Chapter 19

December 29th, 2009

A couple of days after they'd received the news of John's illness, Ennis and Jack were on their way to Long Island to see him.

Ennis was holding Jack's hand in both of his as they sat on the train, letting Jack rest his head on his shoulder. Jack hadn't slept well the night before, and much of yesterday had been spent in their hotel room. It was clear that Jack was struggling with his conflicted feelings.

He knew that the thing most bothering Jack was that he'd finally received an apology from his father for what he'd said, but it had come in such circumstances. Jack had spent so long hating his father for what he'd said, and now the elder Twist didn't have long to live. It wasn't a lot of time for them to make up or form any kind of relationship now.

Ennis did what he could, holding Jack through the night, whispering words of love to him and hoping that he would be okay. Jack appreciated the gesture and was very grateful that he had Ennis by his side. The comfort sex had been good, and he'd thanked Ennis for taking care of him so well.

Neither of them said anything until they disembarked and looked around for a cab to take them to the house. "You gonna be okay?" Ennis asked, touching Jack's arm.

"I guess. Just...gotta get through it." Ennis nodded and they exited the station to where the cabs were parked.

When they reached the house, they got out and looked up at it for several moments, each lost in their own thoughts. When Jack was finally ready to move, he kept hold of Ennis's hand as they went up the steps. After a few knocks, Karen opened the door.

"Jack...Ennis..." She gave them each a hug and led them inside to where John was sat in his favourite armchair. He looked up when they entered and Jack was taken aback. There was no look of disgust or contempt, not even when it was obvious that he and Ennis were holding hands. John gave a small smile and stood up.

"Jack...good to see you, boy. Is this your...?"

"Yeah, this is Ennis," Jack replied, squeezing his hand. "My boyfriend."

John nodded and stepped forward, hand outstretched. "John Twist," he introduced himself to Ennis, who shook his hand.

"Ennis Del Mar." Karen and Jack exchanged a glance, liking how civil things were, at least for now. "Sorry to hear about what's going on."

"Yeah. I just knew that Jack would need to know. And..." He turned to his son. "Jack, I...I want to apologise again, for what I said."

Jack swallowed. "'s not easy to just forget it. And...I don't know if I can ever forgive you for it."

John nodded. "I know. I don't expect you to, son. What I said to wasn't how a father is supposed to treat his son."

Karen spoke up as they all sat down, Ennis and Jack on the sofa. "I explained to Jack why you reacted that way. That we were born in a different time, and that you expected certain things of him."

"Right. And your mother was right, Jack. I expected you to find a girl, get married and have children. So when you told us you're was hard enough to deal with. Went against everything I was ever taught about what a man should be." He sighed. "So when you were infected...I just lost it."

"Your son's a good man," Ennis said quietly, hoping he wasn't overstepping the boundaries too much. John nodded.

"I know that now. I missed you so much, Jack. I was diagnosed about two weeks ago, so...about a week before you showed up here. I told your mother I wanted to see you, so when she told me you were coming here, to the city, I asked her to try and get you to the house so we could talk. Last week, she told me you were coming, so I...figured that since we would be finishing work early anyway, it would be an opportunity to talk to you."

"I didn't want to see you," Jack told him, head lowered. "But now...I don't know what to say."

"Jack, I...if it's not too late, I...I would like to get to know you. And Ennis too. You're not the son I remember, and that's okay. You were barely out of your teens when I last saw you, and now you're a man. I don't want to go to my grave without having tried to make things up to you. Is it too late for us to have any kind of relationship?"

Jack looked at his father and thought over everything he'd felt about the man since coming out. There was a mixture of feelings there, but one thing remained at the front of his mind; this man was his father, and he didn't have long left. Jack wanted to try and salvage whatever he could.

"It's not too late," he said at last, and felt Ennis's hand squeezing his. "But...I need to know...are you truly sorry for what you said, or are just saying that because you don't want me to hate you?"

John looked directly at him. "I'm sorry, Jack. I don't hate you for being who you are. You can't control it. And...I'm sorry for what you went through in the park. I don't think that having HIV is your punishment for being gay. Anybody can get infected these days, even straight people if they're in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don't think all that stuff anymore."

Jack nodded, tears prickling in his eyes. "Okay." He stood up and walked to his father. "We can try." John stood up and pulled his son into a hug; Jack didn't protest. Ennis and Karen looked at their other halves proudly, glad that things were on the mend. At least when John's time came, they would know that they had at least attempted to fix their relationship. That was all they could hope for now.

That night, when they returned to the hotel, Ennis could tell that Jack was worn out by the day's events, so decided to do whatever he could to make him feel better. They still had some massage oil left, almond scented, so when they entered their room, he turned to Jack.

" gonna be okay?" he asked gently, pulling Jack close and rubbing his back. Jack rested his head on Ennis's shoulder and relaxed against him.

"I don't know...just all catching up to me. I do wanna try and make up with him, won't be easy. After everything he said, and now he's apologised...but he's dying..."

"I know,'s okay...shh..." Ennis nuzzled his face into Jack's hair. "It's gonna be okay." He pulled back and looked into Jack's eyes; he looked lost. "What do you want? I'll do anything to help you...just tell me."

Jack thought for a moment and shrugged. "I don't know...I just..."

"Want me to give you a backrub?" Ennis offered, rubbing his arm. Jack nodded.

"Okay...thanks." Ennis sat him down on the bed and slowly began to undress him, as lovingly as he could. Jack smiled softly as he let Ennis take over, appreciating his gesture. When he was naked, he crawled up the bed and rested on his stomach as he waited.

Ennis stripped off and watched Jack. He was a little aroused by the sight of Jack naked, but now wasn't the time. Jack needed comfort and care right now. He crawled onto the bed and straddled Jack, kissing the centre of his back. "I'm here, darlin''s okay..." Jack nodded and relaxed.

"I know..." Ennis grabbed the bottle of oil and warmed it between his hands, wanting to make Jack feel good. He slowly rubbed Jack's muscles, working the tension out of them. Jack made a soft purring sound and turned his head on his arms so that Ennis could see his face. "Thank you, Ennis...this is real nice..."

"Good...just want you to feel better,'s alright..." He moved down the bed, squeezing out more oil and rubbing Jack's legs, thinking about how they felt wrapped around his waist or his neck. It felt so good whenever they were making love, and Ennis loved Jack so much that he just wanted to make him happy. When he'd finished, he looked down at his lover. "You want me to do your chest?" Jack nodded and turned over, smiling.

"Sure..." Ennis squeezed some oil onto Jack's chest and started to rub it in, seeing Jack's eyes slide shut with pleasure. "Mmm..."

"Feel good, darlin'?" Ennis asked, pleased that he was helping Jack.

"Uh huh..." When Ennis was done, he sat back and smiled down at Jack.

"How you doing, bud?" he asked gently, and Jack opened his eyes.

", wanna...?"

"Only if you're up to it," Ennis replied. He didn't want to force Jack into anything. "Tell me what you want."

Jack considered. "Can we do that rubbing thing? You know...face to face?" Ennis nodded; they'd done it a few times that way, when one or both of them wasn't up to going through penetration.

"Alright, bud." He reached across and grabbed a condom, putting it on Jack to be on the safe side and then leaning down. He rested fully against Jack, their chests pressed together and legs on either side of him. Jack smiled up at him as he was covered, feeling warm and relaxed. Ennis started to slowly move his hips against Jack, kissing him softly.

"Mmm..." Jack moaned into Ennis's mouth and wound his arms around his lover's neck. He lost himself in Ennis's touch and under his body, trying to forget his troubles for as long as this lasted. Ennis was trying to help him and make him feel good, and he did his best to respond, moving with his lover and thrusting up against him. "Oh, God..."

Ennis nuzzled his neck and soon crossed the finish line, shuddering all over and collapsing against Jack, who soon followed suit, gasping for breath and then relaxing as he got his breath back.

"Oh, darlin' okay?"

"Yeah...that was good..." He opened his eyes and rubbed Ennis's back. Ennis rose up and looked down at him, seeing the love in his eyes. He removed the condom from Jack and put it on the nightstand, running his fingers through Jack's damp hair. "Thanks, Ennis..."

"No problem. You wanna try for some sleep?"

"Not yet. Can we talk for a while? Maybe sit up?" he asked, and Ennis saw that Jack really wanted to talk; he looked like he needed it.

"Sure." Ennis rolled off Jack and decided to clean up first, taking the condom into the bathroom to dispose of it and then cleaning himself up with a towel. He did the same for Jack and then sat up in bed beside him. They rested against the pillows and Ennis took Jack's hand, massaging it and smiling at him.

The pair of them talked for a few hours, about Jack's father and his illness mostly. Jack was devastated about what was going on, but he saw this as his chance to make up with his father after everything that had happened. If it was true that his father only had a few months left, Jack was determined for some sort of relationship to be formed by the time he died.

They came up with a plan. Jack would get himself a job where he only had to work during the week, and they would spend the weekend in New York. Now that it was okay to go to the house, they could stay there. He could spend time with his parents, and would have Ennis by his side. It was the best of both worlds.

Satisfied with this, Jack kissed Ennis warmly and lay down to get some sleep, inviting Ennis to spoon up behind him. They curled up together and drifted off, Ennis rubbing Jack's stomach and feeling happy that they were moving towards the future.

December 31st, 2009

On the day of New Year's Eve, Ennis and Jack spent most of their time walking around the city and having another snowball fight in the park. They would have to leave in a few days and they wanted to make the most of the time they had here.

They went back to Jack's parents' house in the afternoon, having been invited for dinner and eager to lay out their plan for future visits, if it was alright with Jack's parents.

As they waited for dinner, the four of them all sat down in the living room and Jack took Ennis's hand.

", dad...I've been talking with Ennis, about what's going on. And...there's something we wanna run by you guys."

Karen nodded. "Alright. What is it?"

"Well...we were thinking...I'd like to spend more time with dad while I...still can. And...obviously I can't be here all the time, living on the other side of the country and having to work and everything. So we came up with a plan." Jack looked at Ennis, who nodded in encouragement. "We thought...that we'd stay in California during the week, while we work. And then, we might come over here at the weekend, spend time with you guys. I'll make sure to get a job where I only have to work during the week, so we can come here."

Jack's parents looked at each other and smiled; they would love to see their son more often, and it sounded like a wonderful plan to them.

"Oh, Jack...that sounds great. You know we'd like to see more of you, and we'd like to get to know Ennis better."

"Right," agreed John, determined to make things up with his son. He figured that the more he got used to having Ennis and Jack around, and together, the sooner he could make his peace with their relationship and be happy for them. He was still struggling a little, but he no longer hated who his son had grown up to be. It would just take time, and he hoped that he would have enough. "Maybe...we could go to a game or something. Like the Knicks or the Rangers."

"Basketball and ice hockey," Jack said at Ennis's confused look; Ennis hadn't heard the names of the teams before. "That sounds great, dad. I think we'd both like that."

"Jack," Karen started, getting up. "Would you mind helping me in the kitchen?" She knew that John wanted to talk to Ennis alone. Jack nodded and squeezed Ennis's hand before walking off after her.

"So, Ennis..." the elder Twist began, and Ennis grew nervous. "Karen tells me you work at a vet's?"

"Um, yeah. Nice little place near where I live."

"I, uh...I want to thank you, Ennis. For making my boy happy." He looked weary. "Karen says she's never seen him this happy, and neither have I. When he told us about having HIV, part of the reason why I reacted the way I did was because...I was scared for him. I thought he'd end up like so many young men who get infected. They run wild and end up dead before they're thirty. So when Karen told me he was seeing someone, and that it was serious, well...that was around the time I was diagnosed, and it was when I started to want to see him. So...thank you for looking after him."

Ennis nodded, feeling proud of himself for making Jack happy. "We look after each other," he said quietly. "I...I love him." He was a little shaky at saying this to Jack's father, but he held his head high, unashamed of what he felt for Jack. His lover deserved a man who would stand up for them no matter what, and he knew that he was becoming that man.

John smiled a little. "I can see that. You're a good man." He leaned over and shook Ennis's hand, knowing that when his time came, it would be okay; Jack would be just fine as long as he had Ennis.

Dinner was ready soon after, during which Ennis's mother called. He'd already told Karen about his parents' inability to accept Jack, so at her request, he handed the phone to her. Karen spent a good few minutes talking to Ennis's mother, explaining to her the hard times that Jack had already gone through, and was still going through, and that Ennis was his rock right now. She hoped to convince the other woman that the relationship between their sons was a good thing, and that they needn't worry about Jack's HIV.

When she was done, she handed the phone back to Ennis, watched by an amused Jack. Ennis spoke to his mother a little longer and then hung up, wondering what might happen now.

Both of them were reluctant to leave, but it was almost six and they needed to get back to the hotel to change for the evening. They planned to get a drink at the hotel bar before heading to Times Square for the countdown. Jack knew the safe paths to take at night through the streets for when they returned, and he figured they would be safe if they stuck together.

Back at the hotel, Ennis wrapped his arms around a shirtless Jack and kissed his neck. "Pretty good day today," he said softly, and Jack nodded, relaxing into the embrace.

"Yeah. I really think...that me and my dad could have a chance. Never thought I'd say that, after these last five years..."

"I know. I'm proud of you, darlin'. Takes guts to cut your dad off like that, but...takes even more to backtrack and decide that you want to have a go at mending things. Love you, Jack."

"I love you too," Jack replied, turning his head to meet Ennis's lips. They kissed for several long moments and then prised apart to get ready. They got a drink at the bar, as planned, and then slowly walked through the streets, heading for the Square.

The two of them reached Times Square, where there were already plenty of people gathered to ring the New Year in. Ennis and Jack clasped hands tightly and made their way through the crowd, trying to find a spot. They really should have arrived earlier, but it didn't matter. They were here now, and ready to ring in the New Year together. It was a fresh start for them both.

As luck would have it, they found a space at the railings, close to where Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve was filming and streaming live. Jack looked at Ennis excitedly, like a kid on Christmas morning. Ennis felt the happiness coming off him in waves.

"This is great! The ball's right there!" They craned their necks to look up, seeing the ball high in the sky. Ennis then smiled at Jack, seeing how happy he was. He put his arm around his lover and gave him a squeeze.

"Glad I'm here with you, bud," he said, kissing his temple. Jack grinned.

"Me too." They looked around, enjoying the music and the chill night air as everything was broadcast live. Jack looked around and smiled, feeling happier than he had done in years. For the past five years, he'd watched this on TV from various small apartments, and felt as though he would never be happy.

Now he was here, in the very place he'd once been in when things had been so simple for him. He'd never attended the party before, so this was a completely new experience for him. He was happy that his first time here was with Ennis; he was the light of his life and made Jack very happy. And Ennis had told him more than a few times that he made him happy. That made Jack feel warm inside.

"Sure is cold," he commented, shivering a little. Ennis stood closer to Jack and put his arms around him, kissing his cheek and rubbing Jack to get him warm. Jack appreciated the gesture and immediately started to warm up, not least because it was Ennis touching him.

"Doing any good, bud?" he asked, smiling at Jack.

"Kind of," he replied, smiling back. "Thanks, Ennis. You gonna kiss me at midnight, like you said?"

"Sure am, but just on the lips. Don't wanna get into trouble, after all." Ennis smiled.

"So...I guess a blowjob's out of the question?" Jack asked, large blue eyes staring at him. Ennis laughed.

"For now, yeah. Maybe later, if you play your cards right." Jack grinned and leaned his head against Ennis's. They looked up together at the clock; there was about a minute left until midnight. "I love you, Jack."

"Love you too, Ennis." He turned to his lover. "You make me really happy, you know. It's only been four months, but...they've been the best of my life. Can't wait to see what this year brings for us. Maybe we could start talking together?" He looked hopeful, and Ennis nodded.

"Yeah, maybe. I'd like that, bud. You know...I'm thinking we should go on one of those boat trips again. Remember? That was fun."

"Yeah, it was. Sounds good. And you know what? We should do something with the girls sometime. They've been so good to us, supported us through everything...the least we can do is treat them. Maybe we should pay for them to join us on that boat trip. They can do what girls like to do...sunbathe and everything."

Ennis nodded. "Sounds fair." Just then, it turned thirty seconds to midnight and the excitement mounted, people cheering and dancing to the music. Ennis swayed Jack in his arms and saw a smile forming on his lips.

"Mmm, that's good, baby." Jack kissed his cheek. "I think we should do this every year." Ennis nodded his agreement and they looked up at the clock once more. "Look, fifteen seconds..."

Ennis let go of Jack and took his hand instead, squeezing excitedly.


"Happy New Year!" came the shout of everyone in the vicinity, including Ennis and Jack. They threw their arms around each other and kissed, mouths pressed tightly together. 2010 rang in and everybody was celebrating around them, but they only noticed each other.

When they finally broke apart, they kept their faces close, nuzzling noses together. They smiled their secret smiles at each other.

"Love you, baby," Jack murmured, and Ennis kissed the tip of his nose.

"I love you too, darlin'. You ready to head back?"

"In a while. The city's still alive...let's make a night of it. We were always saying, back home, that we wanted to run around the city at night while we're still young. Let's do it here...just run around a while and see the nightlife before heading back."

Ennis smiled and nodded. "Sure thing. Let's go." He took Jack's hand and they ran through the crowd, eager to see what might be going on. Drinking in public was illegal in the city, but they didn't need to get drunk to have fun.

They ran through the crowded streets, where people were still celebrating the New Year with smaller parties. As they slowly headed back to the hotel, they stopped in doorways and kissed in the shadows, drunk on love.

Jack didn't want to go through the park, not at this time of night, and Ennis understood his reservations. They went around instead, slowing down and walking now. Jack kept lifting Ennis's hand to his lips and kissing it. He couldn't wait for them to get into bed.

He pushed Ennis up against an alleyway wall, kissing his neck and pawing at his jeans. "Mmm...look what I found..." Ennis moaned in response and couldn't help but thrust against Jack's hand.

"Damn, don't have any patience, do you?" he breathed. Jack nibbled his neck.

"Can't help drive me crazy. Wanna go upstairs?"

"You bet." Ennis felt Jack release him and grab his hand instead, tugging him out of the alleyway and towards the hotel.

They practically ran through the hotel, up towards their room, both eager to get into bed and have their own celebration.

"Want you inside me," Jack breathed as he kissed the back of Ennis's neck, distracting Ennis from opening the door. "Wanna feel you in me..." Ennis shivered.

"Hold on, bud...gotta get this thing open..." He managed to unlock the door and walked through with Jack firmly attached to him, arms around his waist. Once they were inside, he shut and locked the door before turning himself in Jack's arms. "You were saying?"

Jack grinned and kissed him. "I want you to fuck me," he whispered, hand rubbing Ennis's crotch through his jeans again. "Come on..."

"You got it..." Ennis kissed him hard and started to undress him. Displeased by the slow progress, they broke apart and stripped themselves off, clothing flying all around the room haphazardly. Once naked, they moved into each other's arms and kissed, more gently this time.

"I love you," Jack murmured, nuzzling his lover's neck. Ennis did the same.

"I love you too...c'mere..." He took Jack's hands and they sat down on the bed, crawling up to the pillows and continuing to kiss. Ennis pressed a hand to Jack's chest and pushed gently. "Lie down, darlin'..." Jack did so and lay back against the pillows, looking up at Ennis with complete trust in his eyes.

Ennis straddled him and stroked his chest, gazing lovingly down at him. "So beautiful..." His hand brushed lower down and Jack gasped.

"Come on, Ennis...fuck me...please..." His large blue eyes were full of need. "I want you..."

"Alright, bud...just relax." Ennis leaned over to the nightstand and pulled out the necessities; two condoms and the lube. He prepared himself and Jack and then allowed Jack to pull one of his legs out from under him, settling in between them. He looked down and saw his favourite place to be in the whole world; the space in between Jack's legs.

He lifted his lover's legs and Jack wrapped them around his waist, biting his lip in anticipation and remembering the overwhelming bliss he would be feeling from having Ennis inside him, making love to him. They shifted into position and Ennis looked into Jack's eyes, seeking permission.

"Go ahead," he whispered. "I'm ready." Ennis nodded and pushed his way inside, taking it slowly and wanting this to be good for Jack. He knew that it usually was; Jack had never complained about their sex life so far. He'd told Ennis more than once that he loved every time they were together like this.

When he was fully inside Jack, he let out a sigh at the warmth that welcomed him. "Oh, darlin'...feels so good..."

Jack grinned breathlessly. "Thanks. Oh..." He felt Ennis stretch him and his eyes slid shut. "Oh God..." His head fell back and to the side, exposing the skin of his neck for Ennis to latch onto as he began to thrust, keeping the rhythm slow and steady. He kissed Jack's neck and breathed in his unique scent. Jack smelt of the champagne they'd consumed earlier, the chill of the night around them, and the beginnings of sweat as their bodies moved together. It was a very musky smell that sent electric shocks down Ennis's spine, making him even harder as he moved inside Jack.

About halfway through, as they were moving together and breathing heavily, Ennis rose up just in time to see Jack opening his eyes, and the sight of his lover like that did strange things to his stomach. Jack looked beautiful like that; there was no other word for it. Eyes half-shut, cheeks flushed, hair in disarray and sweat forming on his forehead...even while looking so dishevelled, he looked perfect to Ennis. He couldn't help but lean down and kiss Jack, tongue seeking entrance and finding Jack's. His hands gripped Jack's hair as he relentlessly thrust into him continually, going deeper every time.

Jack moaned and pulled Ennis closer, tongue moving around Ennis's mouth as if he were trying to count all his teeth. Ennis gave back as good as he got, thrusting even harder until Jack could feel the familiar warmth in his stomach, signalling the end. A few more thrusts in his ass and he was coming, groaning into Ennis's ear and shaking all over as he rode it out. Jack clenching all around him sent Ennis into oblivion, coming harder than he ever had before and fixing his lips on Jack's neck as he finished, heart blazing with love for the man lying with him, who made him feel complete even when they weren't doing this. But when they were, they both felt as if the other half of their soul was right here with them.

They collapsed together and Ennis sank down onto Jack, going soft and pulling out before relaxing, head resting on Jack's shoulder. His entire body felt soaked with sweat and from the feel of things, Jack's was too. But neither of them cared as they laid there, breath coming back to them. To them, it was a symbol of how good they were together and how they made each other feel.

"Wow..." Jack breathed, hands gently playing with Ennis's curls. "That was...definitely one of the best..."

"Sure was...think I pulled something..."

"You okay?" Jack asked in concern, rubbing Ennis's back.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Always fine with you..."

Jack smiled. "Don't fall asleep yet...gotta get these things off."

"Right." Ennis pushed himself up and rolled off Jack onto his side of the bed, sighing. He took off the condoms and tied them, throwing them to the nightstand.

"Lazy bastard," Jack said with a grin. They got themselves under the covers and Ennis pulled him close, hand in his hair.

"Happy New Year, darlin'," he murmured, kissing Jack softly. Jack smiled at him.

"Happy New Year, baby." They kissed a few more times and then huddled together to keep warm, wondering what this forthcoming year might bring. They knew that no matter what, they would be facing it together.