Author's Notes

Hey guys! Here's the third installment! Hope you enjoy it xxx

Chapter 1

December 26th, 1965

A bright wintery sun shone down on the heather-covered hilltop at the edge of the ranch. Two figures were lying on a blanket, one of them with an arm around the other as they listened to the distant sounds of the city. All was peaceful around them.

Ennis shifted slightly and looked down at Jack. His eyes were closed but Ennis could tell that he was still awake, just about. He looked so peaceful like this and Ennis loved to hold him tightly. Jack had a slight smile on his face as he dozed.

Ennis thought back over the last year. All in all, it had been somewhat better than the year before. Their first year together had been full of ups and downs as they'd tried to find their feet here in Georgia and tried to get used to their new relationship. They had gotten together quite suddenly without warning and they'd had to work at things. And their bad experiences had only made them stronger.

In comparison, hardly anything bad had happened over this last year. Pete Dawson was still in jail and Aguirre was banned from leaving Wyoming, so they hadn't been threatened to the extent that they had been before. Fred Kane was still around but they could ignore him well enough.

Lily was growing in leaps and bounds. In June the word 'mama' had slipped out of her mouth and brought tears to Becky's eyes, and she was thrilled whenever Lily repeated it. Becky spent a lot of time with her and Lily was responding to her more and more. Ennis, Jack and Rose were also having an influence on her and Jack loved to play peek-a-boo with her and make her giggle; Ennis could see how great he was with her.

In August, she had started to take her first attempts at standing up while holding tightly onto the sofa. Becky had walked into the room and gasped out loud when she'd seen it, sweeping Lily up into her arms and exclaiming over her achievement. A month later, she'd taken her first tentative steps towards her mother, which had been witnessed by Rose, Ennis and Jack, who looked on with pride.

The week after her birth, Becky had had Lily christened at the local church and Ennis and Jack were named godfathers, as Becky had wanted. It was a beautiful ceremony and Becky practically glowed with pride.

The ranch was doing well. They were making some money now and were well known in town as successful ranchers. As far as they knew, the nature of their relationship was only known to their group of friends in town, and to Fred Kane, but he didn't matter to them. They had good friends here and knew that they were very lucky to have that. They were settled in now and building a good life together. Everything had come together for them.

Jack stirred next to him, shaking him from his thoughts. He looked back down at him, smiling to himself as Jack stretched.

"Mmm..." Jack moaned softly, stretching like a cat.

"Hey, rodeo, you awake now?" Ennis asked, shaking his shoulder. Jack smiled up at him, blue eyes a little hazy.

"Just restin' a little. Like sleepin' next to you," he murmured. Ennis smiled and kissed his hair, feeling Jack snuggle closer to him.

"I like you bein' next to me, darlin'." He rose up and turned onto his side, propped up on his elbow over Jack. He traced a finger along Jack's jaw.

"You happy, Jack?" he asked softly. He knew that things had been shaky between them, especially in the last few months of their first year together, with the revolutions brought about by their visit to Lightning Flat for John Twist's funeral. He was sure now that they were back on track again and they were happier than ever.

Jack nodded, his hands stretching out above his head as he gazed up at Ennis. "Yeah. Real happy. Love you, cowboy." He twined a finger in the curls at the base of Ennis's neck.

Ennis leaned down, lips brushing against Jack's. "Love you too, Jack." They kissed slowly and leisurely, and Ennis gradually lifted one leg over Jack to straddle him. He pressed his full weight onto Jack and tangled his hands in Jack's hair, coaxing Jack's tongue out to meet his own. Jack moaned into his mouth and tried to pull him even closer.

They broke apart and their eyes met, deep brown of the earth to bright blue of the sky. Jack's lips were a little red from all the kissing they'd been doing up here, a sight that Ennis particularly loved. Jack was still the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.

"Love you, Jack. So much," Ennis whispered, eyes raking his face. Jack smiled widely and pulled him into his arms again, nose buried in the blonde curls.

"I love you too, you know I do." He wrapped his arms tightly around Ennis and felt Ennis hold him close, protective and loving.

They stayed that way for a while, just holding each other, and then soon they were kissing again, more passionately than before. Clothes started coming off. Their mouths were glued together as they rose up and pushed each other's jackets off, throwing them to the side. Ennis held Jack's face in his hands as Jack undid his shirt buttons and removed his shirt, and then Ennis removed Jack's shirt. They lay back down again and rubbed together for a few minutes, their jeans creating a delicious friction. Their jeans were removed and thrown onto the pile. Jack wrapped his legs around Ennis's waist as Ennis slid into him and started a slow, rocking motion, face buried in Jack's shoulder and softly biting his neck.

Their release came slow and sweet, Jack trembling underneath Ennis and groaning into his ear. Ennis collapsed onto Jack's chest and kissed at his skin where he could reach it. They fell asleep for a little while, listening to the distant sounds of the city.

That afternoon, Jack was busy making dinner when Ennis came up to him and slipped his arms around him from behind, nuzzling into Jack's neck.

"How's dinner comin', rodeo?" he murmured. Jack grinned.

"Nearly done, cowboy. Where are the girls?"

"Becky an' Lily are in the livin' room. My mama's out feedin' Sunset." The barn cat had settled herself in well and Jack was sure that there was a male hanging around; maybe they would end up having kittens. Star and Signal's foal had been born in April and Jack had named her Opal. Jack loved baby animals and spent a lot of time with the foal.

Jack turned the stove down and turned himself in Ennis's arms, wrapping his own around Ennis's neck. "An' what are you after?" he asked, smirking.

Ennis leaned in and kissed him firmly, holding him tight and dipping him slightly so that he had to hold on. Jack grinned into the kiss and they didn't notice Becky enter the room, carrying Lily in her arms.

"Get a room, guys," she said, making them break apart. They grinned sheepishly and adjusted their clothes.

"Dinner's almost ready," said Jack. "How's our little cowgirl?"

Becky smiled and looked at her daughter. "She's good. She loves that dollhouse you got her for Christmas."

"Aw, wasn't nothin'," said Jack, both of them looking a little embarrassed. He came over and tickled Lily under her chin, making her giggle and huddle closer to Becky.

"How are things goin' for her birthday?" asked Ennis. "It's in three days."

"I talked to my mama, she can't make it. Everyone else knows, right?"

"Yep," said Jack, nodding. "The last one I talked to was Kate, she an' Rick are definitely comin'."

"She bringin' her new fella?" asked Ennis. "I know they ain't been together long, but..."

"I'll call her after an' let them decide," replied Becky. "Everythin' sorted?"

"Yep, we still got that table in the barn so we can eat outside; I'll clean it up tomorrow."

"Great." Rose came in at that moment, smiling to herself.

"Hey, mama," said Jack, slinging an arm around Ennis's shoulders. Becky had to bite her tongue to stop herself saying the same. "What's up?"

"Sunset seems happy, an' I saw that other one hangin' 'round in the shadows, probably waitin' for me to leave. The male."

Jack smiled. "Probably entertainin' themselves right about now, then."

Dinner was soon ready and they sat down, Becky feeding Lily her baby food and half-eating her own meal when she got the chance.

"What are we doin' about the cake? We buyin' one or what?" asked Jack.

"Oh, sweetheart, no. I'd be happy to make one," said Rose. Jack smiled widely; he loved his mama's baking.

"Sounds good, mama." They returned to their food, talking about the ranch and how well it was doing. They were financially secure now and had set up a good life here. Lily was first in line to inherit the ranch, but given how young Ennis and Jack still were, it was likely that there would be several more generations to come before they passed on. When Lily had her first child, they would be next in line, and so on.

After dinner, the women went into the living room and Ennis and Jack did the dishes, Jack bumping against Ennis and flirting with him shamelessly. Ennis ended up grabbing Jack and pushing him against the worktop, kissing him and grinding against him enough to make him whimper. He then pulled away with the promise of more to come.

When they were done, Jack led Ennis by the hand into the living room. There was a movie on that they were watching, Becky keeping an eye on Lily who was playing on the floor. The two cowboys sat on the sofa and Jack curled up into Ennis, his legs on the sofa next to him. It was hard to believe that almost a year earlier, Joe Aguirre had stood in this room threatening them. Things were peaceful now.

At seven, Becky noticed Lily yawning and rubbing her eyes, so she took her up to bed, wrapping her up safely in her arms, protective and loving. They had a set of baby monitors, one of which Becky carried with her everywhere when Lily was in her crib. She would strap it to her belt and keep her ears peeled for sounds of her daughter.

Becky worked on the ranch a little bit, mainly feeding the horses and looking after them; she didn't want to stray too far from the house. She'd done plenty of riding in the last few months and was now back to her normal weight. She knew that Rose was proud of her for everything she'd accomplished.

Jack found it hard to believe that he and Ennis had been together for over two years now. They had hit a bump in the aftermath of his father's death, but their love had kept them together and they were stronger. They hadn't had a single argument since then; had had nothing but loving words shared between them.

Jack yawned widely and stretched out. "I'm beat. Think I'm gonna go up." He sat up and gave Ennis a look that said he wanted to do a bit more than sleep when they got upstairs, but his mother and cousin were present so he couldn't exactly say it.

Ennis blushed and looked away, making Jack smirk. "Yeah, think I'm gonna go too," he muttered, hoping that Rose and Becky weren't seeing his red face.

"We'll be up soon, I think," said Becky, flicking through a magazine. The two of them went up hand in hand, looking in on Lily as they passed the nursery and Jack was soon coaxing Ennis into bed, not that he was met with any resistance. They poured themselves into each other and then fell asleep, the sheets a tangled mess around their limbs as they held each other face to face, Jack's head resting on Ennis's chest.

The next day, they were eating breakfast in the kitchen when the phone rang. Jack was nearest so he picked up.

"Brokeback Ranch, Jack speakin'. Oh, hey Greg." The other three looked up. Jack was silent for a few minutes, during which Ennis's brow furrowed; judging by the look on Jack's face, it wasn't good news.

" what happens now?" Jack was biting his lip. "Okay. You need us to come down? Alright. Let us know how it goes, okay? Thanks, Greg." Jack put the receiver back and ran a hand over his chin, looking troubled.

"Jack?" asked Ennis cautiously. Jack snapped to his senses and looked around at the others.

"Greg said that Pete's applied for bail," he said, looking distressed. Ennis's eyes widened and he got up, putting his hands on Jack's shoulders.

"So what's goin' on? What did he say?"

Jack sighed. "They're in court this afternoon but they don't need us there, he says. He's representin' us an' he'll let us know how it goes." Ennis rubbed his hands along Jack's upper arms, eyes roaming over his face.

"Alright. It'll be okay, rodeo. Come on, finish yer breakfast." Ennis led Jack back over to the table. They sat down and Ennis took Jack's hand, running his thumb over it as they ate. Jack knew he could count on Ennis to make him feel better.

"Even if..." Becky started, looking thoughtful. "Even if...he does get bail, one wrong move an' he's back inside."

"Yeah, but that one move could be all it takes," interjected Jack. "You know as well as I do what that one move could be. Remember that crowbar?" he said darkly.

"Jack, calm down," said Ennis, squeezing his hand. "Gonna be okay."

"Maybe we could get some kind of court order, one that says he has to stay away from us or somethin'," said Becky.

"Yeah, maybe," replied Jack distractedly. Ennis could tell that it would take a little more to convince Jack. He would work on him later.

In the stables, the pair of them were mucking out the stalls in silence. Ennis knew that Jack had been disturbed by Greg's call and the possibility of Pete being back on the streets, and he was determined to protect Jack this time. When Pete had attacked Jack, it had been in the middle of their problems and everything had been messed up, but now that things were back on track they would be able to deal with it a lot better.

Ennis looked over at Jack; his face was lowered and he was concentrating on his work. His eyelids were low so Ennis couldn't see their usual sparkle. He sighed and decided to give it a try.

"Jack?" he said softly, seeing Jack turn towards him.


"Come here, bud." He held out his hand and Jack took it, looking lost and in need of reassurance. Ennis led him over to the bench and sat them both down, turning towards Jack and holding both of his hands in both of his.

"Look, Jack...don't go worryin', okay? Even if he is allowed'll be okay."

"How do you know?" Jack asked, looking at him with a fire in his eyes. "Like I said, that one move could be the end of everythin' fer us. He could kill one of us, Ennis, you know that."

"But he won't. We're gonna look after each other. An' the girls. It'll be fine."

"Ennis..." started Jack, looking distressed and staring off to the side. "I know how he is...he's had it in for us ever since he left."

"Jack," Ennis soothed, bringing a hand to his cheek. "It's okay. Don't worry. Look..." He shuffled closer, bringing up his other hand to Jack's other cheek. "I promise, bud...if he gets bail...I'm gonna protect all of ya best I can."

Jack smiled sadly. "You can't promise that, Ennis. You can't be with all of us all the time."

Ennis nodded, knowing that Jack had a point. "Fair enough, yer right. But...if he...he does hurt you...I swear...I'm gonna be right there lookin' after ya until you get better. Same for the others. Like when he got ya with that crowbar an' I helped ya with those exercises. I'll do it all again. I promise ya, darlin'." He knew he might not be able to keep that promise as well as he would like to, but he wanted to make it anyway. They were married as much as they could be and he felt that he had a duty to Jack.

Jack was touched by Ennis's declaration, and his lip trembled. "Oh cowboy..." he said, with a watery smile. "That's..." He was unable to continue.

Ennis smiled, running a hand through Jack's dark hair. "S'okay, rodeo. I made a promise to you when I put this ring on. To protect you. That's the way it goes when yer hitched, right? You gotta look after yer family."

Jack gave a shaky laugh, tears glistening in his eyes. "I love you, Ennis. Yer so good to me." Ennis pulled his face forward for a deep kiss, and their arms slid around each other, holding each other tight. Ennis caressed Jack's back and Jack played with Ennis's curls.

The sound of their names being called drew their attention. They broke apart just in time to notice Becky running in, looking happy.

"Becky? What's goin' on?" asked Jack, looking confused and still holding onto Ennis.

She grinned. "Greg just called, Pete was denied bail an' his sentence still stands. No change."

Jack breathed a sigh of relief and Ennis felt him relax in his arms. "Thank God." Becky smiled and ran back out. Jack turned to Ennis, a wide smile on his face.

"Thank God that's over," he said, allowing Ennis to pull him back into his arms. Ennis nuzzled into his neck.

"I still woulda done all that I said, ya know," Ennis murmured, running his hands up and down Jack's back.

Jack smiled into Ennis's shoulder. "I know."

That evening, after a relaxed dinner and time in front of the TV with a bottle of wine, everybody headed up for some sleep, but Jack knew that he and Ennis would be doing a bit more than that; they always did. And he was right, for when Ennis closed the bedroom door behind them, he came up to Jack from behind and slid his arms around him, pulling his shirt out from his waistband and running his hands over Jack's warm chest.

"Mmm," Jack moaned, smiling as Ennis kissed his neck. "Ennis..."

"C'mon, darlin'," Ennis whispered, turning him around so that their eyes met in the darkness. Jack's hands slid up Ennis's chest and around his neck, and Ennis's hands dropped to his ass. They kissed slowly and sensuously, bodies moulded together. Ennis pulled away and without warning, pushed Jack backwards onto the bed. Jack's eyes glittered with lust as Ennis unbuttoned his shirt in front of him and he bit his lip in anticipation. Ennis threw his shirt to the floor and then undid his jeans, pushing them down and watching Jack's eyes darken with desire.

Ennis stepped out of his jeans and came closer, leaning forwards and kissing Jack, his bare erection rubbing against Jack's jeans and making him even more excited. Jack's shirt came off and then his jeans quickly followed.

Jack was whispering Ennis's name as Ennis crawled onto him, both of them leaning back on the bed and moving up to the head. Ennis pressed his full weight onto Jack and let their tongues curl around each other, their saliva mixing together and their naked groins rubbing.

Jack wrenched his mouth away and moaned as Ennis sucked on his neck. "Ennis...want ya inside me...come on..." Ennis rose up and looked down at Jack; his eyes were closed.


"God, yeah...please..."

"You sure?" he teased lightly, rubbing their hips together a little. Jack groaned, his neck arching so that Ennis could see a few veins.

"Ennis...come on..." His eyes opened, pleading with him. Ennis cupped his cheek.

"Okay, darlin', just relax," he said softly. He reared up onto his knees, leaving Jack breathing deeply and waiting for him. He quickly slicked himself up and gathered Jack into his arms again, getting into position. Jack wrapped his legs around his waist and eagerly guided him to his entrance, sighing as he felt Ennis fill him up.

"Oh God..." he breathed, his head falling back onto the pillow. Ennis buried his face in Jack's neck and started to rock into him; slow, steady strokes to drive him crazy with ecstasy. Jack opened his eyes and looked down Ennis's smooth back to his ass, which moved smoothly with every thrust he gave. His knees were planted on either side of Jack's hips and his arms were around Jack's back. Jack was aware of Ennis inside him and all around him; the only thing in his world right now.

"I love you," he groaned, his eyes falling shut again. Ennis held a bit of Jack's skin between his teeth, biting softly and then letting go, licking the sore spot.

"Love you too, darlin'," he whispered, picking up the pace slightly, eyes screwed tightly shut as they moved together, the bed squeaking slightly. If Jack was honest with himself, he had to admit that their sex life was never dull; no matter how many times they had done it in the last couple of years, they always looked forward to the next time, and Jack knew that this was because it was never the same. Like with the way Ennis would grab him in the barn and drag him to the tack room in the middle of the day, or come into the office unannounced and end up bending him over the desk. They mixed it up and kept it spontaneous and this was why they always enjoyed it.

The other part of it was the fact that they loved each other so much, and this transcended to their sex life. They loved and trusted each other and could completely open up to each other without any holding back; they could give themselves over to each other.

Jack's train of thought was interrupted by Ennis changing his angle and finding his sweet spot. He moaned aloud and then winced slightly as he thought of his mother, asleep beyond the wall.

"Oh God, fuck so good," he groaned. Ennis grinned into his neck.

"Blunt, ain't ya, Jack?" he murmured. Jack pulled him closer with his hands and feet and started to buck wildly underneath him.

"I love you, I love you..." he panted as Ennis thrust deeper into him, his movement becoming faster as he neared the edge and saw release in sight. Ennis could see the sweat on Jack's forehead and he kissed it away, nuzzling his nose into Jack's damp hair at the same time. Jack shook and was gasping for breath, his hips bucking and affecting what was going on down there, making Ennis groan into his neck.

"Oh Jack..." He continued to bite and suck at Jack's neck, knowing that he would have a hickey there in the morning. He'd asked Jack about this once, if he was okay with being branded like that. He'd worried about Jack thinking he was treating him as personal property, but Jack had told him that it was okay; they belonged to each other and Jack knew that Ennis didn't view him as property. He was happy to have Ennis brand him and was happy to do it to him; it felt good.

Their release suddenly came, the pair of them rising off the bed together as they rode it out, Ennis trembling on top of Jack and then collapsing onto his chest when they were finished. Jack weaved his arms over Ennis's back as he pulled out and they relaxed, breathing deeply and quietly nuzzling each other as their bodies cooled down.

"That was good," Jack said softly.

"Yeah. Real damn good, darlin'," Ennis replied, kissing his neck one last time.

The next morning, Becky stepped out of the post office into the sunlight, rifling through their mail. It seemed to be the usual bills, along with a letter from her Aunt Maria, and a Hamley's Saddle Catalogue. She was walking back to Jack's truck when she froze in her tracks, staring at the envelope that had been at the bottom of the pile. It was from the Selective Service System, and addressed to Ennis Del Mar of Brokeback Ranch.

Oh no, she thought to herself. This could only mean one thing - being drafted to the army, and probably to Vietnam. She stood by the truck, staring at it and wondering what on earth would happen now. If Ennis was drafted, who knew how long he might be away? Would he even come back?

Don't think about that, she told herself. Don't panic yet. He'll have to report first; they might not even consider him capable. But that was a long shot; Ennis was very fit and would, admittedly, make a good soldier. She bit her lip, knowing that this wouldn't go down well at all. She especially felt sorry for Jack; it would break his heart to watch Ennis leave.

She rubbed her forehead, dreading her return to the ranch.

Ennis and Jack were sat in the office, going over the books and crossing out orders completed, talking about their finances. They were very stable now, had made more than twice what Uncle Harold had left them, and they were quite popular with people in the area, having provided meat and dairy products to them for over two years now. And they were very happy together, looking forward to the future.

"So that's that," said Jack, closing the book and stretching his arms, taking Ennis's hands across the desk.

"Lookin' good, huh rodeo?" replied Ennis, smiling. Their fingers played together, the pair of them just looking at each other peacefully.

"Sure is, Ennis. Things are shapin' up real nice. By the way, is everythin' okay fer tomorrow an' the party?"

"Yep. I'll clean the table up later so's we can eat outside. Everybody knows what time to come, right?"

"Yep, three o'clock. Bet Becky's lookin' forward to it, her baby girl's first birthday."

"Yep. God knows she deserves a bit of happiness. I remember the night she was born," Ennis said quietly. "How Aguirre turned up here."

"Was kinda scary," Jack admitted. "Won't never forget how scared she was lookin' when we came outta the stables an' he was up there, threatenin' her."

"Yeah. But we pulled through. Everythin' turned out okay. Lily an' Becky were both fine an' he's banned from leavin' Wyomin'."

"Yeah, he won't be botherin' us no more, cowboy," Jack said, looking positive. He squeezed Ennis's fingers and leaned across the desk to kiss him. Their lips met in soft, slow kisses and when they pulled apart, Jack's blue eyes were sparkling like sapphires, one of Ennis's favourite sights.

"Come round here, darlin'," he murmured, grinning.

Becky parked the truck in the drive and hurried up the steps to the house, clutching the mail tightly. Rose was sat in her chair and reading to Lily from a picture book that she had bought her for Christmas. She turned and smiled when Becky came in.

"Hey, sweetie," she said cheerfully. Becky tried to smile back but failed.

"Where are Ennis an' Jack?" she asked, pressed against the front door and biting her lip.

"They're out in the office, goin' over the books. What's wrong?" Rose asked, frowning when she noticed Becky's expression.

"This came in the mail," she replied, holding out the envelope. "It's for Ennis." She put the rest of the mail down and took Lily while her mother took the envelope. Her eyes widened when she saw where it was from.

"Oh my goodness," she breathed. "Is this...?"

Becky's lip trembled. "I think so. You know what this means, right? Vietnam," she whispered fearfully.

"Not necessarily. He has to report first, they might not think he's up to it, you know?"

"Oh, mama...I thought of that, but...that's a long shot an' you know it. Look at him, he's more than capable. They're gonna snap him up fer sure."

Rose sighed. "Well, I guess it's just a matter of time. They're gonna come in soon enough. I feel so sorry for them..."

"I know." The screen door in the kitchen banged shut and they heard Ennis and Jack moving around, talking. Becky sat in her chair with Lily, holding her close for comfort and waiting for the reaction.

"Hey ladies," said Jack, as he and Ennis came in, holding hands. Becky looked away, bouncing Lily on her leg. "What's up? We havin' lunch?"

"Um..." Rose looked at Becky, and then back at her son. "Becky just got back with the mail. There's somethin' here for you, Ennis."

He looked surprised. "Oh...what is it?" Rose swallowed and handed over the envelope. Jack looked at it with him and he froze when he saw where it came from.

"Oh my God..." Ennis opened it up, his hands shaking. He knew exactly what this might be. Jack turned away, his hands covering his mouth. It just couldn't be true.

Ennis scanned the letter, his brow furrowing.

"Is it what we think it is?" Becky asked, now looking at the others. He nodded.

"They want me to report to the post office on Main Street in Sandersville...on January half six in the mornin'..." His voice trailed off. "I'll report there an' they'll take us to a trainin' camp in Fort Jackson."

"South Carolina?"

"Yeah." He looked up, uncertain of what to do. He came to his senses and looked around at Jack, who was still facing away from him. He bit his lip.

"Jack? Bud, look at me." Jack turned. His face had heartbreak and fear written all over it. He clamped his hands over his mouth again and rushed upstairs to the bathroom, leaving the others to stare at each other in stunned silence.