Hey guys! This is the first vignette I wrote for this universe, a new one will follow every day except when I post a new chapter of my new story. None of these vignettes are plot-heavy, just showing the lives of the characters in the universe as Lily grows up under Ennis and Jack's care.
Vignette 1 - 1967
Ennis entered their bedroom to see Jack buttoning up his clean white shirt. They had agreed to wear these with their jeans for the ceremony; neither of them were interested in wearing a suit. He smiled as he watched Jack get ready.
Later, they stood up in front of their family and friends, smiling at each other as they recited their vows. They didn't need a preacher; they wanted to do this their own way. Jack turned and saw Lily on his mother's knee, looking at them with interest as she sat in her beautiful cream dress. He turned back to Ennis, their hands clasping Ennis spoke the words that warmed Jack's heart.
"I love you, Jack," he finished, squeezing his fingers. "You're still everythin' to me, an' you always will be."
Jack smiled and recited his own vows, seeing the light shining in Ennis's eyes. He swore that he could hear Cecilia sniffing. They turned to their friend Pete, momentarily seeing the forlorn look in his eyes, and took their rings from him. He was coping, if only just so.
Ennis took Jack's hand and slid the gold strands over his finger, nestling it next to his silver one. He then lifted Jack's hand and kissed it, looking into his eyes. Jack gave Ennis his ring and copied his gesture. They kissed and then embraced as people started clapping for them, and Jack leaned into Ennis's ear.
"Gonna bed you down good tonight," he whispered. Ennis just smiled.
They reached the grave and Jack sighed a little, feeling Ennis's arm go around him. Lily put her flowers down on the grave and stepped back. She didn't understand much of what was going on, only that her mama was here. Rose picked her up and kissed her cheek.
"I reckon she'll like those, sweetie," she said softly, and Lily nodded. Ennis and Jack both put their flowers down too and clasped hands tightly, holding onto each other for support.
"Happy birthday, sis," Jack whispered, feeling Ennis stroking his hand with his thumb. "Sure hope yer happy, wherever you are." A light breeze blew around them and he leaned into Ennis. He knew that Becky was with them, in some way.
"I reckon she is, darlin' She ain't sufferin' no more," Ennis told him, kissing Jack's head gently. "I bet she's just fine."
"Yeah, you're right." He moved away from Ennis and knelt by the headstone, brushing a couple of twigs and leaves from it and smiling a little. "Love ya, Becky. Always have, always will. We'll look after Lily, I promise." He felt Ennis's hand on his shoulder and covered it with his own, grateful for the touch.
After a moment, he felt Lily walk up to him and burrow close to his chest, her tiny arms around his neck. He picked her up and kissed her forehead, looking down at the grave. Wherever Becky was, he hoped that she knew how much she was loved and missed.
They all sat down at the table, looking around at the food that Cecilia had put out. She was a good cook, just like her mother, and everybody was looking forward to it. The children were sat at the table, and the adults helped them pile the right amount of food onto their plates.
"This looks great, sis," Ennis said, smiling at her. K.E. nodded his agreement.
"Sure does." She beamed at them, pleased by the praise.
This was the first year that they'd all spend Thanksgiving together, and they already knew it was a tradition that they would keep to. Jack had always wanted to be part of a big family, and his relationship with Ennis had made this possible. He knew that it was just one of many things that he was thankful for.
They all started eating and talking, moving from one subject to another without any real purpose; just happy to be here together. Jack kept one eye on Lily next to him, making sure that she was coping with her food. He watched her with a smile. Even though he was saddened by the loss of his sister, he knew that deep down they would be alright. He would be able to cope as long as he had Ennis by his side.
After the meal, they all described what they were thankful for. Ennis and Jack looked at each other; they didn't need to say much. They both knew what they were thankful for.
"Jack!" came a high-pitched voice, and Jack found his arms full of his niece. He'd only been gone for an hour, but it might as well have been a whole week for how she was squeezing him.
"Hey there little lady," he replied, grinning. "You havin' a good time?"
"Uh-huh!" Today was her third birthday, and Jack could tell that she was already hopped up on sugar. He shared an exasperated look with Ennis across the kitchen. They all went outside, where their friends and their kids were gathered.
"You ready for presents?" Rose asked, ruffling her hair, and she nodded.
"Yep!" Jack let her down and she ran to the pile, watched by everyone. Ennis and Jack had taught her good manners, but she couldn't hide her enthusiasm. She unwrapped each one, finding toys that she'd wanted and squealing with delight. Her uncles watched her, Ennis's arm draped around Jack's shoulders.
"Looks like she's happy," he commented, looking at his partner lovingly. Jack smiled.
"Yeah." It had only been just over a year since Becky died, but her spirit would always be felt by those who had known and loved her. He looked at his niece and could remember Becky at that age, when they'd played together back in Lightning Flat. That had been the happiest time of his life before he'd met Ennis, and he would never forget it. The best thing he could do for Becky now was take care of what was left of her.