.

I, Ennis Del Mar, take thee Jack Twist...

He looked at their joined hands as they swapped rings, gold bands cut into the shape of what looked like rope, then back up, grins on their faces. A few more words from the priest he couldn't make out, but then Ennis was leaning towards him and he realised what had been said.

The kiss was long and deep, lips pressing together tightly. They heard the congregation applauding and hugged each other.

The truck drove over a bump in the road and Jack was shaken awake just as the wedding night came up, much to his displeasure. He looked around, blinking.

"Shit, sorry Jack. There was a bump..." Ennis said, looking at him apologetically. Jack shook his head and sat up on the seat, rubbing his eyes, which Ennis thought looked quite endearing.

"S'alright..." Jack yawned.

"What were ya dreamin' about? You sure looked real peaceful."

Jack cleared his throat. "Um...well I was...dreamin' 'bout us actually. What our place is gonna be like." He smiled at Ennis, who smiled back and took his hand.

"Yeah? Is it gonna be good?" he asked softly.

Jack kissed his cheek. "Real good, cowboy. I'm lookin' forward to it."

"I am too."

Jack hesitated. "An' then I...I got dreamin' about the future...I know we can't get married or have kids, but...I was dreamin' 'bout our weddin' day. Really somethin' it was." Ennis looked at him with a pained expression. "An' I...I know we can't have kids, but..."

"Come on Jack, we've been over this. It don't matter."

"Well I...I was thinkin'...if they ever let guys like us adopt maybe, or get a surrogate or somethin'..."

Ennis nodded. "I guess it's a possibility..." he took a deep breath. "Guys like us...ya mean queer guys?"

Jack looked at him in surprise. They'd never talked about that since the evening after their first night together. Jack knew he himself was gay; it didn't bother him and didn't seem to bother Ennis. But it annoyed him slightly that Ennis, despite his chosen lifestyle, hadn't yet admitted this truth about himself.

"Ennis...what are you..."

Ennis looked at him and bit his lip. "I dunno, Jack. I know I said I ain't, but...I believed it then. Now with everythin' that's gone on, I...I'm startin' to think..."

"That maybe you are?" Jack whispered, shuffling close to him. He knew this was difficult for Ennis, after what he'd seen as a child, and that he would have to work this out at his own pace.

"I dunno...maybe. I been thinkin' 'bout it...hell I dunno. I need to think on it some more. Can ya wait?" he asked, looking into Jack's eyes.

Jack smiled and snuggled close, wrapping his arms around Ennis's. "Take yer time. I'll still be here."


They finally arrived in Childress late in the afternoon. The sun was beating down and the atmosphere was full of excitement due to the rodeo. It had already started of course, but it was calf roping today, which Ennis and Jack weren't interested in, but they made their way to the rodeo ground so Jack could register for the bull riding, and hopefully see if Becky was on the lists for barrel racing. Jack hoped she would be, he missed her and was looking forward to seeing her again.

When they got to the rodeo ground Jack gave Ennis a small smile and walked over to where the registry was. Ennis stood waiting, shuffling his feet, looking around. This rodeo was so much bigger than the ones he'd been to in Wyoming, lots of people were here and the excitement was palpable. He was still uneasy in big crowds but nobody here would ever suspect the nature of his and Jack's relationship. For all anybody knew they were just two friends from Wyoming who were here for the rodeo. It was nobody's business but theirs.

He turned to see Jack motioning and waving him over. He had a big grin on his face.

"What's up?" Ennis asked when he reached him. Jack pointed to the lists tacked to the wall. There was one for today's calf roping, and several others for future events. The assistant was writing Jack's name and hometown on the bull riding list, and Jack was pointing at the barrel racing list. Ennis looked down the list and saw what Jack was pointing at.

Becky Twist

19

Childress, Texas

Ennis looked back at Jack, who was grinning from ear to ear. "She made it! She's a barrel racer! My Becky! Ain't that great?"

"Sure is," Ennis agreed. "Wonder if she's here?" he asked, looking around.

The assistant, who had heard their conversation, replied. "Becky Twist ain't here today. She come here about an hour ago to register, I asked if she was stickin' around, she said somethin' 'bout spendin' time with her family today. I'm guessin' yer a relative, Mr Twist?"

"I sure am, I'm her cousin from up in Wyomin'. That's where she's from." Jack replied eagerly. "I'm sure proud that she made it."

"Yep, this is her first rodeo. She seemed kinda nervous. You been here before?"

"Yep, this spring actually." Jack said proudly, flicking his belt. Ennis was irresistibly reminded of the day up on Brokeback when Jack had done the same in front of him. He'd been surprised when Jack had jumped up and started jumping around pretending to be riding a bull, but he'd loved how Jack could do things like that, make a fool of himself all so naturally without worrying about looking stupid. He'd probably done it for Ennis's entertainment, and it had worked.

That had been the first time that Ennis had felt totally at ease with someone, someone who could break down those barriers he'd set up around himself. Jack was probably the only person who had seen what he was really like. Somehow, he'd wormed his way into Ennis's heart, found a way in that nobody else had.

He thought back to his thoughts about letting Jack inside him, and he had a funny feeling it would happen here while they were in Texas. He didn't know how he knew, but he could sense that a few important things would happen here. Hopefully they would change them for the better.

"Hey," Jack said to him, shaking him from his thoughts. "You ready?"

"Huh? Oh...yeah. Where we goin'?"

"I was thinkin' maybe we could get a steak or somethin'. They serve real good steak here." His voice dropped a notch. "Then maybe we could find a motel an' have us some dessert." He whispered huskily, blue eyes full of lust.

A smirk appeared at the side of Ennis's mouth. "I like your thinkin'."

The steak restaurant was busy and loud, but not too boisterous. They settled into a booth and placed their orders. Since they had found a motel within walking distance, they parked the truck there and put all of their stuff in the room before heading out, which meant they could have a beer.

"Ain't bad," Jack mused, sipping his beer. "But I think I still prefer whiskey."

"Why? 'Cos it's better or 'cos it reminds you of Brokeback?" Ennis asked, smiling. Jack grinned. They both knew the reason.

Jack looked over at the door, and his face lit up. A similar grin was directed his way by the young woman who had just walked in. He motioned to her to come over. "Ennis, it's Becky!"

Ennis turned to see. She was a little shorter than Jack, with strawberry blonde hair flowing down her back under her pink cowgirl hat. She was wearing black pants and a black cowgirl shirt with pink embroidery in an intricate style. She looked like a typical western cowgirl. She had dimples like Jack, but had green eyes. "Well, well, Jack Twist."

Jack stood up and hugged her. "Becky, yer here! Long time no see!"

"God, Jack, it's been too long!" she replied, hugging him back tightly. "Been six months, boy! How are ya?" she looked at Ennis with interest. "Who's this?"

Jack grinned. "Becky, this is my best friend, Ennis Del Mar. Ennis, this is the lovely Becky Twist."

Ennis stood up and tipped his hat. "Pleasure, ma'am. Jack's told me a lot about you."

Becky shook his hand. "I ain't old enough fer ma'am." She said, her eyes twinkling. "But it's a pleasure to meet ya." She looked at her watch. "Damn, I gotta run, I got somethin' to do." She turned back to Jack. "Listen, I'm guessin' yer here fer bull ridin' right?"

Jack nodded. "Yep, we're gonna be here a couple days. We'll be watchin' ya tomorrow."

"Great! I really wanna catch up, Jack. Hear all the news. Will ya both meet me in the bar tomorrow? The one down the road from the grounds?"

Ennis and Jack nodded. "Sure. We'll see ya there." Becky nodded at them both and left.

"So, whaddaya think? Didn't I tell ya she was somethin'?" Jack grinned.

Ennis smiled back. "She sure is. Eat up, now, and then we can go get some dessert."


A hearty meal and several beers later, they were leaving the restaurant and slowly walking back to the motel. Their arms were around each others' shoulders but they weren't conspicuous, Jack pointed out that lots of guys did this when they'd been out drinking with friends, holding each other up so they didn't fall down.

Ennis loved getting drunk with Jack, it had always been fun. Jack was the only person he felt he could really open up to and be himself.

"Hey," he said, looking at Jack. "Can I ask ya somethin'?"

"Sure." replied Jack, who looked a little worse for wear.

"Well...the bull ridin'...I was thinkin'...you really gonna do it? It's real dangerous."

"I know. I'll be alright, I've done it before. I've gotta do somethin', we ain't got a lot of money."

"Yeah...'specially after Aguirre cut us a month's pay."

"I'm just pissed he was spyin' on us."

"Yeah..." suddenly Ennis stopped, forcing Jack to grab him for support.

"What?"

"I just thought...what if...what if that's why he brought us down early? He didn't want us workin' for him no more?" The injustice of it all bubbled as anger in his chest. "What if that was the real reason?"

Jack thought as best he could in this state. "Well...ain't nothin' we can do 'bout it now. Over an' done with." He tugged on Ennis's arm to get him moving and starting walking again.

Ennis didn't move. "So then he wouldn't have cut us a month's pay if there hadn't been nothin' to spy on."

Jack stopped and turned. "Huh?"

The horrible truth was running through Ennis's head. "If there hadn't been nothin' to spy on, we wouldn't have lost a month's pay."

"Ennis, if there hadn't been nothin' to spy on we wouldn't be here. Can we get goin'? I still want that dessert." He tried to smile, but it faltered at the look on Ennis's face.

"Jesus, Jack, is that all you think about? Sex?"

Jack whirled around. "Excuse me?"

"It's yer doin' we're here in the first place!"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It's yer fault Aguirre was spyin' on us. God, Jack, you ruined everythin'!"

"What?" They were now several feet apart, yelling and going red in the face.

"It's all yer fault this happened! All yer fault we ain't got no money! All yer fault I'm here, not knowin' what's gonna happen. At least with Alma I knew what was gonna happen!"

That cut Jack deep, after everything they'd been through. He could swear that he could feel his heart breaking. "Well ain't that somethin'? Cos I remember somebody tellin' me he didn't want that life, that he wanted a life with me! You done changed yer mind?"

Ennis sighed. "No I ain't. I still want a life with you..."

"Why? Cos ya love me or cos it's too late to go back to Alma?" Jack fumed. Somewhere at the back of his mind, he knew that the alcohol was causing them to snap at each other like this, but the argument was a legitimate one and he sure as hell wasn't going to back down.

"Cos I love you, you dumb bastard! I say it often enough don't I? I tell ya every damn day!"

"Right, I forgot what a chore it is to tell someone that! Or am I forgettin' it's cos I'm a man?" Jack yelled, blue eyes flashing with rage.

"Jack, I told you in the truck..."

"Yeah I heard ya, you said you was thinkin' 'bout it, that ya might be after all. Ennis, I know it's hard for ya after what yer daddy made you see an' I accept that," he said, pressing his hands into his chest. "I'm willin' to wait until you've figured it out. I don't matter anyway, as long as ya love me."

"I do, you know I do. It ain't been easy, you know. Been real hard, figurin' it out."

Jack's temper flared. "Yeah, cos I got no idea how it feels have I, figurin' you out, tryin' to know what's in yer head? After that day in Signal when you gave no sign at all what was gonna happen but ya jumped on me anyway? Yer a real basket case, Del Mar."

"Hey! I already apologised for that!"

Jack rubbed his tired eyes with his knuckles. "I know you did. An' I accept that. But don't ya see? We can't figure this stuff out! We gotta talk 'bout this stuff if this is gonna work, an' we can't go blamin' each other."

"But if you hadn't..."

"Lemme guess," Jack said sarcastically. "If I hadn't grabbed you that first night, we wouldn't have been spied on, an' none of this woulda happened right? Nothin' woulda happened between us, right? Thanks fer lettin' me know how ya feel." He turned and continued walking.

A lightbulb went on in Ennis's head. The answer suddenly became clear to him. "No, it would've."

Jack stopped in his tracks and turned, looking confused. "What?"

"It woulda happened. Maybe not that night, maybe not the night after, but it would've. You think you were the only one feelin' somethin'?"

"I dunno...I thought you might be, but...I thought I got it wrong."

"You didn't..." Ennis slowly walked towards Jack, and put his hands on his shoulders. "It woulda happened, Jack. I already really liked you...I just couldn't think of ya like that at first, you know? But I sure as hell liked you..." he trailed off.

"I thought you did...I hoped you did...but...I'm just scared that I need you more than you need me." He whispered, looking miserable.

"That ain't so, darlin'. You got no idea how much I need you." Ennis whispered, stroking Jack's cheek tenderly.

They looked into each others' eyes, searching for a reassurance that in terms of love and affection, they were equals. Their anger was waning and their energy had been sapped by the explosion. They wrapped their arms around each other, letting the rain soak their shoulders.


Ennis frogmarched Jack into the room and sat him on the end of the bed, then closed the door. He turned and joined Jack, who was looking worn out and miserable. They felt that new ground had been broken between them, things they should have talked about before.

Ennis sat next to Jack and took both of his hands in his own, running his thumbs over them. He looked up into Jack's beautiful eyes and they held each others' gaze for a few seconds.

Jack finally broke the silence. "Guess we shoulda seen this comin'."

"Yeah...we shoulda talked about this before. About money an' all that."

"I dunno what we were thinkin'...even if I win the bull ridin' an' get some money, ain't no way we can afford a ranch. We really shoulda talked through this before."

"Guess we got a little distracted over the last few weeks." Ennis said, a smile hitching up on the side of his mouth. Jack gave a nervous laugh at the understatement.

"You got that right. Fallin' in love, tryin' to sort ourselves out, workin' out what to do, runnin' from guys with-" he broke off, shaking his head. They didn't feel like talking about that just now.

Ennis released Jack's hands and held their foreheads together, and they felt their tension melting away. "I'm sorry, Jack. I'm sorry fer sayin' you ruined everythin'."

"You were right." Jack whispered, meeting his eyes. "I did ruin everythin'. I didn't know you was feelin' the same."

"I was...it don't matter if you ruined everythin'. I'm glad you did, cos I ain't never been this happy, Jack. I swear." Ennis whispered, stroking Jack's cheek.

"Me neither." Jack choked out, his lip trembling. Ennis pulled him into his arms and rocked them both back and forth.

"S'okay...shh..."

Jack got his ragged breathing under control and pulled back. He managed to smile as he said "So...it really woulda happened? Even if I hadn't grabbed ya?"

Ennis nodded. "I reckon so...you liked me an' I liked you. We're nineteen an' we was horny so...ain't no way we coulda kept that bottled up all summer. Had to spill out."

Jack considered this. At the start of the summer, he'd promised himself that he would behave and keep their relationship platonic. But with Ennis confessing that he'd wanted it just as much, maybe he'd never had a chance of resisting anyway. Maybe it had been meant to be from the start.

"So...ya liked me, huh?" he teased, grinning and twining Ennis's fingers with his own.

Ennis smiled fully, that wide grin that showed his dimples. "I sure did. Know what I love 'bout you, Jack Twist?"

"Hmm...my irresistible charm? My wit?" Jack replied.

Ennis shook his head in amusement. "Well, yeah, but that ain't what I was goin' fer." He shuffled closer to Jack. "Fer a start, I love these fingers an' hands," he said, kissing them. "An' I love these strong arms, I love it when ya hold me, Jack." He continued, rubbing his hands over them, looking at Jack who was grinning from ear to ear at this attention.

"You know somethin' else? I love this here mole..." Ennis murmured, kissing the mole in question above Jack's lip. Jack caught his lips with his own as he moved away. They kissed gently and slowly for a few seconds, tongues just meeting.

Ennis pulled away to breathe. "Somethin' else I love." He admitted. "But ya know what else I love? Yer eyes. They're gorgeous. Always liked 'em. An' those dimples..." he trailed off, running his hands over them.

Jack grinned. "I aim to please."

Ennis's expression turned serious. "You know what I love 'bout ya most? This." He whispered, placing his left hand to Jack's chest, over his heart, feeling it beat. "You've got a good heart Jack. Yer the best guy I've ever known. The best friend an' lover anyone could ask fer." He finished.

Jack kissed him. "My go..." he indicated to Ennis not to remove his hand. "I love all the things 'bout you that you said 'bout me. Yer fingers, yer hands, yer arms." He said, kissing each part in question as Ennis had. "An' yer eyes...did ya know ya got a little green in 'em?" Ennis shook his head. Nobody had ever told him that before. "Well ya have. I can't see it all the time, only really when we're out in the sun, but it's there an' I kinda like it. An' I know you love my dimples but you got some pretty good ones too ya know. I love it whenever I see 'em."

Ennis smiled shyly. "Really?"

"Uh-huh. Always love to see ya smile. Remember when you were laughin' at me when I was pretendin' to rodeo that day in camp?" They both chuckled quietly, reminiscing that day as they'd started to bond.

Jack brought his right hand to Ennis's cheek, then his left to Ennis's own heart, so their arms crossed each other. They looked into each others' eyes, feeling their hearts beat in unison.

"Ennis...yer the bravest, kindest guy I ever met. At the risk of soundin' sappy, you've been like a knight in shinin' armor. You've looked after me real good. You were there when I needed ya, an' I swear I'll never forget it." Ennis nodded.

"An' as fer what we was talkin' 'bout earlier...we'll be okay. We'll get jobs on another ranch or somethin' if we hafta. We'll be fine, okay?"

"Okay." Ennis agreed.

"Remember what we said back in Signal? We're gonna stick together no matter what. Ain't that like...the whole principle behind this? We gotta stick by that, an' if we do we'll be fine. Ya with me?"

"I sure am, Jack. Yer right...we're gonna make it work." They smiled at each other, the vow they had just made passing between them. "So...we was sayin' somethin' about dessert earlier?" he smirked.

Jack grinned and shot up. "Care to join me in the shower, cowboy?" he asked with a seductive look, slowly backing towards the bathroom, barely making it before he was grabbed.