Don't Wanna Lose You

June, 1976

Jack glanced over at the dashboard, at the card he'd received two weeks ago. Looking back, he wished he'd never gone to Wyoming last month; it had been a complete disaster, not least because of what he'd done in retaliation to the rejection. He still couldn't believe how stupid and desperate he'd been.

Jack,

Sorry about last month. Gonna make it up to you. Got us a cabin from a friend at work, can be there for the 18th. Hope you can make it, bud.

Ennis

He sighed and tried not to think about last month; he should have realised what a bad idea it was to go tearing up there on a whim. But when he'd received the call from Ennis, telling him that he was divorced, there had just been no stopping him. He'd told Lureen he was going on a business trip, and she hadn't said much to stop him. She never did say much these days; always had her head in the business. He was past caring by now; they could do their marriage over the phone these days.

Jack drove steadily north, towards the Bighorns and following the directions Ennis had scribbled on the card. The cabin would be easy enough to find, and no matter how he felt about last month, Jack couldn't deny that he was looking forward to seeing Ennis again. He was still hurting from the rejection and he would regret Mexico until the day he died, but Jack knew that his feelings about Ennis would never change.

Goddamn, but I love that man, he thought to himself, sighing inwardly. He drives me crazy, an' he pisses me off sometimes, but...I can't help it.

He stretched in the seat, half-listening to some love song on the radio. How had it come to this? Thirteen years of yearning for Ennis, and Jack knew that no matter what he did, he would never be able to quit him. He felt an undeniable pull to Wyoming, and not just because of it being where he grew up. Home, to him, was Ennis.

Ever since their reunion, or maybe even before then, he'd wanted for them to live together, be a real couple as much as they could be. But it was a cycle; he knew, deep down, that Ennis was too scared to go for it, and that he should give up trying to convince him. But he also knew that he would never give up; it was his dream and he'd always been a dreamer.

The mountains came into view and peace overtook him; he was home. Ennis would already be at the cabin, preparing it for them. He liked how Ennis took care of things on their trips; it always left plenty of time for them to enjoy each other, and he couldn't wait for them to get down to business. Their time together was all about sex and talking and drinking, and Jack wouldn't have it any other way.


Ennis reached the cabin and looked around, observing. Jack wasn't here yet, but he tried not to worry. The postcard that had been sent to him was reassuring that Jack would be here.

Ennis,

Sorry about last month. Didn't mean to just go tearing up there, and I should've called first or something. Hope you had a good visit with your girls, anyway.

Got your card, and the directions to the cabin. I'll be there on the 18th, probably in the evening. Hope to see you soon.

Jack

He read the words yet again and put the card back in his pocket, exhaling. He knew that Jack had been hurt by last month's rejection, but he'd had his girls and he hadn't seen them the month before due to the round-up.

He'd asked Don Wroe to lend him the cabin for this week, determined to make it up to Jack. This trip would have to be special.

The horses were taken out of the trailer and put into the stables, and he wondered vaguely what time Jack would get there. After some thinking, he decided that riding could wait until later; he wanted to talk to Jack and apologise for hurting him, if he could get the words out.

He sat down on the steps in front of the cabin and pulled out a cigarette and lighter, lighting up and stretching after the drive. Jack had it worse, he knew, driving a thousand miles and about fourteen hours. Ennis, at first, had wondered why on earth Jack would put himself through that just for him, but he'd stopped questioning it. Jack seemed to want to spend the time with him.

Ennis thought about the previous month, when Jack had driven up seeking to make his dream of them living together a reality now that Ennis was divorced. He'd longed to let Jack stay, but the girls had been there, and Ennis knew that if they had spent any longer around Jack, there could be trouble. What if they mentioned him to Alma? He had suspicions that she might know something about him and Jack.

Still, he was determined to make it up to Jack this week. They would ride, go for walks, make love several times a day, and everything would be as it should for a few short days. These trips were what he lived for, and the only thing that made the cold, lonely months bearable. Jack was always in his dreams, and Ennis wished that a life together could be possible. If only society could be more tolerant than it was; maybe then they'd have a chance.

He shook his head; it wasn't going to happen. People hated the things he and Jack did together, and there wasn't anything they could do about that. And even though he knew his feelings for Jack were a sin, he couldn't deny what he felt when he and Jack were together. What they had was like a force of nature.


Ennis sat on the steps for a little longer, until he finally heard the sound of a truck approaching. He glanced up and recognised Jack's blue truck, smiling a little. He then crushed his cigarette and stood up as Jack parked and got out, looking weary. Ennis tentatively walked over to him. "Hey, bud."

Jack smiled; no matter how hurt he was about the rejection and how guilty he felt about Mexico, he knew that he didn't regret coming here. He lived for these trips with Ennis. "Hey."

They moved forward and into each other's arms, embracing tightly. Jack slid his eyes shut and relaxed into Ennis's arms. He felt life pouring into him at last. "Ennis..."

"Jack..." They moved apart but stayed close, examining each other as they always did when they met up after months apart. Jack smiled and leaned in, gently pressing his lips to Ennis's and was pleased when Ennis responded to it. They stood there together, slowly kissing and running their hands through each other's hair.

Ennis pulled back and smiled a little. "Well...you wanna get your stuff?" Jack nodded and turned back to his truck, getting the cooler out of the bed and letting Ennis take it inside. He grabbed the duffel bag full of other things, including the lube, and followed Ennis, noting how beautiful the cabin was. They would enjoy themselves out here.

He stepped inside and looked around; the living room was quite sizeable, with an open kitchen at the back. A door on the left led to what could only be the bedroom. Ennis was busy putting food into the fridge and cupboards. Jack shut the door and removed his jacket, putting it next to Ennis's along with his hat. Then he walked over to the kitchen, hovering slightly. "So, um...you hungry?"

"Sure," Ennis replied, turning. "Whaddaya want? Beans?" He grinned and Jack couldn't help but laugh.

"Yeah, fine. I ain't eaten in hours, probably should have somethin'." He hesitated. "Ennis...last month, I..."

Ennis shook his head ruefully. "I'm sorry, Jack. If I'd known you was gonna come tearin' up here..."

"I'm sorry I did. If I'd called first, to make sure it wasn't a weekend with yer girls...would you have let me stay, at least for a few hours?" Ennis bit his lip, worrying about the possibility of someone seeing them if he'd done that.

"I, um..." Jack shook his head and moved in close.

"Don't matter. Water under the bridge now. Let's just...focus on this week." Ennis nodded and boldly kissed him before turning to find the cans of beans. Jack sighed inwardly and extracted two beers from the fridge, knowing what the answer to his question was. There was nothing he could do about it now.

They moved to the table and started to eat in a half-silence. Jack smiled at Ennis; he was glad to be here, in spite of the problems in their lives. This was where they belonged as far as he was concerned.


After they'd eaten, the two of them cleaned up and then sat on the sofa in front of the fire, bringing their beer with them. Ennis kept glancing at Jack, seeing that he was quieter than usual. He was normally full of energy and by now would have pounced on him, but that hadn't happened. Maybe Jack was just tired from the driving.

They sat together, and Jack rested his head on Ennis's shoulder. Ennis swallowed and tentatively put an arm around him, not quite used to showing this kind of affection, even now. They were silent for a while, until Jack spoke.

"Sorry about last month, Ennis...should've asked you when you called if I could come up. Shouldn't've just...come up here with no warnin'."

"It's okay, Jack. Maybe we should've talked 'bout it...so that you knew I had my girls. I just...I called you 'cos...I wanted you to know. Wasn't takin' the whole thing real well, so...I just..." Emotion filled him up and he got tongue-tied, wanting to tell Jack this but finding it difficult.

Jack, able to understand Ennis's struggles with talking about his feelings, wrapped an arm across his waist and gently shook him. "It's okay...you can tell me. Nobody here but us."

Ennis nodded. "I just...I wanted to...hear your voice." The last part was said very quietly, the words fighting past Ennis's lips. "Just wanted to talk to you." Jack nodded and moved closer.

"Right. Well...we're here now. You wanna...go for a walk or somethin'?"

"Yeah." They got up and Jack gently kissed Ennis's cheek.

"You know I'm just a phone call away if you need me, bud," he said softly, touching Ennis's face. "Whenever you wanna talk..." Ennis nodded and attempted to smile. A part of him was screaming at him to tell Jack how he really felt and that he wanted them to live together. He knew that this was why Jack had come up the month before, assuming that because Ennis was now divorced, there was the chance that he would finally say yes. Ennis had so wanted to, but was still terrified of what might happen if they lived together; what if Jack ended up like Earl because of it? Ennis would never forgive himself.

"Thanks, bud," he said instead, and Jack tenderly took his hand before leading him out of the cabin. They slowly began to walk through the trees, careful not to go too far.

Once in a cluster of trees, Jack wordlessly turned to face Ennis and pulled him close in a warm and much-needed embrace, burying his face in Ennis's neck and inhaling. God, Ennis...I love you so much...wish we could have this all the time. It'd just be you an' me, I swear...I don't wanna lose you...

Ennis melted against Jack, closing his eyes and sighing. I love you, darlin'...so glad you came back. Don't wanna lose you, ever...he couldn't say the words, but he hoped with all his heart that Jack could hear them anyway, somehow.


Evening fell, and they returned to the cabin for dinner. Jack had brought along some steaks and they ate them with potatoes at the small kitchen table, washing it down with beer. Apart from the obvious, this was their favourite part of meeting up for these trips. There were no responsibilities, no obligations, just...the two of them.

When they had finished, Jack cleared the dishes and bottles away, before turning to Ennis. "Um...you ready to, um...?"

Ennis nodded, starting to feel the familiar anticipation. They walked into the bedroom and slowly removed their clothes, looking at each other and remembering. Everything looked the same, and when they moved into each other's arms and kissed, everything felt like it was as it should be.

Jack's tongue pushed its way into Ennis's mouth, and he moaned softly, lazily moving his hands down to Jack's ass. They pulled apart and Jack smiled. "Come on." He took Ennis by the hand and led him to the bed, eager to feel Ennis inside him and push away the memories of what he'd done the month before. This was the man he loved, and Jack knew that he would never give up on his dreams for them, no matter how much he suffered for it.

They got into the bed and turned to each other, Ennis looking at Jack shyly and tentatively reaching out to touch him, running a hand over Jack's chest. Jack leaned in and kissed him again, and Ennis was soon responding enthusiastically. He gently pushed Jack down onto his back and rolled on top of him, all hesitation forgotten.

Jack wound his arms around Ennis's neck and pulled him down as they kissed, hardening immediately. He then grabbed the lube from the nightstand and passed it to Ennis with fumbling fingers. Ennis prepared himself quickly and tossed it back before nudging Jack's legs apart and settling between them. Jack wrapped his legs around Ennis's back and let out a groan as Ennis pushed into him.

"Oh, fuck..." he groaned, grabbing at Ennis's shoulders and throwing his head back. This was how it was supposed to be; he knew that much. They moved together quickly, sweating and nearly growling as they headed for the finish line. Ennis thrust his tongue into Jack's mouth and pushed in deeper, trying to reach that spot that he loved.

Jack was panting for breath and shaking all over as he felt himself come in between them in thick, hot spurts, shooting all over Ennis's stomach and his own. Ennis followed suit and collapsed onto him, gasping. They still had six more days of this to look forward to, and they were both determined to make the most of it while they could.

As they lay together afterwards, Jack stroking Ennis's face tenderly and looking into his eyes, they yearned for a time when they had been together for weeks on end; that old cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong.