Chapter 11

Ennis made his way to the hotel and headed up the stairs, heart beating quickly. He had gone over in his mind what he might say to Alma, and he hoped that his nerve wouldn't fail him. He was about to admit to a third person that he cared about Jack, beyond all else. The only thought that was giving him courage was that Jack was waiting for him in their room, and was willing to forgive him on the condition that he made everything clear with Alma.

Up on the second floor, he walked a few doors down and saw the room where Alma was staying. He took a deep breath and knocked, heart racing. After a few moments, she finally answered. Her face lit up when she saw him, to his dismay.

"Ennis! Hey, how are you doin'?" He let her kiss him on the cheek, his face burning and wishing that it was Jack kissing him.

"Um, fine. Can I come in?" She nodded and stepped back. It was quite a nice room, he had to admit, but he liked his better, not least because he shared it with Jack. He turned to her and she fixed him with an expectant look.

"So...we gonna talk? I've missed you a lot. I know things were a little shaky last time we saw each other, but I think we can work it out, right?" She moved closer and Ennis stepped away, wishing that Jack was here with him.

"Um, Alma...there's somethin' I've gotta say to you. Can we sit down?" She nodded and they sat on her bed. Ennis shifted away a little, not wanting to risk anything. He hoped that she didn't try to grab his hand.

"So, what's up, Ennis? I talked to your friend...Lureen, was it? Is there somethin' goin' on with you two?" she asked, fixing him with a beady eye. He shook his head.

"No, she's a friend of my roommate, an' we're all friends. She told me that you came lookin' for me. What's up?"

"Well, I know you said we could work things out over Christmas. So...I'm here. I think we can make a go of it, Ennis. You come back to Wyomin', start workin' for your daddy, an' maybe we can get married..."

Ennis's head was spinning slightly at all of this. He realised that he didn't want any of it; he wanted to be with Jack. He sighed inwardly as he realised that he was about to hurt her immensely. But it wasn't fair to either her or Jack to keep this up. And he knew that if he didn't tell Alma the truth, his relationship with Jack would suffer. He didn't want to risk that.

"Alma, listen. There's somethin' you gotta know. There's a reason why I ain't been takin' yer calls."

She tilted her head, looking puzzled. "I did wonder about there somethin' wrong?"

"No, just...somethin' you gotta know. I don't think I'll be comin' back to Wyomin'."

"What? Why? What about yer daddy an' the ranch?"

He bit at a hangnail. "I gotta be honest, Alma...I don't wanna take it over. I wanna stay here an' carry on with my major. Maybe even move out here one day."

"Oh...if that's what you want, maybe I'll move out here too. We can settle down here."

Ennis sighed. "No, Alma. I...I'm sorry, but...I don't wanna be with you no more."

Her eyes widened. "What? What are you talkin' about?"

He looked at her, feeling terrible for putting her through this and crushing her dreams. "I'm sorry, Alma. I know I should have told you this before I left, but...we can't be together no more. I...I don't wanna be with you. I'm sorry...I can't give you what you want."

Alma stood up, looking crestfallen. "Ennis...why? How come you didn't say this before you left?"

"I dunno, but...I'm sayin' it now. We can't be together no more. Sure am sorry, Alma. I, uh...I hope you can find someone to make you happy. I just know it ain't gonna be me."

She folded her arms in a defensive stance. "Is there someone else? Is it that Lureen?"

Ennis stood up too, his hands up in an attempt to calm her. "No, Alma. It ain't her. She's just a friend. But...there is someone else."

Her eyes filled with tears but she wiped them away impatiently. "Well...who is it? Who's this girl that's gone an' stole my boyfriend?"

Ennis took a few deep breaths and tried to prepare himself for her reaction. " ain't a girl, Alma. It's my roommate, Jack."

It took a few seconds for Alma to register what he was saying, and she looked confused. "Jack? A guy? What are you sayin', Ennis? Are you gay?"

For simplicity's sake, he decided to go along with it, even though he wasn't yet sure himself, and it was only Jack. "Yeah, I am. We've been together since October. He knows that I'm here, an' I didn't tell him that I didn't break up with you. But he's willin' to forgive me if I tell you the truth now. It's only fair to both of ya."

Alma backed away a little. "I can't believe're gay...I never would have..."

"Me neither, Alma. I'm sorry. should know I never wanted to hurt you."

"Well, you did!" she snapped. "I come all the way from Wyomin', hopin' to get back together, an' you tell me that yer gay an' messin' around with yer roommate!"

"We ain't just messin' around!" he insisted. "I...I love him. An' I know he loves me, he told me so."

Alma's face went slack. "I can't believe this! You've been cheatin' on me with a guy! How could you do this?"

"I'm sorry, Alma," he murmured. "Sure am sorry." She strode to the door and held it open.

"Well, you were right. We can't be together no more. I want you out of here, now. Goodbye, Ennis."

He nodded, knowing that there was nothing he could do. He mumbled another apology as he passed her, and was soon leaving the hotel. He got out his phone and sent a message to Jack.

It's done. It's all over with her.

A few minutes later, he received a reply.

Okay. I'm in the room, come on up.

His heart soaring, Ennis left his past behind and headed off for his future.

Ennis quickly headed back to the room, eager to see Jack. He knocked on their door and went inside. "Jack?"

Jack was sitting on his bed, leaning against the headboard. He stood up when Ennis entered, glad to see him. "Hey..." He came up to Ennis, looking a little apprehensive.

" did it?" Ennis nodded, love filling him up as he looked down at Jack.

"Yeah, I did. She's upset, but...we'll both be better off. Sure am sorry about all this, Jack..."

Jack sighed. "Why didn't you just tell me, Ennis?" he asked softly, no longer angry.

"I just...I left Wyomin' thinkin' that over Christmas I'd tell her the truth. But at the time I just had to get out of there, she was drivin' me crazy. Even just now, she was talkin' about me movin' back to the ranch, an' us gettin' married. She wants all that, an' I never wanted that with her. I didn't tell you 'cos I never thought that somethin' would happen. I sure as hell didn't expect us to get together, Jack..."

Jack was nodding. "I know you didn't. I've been thinking, anyway...if you'd told me before we got together, I'm not sure we'd be anything more than friends right now. I don't think we'd be together if you'd said anything before. And I understand that you didn't want to lose me, and that's why you didn't say anything recently." He looked up into Ennis's eyes. "Thing is, it's done now. She knows the truth, and we're gonna be okay. That's all that matters, right?"

Ennis smiled tentatively. "Yeah, it is. Sorry I hurt you, Jack." They moved into each other's arms and embraced tightly, burying their noses in each other's necks and inhaling each other. Ennis was immensely grateful that everything was going to be okay. He had told Alma that he loved Jack, so now it was only fair that he said it to Jack too. He took a deep breath and pulled away.

"Jack, I...there's one more thing. Nothin' bad, but...something you oughta know." Jack's deep blue eyes gazed up at him and he gulped. "Um...when I was talkin' to Alma, she started yellin' at me, sayin' how I was messin' around with my roommate." Jack raised his eyebrows to hear that Ennis had told her about him. "An' um...I said...that I...I love you."

Jack's mouth opened in surprise, then broke into a grin. "You said that?"

"' it's only fair that I tell you too, so...I love you, Jack," he said shakily. "Love you somethin' fierce." He smiled nervously, heart beating very quickly again.

Jack's mouth was planted on his, and his conversation with Alma flew out of his mind; all that mattered was that his relationship with Jack had been salvaged. They held onto one another and kissed more firmly, tongues seeking entrance. He moaned quietly and they walked backwards to his bed, landing on it in a heap of arms and legs.

Ennis gazed down at Jack, and a new feeling overcame him. Having admitted outright that he loved Jack had given him a sense of permanence, that this was how it was going to be from now on, and he had to show Jack how much he loved him. "Jack," he whispered.


He leaned down, stroking Jack's cheek. "I...I'm ready to..." Jack immediately understood, and he smiled softly.

"You sure?" Ennis nodded; he wanted to be inside Jack.

"Yeah, I am. Wanna show you...I love you."

"I love you too, Ennis..." Their fingers wandered to shirt buttons, quickly undoing them and throwing the material to the floor. Hands then ran over warm skin, replaced by mouths as they kissed and pressed closer. Their jeans came down, followed by their sneakers until they were naked. Ennis drew back the sheets and got them both under, nervously anticipating what this might feel like.

Ennis held Jack's face in his hands and kissed him deeply, tongue swirling around his mouth and rubbing a little against Jack's hips. His hand reached for the KY and he reared up onto his knees.

With Jack watching his every move, Ennis prepared himself and leaned back down again, completely covering Jack. They kissed again for a few seconds and Ennis began to get into position, trying to remember what Jack did whenever he entered him. Jack bit his lip; he wanted this so much, but he couldn't deny that he was nervous about the pain. He figured it would be worth it for them to get through this.

"That's it..." he whispered as Ennis started to push in, nudging his legs wider apart. Jack hissed and raised his hips, eyes screwing shut against the pain. "Oh God..."

"Is this right?" Ennis breathed, and Jack nodded, prising his eyes back open.

"Yeah, that's...oh, fuck..." Ennis finally slid all the way in, surprised by how warm and tight Jack was. He hadn't expected it to feel quite like this.

"Oh...Jack..." He leaned down again and Jack wrapped his legs around his waist. He took hold of Jack's shoulders and kissed at his neck. Jack squeezed him closer and whispered at him to move. Ennis began to thrust into him, head spinning at how good this felt and how much in love he was with the man in his arms. It was as if his old life, the life back home, had been completely finished, and now he was starting his new life; one with Jack.

Jack's eyes were closed and his mouth was open, the incredible feeling of immense bliss taking over his body. He barely noticed the pain anymore, and all he could think of was the fact that Ennis had told him outright that he loved him. He'd known for a while that Ennis felt this way, but to actually hear those three words was something else. Now he was surer than ever that this relationship would last.

Ennis could feel Jack shaking underneath him as his climax approached, and he picked up the pace, trying to find that spot within Jack that had been found inside him.

"Ennis...Ennis..." Jack was whispering as they moved together, faster and faster as they kissed and grabbed at each other. "Oh God..." Ennis finally found what he was looking for and thrust in hard, making Jack groan aloud and raise his hips off the bed, yelling his name and praying that the next room was empty. With a few more thrusts, Ennis was there with him, shooting in deep and moaning into his ear.

They collapsed together in a heap and Jack wound his arms around Ennis's back, sighing contentedly. Without a doubt, this had been the best experience of his life.

"Ennis...that was amazing..." He felt Ennis sigh in his ear and kiss his earlobe.

"Sure was. I love you, Jack." The words came easier now after this incredible encounter.

Jack smiled widely as he looked up at the ceiling, happy and warm in his lover's arms. "I love you too."

December 3rd, 2003

Today was the day of their mid-semester exams, and all three of them were very nervous. They had been studying a lot over the last couple of weeks, and they hoped it would pay off. Jack was feeling confident that they would do well.

He and Ennis felt closer than ever after Ennis had openly declared his love, and they were happier now than they had ever been. Ennis had topped Jack a few more times over the last couple of weeks, and he had to admit that he loved being inside Jack. They didn't have a set agenda for what they did each night, but they just let things happen as they did, going with whatever their desires were. They felt as if they were growing closer every time they made love.

Jack still hadn't asked Ennis what his plans were for Christmas; his original plan had been to go home and tell Alma the truth, but since that was no longer an issue, his plans were open. Jack had considered asking him home to West Virginia to meet his family, but he didn't know if it might be too early for something like that. He figured that Ennis would either want to go home to be with his parents, or he might stay in the dorms over the holidays. Jack didn't want him to be alone, so he thought that if he did want to stay, then he would stay with him. He didn't want to leave Ennis's side right now.

In the morning, Ennis and Jack were getting ready to leave for their exams. They were in each other's arms and kissing slowly, unwilling to part.

"Mmm...come on, Ennis...we gotta go..." Jack said in between kisses, smiling up at Ennis. His lips were caught again and he grinned into the kiss. "We're gonna be late," he mumbled into his lover's mouth. He pulled his mouth away as Ennis's hands dropped to his ass. "Come on, we gotta go."

Ennis sighed and kissed the tip of Jack's nose. "Alright, we better get a move on. Don't wanna be leavin' you, though..."

Jack smiled. "I know, sweetheart. But it's only for the morning. We can get some lunch after and come back here, okay?" Ennis nodded.

"Okay. Gotta admit, Jack...I'm real nervous about this...hope I do okay."

Jack cupped his cheeks. "You'll be fine, Ennis. We've been studying a lot lately, and helping each other. I told you before, I've got faith in you. Okay?" He lightly kissed Ennis on the lips, looking at him encouragingly. Ennis nodded and smiled gratefully.

"Thanks, Jack." He sighed and prised himself away, squeezing Jack's hand. "Love you," he said softly.

Jack grinned widely. "I love you too," he said lovingly, pressing his lips to Ennis's again. They kissed a couple more times, and then Jack moved away a little. He knew that if they kept this up, they wouldn't be going anywhere, except to the bed.

"Okay, let's get going. It'll be fine, trust me."

"I do, Jack," Ennis said with unexpected vigour. "I really do."

Jack smiled and nodded. "I do too. Let's go." They left the room and caught up to Lureen down the hall.

"Hey, where have you guys been? Thought you woulda been out by now."

They glanced at each other. "Um...we got distracted..."

Lureen raised her eyebrows. "Oh...well, that explains a lot. You guys sure go at it a lot, huh?" she asked with a grin. They both started blushing.

"Aw, hell, Lureen. I remember you and your boyfriend last year. You were always sneaking around at night. Remember when you asked me if I had any condoms?" Now it was Lureen's turn to blush.

"Shut up, Jack." They both grinned.

"You started it. You knocked on my door in the middle of the night, dressed in the skimpiest nightgown I ever saw. You were there, asking me if I had any..."

Lureen was bright red by now. "Jack, cut it out," she said, looking embarrassed. Jack ruffled her hair.

"Sorry, Lu. But you kind of deserved it. You know I love you really. Not as much as him..." He nodded at Ennis, who smiled. "But enough."

She shook her head. "You're terrible, Jack Twist. But I love you too. Now let's get goin'." The three of them walked down the hall and out of the building, heading for campus. Lureen left them and headed off for her building, leaving them alone. They reached the alleyway by the diner and exchanged one last kiss before heading for campus. Outside Ennis's building, they turned to each other.

"Well...bye then," Ennis said, wanting to give Jack's hand one last squeeze, but looking down at it instead. Jack got the message and smiled.

"Yeah. Good luck, Ennis. We'll meet up back here and go to the diner, okay? Spend the rest of the day in our room, how's that?"

Ennis nodded. "Sounds good, Jack. Good luck." They lightly punched each other on the arm and moved away from each other, mourning the loss of each other's presence.

Both of them tried their best to concentrate on their exams, and for the most part it worked, but their thoughts were never far from each other. Jack couldn't believe his luck after how miserable he'd been last year. He was immensely grateful to Ennis for making him so happy and he swore to himself that he would do his best to make Ennis happy. As time went on, he found himself thinking more and more about a possible future with Ennis; where they might settle down, what jobs they would get, whether they might get married (provided it became legal) and if they might even have a family one day. Jack did want all of those things, and he only wanted them with Ennis. He had a feeling that Ennis felt the same way, and their lives were heading in a direction that would make them happy; one that they would journey in together.

"So how'd it go?" Jack asked as they entered the diner to get some food.

Ennis nodded. "Okay, I guess. Kept thinkin' on you a lot," he said in a low voice, making Jack smile.

"Me too. Kept thinking about last night, and what we did on your bed..." He gave Ennis his best seductive look, which made him blush. Last night, Ennis had been on his back with Jack riding him like a horse, and it had been a lot of fun.

They took their seats at the counter and ordered their chicken and sodas to take back. They knew that it wasn't exactly a healthy diet, but Jack had thought a couple of times that they got plenty of exercise afterwards. He smirked to himself at this thought.

Their food was brought to them and they started heading back, talking and laughing about their earlier conversation with Lureen. The dark cloud from Alma's visit had passed over by now, and they were looking to their future together.

Up on the third floor, they walked down the hall to their room, Jack handing the chicken to Ennis so he could unlock the door. Once inside, the food was tossed to a bed, the door was shut and their arms were around each other. They kissed thoroughly for a few seconds, enjoying the feeling of being close again. Jack moaned softly into Ennis's mouth and his hands dropped to Ennis's ass, squeezing enough to make him smile.

"Mmm...Jack," he mumbled into his lover's mouth. "Food's gonna get cold..."

"I like cold chicken," Jack mumbled back. He pulled away for a second, a glint in his eye. "I say we warm ourselves up first." With a mischievous smile, he claimed Ennis's lips again. Then he broke away again and slid down to his knees, smiling innocently. Ennis's eyes widened and he braced himself on Jack's shoulders. Jack undid his belt and zipper, pushing the jeans and underwear down and going to work. He brought his hands back around to Ennis's ass and pulled him further in. Ennis's eyes slid shut as the feeling overcame him; he was only aware of Jack's mouth and hands.

He climaxed with a hand over his mouth and shuddered, breathing heavily. Jack got to his feet and weaved his arms around him to steady him.

"You okay there, cowboy?" he asked with a grin. Ennis nodded against his shoulder.

"Just fine, darlin'," he said, the endearment slipping out for the first time. Jack smiled and kissed the side of his face.

"Love you." Ennis responded in kind and Jack helped him do up his jeans again. They moved to Jack's bed with the food and the TV was flipped on. Jack shuffled closer to Ennis so that their shoulders were touching; lately he felt a need to be close to him all the time, drawing comfort from his strength and warmth. He knew that they would be okay.

"Ennis?" he asked softly, looking up at him.


"I wanted to ask you something..."

Ennis nodded. "Go ahead."

Jack shifted. "Well...what are you doing for Christmas? I know we haven't talked about that..."

Their eyes met, and Ennis sighed. "Well...I'd planned to go back to Wyomin', an' talk to Alma an' my parents. I was gonna tell 'em about me an' you. Alma knows now, so...there's just my parents."

"Okay. Are you still gonna go back?" Jack asked. His heart sank a little to learn that they wouldn't be spending the holiday together, but he understood that it was important for Ennis to talk to his parents about this.

Ennis shrugged. "I thought about it, means we won't be together over Christmas. I didn't know how to tell you without lettin' you down..." He looked away and Jack brought a hand to his cheek.

"It's okay, Ennis. I know how important this is to you, especially with your dad. It would be better for you to tell them on your own, so they have time to register it. Better that than have me tag along and go throwing everything at them all at once."

Ennis looked surprised. "You really don't mind? I reckon you wanted us to spend Christmas' I wanted that too, but..."

Jack shushed him. "Don't worry about it. I understand how hard this is. It's only for about three weeks, right? We'll be back here right after the New Year. And I'll be fine; if you go to Wyoming, I can go home to West Virginia. I've got a big family, plenty to distract me. And we can call and text and everything, right?"

"Right. I guess it won't be so bad...sure am glad you ain't mad at me, Jack." He looked at him shyly. "Love you."

"I love you too, Ennis," he said softly, leaning in for a gentle kiss and burying his fingers in Ennis's curls. Their free hands entwined and squeezed together, the food forgotten.

They pulled apart after a minute, and their eyes bored into one another. Jack could see the fleck of green in Ennis's brown eyes that he loved so much, and he traced a finger along Ennis's dimples on one side of his mouth as he smiled. He loved everything about Ennis and knew that he always would.

Ennis, meanwhile, was marvelling at how such a beautiful creature like Jack could find him attractive. He'd never thought of himself as something to desire or need, but Jack did. They literally knew each other inside and out, and Ennis's first time as the top had brought them closer together. He loved Jack so much and he hoped that they would last.

"Gonna miss you over Christmas," he whispered, looking into Jack's eyes. The deep blue pools looked over his face, full of happiness and sadness all at once.

"I know, cowboy. Me too. But we'll be alright, I promise. We'll be right here again in January, and we'll pick right up where we left off." They sealed this promise with a kiss and turned back to their food, secure in the knowledge that things would be okay.

Two days later, Jack made his way up to their room after his lecture, eager to see Ennis again. Ennis had still been asleep when he'd left, so he was missing some intimacy with his lover. Maybe they could spend an hour or so in bed before getting some lunch.

He could hear Ennis's voice as he approached, sounding panicked and upset. He frowned as he opened the door, wondering what was going on. Ennis was stood in the middle of the room on his phone, looking torn up. Jack shut the door and pressed against it, watching warily.

"Dad, I'm sorry about all this. I was gonna come home an' tell you myself. You don't have to do this..." Jack could tell that he was closing up into his shell, and he hoped that he would be able to help him. He was getting good at comforting Ennis when he needed it.

"Look, Dad...can you just give me a chance to explain? I've been tryin' to talk to you since September...please, just give me a chance. What? No, I ain't just messin' around with him, I love him."

In a lighter moment, this would have warmed Jack's heart, but right now he was too preoccupied with the fact that Ennis was upset. Oh, cowboy...please be okay...

"I never wanted to hurt her, Dad. You gotta believe me...I'm sorry. What?" Ennis's eyes widened. "No, Dad...please don't...I can explain this! Dad? Dad!" He lifted the phone away from his ear, staring at it in shock. His father had hung up on him.

Jack walked towards him cautiously. "Ennis? You okay?"

Ennis turned to look at him, still in shock by the conversation with his father. "I...I think I've just been...disowned." Jack's eyes widened.

"Oh, sweetheart...come here..." Jack closed the gap between them and pulled Ennis into his arms, burying his nose in the curls and feeling Ennis grab him for dear life. "What happened?"

"Alma went home...told my parents everythin'...about you an' me..." He sniffed and felt Jack running a hand along his back. "My dad...he just called, sayin' how I'm a disgrace to the family an' I'm not welcome on the ranch. He says I ain't his son no more, an' that he don't want me back home. Told me not to come home at Christmas, or at all..." His voice trailed off into sobs as Jack held him closer.

"Ennis...I'm so sorry...I wish you didn't have to go through that. There anything I can do?"

"I dunno, Jack...what am I gonna do?" Jack pulled his face away to look into Ennis's eyes; he was clearly distraught. Being disowned by his family had torn into his heart.

"Come here..." Jack wiped the tears with his thumbs and kissed him gently. He cupped Ennis's cheeks. "It's gonna be okay, Ennis. I promise. We'll figure this out, alright?"

Ennis nodded, still in a mess over what his father had said. He'd honestly thought that they'd be able to mend their relationship, but this now looked very unlikely. Jack was heartbroken to see him like this. He thought for a moment, and then a thought occurred to him.

"Just give me a minute, Ennis. I've gotta go do something, but I'll be right back." He kissed Ennis again and left the room, bringing out his cell phone as he went.

He leaned against the wall on the opposite side of the hall and dialled his mother's number. He had a feeling that she would be supportive of this.

"Hey, ma."

"Oh, hey, Jack. What's up? Are you coming home for Christmas?"

"Yeah, I think so. But I need to ask you a favour."

The conversation took only a couple of minutes, and he was grinning by the time it was over. He went back into their room, knowing that he could make Ennis very happy with this.

Ennis was lying face down on his bed, arms hugging the pillow and shoulders scrunched up defensively. Normally, Jack wouldn't have been able to resist Ennis in this position, but he was far too distracted. He climbed onto the bed and gently straddled Ennis, kissing the side of his face. Ennis opened his eyes and smiled a little.

"Hey," Jack whispered. "You okay?" Ennis shrugged.

"Not really. What was that about?"

Jack smiled. "How would you like to spend Christmas in West Virginia with me and my family?"

Ennis raised his head, eyes widening. "What? What're you talkin' about?" Jack stroked his curls, smiling even further.

"Just talked to my mother. I told her about you and your dad, and how you've just know. So I told her that you were likely to stay here over the holidays, and I asked her if I could bring you home with me to the manor. She's all for it, and I know my dad will be cool with it. I've got all these relatives that come to stay with us, and you could meet them all. I know they'd love to meet you..." Ennis was now looking at him properly, a smile gathering at the corners of his mouth.

"You mean that? You serious?" he asked, hope in his voice. Jack nodded.

"Sure am. It'll be better than you staying here, and you know you can't go home. My family's really nice...what do you say?"

He lifted himself off Ennis, who rose up until they were sat properly. "Jack...I don't know what to say..."

"Say yes," Jack said with a grin. "Spend Christmas with me, cowboy...please?"

After a moment, Ennis smiled fully and nodded. "I'd love that, Jack...okay. Yeah, I will." He gave a watery smile and threw his arms around Jack, who caught him with a grin.

"You got it, cowboy. We'll leave as soon as the semester's over. You can come home with me." Ennis nodded into his shoulder, his heart nearly bursting with how happy and grateful he was.

"I love you, much. Thank you..."

Jack pulled away and kissed him warmly. "I love you too."