Chapter 13

Pete sat in the bar by himself, drinking and festering in his hate. It had been a while since he'd left Brokeback Ranch and while he'd found work elsewhere, it was hard to let go of his anger at the whole thing. He felt he was perfectly within his right to treat Michael the way he had; people like him had no place in America as far as he was concerned. And he was even angrier at the owners. True, they hadn't fired him directly, but if he had stuck around they probably would have. At least he had been spared the big speech about equal rights.

When he'd been hired by Ennis and Jack, they had been honest about their relationship, as they had been with all of their employees. He hated gay people with the same amount of hate that he had for black people. But he'd needed work and they had been just starting out; had needed the help since they weren't that much older than him. He'd held his tongue and pretended he was okay with it for the sake of having his wages paid. In reality, he'd been spitting poison at them in his mind. And now he was finally free of it, working on a ranch owned by a normal man who had a wife and kids. But he wanted revenge.

Torching the barn had been a clear warning that they were not wanted here, but it hadn't worked. They were standing their ground and he had managed to convince the detective that he'd had nothing to do with it. He'd always been a good liar. So he'd sent the letter, warning them clearly that they were not wanted here. He hoped they would get the message now. He knew that he could always resort to violence if necessary. He had the weapon and the motivation. All he needed was the opportunity. He'd glimpsed Jack in town on July 4th, but that would have been way too dangerous. He needed to get one of them alone. But how? They were always either together or with Becky.

An older man slipped onto the stool near him. Pete recognised him as Fred Kane, the man who'd been giving them a hard time in town.

"Hey," he said, offering his hand. "Pete Dawson."

"Dawson?" groused the old man. "Ain't you workin' at that queer ranch?"

"Not anymore. Quit."

Fred's eyes showed a glimmer of interest. "Yeah? How come?"

"They hired a coon an' I ended up punchin' him. Never cared for those queers, only put up with it 'cos they was payin' my wages. Had enough an' took off."

"I don't like 'em either. Always seein' 'em in town, accusin' me of arson an' sendin' 'em threats in the mail."

Pete smirked. "That was me, actually. I want 'em outta here."

"It was you, huh? They questioned you?"

"Yeah, been hauled in for both things. I'm a good liar though. They got nothin' but their suspicions."

"Yeah, I been called in too. Already done time in the slammer, don't wanna be doin' nothin' that'll put me back in there."

"I need revenge. I lost a job 'cos of those queers an' the people they hire. They need to be taught a lesson. Need to remember they ain't wanted here. The fire in the barn an' the letter don't seem to be sendin' the message. Gotta think of somethin' else."

"Like what?"

"I got a crowbar in my back seat," Pete murmured darkly.

"You crazy? That'll get yer ass locked up fer sure."

"Not if they don't know their attacker."

They finished their drinks in silence, not knowing that their conversation had been overheard. Kate and Rick Hardeman had been sitting nearby and had heard every word, especially Pete's confession and future plans.

Kate looked at her brother. "What do we do now?" she asked, distressed.

"We gotta tell James, an' we gotta warn Ennis an' Jack. He's plannin' to hurt at least one of them."

"Okay. I'll go to the station an' let James know. Will you go out to the ranch?"

"Yep, c'mon." They grabbed their coats and once outside, sped off in opposite directions. Becky went to the station and filed a statement, telling James everything she and Rick had heard. He then went to the bar to see if Pete was still there, while she went out to the ranch, where Rick had just told Ennis, Jack and Becky the bad news.

"Well, I knew he was behind it," said Jack. "An' from his own mouth too."

"He'll probably deny it, though," muttered Ennis. "Wouldn't surprise me none."

"I know, but there's two witnesses that heard it." They were interrupted by the sound of a car. Jack opened the front door to admit James. Becky turned away. She wasn't sure what he expected from her after their less-than-wonderful date.

"Well guys, just wanted to let you know how things went. Both Pete and Fred were gone when I got there. I'm sorry."

Jack shook his head. "Ain't yer fault, James. Least now we know he did it, an' now you can arrest him when you do see him, right?"

James nodded. "I can, an' I will. Arson an' threatenin' mail. I'll have him for this when I catch him."


"Well, I better be off."

"Yeah, we're gonna go too," said Kate. She and Rick left.


"Yeah?" she answered, already having a feeling about what this conversation might be about.

"Would you, um...would you like to have dinner again sometime?" he asked hopefully.

Becky gave him a sad smile. "That's real sweet of you, James, but...I gotta turn you down. I'm sorry. I'm...I'm just not yet ready to date. Sorry."

James looked crestfallen, but quickly covered it up. "I see. It's okay, you don't have to apologise." He quickly made his exit, leaving Ennis and Jack to look at Becky. She looked back at them, sighed and made her way upstairs, leaving them more confused than ever.

On Saturday Becky went into town alone. She hadn't planned on this but she felt like she needed to get out of the ranch for a while and think.

She'd felt awful at turning James down for a second date, but knew in her heart she'd made the right decision. Second dates should really only be considered if you felt a spark for the other person, a certain something, and she knew that she hadn't, not like how she'd felt about Andy.

She couldn't get him out of her mind. He would be here next month and she wasn't sure that she was completely prepared for it. She'd considered calling him, often, to tell him the truth, but while she'd picked up the phone a few times, she'd lost her willpower.

She'd tried to distract herself with planning for the baby, but there wasn't much to do right now. Ennis and Jack could check on their pregnant cows and on Star, and it was a full-time job. There wasn't much they could do for her except keep an eye on her.

She walked down the high street slowly, lost in her thoughts. Pete had been arrested on suspicion of arson and mail threats, and was currently undergoing further questioning based on Kate's statement. They were all certain that he would deny everything, but it was worth a try; they had to put a stop to this.

A figure blocked her path, and when she realised who it was, her face contorted with dislike. "What the hell do you want?" she snapped.

Fred glared at her. "Wanted to talk to you. On yer own."

"Well you caught me. Say whatever you wanna say an' then get lost."

Fred looked down at her bump. "So, who knocked you up, if it weren't one of them queers?"

"I told you, ain't none of yer business."

His lip curled. "Bet they love it don't they? Somethin' normal to stop people suspectin'? Ain't gonna work though."

"What the hell are you talkin' about?"

"Soon enough, everybody'll know what they are, an' they'll come fer 'em. Kill 'em both an' throw 'em in a ditch. An' you'll be right there with 'em, you queer lover. You won't be the only one, either." He looked down at her bump again, and she got the message.

"Don't you dare threaten my baby," she whispered in rage. "That ain't gonna happen."

"It will, if you don't get outta there soon." He paused for a moment. "Got more trouble headin' yer way. Especially those two. Somethin's already been planned."

That threw Becky; she hadn't been expecting a direct warning like this. "What do you mean?"

"They're both gonna get killed, an' soon. Just you wait." He then sidestepped her and continued down the street, leaving her staring into space. It sounded as though Pete or someone else was planning something; an attack against one of her cowboys. And it would apparently happen soon.

Whatever her feelings about James, he was still the sheriff and she had to report this. And tell Ennis and Jack as soon as possible.

She went back to Ennis's truck and drove to the station. Once inside, she ran into James and told him what had happened.

"Well," he said. "Pete denied doin' anythin' an' I can't get him to talk, so I hadta let him go. Got a search warrant fer his house though, an' we're workin' through Kate's statement. We'll get Fred in; he knows about all this an' he might crack under pressure."

"Okay," she replied, nodding. "I'd best get back an' tell Ennis an' Jack."

"Sure. You, take care, Becky." He looked at her almost wistfully, and she could tell he liked her, but she had to stick to her guns; it wouldn't be fair to string him along out of pity.

"Yeah, you too." She left and drove back to the ranch, not looking forward to delivering Fred's threat.

Ennis and Jack were just starting lunch when she arrived. "Hey," said Jack when she walked in. "Lunch's ready, got chicken soup if that's okay."

"Sure, thanks," she replied as she retrieved a bowl.

"You okay?" Ennis asked as she sat down.

She sighed. "I'm fine, but...listen, there's somethin' I gotta tell ya."

They looked at each other and then back at her. This didn't sound good.

"I, um...while I was in town, I ran into Fred Kane again."

Jack's nostrils flared. "What did he do? Did he threaten you?"

"He threatened all of us," she said quietly, wondering if she should continue. "He threatened...all four of us." She looked at them meaningfully.

Their eyes widened. "Shit, no..." whispered Jack. "He didn't..."

Becky nodded, wiping at a tear. "He did. Said you two...would end up dead in a ditch an' an' my baby would be right there with you." Her voice broke at the end.

"Christ..." Ennis muttered. "Bastard. He got no right sayin' that to you."

"An'...he's made a threat. Said that...somethin's been planned. Fer you two. I think...someone's gonna try to hurt you." Her eyes looked fearful.

The pair of them were silent, digesting her words. They knew all too well that people would hurt them for who they were, but they could never be prepared for a direct threat. It reminded them both of Lightning Flat, when Jack's father, Alma's father and Aguirre had conspired to kill them. But they were stronger now and better at dealing with things like this.

"I told James," Becky went on. "I'm real sorry about all this, guys."

Jack shook his head. "S'alright, honey. We can deal with this."

The rest of the meal passed in silence and when Becky went upstairs to do laundry, Jack walked up to Ennis and put his arms around him, nuzzling his neck.

"I'm scared, Jack," Ennis whispered. "Scared fer you, an' Becky an' her fuckin' scared."

"I know, I know. I am too, but...we can't let 'em get to us. Gotta stay strong. Gotta stick together."

He rocked Ennis in his arms, hoping that the family bond in this house would be enough to keep them safe.

While Becky had been out, Ennis and Jack had taken full advantage of the empty house. After clearing away the dishes, Jack had turned to Ennis, eyes sparkling mischievously.

"Hey cowboy, lookit this," he murmured, running his hands up Ennis's arms. "Got a big empty house all to ourselves."

"Mmm...sure do, rodeo," Ennis replied, sliding his arms around Jack's waist. "Whaddaya wanna do?"

"Hmm...well...I thought we'd do some of this..." He kissed Ennis on the lips. "Then some of this..." He moved his mouth to kiss down Ennis's neck. "An' see where that takes us..." He lowered his hands to squeeze Ennis's ass.

Ennis couldn't help but grin at the prospect, and then something came to mind, something that he wanted to do with Jack but couldn't see himself plucking up the courage to ask.

"Well, uh..."

"What?" whispered Jack, undoing Ennis's buttons.

"Jack, I uh...there's...somethin' I wanna try..."

Jack paused. Whenever Ennis had wanted to try something new, it usually ended up being a mindblowing experience for both of them. He'd often surprised Jack with this sensual, adventurous side. "Yeah? What's that?"

"" Ennis blushed and looked away. Jack cupped his cheek.

"C'mon, cowboy, you can tell me."

"Well..." Ennis leaned forward and started whispering into Jack's ear. Jack drew back, looking puzzled.

"Really? How come?"

"You'll see, once you get up there."

"Hmm...okay." Jack did as Ennis asked and hoisted himself up onto the washing machine, not having a clue what Ennis might be up to.

Ennis moved forward and stood between his legs, kissing him deeply, drawing Jack's tongue out.

"Mmm..." Jack moaned, pulling away for air. "Well, I sure ain't complainin'."

Ennis started undoing Jack's buttons as Jack pulled his shirt off the rest of the way. Their shirts were flung to the floor and Ennis pulled off his own boots then Jack's. They busied themselves with each other's buckles and zippers, fingers fumbling in their hurry. Soon Ennis had his jeans off and eagerly tugged off Jack's. Now they were both completely naked, Jack on top of the washing machine, Ennis standing between his thighs which were wrapped around him.

Ennis broke away. "Hang on, forgot somethin'." He hurried out into the living room and upstairs, leaving Jack there. If Becky came home early she would get the shock of her life, Jack figured.

Ennis soon came back with their tube of lubricant, a smile on his face. Jack grinned back and coaxed him back into his arms for more kisses. Ennis prepared himself quickly and was soon sliding into Jack like a hand slides into a glove, one fluid, smooth motion that made Jack close his eyes and feel like he could lose himself in the moment.

Ennis kissed his neck as he thrust into him, Jack's heels digging into his back and urging him on. When he had a good rhythm going Ennis let his hand wander for the main part of his plan.

Knowing full well that the machine had clothes and powder in it, he switched it on.

The vibration started immediately, and Jack wrenched his mouth away to gasp in shock. The sensation was beyond anything he'd ever felt. Ennis thrusting into his ass and the vibrations down there were making him see stars.

He looked into Ennis's eyes and saw that Ennis had planned this. Jack couldn't believe it. "Oh Ennis...oh, fuck..." He screwed his eyes shut at the pleasure thrumming through his body.

"Like that darlin'?" Ennis breathed into his ear, making him squirm.

"Oh fuck yeah..." Jack threw his head back in ecstasy.

Ennis pushed in deeper and Jack groaned. "Ennis...gonna shoot...all over the floor..."

"Only one way to solve that," Ennis whispered, biting his neck softly. He leaned down and took Jack into his mouth. The mix of sensations all around and inside Jack's body rendered him incapable of lasting any longer, and he exploded into his lover's mouth, bucking and shuddering all over, his vision whitening. All he was aware of was Ennis.

A few more thrusts into Jack and Ennis was right there with him, releasing into him and holding on tight.

They could do little else but stay there like that, panting and waiting for the spots in front of their eyes to dissipate. Ennis's legs started to buckle underneath him so Jack slid off the machine and joined him on the floor, holding him as reality returned.

"Wow," Jack breathed.


Jack drew back and looked into Ennis's eyes; they were hazy and unfocused and he was clearly still drunk on love. "Where the hell did that come from?" Jack asked in amazement.

Ennis gave a lopsided smile. "Was in here the other day to go to the bathroom. Saw the machine was on, an' saw it was vibratin'. Couldn't help but picture you up there, naked, wantin' me to fuck ya. Thought what it might be do ya while it was on."

"An' how did it measure up?" Jack murmured, running a hand through Ennis's hair.

Ennis leaned forward to kiss him. "Better than anythin' I coulda cooked up in my head. Real damn good, darlin'."

"Yeah, it was." Jack smiled and hugged him. "You make me so happy, cowboy. An' just think, it's the first of August today. Not long 'til Brokeback."

"Yeah. Back atcha bud. An' yer right, not long. Can't wait to make an honest man of ya, Jack Twist." Ennis kissed Jack's cheek.

" neither," Jack said in a sigh, letting his head rest on Ennis's shoulder.

They eventually dressed and went for a ride up to their hill where they lay for a while. When they got back to make lunch, proceedings were slowed by them unable to keep their hands off each other, resulting in a heavy makeout session on the sofa. When Becky returned with the horrible news of more threats, they had to admit they were apprehensive. But they had an important event coming up, and they were determined to have some happiness before things became difficult.

Rose cleared the last of the dishes away, thinking. Jack and Ennis would be coming up to Wyoming soon, back up to Brokeback for their wedding. She had to admit she was excited for them; it would be a real commitment even though it wasn't legal.

She remembered the glow on Jack's face when he'd come to pick her up for her visit earlier in the year. She hadn't seen him so happy since he was a young boy. His blue eyes had been sparkling and his grin was so wide she wouldn't have been surprised if it had split his cheeks. As a mother she always wanted to see her boy happy and Ennis had made this possible, with his unwavering love and devotion to Jack. She was somewhat proud of him for making the choice that couldn't have been easy for him to make. She knew from Becky that Ennis had seen Earl's body in the ditch, and she knew that must have weighed heavily on his mind when making his decision. She knew that it was always on her mind, that and the effects it had had on the family. And after all, Becky had been Earl's grandchild too, and she, like Jack, had lost the chance to get to know him.

She often thought of Becky, and her growing baby. She would be seven months gone by Thanksgiving, and Rose felt a twinge of regret that she hadn't been there through it all to help her and give her advice. She'd often considered bringing it up when speaking to Becky on the phone, and while they were getting on alright by now, there was still a fair amount of tension between them, simply because of the lost years and the fact that they didn't know how to be with each other. She wasn't sure what it would be like in November, when she saw her for the first time in just over ten years. Becky was a young woman now, and so much time had been lost. But maybe they could salvage what time they had left.

The phone ringing interrupted her thoughts, but before she could get it, John picked it up. She stayed in the kitchen, out of sight.

"Lightnin' Flat, John Twist." A pause. "Joe. What you want?"

Joe? Joe Aguirre? Rose frowned slightly. Why would Aguirre be calling John at this late date? Surely he wasn't still after Ennis and Jack? She hadn't told John about them visiting; they had agreed to make it their last stop on the way home, that way if things went wrong they could get out of Wyoming quickly before they got hurt. She wouldn't see them until the 20th; that was when they planned to see all their relatives here before going back home. It would be a full day job and they planned to see Ennis's brother and sister for a few hours each.

John spoke again. "I told ya, I don't know where they are. Jack wouldn't say when he came up, just that they was down South somewhere. I got no idea an' I don't wanna know. He ain't no son of mine." Rose wiped a tear away. It made her heart ache to hear him say such a thing. "I'll let you know if I hear anythin', but don't go holdin' yer breath." He hung up and stomped outside, leaving Rose with her thoughts.

She remembered that day clear as if it was yesterday. Jack had been almost two, and Becky had only been one. It was a horrible memory, and it was that day that had started it all.

"Get out!" John repeated, pushing the older man away. "Get the hell outta my house!"

"John, please," Earl pleaded. "I just wanna see 'em. Just five minutes? They're my -"

"They ain't related to you, you filthy queer! An' neither am I!"

"John," whispered Rose. "John, don't be like this..."

"It's his fault! Cheatin' on my mother all that time, leavin' before she was even cold in her grave!"

"I ain't proud of that, but I did my best by her when she was alive. I tried to make it work, but..."

"But you still saw him on the side!" snarled John, pointing at Rich, who was hovering behind Earl, unwilling to get any closer. Jack and Becky were in the corner, both staring up with wide eyes, not recognising them man before them.

"I don't want you anywhere near 'em. Ever," said John in a final tone. "Now get out an' don't come back." He slammed the door in their faces and turned to her, face clouded with anger and hate. She could no longer recognise her husband, and their marriage was already over.

Rose thought back to the events following that day. She'd never seen Earl again and had only seen Rich again in March last year, when Jack had been in Texas. As for herself, she'd never truly seen her husband again. He became abusive and violent, especially towards Jack and Becky. So she'd done the only thing she could think of. She hadn't been able to save Jack from her husband's abuse, but she had managed to save Becky, despite how much it had pained her.

She'd had to give her only daughter to her brother-in-law for her own safety, and that was the reason her heart yearned for Becky so much. Ten years since she'd last seen her, for reasons beyond her control. She'd done what she'd thought was right, and regretted the fact that she couldn't have done the same for Jack. She knew that Becky knew the truth of their bloodline, but that Jack didn't. And she dreaded the moment when it came out, for Jack would end up hating his father with as much fire as Becky did. At first Becky had even refused to acknowledge that Rose was her mother, because that would surely mean she would have to accept John as her father and that would never happen, but over time Becky had realised that she could do the former without doing the latter.

The family had been torn apart beyond repair and there wasn't much that could be done. John's actions had not only taken a life, but had also ruined the lives of others.

August 15th, 1964

It was early morning and the three of them were very busy. Ennis and Jack were busy doing some last minute packing for their trip to Wyoming. Becky had her 18-week scan at ten and they would have to leave at around noon if they wanted to be up on Brokeback for the 19th.

"We got everythin' cowboy?" asked Jack as he looked around. He didn't want to forget anything, especially not the new tent and cooking gear they'd bought for the trip.

"Think so. Becky's got the food sorted, an' we don't need much else."

"You, the, uh..."

Ennis smiled and brought out the two ring boxes from his bag. "Right here. Can't go forgettin' them, huh?"

Jack smiled back. "Sure can't."

A shout from downstairs got their attention. Becky had yelled their names and when they raced down to her, they hadn't been expecting the big grin on her face as she felt her bump.

"What? What is it?"

She couldn't stop grinning. "The baby's kickin'! It's the first time!"

"Really? That's great!" said Jack, moving forward. Becky grabbed one of his hands and placed it on her bump. Within a few second he too was grinning.

"Woah, that's really...that's so great, honey!" He kissed her cheek.

"Ennis, you gotta come feel this! Come on!"

"Um..." Truth be told, Ennis wasn't sure how he felt about touching a woman's bump if the bump wasn't anything to do with him. But Jack gently brought him forward and put his hand where his own had just been, one arm around his shoulders. Sure enough, he could feel an unmistakeable kicking motion from inside the bump through Becky's top. He'd never felt anything quite like that before.

"Wow...that's...really somethin', ain't it?"

"Sure is," said Becky.

"How does it feel?"

"Weird, but...really good too."

At ten they were waiting for Rick to call them in, Becky reading a magazine and Ennis and Jack half-watching the TV. When they were called in, Becky settled herself onto the bed while Ennis and Jack took their seats, eager to know what they might see now that the baby was formed considerably more than how it had been six weeks ago.

"Well, Becky," said Rick. "How's things goin'?"

"Goin' pretty good. Felt it kickin' this mornin'," replied Becky, smiling.

"Oh, that's great. Bet you can't wait, huh? You're about halfway through now."

"Yeah. Can't believe it."

Rick applied the gel and moved the arm of the machine over her bump once more. The image that came up this time was different. This time they could see more defined shapes. The head was more clearly outlined in the nose and mouth areas, and Becky gasped as it raised a hand right as they watched, almost as if it was waving at them.

"'s movin'..." said Becky in amazement.

"Sure is," whispered Jack, gripping Ennis's hand. "Wow..."

Becky was moved to tears and Ennis handed her the box of tissues on the stand near the bed. She choked out a laugh.

"That's amazin'..." she said, wiping her eyes and smiling. Jack rubbed her shoulders with his free hand.

"We're doin' really well, Becky," said Rick encouragingly. "Everythin' looks fine here." He took a breath. " you want to know the sex of the baby?"

Jack had to admit that he wanted to know, but it was Becky's decision. Becky thought for a moment and then nodded.

"I do."

"Well then..." Rick consulted his notes. "I can tell you that we're pretty're havin' a little girl."

Becky's hands flew to her mouth and fresh tears leaked from her eyes. Ennis wrapped an arm around Jack tightly and they both took one of her hands. Her heart was beating so fast.

"Oh my God..." she whispered. "I can't believe it. You sure?"

"Pretty much, unless she's hidin' it pretty well," Rick said in amusement. "Congratulations, Becky. Would you like another picture? Three again?"

"Yes, please, thank you so much," Becky said, wiping at her eyes again. She turned to Ennis and Jack, and they smiled back at her.

"A girl, huh? That'll be real nice," said Ennis. "Yer gonna be a good mama, Becky."

"Thanks," she choked out through her watery smile. She could still hardly believe it, but after today's events she was starting to.

Rick soon came back with the pictures and the three of them made their way back to the ranch. Ennis and Jack would take one picture to Jack's mother like last time, Becky would mail one to her mother in Texas and they would keep the third.

All too soon, she had to say goodbye to her cowboys as they set about leaving for Brokeback. She could tell they were excited about this trip, and when they came back they would be wearing those beautiful wedding bands. It was a truly amazing thing and she was very happy for them.

Jack put their bags in the back of his truck, the one he had bought from Tom Wilson's work friend back in October, while Ennis was currently being licked to death by both Lucky and Smokey.

"Hey now, quit it," he groused good-naturedly. The dogs then gave equal attention to Jack, who rubbed their bellies, while Ennis turned to Becky.

"Well, you take care of yourself, okay?"

"I will, don't worry. You got the picture? You got the rings?"

"Yep, got it all. Well...we'll see you in about a week, then, huh?"

"Yep." She opened up her arms and he embraced her gently. "Hope you enjoy yerselves."

"We will." They broke apart and she hugged Jack as he wished her good luck with Andy. She nodded, trying not to think about that just yet. She waved goodbye as they drove away and then went inside, tailed by the two dogs.

"Well, cowboy," said Jack, settling into his seat. "This is it. You ready?"

Ennis smiled at him and took his hand on the seat, lacing their fingers together. "Sure am, darlin'."