Vignette 16 - 1982
Ennis and Jack were sat together on the bench at the edge of the trees, the ones at the base of their hill. The ranch was in bloom and everything was peaceful, yet full of life. It was one of their favourite times of the year.
Jack played with Ennis's fingers as their hands lay entwined. His head was on Ennis's shoulder and propping up Ennis's chin. He felt comfortable and relaxed, out here with his partner.
Neither of them spoke, but did plenty of thinking. They would both turn thirty-nine this year, and were already planning a big trip to Vegas for their fortieth birthdays. Ennis wasn't too sure about being amongst the bright lights and walking around during the early hours of the morning, but Jack had showed him a few brochures and it seemed like fun. Besides, they liked to have a change of scenery now and then.
Jack sighed happily. "Ennis...can I ask you somethin'?"
"How...how long you reckon we're gonna live? I mean...I know that people live longer these days..."
"Yeah. I reckon we've got at least another forty years in us, Jack. We look after ourselves real good, an' we hardly ever get sick."
"I guess. I just...a part of me wants us to live forever, so we'll always be together. I just don't want us to be separated when we die..."
Ennis pressed his lips to Jack's hair. "That'll never happen, rodeo. We'll always be together."
Jack smiled. "I know."
The four of them dismounted and approached the grave, all of them holding flowers. Today would have been Becky's thirty-eighth birthday; instead, she was lying in a grave, probably decomposed by now beyond recognition. But all of them could remember her face.
"Happy birthday, sis," Jack murmured, laying his flowers down and touching the headstone. Ennis did the same and placed his arm around Jack's shoulders, squeezing him slightly.
Lily laid her flowers down and then knelt by the headstone, brushing off twigs and leaves. "Happy birthday, mama." She sniffed and smiled a little.
Her uncles and grandmother watched her, truly touched. Here was a smart, bright young woman who was a credit to all of them. She deserved to have her mother with her, and Jack could still remember the day Becky had been diagnosed; her pain at thinking she wouldn't live to see her baby girl grow up. He'd wished to have Ennis by his side that day, but it didn't matter. Ennis was with him now.
"She's okay now, darlin'," Ennis whispered in his ear. "She ain't in pain no more."
"I know," Jack replied, nodding. He leaned his head against Ennis's shoulder and looked out across the horizon. It was a beautiful day, the kind that Becky had loved best, and they were all together for the moment. He would never forget his little sister, and how much he'd loved her. She had become a part of his and Ennis's family, now and for always.
Jack was half-asleep, but he could feel a familiar sensation building in his groin. He opened his eyes and saw a shape moving under the covers, halfway down his body. He smiled to himself as Ennis's warm mouth surrounded him, sucking him deeply and slowly.
"Mornin' to you too," he said with a yawn, and he felt a hand creep up his stomach. He covered it with his own and let his head fall back, losing himself in Ennis's touch. "Oh, cowboy..."
Ennis kept at it, licking and sucking at his lover. When he'd first tried this, so many years ago, he'd thought that he was doing it to make Jack happy. But as time had gone on, he'd come to realise that he actually enjoyed it. He loved feeling Jack in his mouth, taking him in deep. And he'd only ever admitted this a few times, but he loved tasting Jack during his orgasm.
Jack gave a moan and shot, hands gripping the bed sheets. Ennis took it all down, trying not to choke. When Jack finally collapsed back onto the bed, Ennis crawled up, his head popping up from under the quilt, and he lay on Jack's chest, arms folded.
"Like that, rodeo?" he asked, smiling to himself. Jack nodded, still panting.
"Sure did. Damn, that sure beats an alarm clock." Ennis chuckled and ran a hand through Jack's hair.
"Guess so. Happy birthday, bud." He leaned in and kissed Jack softly on the lips.
"Oh, thank you," said Lily, leaning over to kiss Jack's cheek. It was her eighteenth birthday, and he had given her a new pair of jeans that she'd wanted. "They're the ones I was lookin' at..."
"I know," replied Jack, smiling at her. She turned to Ennis, who handed over his present. She unwrapped it and a bright grin lit up her face.
"Ennis...thank you so much!" He'd given her a new pair of silver drop earrings with sapphires. They were absolutely beautiful. She kissed his cheek and saw him blush a little.
"Well, Kate helped me with it. She made 'em. But I'm glad you like 'em." She smiled again and turned to her grandmother.
"It's for when you go to college, really," she explained as Lily opened it up. Inside the box was a framed photo of all of them. They'd had it taken during the spring, out on the back steps. Even their new dog Storm was there with them, sat at the bottom of the steps proudly. "It's for your dorm room," her grandmother explained. "You said you was gonna take a room there, so...this way, we'll all be right there with you."
Lily looked up, her eyes moist. "Thank you, Grandma," she whispered, kissing her cheek. Ennis and Jack looked at each other, soft smiles on their faces. Their girl was growing up right before their eyes, and they knew that she would be just fine in whatever she decided to do in life.