Chapter 16

October 12th, 1987

It was Jack's birthday, and the five of them were out having an early dinner; Ennis wanted to take him to a movie later. Jack had a feeling that they wouldn't be seeing much of the movie, but he wasn't about to complain about that.

At the diner, Ennis was feeling bold, so he kept running his foot up Jack's leg, making him squirm and give him a look. Ennis smirked at him.

They all raised their glasses and smiled at Jack, giving their toasts. Ennis took a deep breath. "Jack, I...I hope you know how happy you make me, bud. I grew up never knowin' what it was really like to be happy. Thought I was gonna have to make do with what was handed to me. You always had dreams, Jack. An' you shared 'em with me...you made me start to have dreams too. An' you made me believe that we could make 'em come true, if we got together. I'm real grateful to ya, Jack. You changed me, an' made me a better person. I just wanna say thank you for everythin' you've done for me."

Jack was a bright shade of red by the time Ennis had finished speaking, and he was grinning. "Cowboy...I dunno what to say. Thank you..."

He nodded. "No problem, darlin'. I think I speak for all of us when I say that I'm lucky to have you in my life. I love you, Jack." He smiled his secret smile at Jack; the one that made Jack's heart flutter.

Everybody nodded their agreement and toasted Jack, smiling again. They then turned to the meal and started eating. They had all chosen a steak dinner and wine as well as their champagne. When they finished, they all headed outside and glanced around; Ennis had been worried about Pete hanging around. There were people watching the ranch, and they were all together, so he hoped it would be alright. Either way, he was going to protect Jack as much as he could.

Rose, Lily and Ben got into Ben's truck to head home, and waved goodbye to them as they drove off. Ennis looked at Jack and took his hand, squeezing a little.

"You ready to go to the theatre, bud?" he asked, and Jack nodded, looking forward to the rest of their night.

"Yep." They got into Ennis's truck and headed to the theatre. It was surprisingly quiet, but they weren't complaining. They picked a movie at random and headed in, deciding that if they didn't like the film, they would make out at the back instead.

They had chosen a thriller movie, but it didn't hold much interest for them, so they gave up trying to follow it. Jack leaned in close to Ennis, a smile on his face, and they began to kiss slowly, tongues sliding together as they melted. Ennis's hand was stroking up and down Jack's back lazily, enjoying the feel of Jack's muscles. Jack was smiling into the kiss and his hand squeezed Ennis's thigh, wishing that the movie would finish so that they could go home.

When they finally pulled apart for air, Jack kept his face close. "Love you, cowboy. Hope you know how happy you make me."

Ennis smiled at him. "I reckon so. You make me real happy too, Jack." They kissed again. "Gonna make you real happy tonight, back home."

Jack grinned. "Sounds good to me. You gonna give me another present?" Earlier in the day, Ennis had given him a new winter jacket, but he wasn't about to refuse a different kind of present. Ennis nodded.

"I was thinkin' about it. But you gotta wait 'til we're back home." He continued to run his hand along Jack's back. Jack nodded and smiled at him.

"Okay."

When the other three got home, everything seemed normal. They could see the hands on duty walking along past the barn, so Lily decided to go and talk to them. Jim was there again, with another young man from town.

"Hey, guys."

"Hey, Lily," replied Jim, nodding at her. "How'd Jack's birthday dinner go?"

She smiled. "It was good. Ennis said some real nice stuff to him, an' he went bright red. I'm tellin' ya, they can be real cute together."

"I guess. That's one thing that workin' for 'em has taught us; that they're just like a regular married couple. Gotta admit, I was nervous about bein' around 'em when I started, but...they're decent guys. I mean, I've seen 'em huggin' now an' then, an' I know they're always goin' off to that hill alone, but...I ain't never seen anythin' to make me uncomfortable. I sure wish they didn't have to deal with assholes like that Pete you told us about. They don't deserve it."

Lily nodded, folding her arms. "I know. James is doin' everythin' he can to sort things out before they get too bad, but Pete's gone AWOL. He only turns up in town to threaten Jack an' then disappears for a little while. It's so weird..."

"I hope things get sorted, Lily. Anyway..." Jim gestured that they were going to continue their patrol. She nodded.

"Yep. Night, guys."

They said goodnight and carried on walking, while she went back to the house. None of them noticed the figure in the shadows.

He'd seen the cameras, and had worked out how to pass by them undetected. They weren't going to get the better of him. He hated himself for these urges he felt whenever he saw his former boss, and this was the only way he could think of that would allow him to push them aside. He did not want to go down that road if he could help it. If he did what he was wanting to, and acted on these urges, he would become one of them, and he would hate himself. That couldn't happen. This way, he could stop these urges before they got the better of him.


Ennis and Jack finally got back home around nine o'clock, looking forward to getting into bed together. As they drove back home, Ennis kept thinking about what he wanted them to do in bed, and he'd decided what he wanted to do to Jack. The glances that he kept giving his lover were making Jack's groin stir in anticipation.

When they reached the house, everybody was upstairs and the lower floor was empty. Ennis shut the door behind them and turned to Jack, pulling him close by the hips. His deep brown eyes bore into Jack's. "So...you want another present, darlin'?" he breathed, and Jack could feel Ennis growing hard against him. He grinned.

"Sure do...what have you got for me?" His hands wandered in between them to cup Ennis's erection, and he squeezed a little.

Ennis kissed him hard, and they were both breathing heavily by the time they drew apart. "Come on," he whispered, grabbing Jack's hand. They ran silently up the stairs to their room, hoping not to disturb anyone.

They reached their room and Ennis pushed Jack up against the closed door, kissing him again. Jack moaned into Ennis's mouth and felt his lover's hands roaming. They moved away from the door and ripped each other's jackets off, breathing hard. Ennis's fingers were rapidly undoing Jack's buttons and Jack started doing the same to Ennis's. When their skin was exposed, they both paused to duck their heads and kiss at each other's chests.

"Come on, darlin'..." They fell onto the bed and pulled off their boots and jeans, nipping at each other's skin. Ennis pushed Jack down onto his back and looked down into his eyes, his own glittering. "Gonna make you moan real good, Jack...give you a damn good present."

Jack smiled, running his leg up and down Ennis's back. "Come on, then...get to it..." Ennis kissed him again and then broke away.

"Wait here..." He moved away from Jack and went to the chest of drawers to the side of the room. When he turned back to Jack, he was holding a bandana and a length of silk rope. He was looking at Jack shyly. "Is it okay, bud? Just somethin' special I wanted to do for ya..."

Jack nodded and spread his legs. "Sure, cowboy. Come on..." Ennis gulped and came back over to the bed, straddling Jack again and kissing him. He gently tied Jack's hands together and then tied the other end to the bars of the headboard. Jack's blue eyes were full of trust and love. They kissed once more and Ennis put the blindfold on his lover, knowing that Jack felt safe enough for him to do this. He knew that Jack trusted him.

When Ennis was finished, he looked down at Jack; he was naked, bound and blindfolded. A shiver ran up his spine at the sight, and he realised just how much he was sexually attracted to Jack. He was a man, and Ennis loved that fact.

"Ennis?" asked Jack unsurely, wondering why his lover hadn't moved. "Everythin' okay?"

This shook Ennis out of his reverie, and he leaned down to kiss Jack deeply. "Just fine, darlin'. Wanted to get a good look at ya." He moved down Jack's body, kissing and nipping as he went, until he was kneeling in between Jack's legs. He heard his lover moan softly.

"Oh, Ennis...suck me, please..." Ennis obliged him and took him in his mouth, licking down Jack's length and sucking hard, making him buck upwards to him. "Oh, fuck..."

He came in Ennis's mouth and collapsed on the bed, breathing heavily. Ennis pushed Jack's legs up towards his chest and leaned over him. He stroked at Jack until he was hard again and then grabbed the lube. "You ready for more, darlin'?" he whispered, and Jack nodded, his mouth open.

"Yeah...want you in me..." Ennis smeared his fingers with the lube and guided them in between Jack's legs, pushing into him. Jack shivered at his touch. "Oh..." Ennis probed around a little until Jack's chest was heaving. "Ennis, please...fuck me..."

Ennis removed his fingers and slicked himself up, eager to be inside Jack. He gently started to push into him, seeing Jack's face as they became one. When they were fully connected, he leaned down and buried his face in Jack's neck, biting and kissing. Jack squirmed underneath him and wrapped his legs around Ennis's back. Ennis thrust into him, hard and fast, and they were both soon moaning.

They moved quickly, and Ennis was soon aware of Jack releasing in between them, groaning in his ear. Ennis moved his lips away from Jack's neck and kissed him on the mouth as his own release came. He then collapsed onto Jack's chest and sighed. "Darlin'...that was amazin'..."

"Mmm...sure was...can you...?" Ennis nodded and leaned up to untie Jack, throwing the rope aside. He then took off the blindfold and was met by Jack's sparkling eyes. Jack smiled at him. "That was pretty damn good, cowboy."

"You okay?" Ennis asked softly, stroking Jack's cheek. He saw a sleepy, sated smile cross Jack's face.

"Sure am. Thanks, Ennis...I love you..."

"Love you too, Jack. You have a good birthday?"

"Yep. Was good to eat with the others, an' I liked goin' to the movies with ya. But...it's this that makes it real good. Bein' here with you..." A look of doubt came into his eyes. "Sure hope we ain't about to lose it. I dunno what Pete's plannin' to do...what if he tries somethin'? We reckon he's got some kinda obsession with me, right? What if he...?" He bit his lip and Ennis kissed him gently.

"Shh...don't go thinkin' on it, Jack. Won't do no good. I'm gonna do everythin' I can to protect ya from him, I swear. I ain't gonna let him hurt ya, okay? Jack...it's okay. We're here, an' alone together, it's alright..."

He rolled off of Jack and pulled him close, stroking his back. "Come on, go to sleep, darlin'." Jack closed his eyes and felt safe in Ennis's arms, knowing that he would be alright.


A couple of days later, Lily was sat in the office, keeping an eye on things while Ennis and Jack worked outside. Ben was with them and her grandmother was in town.

She eyed the phone and tapped her pen on the desk, and she decided to call her father. When he picked up, a lump came to her throat. "Hey, it's me..."

"Oh, hey. I was just thinkin' of callin' you myself. How are ya doin'?"

"I'm good. Listen, um...somethin' happened since we last talked. We found a tape that my mama made before she died, an' we played it. She was talkin' to us about everythin'. She said...that it was okay for me to spend time with you if I wanted to, despite everythin' that happened. I gotta admit, I was holdin' back...felt as if I was betrayin' my mama by lettin' you into my life."

He didn't speak for a moment. "I know you did, Lily. To be honest, I ain't surprised. I'm real sorry about everythin'...hope you know that."

She sighed. "I know you are. Thing is...I was holdin' back 'cos I wasn't sure if it was okay to let you in. Part of me didn't want to. But hearin' my mama say that it was okay for me to let you in my life...that changed things. I feel better about spendin' time with you." She smiled. "So...how are you?"

"I'm good. Busy at work, talked to the boys a little yesterday. They're both doin' fine at college."

"Great. Are you, um...?"

"You want me to tell 'em about you?" he asked, unsure of what she wanted.

"Maybe. I think we oughta wait, see how things go, you know? I think we should spend more time together first."

"Okay. I was thinkin'...I've got some time off next week. Maybe we could meet up somewhere?"

"Sure. Um...you want me to come to Childress again, or...?"

"I was wonderin'...could I come to the ranch? I'd sure like to see where you live. Properly, I mean. Would it be alright with yer uncles?"

Lily looked out the window, her mind racing. "Oh...I dunno. They don't exactly like you, ya know. After what you did..."

"I guess. It was just a thought..."

"Well, I could talk to 'em. See what they say...I do wanna see you..."

"Alright. Let me know what they say, okay? Um...talk soon?"

"Yeah, you bet. Bye..." She hung up and sighed to herself. She knew that she needed to talk to Ennis and Jack, to see what they said about Jay coming to the ranch.

She headed out the door and looked around, wondering where they were. When she reached the barn, she saw Jim walking about. "Hey."

He turned and tipped his hat at her. "Hey, Lily. What's up?"

"I'm lookin' for Ennis an' Jack, you seen 'em?"

"Yeah, they went in the house, said somethin' about startin' lunch." Lily looked at her watch and saw that it was indeed lunchtime.

"Oh, okay. Thanks." She headed towards the house and could hear them talking in soft voices as she walked up the back steps. When she opened the door, she saw Jack leaning against the counter, Ennis in his arms. They were kissing lightly; short little kisses punctuated by smiles and whispered words. She cleared her throat and they broke apart but didn't move. "Sorry, guys. Heard you was makin' lunch."

"Uh, we were...got a little distracted," Jack replied with a sheepish grin. She smiled at them as they moved away and busied themselves with the food. When she got herself a drink and sat down, they could see that something was on her mind, and they exchanged a glance.

They brought the sandwiches and chips over and sat down with her. "Lily, you okay?" She met their eyes.

"Um...I just got off the phone with my dad. Talked to him a little. I told him about that tape an' what my mama said about me spendin' time with him. Sure seemed to make him happy that I feel better about gettin' to know him."

"So what's up?" asked Ennis, his hand having already linked itself with Jack's on the table between them.

"Well...we was talkin' about meetin' up next week when he has some time off, but...he's wantin' to come here, to the ranch. I mean...he'd stay at the hotel, but..." Ennis and Jack looked at each other in surprise, not knowing what to say to this.

"What did you tell him?"

"I said I'd talk to you two. He knows you don't really like him, after what he's done, but...I said I'd ask. I understand if you don't want him here. No big deal, really." She smiled at them, hoping that they wouldn't say yes purely to keep her happy. She didn't want them feeling uncomfortable.

"Well, uh...we'd have to have a think over it, Lily. I know you want him here, but...I reckon me an' Ennis have gotta talk this over," said Jack, looking at his partner. Ennis nodded his agreement. "There's a lot of stuff, you know?"

"I know. It's okay. He said he's off work next week, so...there's time for you to decide." She cleared her throat and couldn't fight off the constricted feeling. "Um...I think I'm gonna eat this an' then go spend some time with Ben." They nodded and the rest of the meal was passed in silence. When Lily left, Jack turned to Ennis.

"What the hell do we do, Ennis? It's obvious she wants him here, an' we've always wanted her to be happy, but...lettin' him come here, knowin' what he did. Becky never said it was okay for us to let him in our lives, an' I don't think I wanna."

Ennis came up to Jack and put his arms around him. "We'll figure it out, darlin'. We've gotta do what's best for her, you know?" He felt Jack nod against him and they stood there, wondering what might happen if they let Jay spend time here. Even though Lily was making her peace with him, Jack wasn't sure that he could do the same.


Later that day, Ennis and Jack were spending some quiet time together on their hill. They'd brought a couple of sandwiches from lunch with them, and two bottles of Coke. Both of them needed to be alone with each other, and to talk.

They sat facing each other, legs on either side of one another as they ate and talked. Jack kept smiling at Ennis in between bites; no matter what else was going on in their lives, he knew that their relationship would always be strong. He knew that he could count on Ennis to stand by him, just as he would stand by Ennis.

When the sandwiches were devoured, Jack stretched a little. "So, um...what are we doin' about Lily's dad? Are we lettin' him come here?"

Ennis shrugged, drinking from his bottle. "I dunno. Thing is, we've always given Lily everythin' she's ever wanted. It ain't like she was ever a spoiled brat, so it was always okay to give her what she wanted. An'...we've only ever wanted her to be happy, right?"

"Yeah. An' we did let her go to Texas to spend time with him. Just feels different...he'd be hangin' around here some. An' he'd probably wanna meet Ben too. I dunno what to think, Ennis."

"Me neither." Ennis ran his hand up and down Jack's arm, thinking. "Well...I reckon we gotta let Lily decide. He's her dad, an' he's makin' an effort to get into her good books. She's got the right to decide for herself."

Jack nodded. "Yeah, she does. Guess that's that, then. It's up to her..." He sighed. "Anyway...don't wanna think about that right now." A light came into his eyes, and Ennis saw it. "Wanna get with you for a while..."

Ennis smiled at him, shuffling forward. "Yeah? C'mere, darlin'..." They leaned in and started to kiss, each of them slowly penetrating the other's mouth with their tongue. Jack moaned softly, feeling a fluttering in his stomach that always occurred whenever Ennis kissed him.

He leaned back onto the blanket, pulling Ennis down with him until they were lying down, Ennis on top. There was no rush; they just held each other and kissed deeply, Jack's arms up and around Ennis's neck as they kissed, sighing into each other's mouths. Ennis broke away and looked down into Jack's eyes; they were a perfect reflection of the sky above them. The image took his breath away as he looked down at his lover. Jack was smiling softly up at him. "Hey, cowboy..."

"Hey, darlin'. Am I distractin' you well enough?"

"Sure are..." They kissed again and Jack could feel Ennis's fingers working on his shirt. The buttons were rapidly undone and he felt Ennis's strong hands caress his chest. "Mmm..."

He repaid the favour, undoing Ennis's shirt just as quickly. Their shirts came off and were thrown aside as they kissed. Two sets of hands were running along hard muscles and their jeans were causing a delicious friction between them. Ennis broke away, his eyes dark with lust. Jack licked his lower lip.

"You wanna?" he whispered, running his hands up and down Ennis's back, feeling the strong muscles of his man. They never failed to get his blood pressure up.

"You bet..." They undid each other's jeans and kicked them off, eager to get closer. Ennis pulled their small bottle of lube out of his jeans and slicked himself up, his eyes fixed on Jack's. He then pushed Jack's legs up and pulled them over his shoulders, running his hands along them for a moment.

Jack gazed up at him, lost in the warm depths of his eyes. Usually, they were the colour of honey, especially when Ennis looked at him fondly, and when he was laughing. Right now, though, they were the colour of dark chocolate, and Jack found it very sexy. He felt Ennis push into him steadily and moaned a little. "Ennis..."

"Just relax, darlin'..." He slid into Jack and held Jack's hands above his head, staring into his eyes. Jack's mouth opened in surprise as he started thrusting, pinning him in place. He pulled his legs closer around Ennis's neck and his eyes fell shut as the feeling of overwhelming bliss came over him.

"Oh God...Ennis..." His mouth was claimed and they continued to rock together, moaning and sighing as they neared the finish line. Ennis was thrusting hard into Jack and hit his prostate a few times. It was enough to make Jack tip over the edge, and Ennis felt a warmth bloom between their chests. He shot into Jack and then collapsed onto him, breathing heavily. Jack's legs slid from his shoulders and relaxed on either side of him, and he wrapped his arms around Ennis's back, stroking gently. "Cowboy...that was amazin'."

"Mmmhmm...love ya, Jack." He nuzzled his nose into Jack's dark hair and kissed his neck. "Did I do a good job at takin' yer mind off it?"

"Sure did...come up here." Jack pulled Ennis upwards and to his mouth, kissing him warmly. Their tongues slid together and Jack brought his hands into Ennis's damp curls, caressing the back of his head. Ennis moaned into Jack's mouth and then broke away.

"Hang on, bud. I can't go again just yet...we ain't nineteen no more, ya know."

Jack grinned lazily at him. "Damn shame. Yer lookin' real good there...could just eat ya up." He nibbled at Ennis's neck. "Sure feel good, too."

Ennis sank down onto Jack's body. "You too, baby." The endearment slipped out unexpectedly and made Jack smile. He kissed Ennis's neck and sighed happily.

"Sure feels good, bein' here with you. Especially up here, like we're the only two people in the world. Like up on Brokeback," he added as an afterthought. "Feels like it did up there, but...it's so much better. We're here in our own place...together, we've shared a life together...I don't ever wanna lose it."

"We won't, Jack...promise you that. We're always gonna have this, an' each other." They fell silent and relaxed under the deep blue sky, feeling safe in each other's arms.


October 18th, 1987

It was a quiet day, and the five of them had decided to go out to dinner. Ennis and Jack had told Lily that it was okay for Jay to come to the area and spend time with her, but on the condition that he stayed at the hotel in town. They still didn't trust him completely and they were still apprehensive about him being around. Both of them knew that they had to swallow down their personal feelings about him and just do the right thing for Lily.

She had been happy about it, and had called him to let him know that he could come. The phone call was short, but they saw the light in her eyes that let them know they'd done the right thing. To cheer her up further, they'd offered to take everybody out to dinner this evening.

They sat in the restaurant and enjoyed a meal of various meat that was their own, surrounded with vegetables and good wine. Jack looked around at the table and felt his heart fill up with happiness at what he had. He didn't think that it would be possible for him to be any happier than he was right now. He never noticed the figure looking at him through the window.

"So, how long is he comin' for?" he asked, looking at Lily.

"About a week, he said. He's got some time off."

"Has he told his other kids about you yet?" Ennis asked. She shook her head.

"Not yet; I asked him not to. I said we'll see how things go for now. I ain't feelin' guilty no more, not after listenin' to that tape, but...he's still gotta prove himself. I need to know that he's serious about makin' amends, so...we're doin' this on my terms." She had a fierce look in her eyes and Jack could see Becky in her a little bit. Lily certainly had her mother's fire.

"Sounds fair. He's done a lot of stuff, an' it makes you wary of trustin' him. We understand." Jack put his hand over hers. "Don't worry about it; you'll do the right thing."

"I sure hope so." They finished the meal and headed outside to the truck, walking down the street together. They passed the alleyway and a voice rang out behind them.

"Hey, queers!" Ennis and Jack both inwardly groaned at the same time, recognising the voice. They all turned around and saw Pete Dawson, glaring at them. To their horror, they saw he was carrying a small handgun. Both of them stood in front of the other three, instinctively protecting them.

"Get lost, Pete. We don't want no trouble," Jack said warily, his eyes on the weapon. Pete met his eyes and Jack saw a very strange look in them. He remembered the shared speculation between himself and Ennis, and he gulped. "Just put that thing away, alright?"

"Or what?" snarled Pete, waving the gun. "What are ya gonna do, queerboy?"

Ennis clenched his fists. "Just get the hell away from us, alright? We ain't lookin' for a fight."

"Neither was I, but you had to go an' start hirin'...that kinda people," Pete said in a low voice. Jack's eyes widened.

"Jesus, Pete...that was over twenty years ago! Let it go already...you brought that on yerself. We asked you not to make no trouble for him, but you went an' did it anyway. Then you took it out on us. Just let the whole thing go."

Pete shook his head, his hand firmly on the gun. "Can't...tried. Gotta make you suffer..."

Ennis and Jack looked at each other nervously, and Ennis could see the fear in Jack's eyes.

It happened so quickly that they didn't know until it was over. Pete looked up, saw that they were distracted and raised his hand. Lily couldn't open her mouth quickly enough to warn them, but the next thing they knew, there was a gunshot and Jack was on his knees, clutching his arm and his face screwed up in pain.

"You son of a-" Ennis tried to lunge at Pete, but Ben held him back. Lily stepped between them with an icy glare and her hands on her hips.

"Get the fuck outta here, Dawson," she hissed, trying not to worry too much about Jack. She could hear Ennis's low, panicked voice. "Yer gonna pay for this." A look passed in Pete's eyes and he fled down the street. Lily whirled around and saw what was going on.

"Jack! Are you okay?" Ennis asked, his mind screaming with fear. He was relieved to see that Jack was still conscious.

"Yeah," he gritted out. "Got me in the arm..." Ennis immediately pulled off his jacket and held it to the wound, while pulling Jack to his feet.

"Come on, Jack, we're goin' to the hospital. Come on, darlin'..." He wrapped his arm securely around Jack to keep the wound covered and they made their way to the truck. Lily felt Ben's arm slip around her shoulders and she leaned into him as they walked. They got into the truck and Ennis handed Ben the keys, stating that he would sit in the back with Jack. Rose was very worried about her son, but she knew that Ennis would take care of him. She watched them in the rear-view mirror; Ennis was still attached to Jack and their foreheads were together.

"I'm gonna be fine, Ennis," Jack was saying in a soft voice, but he kept wincing as pain shot through him. He knew that Ennis would probably want to kill Pete for this, but he had to make sure that Ennis stayed out of trouble.

"I know, but I ain't riskin' yer life, Jack. I ain't goin' nowhere, I swear." Jack shut his eyes and tried not to pay too much attention to the fire in his arm. Lily swallowed hard as she saw the turn-off for the hospital draw nearer, praying that Jack would be alright.