In the middle of the night, Jack awoke to the feeling of Ennis stirring in his arms. He was pushing up against Jack and kissing at his chest. Jack had a feeling that Ennis had calmed down enough by now to be ready for sex. He smiled and looked down at Ennis. "Baby?"
Ennis looked up at him, eyes full of need. "Jack...I wanna..."
"Alright," Jack said softly, stroking his face. "How you want it?"
"Um...I wanna be inside ya...wanna feel you there..."
Jack nodded, kissing him gently on the lips. "Okay. Come on..." He rolled onto his back and pulled Ennis over him, kissing him again. Ennis dove into Jack's mouth and sought the reassurance he needed, hoping that being inside Jack would make him feel better. He'd always felt at home when he was inside Jack.
As they kissed, Jack grabbed the lube and handed it to Ennis, eyes full of love. "It's okay, Ennis...I'm here. Whatever you need from me..."
Ennis looked down at him, trembling a little. From time to time, they'd discussed this aspect of comfort sex; that they were offering something for the other to take. I felt good to be there for each other and give each other what was needed. He kissed Jack again as he prepared himself, wanting to be inside Jack as soon as possible.
He tossed the lube aside and Jack lifted his legs. Ennis wrapped them around his waist and moved forward a little. "Jack..."
"Come on, cowboy...I'm right here..." Ennis nodded and started to push in, finding the warmth that was waiting for him. Nothing on earth felt as good as this to him. Jack sighed and coaxed Ennis into his arms as they connected. They held each other close and Jack locked his legs around Ennis. "Move, Ennis...come on..." Ennis started to slowly thrust into him, eyes fixed on Jack's. He could see the love and devotion to him in Jack's eyes, and he gulped at the strong emotions bubbling within him. Jack was the only person in his life who really knew him, and it was because of moments like this. He knew that Jack would never judge him or hurt him; that he could trust him completely. He hoped that Jack felt the same way, and their time together told him that Jack did.
They moved together, Jack lifting his hips in time to Ennis's thrusts and moaning softly. Even though he was doing this mainly for Ennis's benefit, he was gaining pleasure from it too. That was usually the way when they did this. Ennis lifted his head from where he'd been kissing Jack's neck and looked down into Jack's eyes. Jack pulled Ennis's face down to his and drew his tongue out to meet his own. Ennis's hips were still pushing forward against him as he thrust, and Jack could feel himself nearing the edge. He gasped and moaned as Ennis pushed in even further and then groaned as he exploded between them, shaking and triggering Ennis into his own release.
When they were finally done, they collapsed together, breathing heavily. "Oh, Jack..." He nuzzled into Jack's neck and sighed. Jack kissed the side of his face.
"Did that help, cowboy?"
"Sure did...thanks, darlin'." He pulled himself out and rolled off of Jack, staying close. Jack tucked an arm under him and held him close.
"No problem, Ennis. You know I'd do anythin' for you, especially when yer feelin' like you did today. One thing I hate more than anythin' is seein' you upset, an' all I want is to make you feel better."
"Mmm...back at you, bud." He trailed his fingers through Jack's chest hair and rested his right leg in between Jack's, getting comfortable. "Sure am glad you came with me."
Jack kissed his temple. "You asked me to, so I did. That's what you do when yer married to someone, Ennis. Don't matter if it ain't legal; we've been bound together for so long, an' we've got this whole life together. We've shared good stuff an' bad stuff...we've been at weddin's, births, funerals, deaths...we've been through it all. Sure feels like we're married, an' we've still got so much to look forward to. Lily's gettin' married next spring, an' she's gonna have kids of her own. We're gonna see a whole lot more from our family before we die."
Ennis was smiling against Jack's chest, letting the words wash over him. He thought back over everything he and Jack had shared, and he felt his heart soar at all of his good memories. Jack was right; they had shared so much and still had a lot to look forward to. He couldn't wait to see what life held for them in the future.
"You're right, Jack. We've had it real good, mostly. Can't wait to see what's comin'."
Jack smirked. "Well, we just did, but whatever." Ennis started laughing and shaking against him.
"You're crazy, Jack," he said, continuing to laugh.
"Only for you, baby." He lifted Ennis's chin and kissed him lightly, before stroking his cheek. "I love you, Ennis. It don't matter about the argument we had earlier. We've had plenty of those little things over the years, they don't mean nothin'. Just another part of bein' married. You know you're the love of my life, cowboy."
Ennis looked up into his eyes. "Jack...I, um...I feel the same. Love you so much...I hate arguin' with ya. Just glad we sort these things out before they get too bad. You're my best friend, Jack...you're everythin' to me."
"Same here, cowboy." They shared one last kiss and then settled down again. "Get some sleep, Ennis. You're gonna need it. Like I said before, don't worry about the ranch. We'll go home when yer ready an' we've sorted everythin' here. Lily says everythin's okay. Just get some sleep." Ennis yawned and closed his eyes, feeling safe and loved in Jack's arms. Everything would be okay as long as he had Jack.
The next day, Jack offered to go out to the store and get them some essentials that they needed, which left the three Del Mars alone to talk. He sensed that they needed to talk the whole situation out in private, so he gave them some space. He'd kissed Ennis before he'd left and told him that he would get them something special to cheer him up. Ennis's eyes had lit up at this and he had smiled.
While Jack was gone, the other three sat down on the furniture and faced each other. They didn't really know what to say about this.
Ennis sighed. "So, um...is there anythin' we can do? I know there ain't a...a body, but...maybe we should go visit their graves or somethin'. Talk to 'em."
Cecilia nodded. "That'd be good. I know you said that Lily does that with her mama's grave. Do you an' Jack do that?"
He nodded back. "Yeah, sometimes. More often when things ain't easy an' we just wanna be near her. Might work for us too."
"Alright. So when should we go? Should only take about an hour or so to get down there."
"Well, um...I'm thinkin' that me an' Jack should be headin' home soon. He told me not to worry but I can't help it. So...what about in a couple hours? When he gets back."
"Okay, Tom will be home by then." They tried to talk about their discovery of a lost sibling, but there wasn't anything to say that they hadn't already said. They didn't know what to do.
Jack walked through the aisles of the store, looking for something that would lift Ennis's spirits. He'd already found everything that he'd set out to get, but he didn't know what else to buy. There was a brand new tube of lube in the basket, but he wanted something else.
He looked at the cans of whipped cream, and memories ran through his head. He picked it up and put it in the basket. As he neared the cash register, he saw a small basket of strawberries, so put them in too. He knew that Ennis would like this.
He paid for everything and then headed back; luckily it was only a short walk to Cecilia's house. He walked in to find Cecilia and K.E. on the sofa, watching TV together. "Hey, guys. Where's Ennis?"
"In the bathroom," Cecilia said. "You get everythin'?"
Jack nodded and set the bags down. "Yep. So...did you guys talk?"
"We did." Just as Cecilia spoke, Ennis came into the room. His face lit up at the sight of Jack and he couldn't help but smile. Jack smiled back.
"Hey, cowboy. Um...you wanna give me a hand with all this?" When Ennis drew close, Jack whispered in his ear, "There's some stuff for us, it's in this one. Put it in the room." He handed Ennis the bag containing the private items for them. Ennis went a little red, and then turned to put the bag safely away.
Jack was unpacking the groceries when Ennis joined him in the kitchen. He felt Ennis's lips on his cheek and smiled. "Hey, cowboy. Did you talk things out?"
Ennis rested his head on Jack's shoulder. "Sorta. Didn't really know what to say. But, um...we decided we wanna go down to Sage an' visit our parents' graves. We was thinkin' we'd go later. It'll only take a couple hours. Maybe we could go home after that. Get a flight home. I miss our place."
At this, Jack turned around and placed his hands on Ennis's face. "I know you do. I do too, baby." He thought for a moment. "I've got a thought..."
"When we go down to Sage...an' we visit yer parents' graves...what about we hold one of those...candlelight vigils? We could wait until it gets dark, an' we could bring some lighters with us. I know we don't smoke no more, but we could still buy some."
Ennis's heart melted at what Jack was offering. He hadn't thought of this, but to hear Jack suggest it made him realise what a good idea it was. "Jack...that's...thank you. That's amazin'." He wrapped his arms around Jack and pulled him close. "Darlin'..."
"It's okay, Ennis. Glad I could help." They embraced for a little while and then heard footsteps.
"Oh...sorry, guys." They moved their heads and saw K.E. and Cecilia standing there.
"It's okay. What's up?"
"We was wonderin' what time you wanted to head to Sage...Tom should be here any minute."
"Uh, well...how about we have some early dinner an' then we head out?" Ennis suggested. He then looked at Jack. "Um...Jack had an idea for when we go..."
Jack rubbed the back of his neck. "Uh...I was thinkin'...how about we buy some lighters, bring 'em with us an' then hold one of them candlelight vigils? You could say whatever you wanted to, an' maybe talk about the baby too..."
Cecilia moved forward and hugged Jack tightly. "Oh, Jack...thank you. That's a brilliant idea."
He hugged her back. "No problem. We've done the same at Becky's grave, especially when Lily was younger. Just thought it might be good for you three." When Cecilia finally released him, K.E. shook his hand and thanked him. He then went out for some lighters while Cecilia started on dinner. Ennis and Jack decided to go and lie down.
On the bed, Jack was showing what he'd bought for them, which made Ennis smile. They agreed that once they were done at the graveyard, they would rent a room nearby while Cecilia and K.E. headed back. The next day they would fly home. Jack hadn't gotten them return flights; he hadn't been sure how long Ennis might need. In hindsight, it was a good idea.
They lay down and curled up together, fully dressed but without their hats, jackets and boots. Jack could see the grateful look in Ennis's eyes at his suggestion, and he was pleased to see that he could make Ennis feel better. It was all worth it to see those deep brown eyes shining at him.
After dinner, everybody piled into Tom's truck and they drove down towards Sage, heading for the graveyard where Ennis's parents were buried. He and Jack had already packed for the flight home, which Jack had booked just before they left Cecilia's house. They would spend the night in a nearby hotel while Cecilia and K.E. went home, and would fly home tomorrow. They were eager to get back to the ranch and see what had happened during their absence. Ennis was particularly worried about Pete; he didn't like the look he had given Jack that time in town.
On the drive down, Ennis sat in the back with Jack, their fingers interlaced on Ennis's thigh. Jack spoke softly to Ennis, their foreheads pressed together. He kept telling Ennis how much he loved him and that he was here for him. He could see that his words were having an effect on Ennis, and that he was keeping Ennis's spirits up. He knew that he would be making Ennis very happy this evening in a hotel room.
It was around six when they reached the graveyard, and Jack got the familiar uncomfortable feeling. He'd never liked these places. They parked and were silent for a moment.
"We gonna do this?" Ennis asked quietly, and he saw Cecilia look at him in the rear-view mirror. She looked tired, but determined to get through this. She felt like all three of them needed this, and she was grateful that Jack was here for Ennis.
"Yeah, I guess. We got the lighters?"
"I've got 'em," Jack replied, and she nodded. After a few more moments, they got out and looked towards the graveyard. Night was falling, so they couldn't stay for long. From time to time, Jack had wondered if ghosts existed. He didn't know for sure, but he'd sometimes thought that he'd felt Becky's presence over the years, especially on her birthday.
They walked through the graveyard towards where they knew their parents were buried. Jack was still holding onto Ennis's hand in support. He knew that Ennis appreciated it.
After a short walk, they found the graves, side by side. Keith and Ellen Del Mar; born in 1923 and died in 1957. Jack felt Ennis gripping his hand tightly. They all stopped and arranged themselves. Jack passed the lighters around and looked at them all.
"Who's gonna start?" he asked in a low voice, and Cecilia cleared her throat. She felt like she should go first, as the eldest.
"I will." She sighed. "I remember how our parents used to be, before Earl an' Rich moved here. Daddy was a nice man, as much as he could have been. Mama was happy until they moved here, 'cos Daddy was good to us. He used to take me for ice cream, an' I remember how happy he was when mama was pregnant with K.E. an' Ennis. There was only a couple years before Earl an' Rich moved here, an' Ennis was born later that year. So...I remember a little bit how Daddy used to be."
She flicked her lighter open. "Mama, Daddy...I know things wasn't always easy, an' maybe if people hadn't been taught to hate then things might've been different when Earl an' Rich moved here. We can't lay all the blame on you, Daddy. You ain't the one who decided that bein' gay is wrong. So...I want you to know that I love you both, an' that I'll never forget you. An' for that little baby...I'm sorry none of us got to find out how great it would've been."
They looked at her, and K.E. spoke next. His speech was similar to his sister's, but he added his thoughts about the day their father had showed him and Ennis the horrible sight of Earl's body. He understood that it wasn't completely their father's fault, just an unfortunate result of deep-rooted homophobia of the place and time.
Ennis was the last to speak, and he never let go of Jack's hand. "What Dad showed us...it nearly ruined what me an' Jack have. If I'd listened to what he'd taught us, I wouldn't have had the guts to go after what Jack was offerin'. Even after we got together, I kept thinkin' that the same would happen to us. I was scared for a long time, an' it was only 'cos of what we had, an' friends that accepted us that I was able to calm down an' relax."
He looked at Jack, seeing the love in his eyes. "But...it's like you guys said. It wasn't really Dad's fault. If bein' gay was accepted back then, maybe it wouldn't have happened. I'm just glad it didn't ruin what me an' Jack have got, even when we found out that Earl was his grandfather. It's been thirty years, an' I can let go of it now." He flicked his lighter open and looked at the graves. "I woulda liked to be a big brother, but I guess it wasn't meant to be. I've learned to be grateful for what I've got."
All four of them stood there, looking at the graves and thinking. Jack didn't feel like it was his place to say anything; he had never known Ennis's parents, after all. He was just here for Ennis, to hold him up when things became too much for him. After a few minutes, Cecilia leaned into K.E. and Ennis leaned into Jack. He felt Jack's lips in his hair and sighed a little. When they were finally satisfied, they started walking back to the truck. They were silent as Cecilia drove to the hotel, and they said their goodbyes. Ennis and Jack bid them goodbye and promised to call when they got home. They got their luggage and headed into the hotel as Cecilia and K.E. drove off. Jack could tell that Ennis was feeling a little down, and he thought of the items he'd picked up for them. He knew they would cheer Ennis up.
They reached the room on the third floor and Jack opened the door, letting Ennis go in first. He could see that Ennis needed some rest. He frogmarched Ennis towards the bed and pushed him down onto it.
"Just lie back, cowboy," he whispered, stroking Ennis's face. "I know yer kinda beat right now, but I'm here. Let me take care of stuff." Ennis nodded and lay down, hearing Jack as he rustled around in his luggage. After a few moments, he got onto the bed behind Ennis and leaned over him. "Cowboy, you okay?"
Ennis looked up at him. "I dunno, Jack. Just...a whole lotta stuff in my head right now. I ain't upset no more, but...just tired."
"Well..." Jack stroked Ennis's arm. "Back in Casper, when I was out, I got us some things, remember? You wanna try them out?"
Ennis smiled up at him and turned onto his back. "Okay. Go get 'em." Jack kissed him and grabbed the bag. He pulled out the can of whipped cream and the strawberries, a light in his eyes. Ennis sat up and scooted to the middle. They rested their legs on either side of each other and sat close together, smiling at each other. Jack opened the strawberries and picked one up. He squirted a little cream on it and put it into Ennis's mouth, smiling when their eyes met. They fed each other strawberries until the case was empty and Jack moved in close to Ennis, kissing him deeply and letting his hands wander. They ended up under Ennis's shirt, caressing his strong chest and making Ennis moan a little. He pushed Ennis down onto his back and undid Ennis's shirt buttons.
They continued to kiss as they removed their clothes, Jack sensing that Ennis needed some comfort from him tonight. They'd had some fun with feeding each other, and now they needed something different.
Just as they were getting somewhere, an idea popped into Jack's head, and he pulled away. "Ennis..."
He trailed a finger along Ennis's jaw. "I was wonderin'...there's a bathtub in the bathroom. Wanna take one together? It ain't no Jacuzzi, but..."
Ennis nodded, smiling. "Sure. Let's go." They got up and headed into the bathroom, hand in hand. The tub was big enough for both of them to fit in comfortably. Jack filled it up and got in, smiling up at Ennis.
"Come on, cowboy. Plenty of space between my legs." He grinned and Ennis got in, sitting with his back against Jack's chest. When he was settled, Jack wrapped his arms around Ennis and purred in contentment. "Mmm...this is real nice." Ennis nodded and Jack smirked. "You know...there's a game we can play in here, if yer interested."
Ennis turned his head so he could look at Jack in confusion. "What are you talkin' about?"
Jack smiled. "I call it Hide The Soap. Wanna give it a try?" His hand was between Ennis's legs by now, and he could feel his lover becoming hard.
"Um...we got any soap?" Jack reached over and retrieved a bar.
"You bet. I'll drop it in the tub between us, an' you've gotta find it." Ennis nodded and Jack did so, smiling innocently.
They spent a long while in the tub, Ennis turning around to face Jack and digging in between them to find the soap. He copped a few feels in the process and got Jack laughing helplessly as he was tickled. They ended up kissing and stroking each other off in there, before Jack noticed that they were getting wrinkly. They got out and slid into the bed, holding each other close. They kissed again and soon enough Jack was on his back with his legs draped over Ennis's shoulders, staring up into his lover's eyes as Ennis thrust into him slowly.
Their fingers were laced together as they moved, and Jack was seeing stars already at the feeling. Ennis was taking it slowly and savouring each thrust, drawing the moment out as long as possible for maximum pleasure. His face was completely taken over with lust and Jack was reminded of their second night together on Brokeback. Ennis had been in a different place entirely as they had lain together in the tent, and Jack could see that he was feeling that way now.
"Ennis..." he whispered, and Ennis leaned down to kiss him, his tongue diving into Jack's mouth.
"Love you, Jack...more than anythin'..." A few more thrusts and they slipped over the edge together, collapsing when it was over. They talked for a while and then Jack spooned up around Ennis, rubbing his stomach. He knew it would lull Ennis into sleep.
A few hours later, Jack awoke to feel Ennis shaking against him. He then heard Ennis's anguished sobs. "Baby, are you okay?" he whispered, his heart sinking at the sounds coming from his partner.
Ennis gasped out, "I just...I wish things had gone different with my parents. I wish my dad had never taken us to the ditch that day. I nearly lost you 'cos of what he taught us." He kept shaking, unable to stop.
Jack sighed and leaned up over him, kissing the side of his face. "Ennis...it's okay. Yer dad only did what he thought was right. I know it was awful, but...he didn't know no different. Nobody did back then. Things are much better for people like us now, you know that. Sure, people still get hurt, but...it ain't as often as it used to be. We've seen things change right in front of us. An' you didn't lose me. Don't think about what mighta been. Just focus on what is, okay? We're here, an' we're together, an' that's all that matters. Get some sleep, Ennis..."
He heard Ennis sniff a few times and then roll over, burrowing into his chest and closing his eyes. Jack stroked his hair, wishing, not for the first time, that he could take away all of Ennis's pain and bad memories.
The next day, Ennis and Jack set off for home. Jack could see that Ennis was tired and wanting to get home, and he understood it completely. When his father had died and they had gone up for the funeral, all he'd wanted to do was go home and sleep for a long time. This hadn't been possible, given the circumstances, but he had felt it. He could see that Ennis was after the same thing.
They stood in the room together, holding each other close. There was still a little time for them to savour before they had to go for their flight, and Jack knew that they needed some alone time. He softly kissed Ennis all over his face, pressing gentle kisses to his forehead, cheeks and eyelids, before finally settling on his lips and resting there. Ennis almost melted under Jack's loving touch, and he appreciated that Jack was trying to make him feel better. He was grateful that Jack had agreed to come with him.
Jack pulled his lips away and gazed into Ennis's eyes. "Are you gonna be okay?" he asked softly, and Ennis nodded, his hands on Jack's arms.
"I reckon so. We did everythin' we could over here...found out the truth, got some stuff belongin' to my parents that we can look over. An' we went to their graves an' paid tribute as much as we could. Ain't no more we can do, huh?"
"Don't think so," Jack replied, threading his fingers through Ennis's hair. "I was thinkin'...when we get back...how about we go through the pictures you've taken an'...put them up at home? We've got loads of pictures of the ranch an' Becky an' Lily...an' of us too. I think it'd be good if we had some pictures of your parents, an' of you when you was a kid. Whaddaya think?"
Ennis's eyes lit up. "You mean that? Jack, I...I dunno what to say. Thank you."
Jack kissed him and smiled. "Yer welcome. I was thinkin' of askin' my mama if she has any baby pictures of me an' Becky, or of her an' my dad when they was younger. We could do the same...put 'em up at home."
They embraced again and Jack looked at his watch. "We better get goin', cowboy. Don't wanna miss the flight."
"Yep." They pulled apart and grabbed their luggage, sharing one last kiss before they left the room.
Ennis was never going to be comfortable about flying. They'd done it numerous times over the last few years, but he was never going to get used to it. He was very glad that he'd never had to get on a plane without Jack; he was the only one who could distract him well enough to make him feel better, even without having sex in the restroom. Jack used a low, soothing voice to speak to him, telling him that it was okay and not to worry. It wasn't easy for someone like him to be completely dependent on someone like this, but he knew that he needed it.
They waited in the airport for their flight, sitting on the sofas and looking out at the planes. There was nobody around, so Jack rested his head on Ennis's shoulder and laced their fingers together. From where they were sitting, they would see if anybody approached them, and would have enough time to separate before anybody saw how they were sitting. Ennis rested his own head on top of Jack's.
"Ennis?" came Jack's voice, soft and low.
"Yeah, darlin'?" he asked, looking down at his partner.
"I was wonderin'...what do you want for yer birthday? Ain't far off now an' I was gonna go find you somethin' soon."
"Oh, I dunno...can't really think of anythin'. Um..."
"Well...do you need anythin'? Like a new pair of boots or somethin'? Or do ya want somethin' else? Somethin' that you don't need, but just want? You know money ain't a problem."
Ennis looked down at him, his heart swelling with love for the man sat with him. He could see how much he meant to Jack. "Darlin'...just get what you want. There ain't really anythin' I need, so...just get somethin' you want me to have."
Jack looked up at him, smiling. "Alright, cowboy. I will. An' we'll have dinner, all five of us. An' you an' me are gonna have our own celebration in our room." His eyes sparkled at Ennis.
"Sounds good, Jack." He looked around and planted a quick kiss on Jack's lips.
When other people catching their flight started arriving, they broke apart and acted like friends, which was hard for them to do but a necessity. They didn't want anybody giving them a hard time.
On the plane, things weren't too bad. The flight was pretty smooth, so Ennis was relaxed. Jack was pondering whether or not to suggest some private time in the bathroom, but he wasn't sure if Ennis was up for it. He could see that Ennis was still a little nervous. Deciding to wait for a while, he simply took Ennis's hand and started watching the in-flight movie.
Halfway through the flight, Ennis started sending Jack signals that he was interested in going to the restroom with him. Jack grinned and they distracted themselves for a few minutes. It sure was a good way for them to pass the time.
They landed in Atlanta and Lily was there to pick them up; she'd brought Jack's truck with her to take them home. They hugged her and as they headed home, they filled her in on everything that had happened in Wyoming, and she told them what had happened here while they were gone. They were both uneasy about the unknown person sneaking around on their property, but they would talk to James about possible suspects. The only one they could think of was Pete, but he'd disappeared.
Jack looked over at Ennis periodically, thinking. Neither of them knew exactly what Pete was after, but they had an idea. And Jack knew that it scared Ennis, as much as it scared him.