The campsite was exactly how they remembered; the copse of trees at the base of that hill, the river running past with the bridge over it. It was the spot where all this had started and now they were back for a momentous occasion.
For some reason, they had agreed it would be a good idea to put themselves on a sex ban; wait until their wedding night so they could savour it. But that would be over 24 hours away and Ennis wasn't sure if they would be able to see it through. The longest he had ever been away from Jack in that way was when he had gone up to Lightning Flat to pick his mother up for her visit in March, and then a few days later to take her back. But for most of that, Jack had been travelling. This would be so much harder if they were in close proximity to one another.
Ennis busied himself with the tent while Jack set up the camp fire. A memory came to him from a year ago, and he smiled to himself.
"Tent don't look right," he said to Jack, who turned to look at him with a smirk.
"Well it ain't goin' nowhere. Let it be."
"Sure glad you didn't bring your harmonica with ya, bud," said Ennis, smirking even more. Jack straightened up and walked over to him.
"I could sing for ya, if ya want."
"What, Water Walkin' Jesus? Think I'll pass." Jack reached around and slapped his ass playfully.
"Cheeky bastard," he replied, eyes alight with happiness. "Might just do it anyway fer that."
"Lemme just grab my earplugs." Before Jack could respond, Ennis was off up towards the hill, and Jack soon followed. At the top of the hill Jack caught up to Ennis and jumped onto his back.
"Hey, get off!" yelled Ennis, trying to throw him off. Jack just held on tighter and Ennis lost his balance, falling sideways onto the grass with Jack behind him.
Within moments, Jack was lying on his back and Ennis was pinning him down by straddling his legs.
"Sneak attack there, Jack fuckin' Twist. Oughta teach ya a lesson fer that."
Jack wound his arms around Ennis's neck. "Maybe. We can break that ban, if ya want." He licked his lips.
Ennis leaned down and kissed him slowly, pressing himself down onto Jack's body as he did so. His hands tangled in Jack's hair as their tongues slid together. Jack was making those soft moaning noises as he did when Ennis kissed him for more than a few seconds; those noises always made Ennis crazy with desire for Jack. But to Jack's displeasure, he pulled away.
"I think we should save it," he whispered.
Jack looked up at him. "Yeah?"
Ennis nodded. "Think about it. We'll have just gotten married, Jack. It'll be a weddin' night. An' we'll have been away from each other fer over 24 hours...I think it'll be pretty special when we do get to it. You know?"
"Mm...I know. An' yer right. It'll be real good. Can't wait to put that ring on yer finger." He smiled.
"Me neither," murmured Ennis, stroking Jack's cheek. He gazed down at the blue-eyed man in his arms, lips turned up at the corners in that seductive way, hair dark as night. Ennis still considered Jack the most beautiful being he'd ever clapped eyes on.
Meanwhile, Jack was examining Ennis's features. The curly blonde locks that he loved to twist around his fingers, the deep brown eyes with flecks of green, and the sweet, shy smile that always made his heart melt. He knew that Ennis still didn't consider himself beautiful or good-looking the way Ennis considered him, but Jack loved everything about Ennis's features and had done for a long time.
Jack smiled and brought Ennis's head down for a soft kiss, just the lips caressing each other tenderly. Ennis then brought his head down into the crook of Jack's shoulder and inhaled his scent, breathing deeply. Jack brought his arms across Ennis's back and held him tightly, feeling utterly content to just lie here all day.
But unfortunately, they were hungry and couldn't ignore that for too long, and their stomachs rumbled in unison, causing them to look at each other and break into laughter.
"C'mon, rodeo," said Ennis, getting up and extending his hands to Jack to pull him up. "Let's get ourselves fed."
Ennis cooked the steaks on the fire while Jack brought a couple of beers from the cooler and opened them up. Soon they were lying against a log side by side eating and drinking in their usual companionable silence, listening to the sounds of nature all around them.
"I'm glad of somethin' that's different 'bout this trip," mused Jack.
"No damn sheep. An' no damn beans, either."
Ennis smiled to himself and shifted closer to Jack. "Yeah. This trip just has us. An' ain't that how we like it?"
Jack kissed his cheek. "Sure is. I love livin' with Becky, you know I do. An' we're gonna have another addition soon enough."
"That's true. I like livin' with her too."
"But I'll always love it best when it's just us."
They spent the next hour or so talking about their families up here in Wyoming, and their eagerness to see them. They talked about how things might be going back home. They knew that today was the day that Andy was due to visit, and they wondered how it had gone.
A year ago, after the talking had died down, they would retire to the tent most nights to spend the night together. But with their self-imposed ban they would be simply going to sleep tonight, and dream about tomorrow. They got into the tent and stripped off, slipping into the bedroll and huddling close for warmth. After a few goodnight kisses they drifted off face to face, eager for the new day when they would solidify their commitment to each other.
August 19th, 1964
The next day dawned bright and sunny, and Ennis woke up to a smiling Jack Twist.
"Hey," he mumbled sleepily, rubbing his eyes.
"Hey yerself," whispered Jack, leaning in for a kiss. "Today's the day, cowboy."
Ennis smiled drowsily. "Sure is."
Jack leaned back on the bedroll, still facing Ennis. "You know, I remember wakin' up a year ago today. So confused about what was gonna happen. The night before was...so great, an' I hoped we could stay together. Didn't see if I could convince ya though. Thought you was set on returnin' to Alma."
"I was doin' a lot of thinkin' then, too. About the summer, Earl, what might happen if I picked you, what I'd lose if I didn't. I just...didn't wanna be without ya."
"So glad I picked you," Ennis murmured, tracing Jack's jawline with his finger. A slow, sweet smile crept across Jack's face.
"Me too." He sighed. "Ennis?"
"Fancy goin' fer a walk after breakfast? Gotta do somethin' until sunset." That was when they'd agreed to swap the rings.
"Sure, sounds good. C'mon then, let's get movin'."
After a hearty breakfast of sausages and eggs, they set off past the river, crossing the bridge to explore their surroundings. As long as they didn't go too far, they figured they would be alright.
They walked slowly, hand in hand with their fingers laced together, occasionally stopping to exchange a few kisses before setting off again. Jack wasn't sure if they'd ever done this before. They hadn't done it during their summer here, not even in August when they were most comfortable with each other. Ennis had still been convinced that he wasn't gay and taking a walk with another man would have been asking too much of him. They'd walked around some on their ranch, especially up to their hill of heather, but this was different. This was a very romantic moment and Jack thought his heart would burst with happiness.
They soon came to a lone log and decided to take a break. They sat down and Jack rested his head on Ennis's shoulder, where it was given a kiss. They were silent for a few moments, just listening to the birds singing.
Jack let his eyes wander to his right, and movement caught his attention. He lifted his head. "Ennis, look," he whispered, pointing.
They could just make out a pair of deer, a buck and a doe, half-hidden in the trees, nuzzling their faces together and embracing in the way deer did. They watched the buck lick at his mate's face affectionately, and then to Ennis and Jack's great surprise, a pair of fawns joined them soon after, rubbing up against their parents for attention.
Jack couldn't help but smile at the loving family, a perfect picture of nature. Everything was so tranquil here, so suspended in time. It had felt that way last summer for them. They watched the deer walk away through the trees and disappear.
"That was amazin'..." said Jack in awe.
"Sure was," agreed Ennis. He was silent for a moment before asking, "Hey, Jack?"
"If...if Andy's alright with Becky bein' pregnant, what'll happen, you think? You think they'll get married?"
Jack thought for a moment. "Maybe. She seems pretty eager to make things work between 'em, an' they said they would if he could provide fer her, which he can apparently do now. But...I dunno...she's havin' another guy's baby, so will he ever see that baby as his daughter?" He looked up at Ennis unsurely.
"Maybe not. Not sure I could do it, if I'm honest. He might start resentin' her an' the baby, the fact that she ain't his. Dunno what he'll do," Ennis admitted.
"Well...we just gotta hope things went okay yesterday. If not...we just gotta be there fer Becky."
"Yeah. She's gonna need us if things get bad. We just...all gotta stick together."
"Mmm. Sure wish I could stick to you right now."
Ennis had to smile at Jack's bluntness. "Later, rodeo. Got us a weddin' night tonight. Gonna be worth the wait, I promise." He cupped Jack's cheek, pulling Jack's face towards him for a kiss, which Jack responded to eagerly.
"I know it will be," murmured Jack between kisses. "Can't wait."
Ennis pulled back and planted a final kiss on the mole above Jack's lips, one of his favourite spots on Jack's body. "C'mon, darlin'. Let's get us somethin' to eat an' wait fer sunset."
"Sure," Jack replied with a smile. Their wedding wasn't far off now and he was keen to get to it. What he didn't know was that Ennis had brought a little surprise with him for the occasion.
They ate some lunch and spent the day around camp talking and playing with the cards Jack had brought, figuring that they might need them to stave off the boredom while waiting.
Finally, the sun started to go a deeper colour as it hung low in the sky, ready to drop between the two mountain faces on the horizon. Ennis went into the tent to retrieve the rings while Jack stood around nervously, anticipation building inside him. He hadn't expected Ennis to emerge with a bundle under his arm.
"What's that?" he asked, looking at it. Ennis put the ring boxes inside his jacket and held up what he was carrying. Jack's mouth fell open. It was the shirts.
"What...?" he croaked, hardly daring to believe it.
Ennis smiled shyly. "I just thought...it might be a good idea to have 'em with us, when you think about what they represent, an' that we're doin' this up there." He nodded in the direction of that fateful hill.
"Oh Ennis..." said Jack, walking up to him. "That's...that's perfect. Real good idea, cowboy." He kissed Ennis softly.
Ennis smiled more surely now. "Well...you ready fer this?"
Jack's eyes lit up as he gazed up at Ennis. "Sure am. Let's go." He took Ennis's hand again and they made their way up the hill.
Andy arrived on the 18th as planned, and Becky had spent most of the morning agonizing over how he might react to her news. She had chosen to wear a baggy shirt today to mask her bump, as she didn't want to scare him off right away. She knew in her heart that she still loved him and hoped that he would stick by her side and do what she hoped he would.
A knock on the door shook her from her thoughts. Sure enough, Andy was there.
"Hey, Becky," he said nervously, smiling unsurely and turning his hat in his hands. He looked just as nervous as he had all those months ago when he'd asked her to dance.
"Andy," Becky replied, unable to stop herself grinning at the sight of him. "Hey there." He moved forward and they embraced warmly. Becky thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of being in his arms again after so long.
He broke away and looked into her eyes. Smiling, he gave her a soft kiss on her lips, which she responded to eagerly. Breaking away again, she smiled and fiddled with his hair. "Good to see you," she murmured. "You wanna come in then?"
"Sure." He followed her inside and through to the kitchen, looking around with interest. "So, this is all Ennis an' Jack's?"
"Well, Jack inherited it from our Uncle Harold, who inherited it from his daddy but never went near it 'cos it's so far from Wyomin'," said Becky as she prepared him some coffee. "So Jack got it an' had it put in both their names, since they're business partners an' all."
"Right. So how're they doin' with it?"
"They're doin' real good. Got plenty of interest, calvin's in October an' they're tryin' their hands at dairy, makin' a real go of it."
"How are people treatin' 'em?"
"Well..." she replied, bringing his coffee over and sitting down opposite him. "They're havin' some problems with a coupla people, but they're copin' with it. The sheriff's on their side, which is a plus."
"Yeah. So, um...how you been?"
Becky swallowed. "Been real good, you?"
"Yeah, not bad. How come yer daddy kicked you out?"
She lowered her eyes. "Just...had one too many disagreements. I'm glad I'm outta there."
"Yeah I guess. So listen, uh...we got some stuff to talk about, right?" He ducked his head to meet her eyes.
She met his eyes. "Yeah. Where...where do we stand right now? That's what I wanna know."
"I'll be honest; I'd really like it if we could...get back together." He looked at her shyly. "I missed you somethin' awful these last few months."
"Me too," she admitted. "But...what about money?"
"Like I said, I got some now. Got enough fer us to...maybe get married. I'd sure like to have kids with ya."
She smiled weakly, dreading the conversation. "Well, I'd like that too. Listen, Andy, there's somethin' I gotta tell ya."
He held up a hand. "Before ya do that, can I just use yer bathroom? Long journey."
"Sure, top of the stairs an' it's on yer right."
He thanked her and went upstairs, leaving her to her warring thoughts about what may or may not happen.
Upstairs, Andy went to the bathroom and when he came out, curiosity prickled at him. It was a beautiful house, no doubt about that, and he was pleased that Ennis and Jack had done so well for themselves.
He wandered down the hall, looking in on what he guessed was Becky's room and a spare room opposite it. He saw the master bedroom and remembered that Ennis and Jack were away in Wyoming.
He turned to walk back down the hall, when something caught his eye. The door of the room opposite the master was slightly ajar, and he could see something shining in the light from the window.
He opened the door wider, and couldn't have been more surprised by what he saw. It was clearly a nursery, painted cream with wooden furniture; a crib and changing table. There was a mobile hanging over the crib from the ceiling, and it had been this that had caught his eye from the hallway.
Confusion flooded through him. A nursery? What for? Ennis an' Jack ain't likely to have any kids anytime soon, so maybe it came with the house? But then he figured that if that had been the case, the paint would probably be chipping and the furniture would look old and rusted. Neither of these was the case, everything was clearly new.
His confusion rapidly became suspicion, and he headed downstairs. Becky was still in the kitchen, and for the first time, he noticed her baggy shirt.
She can't be...
"Um, Becky?" he asked. She turned from the stove and smiled.
"Hey, just gettin' lunch ready. Tomato soup okay?"
"Hang on...why is there a nursery upstairs?"
Becky froze, confirming his suspicions. She was pregnant, and he wasn't entirely sure he was the father. "Becky?"
She turned to him, a miserable look in her eyes. "I...I'm havin' a baby," she whispered.
Blood rushed through his ears. "Who...?" he asked, not sure if he wanted an answer.
"A guy I met at a rodeo, not long after you left."
"I can't believe it..."
"Andy..." She took a step forward. "Can we talk about this?"
He stepped back. "Sorry, I...I gotta go. I can't deal with this." He turned and strode back through the house for the front door.
"Andy!" She tried to follow him, her heart sinking at his reaction. "Andy, please!"
Becky couldn't do a thing as she watched him clamber into his truck and drive off, kicking up dust in his wake. She simply stared after him, wiping at her tears.
Becky didn't know at the time, but she was never to see Andy again. Circumstances would bring him back to Brokeback Ranch in the future, but they would never get the chance to reconcile. He would simply be a figure from her past that wouldn't be part of her future.
Ennis and Jack made their way up the hill hand in hand, sitting on the grass facing each other. They settled themselves comfortably, Ennis's legs on either side of Jack, who had his legs lying flat on either side of Ennis.
Ennis took the ring from Jack's ring box and Jack took Ennis's, anticipation running through him. Ennis took their combined shirts and placed them across their laps.
"Well...who's goin' first?" he asked softly, looking at Jack. He wasn't entirely sure what to do here.
Jack smiled. "I'll do it." He picked up Ennis's left ring finger and took a breath, hoping he would remember everything he'd planned to say.
"Ennis, I...you know how I grew up back in Lightnin' Flat. Ain't been all that different from how you grew up, I guess. Ain't been easy, an' all I ever wanted was a bit of happiness, all I ever wanted...was to love someone an' have them love me back. Wanted someone who...would look after me an' make me happy." He raised his head to look into Ennis's deep eyes. "You gave me that. You gave me everythin' I ever wanted, an'...I can't believe everythin' that's happened this last year. Been the best year of my life." His voice trembled and he swallowed. With a watery smile he continued. "I'm hopin' to have many more years with ya, an' a lot more happiness, so..." He took another breath. "I Jack, take you Ennis, to be my...my husband, my partner, my soulmate, my whole world, for the rest of my life. I got many years left in me, an' I only wanna share them with you. Love ya, sweetheart." He couldn't stop the tears that escaped as he finished, and he slipped the silver ring onto Ennis's ring finger at last, kissing it when it was done.
Ennis was blown away by Jack's declaration, and hoped that what he'd prepared measured up. He picked up Jack's left hand nervously.
"Jack...you know I ain't much with words like you, but...it sure is worth the effort, 'cos I know you deserve to hear how much ya mean to me. Neither of us has had it easy, an' you know how hard it was fer me to admit I wanted to be with ya. Best decision I ever made. Wasn't easy at first, makin' it work, but we pulled through an' now here we are." He thought for a moment and went on. "I...I ain't never been so happy as I've been with you, Jack. You always been real good to me, helpin' me say what I'm feelin'. You make me so happy, Jack, an' I hope to spend the rest of my life makin' you happy, 'cos seein' you happy makes me happy. All I ever wanted was some happiness too, bud, an' now I got it. Ain't ever gonna let it go. Wanna spend the rest of my life with you, too. So..." He gulped nervously. "I Ennis, take ya Jack, to be my husband, my partner, my soulmate, an' my whole world for the rest of my life. Wanna grow old with ya, an' die lovin' you. Love ya so much, darlin'." His hands shook as he placed the ring onto Jack's ring finger, also kissing it, relieved at having gotten through it.
Their eyes met and they leaned in close for a gentle yet firm kiss, pressing their lips together a couple of times before breaking away. Jack shuffled forward into Ennis's arms and they embraced tightly, caressing each other with their hands and relishing what they'd just done. Ennis was so relieved that his plan had gone so smoothly and hoped that Jack knew just how strongly he felt about him.
Jack kissed his neck softly before pulling away and giving Ennis a heart-warming smile. His blue eyes glowed red with the sunset and Ennis couldn't resist cupping his face with both hands, eyes roaming that beloved face. Jack picked up the shirts between them and fingered the bloodstains. It truly felt that the mistakes made here on this hill had been rectified with their vows, and that they were truly free to make their fresh start at last, no longer tied to the bitter events of their perceived separation last year.
They disentangled themselves and Ennis put the shirts to one side, sitting with Jack by his side as they watched the last of the sunset. Jack rested his head on Ennis's shoulder and Ennis kissed his hair as he slipped his left arm around him. Total contentment was running through them both as they thought about what they'd just done.
Jack looked down at his wedding band, the silver glinting in the red light. It was beautiful and a wonderful thing to point to when thinking about his and Ennis's commitment to each other. Ennis saw him looking down at his ring and moved his arm so that his fingers linked with Jack's and their rings touched, clinking softly. Jack looked up at him, smiling widely and Ennis kissed his lips softly. Jack then burrowed his head back into the crook of Ennis's neck and shoulder, Ennis wrapping his arm more securely around him.
The sun finally dropped on the horizon and darkness began to set in. They moved apart slightly and Ennis turned to see Jack giving him that look. It felt like forever since they'd had sex and now it was their wedding night. Tonight was going to be special.
He smiled at Jack and stood up, the shirts in one hand. He extended his other to Jack and pulled him up. They looked into each other's eyes for a few seconds and made their way back down the hill, towards the tent.
Outside the tent, Ennis turned to Jack. "You get inside, I'll just get these away an' I'll come join ya," he whispered. Jack nodded and with a quick kiss went into the tent, looking forward to whatever might be in store for him tonight.
Ennis grabbed the lube from his bag and went into the tent, where he was greeted by a heartwarming smile from Jack, who was lying on top of the bedroll, waiting for him. Ennis lay down beside him, placing the lube aside for now. He turned to Jack, eyes alight with interest for his new husband.
Jack pulled him close and kissed him softly, caressing Ennis's lips with his own. Ennis placed a hand on Jack's hip while Jack cupped his cheek as they kissed.
After a few minutes, Ennis broke away, a shy smile on his face. "Jack, darlin'..."
"Yeah?" Jack asked, stroking his cheek softly.
Ennis leaned in close. "I want ya inside me," he breathed into Jack's ear, and Jack shivered.
"You sure?" he whispered back, searching Ennis's face for confirmation. Ennis nodded.
"Yeah." It was what he wanted most that night, more than anything else.
Jack smiled and they slowly began to undress each other. They sat up to pull each other's jackets and shirts off and throw them in a corner. They each drank in the sight of their lover's naked chest and fine hair, leading down to their jeans in a tantalising trail. Jack ducked his head to kiss and nuzzle at Ennis's chest, and Ennis nuzzled into Jack's neck, rapidly growing hard as their hands went everywhere, all over each other's bodies.
Ennis was soon making those soft moaning noises that Jack loved to hear, and he pulled away to kiss Ennis's lips, gently pushing his tongue into Ennis's mouth and tangling his hands in Ennis's curls. Their hands drifted to each other's belt buckles and they set to work on removing them. Belts were slid from loops and zippers were pulled down.
Jack slowly pushed Ennis back onto the bedroll and straddled him, kissing him all over his face. They had fallen into an erotic silence and all that could be heard was their heavy breathing. Jack's eyes were dark with lust as he looked down at his new husband. They slid their jeans down and pulled their boots off so they could be completely naked. Their bodies rubbed together and Jack soon reached back for the lube. He smeared a few fingers with it and reached up in between Ennis's legs to find his target. Ennis hissed at the feeling and closed his eyes, mouth slightly open.
Jack stroked Ennis's prostate for a few seconds until Ennis opened his eyes and gave a nod. Jack removed his finger and prepared himself with the lube before tossing it aside. He hitched Ennis's legs up and pulled them over his shoulders, caressing them as he did so.
He slowly slid forward into Ennis, ever mindful of how tight he still was. Once Jack was fully sheathed inside him, Ennis's head fell back onto the bedroll again and he reached for Jack's hands, lacing their fingers together and squeezing gently.
Jack moved in a slow, gentle rhythm, eyes locked on Ennis's and trying to tell him without words what he felt for him. Ennis began to meet his thrusts and was making those soft moaning noises again. Jack leaned forward over Ennis to kiss him and continued, picking up the pace slightly.
"Oh, Jack..." Ennis whispered. "Jack, Jack, Jack..."
"Ennis...Ennis..." All they were capable of saying at this point was each other's names but that was all that seemed to be needed.
"I love you...love you..." Ennis breathed, his breath hitching as he felt himself near the edge.
"Me too...I love you, I swear..." Jack nuzzled into Ennis's neck and went even faster, thrusting deeply into Ennis and knowing that one of their out-of-this-world simultaneous orgasms was about to occur. They could usually sense when that was about to happen.
"Yeah...c'mon sweetheart...come on baby, let's get there together." That marked the first time that the endearment had been uttered between them, and it felt right. Hearing Jack call him that made Ennis's heart swell with blazing love.
"Oh God, Jack...call me that again..." he groaned.
Jack managed a grin into Ennis's neck. "Come on baby..." He softly bit into Ennis's neck and this sent them both over the edge. They erupted at the same time, arching right off the bedroll together and shaking with ecstasy as they hit dizzying heights. They were moaning and crying out each other's names as they rode it out, unable to move.
They collapsed together onto the bedroll at last, seeing stars and unable to think for a moment. Ennis's head was spinning at how amazing that had been, and he'd loved hearing Jack calling him baby. It might have felt strange if Jack had called him that even a few months ago, but after today's events it felt right; that they were in that place after solidifying their commitment and making their promises. He wasn't quite sure if he was ready to us that word on Jack yet but he loved Jack directing it at him.
Ennis held Jack close as their chests finished heaving and they got their breath back. Jack rose up and looked at Ennis, cheeks flushed and sweat covering his forehead. "You okay?" he murmured, brushing hair from Ennis's face.
Ennis gave a sideways smile. "Better than okay, darlin'. I heard what ya called me."
Jack blushed. "Well...it's what ya are to me. You know that."
Ennis stroked his cheek, eyes shining with happiness. He pulled Jack's face down for a soft kiss.
"Well, I dunno 'bout you, bud, but I could use some shut-eye after that."
"Yeah, yer right." Jack smiled. "Love ya Mr Twist," he said, eyes twinkling.
Ennis went red and took a breath. "Love ya too...Mr Del Mar."
Jack lay down on Ennis's chest, clearly intending to sleep there. Ennis wrapped his arms around Jack and let his head fall back, willingly losing himself to sleep. Jack's arms slid around his neck as he too drifted off, their dreams full of each other and their hopes for many more happy memories together.