Vignette 20 - 1986
Lily smiled as she and Ben sat on the bench in the park, the cool February air whipping around them. It was Valentine's and he'd given her a box of chocolates and flowers, and her cheeks were still a little pink. He made her very happy and they'd been together for almost a year now. She couldn't wait to see how close they might be in another year.
Growing up around Ennis and Jack, she'd seen for herself what true love looked like, and she had always craved it. Now she had it, and she was grateful to her uncles for being such an inspiration to her. They had been together since they were nineteen, over twenty years ago, and had set a wonderful example of a loving, committed relationship. She always hated it when people said that gay couples were worth less than straight ones, as she knew that Ennis and Jack's love would last forever. She'd never seen that in any other couple she'd ever met.
"Thank you for this," she said softly, blushing again. Ben smiled at her and took her hand, wondering what it would look like with an engagement ring on it. He wanted to talk to Ennis and Jack first, and get their permission. He wasn't quite ready yet to propose, but he would work his way up to it, he reckoned. He would look after Lily and try to make her as happy as he knew her uncles were; she deserved it.
Jack let out a contented sigh as he gazed up at the wide blue sky, the familiar smell of pine filling his nostrils and evoking many happy memories. Ennis's head was resting on his chest as he lay perpendicular to Jack, using his stomach as a pillow. One of Jack's hands came down to gently stroke through the blonde curls.
"This is real nice, ain't it?" he asked, feeling as though he was truly home. He loved living on the ranch, and it would always be the home he'd made with Ennis, but Brokeback was where their hearts belonged, having forged their bond here. Not only that, but it was also where they'd made their promises to each other just a year later. He could still recall every word Ennis had said to him up on the hill, as he'd placed a band on his finger. Jack looked down at his two rings now and smiled to himself.
"Sure is," Ennis agreed, also looking at his rings, remembering. They'd come a long way in twenty-three years, and were happier than ever. Just one glance in a rear-view mirror had changed everything.
An' look at us now, he mused, thinking of everything they had. It really was a sweet life.
He turned to face Jack and smiled, hand tangling in the dark locks. He shuffled up and kissed Jack warmly on the mouth, immediately arousing him. Jack pulled Ennis up to lie on top of him and kissed back fervently.
It was Jack's forty-third birthday, and he and Ennis were setting up a tent out on their hill, wanting to sleep under the stars as they had done so many times before, beginning on Brokeback. They both liked reliving this part of their lives.
He looked over to where Ennis was pushing in the last peg and smiled to himself. Age and hard work had weathered them both, but they were still so much in love, and knew that they would be spending the remainder of their lives together. It was a comforting thought.
"Tent don't look right," Ennis commented, eyes sparkling at him. Jack grinned and pulled him close.
"Ain't goin' nowhere...let it be." They kissed and sat at the front of the tent, looking out towards the lights of Sandersville. Twenty-three years together, and it sometimes still felt like yesterday when they'd met. Jack rested his head on Ennis's shoulder and yawned.
"Wanna go to bed, darlin'?" Ennis asked, stroking his hair. Jack gave him a look.
"Alright, but not for sleep. I ain't too tired for that," he replied mischievously. Ennis pulled him up by the hand and they headed inside, falling onto the bedroll together and their mouths meeting like magnets. Clothes came falling off and they rubbed together in their eagerness, too impatient to go through the motions. Groins locked together, Ennis thrust against Jack hard until their moans escalated and their bodies let go.
"Happy birthday, darlin'," Ennis sighed. Jack just kissed him.
Jack smiled up into Ennis's face as they waited for the countdown. The room was full of people, but they only had eyes for each other. Their hands were clasped together between them and Ennis felt his heart swell with the love he felt for Jack. Having been together for so long, neither of them could fathom what life might have been like if they'd never met, or if they hadn't gotten together after Brokeback, or at all. This was all they knew, and it was enough.
"Love you," Jack mouthed, and Ennis smiled wider.
"Love you too." The countdown started and they moved closer, as did all the other couples in the room. If he hadn't been so focused on Ennis, Jack would have taken a moment to look around and marvel at everything they had. A home, a family, a life together...it was incredible, and he knew that they were both incredibly lucky to have all this.
The ball dropped and everybody started cheering. "Happy New Year!" Ennis and Jack leaned in and kissed warmly, arms locking around one another. It was in that moment that they both knew one thing; no matter what the rest of their lives brought them, no matter what cards they were dealt, they would face it together. A love that would never grow old.
They broke apart and smiled. "You an' me, cowboy," Jack murmured, nodding.
"Yeah," Ennis replied, lost in the deep blue. "A pair of deuces who got lucky."