Vignette 7 - 1973

Spring

Rose knelt down in the vegetable patch that Ennis and Jack had made so long ago, picking off ripe ones and putting them in her basket. The ranch was beautiful at this time of the year and it was all set to be another scorching summer. The weather hadn't been like this up in Wyoming, and Rose felt as if she'd actually gotten younger, what with all of this fine weather and generally comfortable way of living. She knew that Ennis and Jack were working very hard, both on the ranch and with taking care of Lily too. Most of the time, she took care of the little girl, but they spent as much time with her as they could, and they took her out for an ice cream every Saturday during the warmer months.

As she was thinking this over, she heard footsteps approaching, and looked up to see her son-in-law, looking at her from under the brim of his hat with a little smile on his face. "How's it goin', Rose?"

"Just fine, Ennis," she replied, standing up and smiling at him. "I was thinkin' of makin' a salad for dinner, what with it bein' so warm." Ennis nodded.

"Sounds good. An', um...you got any of that cherry cake left?" he asked, now looking shy. She smiled in understanding.

"I sure do. I know how much you an' Jack love it."

He went a little red. "We sure do, ma'am. Know good food when we see it."


Summer

Ennis couldn't believe that he was in Disneyland, of all places. But they were here as a family and Lily was already having fun, running up to the various characters they spotted and asking for autographs and photos. They'd been walking around for several hours already and there was no sign of them letting up. He'd gotten better at being in crowds over the last few years, but he would probably never be truly comfortable. Still, he had to admit that it was nice to take time off work, and at least he was here with Jack. His rodeo cowboy was having just as much fun as Lily.

"Come on now, honey. Time for lunch," he called to her as she ran back to them from Donald Duck, autograph book in hand.

They ate in a café on Main Street, looking around at the photos on the wall and listening to the music that was floating around from somewhere. They ordered a couple of pizzas to share and Lily was flipping through her book as she ate, seeing whose autographs she had and whose she still wanted to get.

While Rose was talking to Lily about shopping for toys, Jack turned to Ennis. "You alright, bud?" he asked softly, and Ennis nodded, smiling.

"Yeah, I am. Really. I gotta say...I'm enjoyin' havin' this time off. An' Lily sure looks happy. Love you, Jack."

"I love you too," he murmured, nudging Ennis's leg with his own. Good times were ahead.


Fall

Ennis looked over at Jack; he was fidgeting again. Shortly after Ennis's birthday, they had agreed to finally try and stop smoking. He was thirty now, Jack soon to be the same, and they had figured that if they stopped now, they could still reap the benefits.

He took Jack's hands in his own as they sat on the sofa together, watching TV. Lily was playing outside and Rose was watching her while they spent some time alone. Jack stopped moving his hands around and looked at Ennis.

"Sorry, bud. It's just...this is damn harder than I thought it would be."

"I know. But we agreed we'd really do it this time. Been tryin' all year an' kept fallin' off the wagon. We ain't gettin' no younger, so...now's as good a time as any. Be good if we could really quit for real. Save money, maybe give our lungs a chance, you know? I sure don't want one of us gettin' that lung cancer."

"Yeah." Jack moved over and Ennis put an arm around him, drawing him close. "Sure am glad I ain't doin' this alone."

"Me too. An' you know...if you ever feel like you need somethin' to suck on..." Jack raised his head and saw the glint in Ennis's eyes.

"You flirtin' with me?"

Ennis shrugged. "You got a problem with that?"

"Hell no. Tell you what; I'd like to take you up on that." He turned the TV off and grabbed Ennis's hand, leading him upstairs.


Winter

Ennis and Jack walked through the store, looking for things to buy for their family and friends. In the department store, they were mainly looking for their female friends, picking out jewellery and clothes. When they were done, they left the store and walked out onto the busy street. Jack turned to Ennis.

"Well...guess that just leaves somethin' for each other," he said, twining his hands together nervously. He didn't want to be apart from Ennis, but he had no choice if they were to surprise each other.

"Yeah. So...guess we'll meet back up here in about an hour or so?" he ventured, not looking forward to being away from Jack either. Jack nodded.

"Yep. See ya, then." He wanted to kiss Ennis goodbye, but there were a lot of people walking around and even though it was a city, they both knew that it might not be the friendliest of places to people like them. It was unfair, but the reality. They clapped each other on the back and tried to convey their feelings through their eyes. Ennis nodded and started to walk away. Jack turned before anybody could catch him staring after Ennis.

When they met back up, they both had a gift for each other. Ennis had bought Jack a new harmonica, and Jack had bought Ennis a new hat. On the drive home, Ennis took his partner's hand and squeezed it.

"Missed you, bud."

Jack smiled at him and squeezed back. "I missed you too."