Chapter 3

June 15th, 1975

Three days later, Jack was finally on his way to Wyoming; to live with Ennis like he'd wanted to for twelve years. He knew that they both wished it were under better circumstances, and that it hadn't taken Alma's death for Ennis to realise that they needed to be together, but here it was. Jack had always been secretly jealous of her; sure, he knew that Ennis loved him and was generally happier when they were together, but Alma had had Ennis in a way he might never. She had been able to go out with him in public, as a couple, and they had married legally. Jack didn't know for sure if he and Ennis would ever have that.

Still, Jack knew he was very lucky. He was well aware of Ennis's fears, the ones that had made him say no so many times, but somehow Ennis had managed to overcome them enough to finally invite Jack to live with him.

Bobby was asleep in the back of the truck, with all of their clothes and most important possessions in the truck bed. Jack had wondered if it would be okay to bring so much stuff; he remembered the apartment being fairly small. He remembered what Ennis had told him the night before he'd set off.

"Don't worry 'bout it, bud. We'll find room for everythin'."

"It ain't a whole lot, just our clothes an' some things we don't wanna be without. Bobby's got his favourite stuff to play with. But...your place ain't real big..."

"I know,'ll be okay. I really want you here, Jack. You an' Bobby. We'll figure it all out."

Jack smiled and played with the cord, wanting to draw the conversation out as long as he could. "I know we will. Still can't believe this is happenin'..."

"Me neither. Can't wait for you to get up here."

"I know."

After a few more sweet words, they had hung up and gone to bed. Now Jack was in southern Colorado, and was on target to arrive in Wyoming tomorrow night. He could normally do the trip in just fourteen hours, but since he had Bobby with him he knew he would have to take it easy. He didn't want his son sleeping in the uncomfortable truck for the whole journey.

Jack thought about Lureen, and what had happened. He hadn't told Ennis much, but he remembered what a police officer said had happened, based on an eyewitness. Lureen had been driving down the road on her way home, and a drunk driver had come out of nowhere, speeding along and smashing into her car. Lureen, in her fatigue after a long day at work, had forgotten to fasten her seatbelt. She'd been thrown into the windshield and the glass had cut through some major arteries. She was dead by the time the ambulance got there.

He knew he shouldn't have taken Bobby with him to identify her body, but he hadn't realised how badly torn up she would be. It was no surprise that Bobby was traumatised and had nightmares. Jack hoped they would stop soon as he adjusted to life without his mother.

He wondered how Bobby and the girls would take to each other. Ennis had told him that the girls were very sweet and polite, but they were going to be a family, and Jack knew that brothers and sisters could fight like cats and dogs if they wanted to. Jack thought about Ennis's own brother and sister, and wondered where they were or if they knew anything of what was going on. Ennis had told him that he hadn't spoken to or seen either of them since his and Alma's wedding. Jack wondered if they would ever speak to Ennis again if they found out he was in a relationship with another man.

Jack thought about the word; relationship. He had always hoped to one day experience it with Ennis, but had never truly thought he would. Ennis was being a lot more relaxed and open about this than he'd expected. He was the one who'd said they were going to be a family, after all. He was the one who'd asked Jack to move in, along with Bobby.

He knew, deep down, that Ennis hadn't told him everything regarding Alma's death. He knew she'd had a heart attack, but that was about it. They were usually brought about by stress, and Jack had to wonder if she'd known about them. She hadn't exactly been friendly when they were introduced, and Jack had seen something in her eyes. It was a mixture of hurt and intense dislike, possibly even hatred.

Jack sighed to himself and shook off the image of Alma's face. He and Ennis were going to be a family now, with their children, and he had to focus on that.

As if on cue, he heard a yawn and looked into the rear-view mirror to see Bobby stirring. "Hey, bud. You okay back there?"

"Yeah." Bobby stretched and looked out of the window. "Where are we?"

"Colorado. We're just outside Lamar."

"How long to Wyomin', Daddy?"

"We oughta get there tomorrow night," Jack told him, looking forward to what was waiting at the other end. "You sure you're okay?"

"Yeah, Daddy." Bobby had slept okay for once, but he looked like something was on his mind. "Daddy?"

"Yeah?" Jack replied, looking around for somewhere to eat.

"Is Ennis okay 'bout me comin' with you? You said his place ain't big, an' he's got two girls..."

"It's alright, bud," Jack reassured him. "I talked to Ennis, an' he says we'll figure it out. He wants us both there. An''re gonna have two sisters. You always did want a brother or sister."

Bobby smiled a little. "Yeah." It was true; he was looking forward to having a bigger family, and he couldn't wait to get to Wyoming. From what Jack had told him, he knew it was going to be good.

Up in Wyoming, Ennis too was feeling the excitement. Jack would be arriving soon, possibly tomorrow night, and he couldn't wait to see those blue eyes again. He had told the girls that Jack was definitely coming up to live with them, and he told them everything he knew about Bobby. It turned out that the girls had always wanted a brother, and now they were going to have one.

Ennis thought about their forthcoming living situation. He had already made up his mind that he and Jack were going to sleeping in the same bed; now that they were getting together he didn't want to be away from Jack any longer than he had to be. He had installed a lock on the door of the spare bedroom; they would be sleeping in there since he didn't feel right about letting Jack into the bed he'd shared with Alma. It already had a double bed and would be sufficient for both of them.

As for the girls (and now Bobby), Ennis wasn't sure how much he and Jack were going to tell them. They were all still young enough to be convinced that the relationship between their fathers was okay, and that it wasn't something they were ashamed of. Ennis figured that if the kids grew up knowing what it was between him and Jack, they were more likely to accept it as they got older.

Get 'em while they're young, Ennis thought wryly to himself as he moved his clothes into the spare room wardrobe. He obviously wasn't going to tell them everything; there would be a lot that they didn't understand, not even Junior. But at some point, the kids would learn about sex and become curious as to how it was done between the two of them, and he was dreading that. Even if they learned about sex at school, Ennis knew they would only be learning about men and women, because of how things were. He figured that Jack would know exactly what to say; he always did.

His thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door, and he turned to see his daughters in the doorway. "Daddy?"

"What is it, girls?" he asked, coming over to them and sitting on the end of the bed.

"Why are you movin' yer clothes in here?" Jenny asked, and he patted the bed on either side of him, signalling for them to sit down. He swallowed down his nerves and knew he would have to say something.

"Thing is, girls...when Jack gets here, me an' him...we're gonna be sharin' a room."

"Why?" Jenny asked, and Ennis had to smile at her inquisitiveness.

"Well...'cos we're...real special to each other."

"Like best friends?" Junior asked, brow furrowing in confusion. Ennis chewed his lip.

" know how I loved yer mama?" It wasn't a whole truth, but he had to do something to help them understand. "An' that we used to share a room?" The girls nodded. "Well...the same thing's happenin' with Jack. I love him, so...we're gonna be sharin' a room."

"He's a man, Daddy," Jenny stated. "Can you love a man like you loved mama?"

"Yep. An' I love Jack, so...we're gonna be sharin' a room. An' I put a lock on it 'cos...grown-ups do some things that kids ain't meant to see."

Junior had heard a little about sex at school from her classmates, and wondered if that was what her Daddy and his friend would be doing. She couldn't figure it out, but imagined that she would at some point.

"Okay," she replied, nodding. "When's Jack gettin' here?"

"Should be tomorrow night," Ennis told them. "He's bringin' his son, remember? So he's gonna take a while."

"You know what Bobby's like, Daddy?" Jenny asked. As the younger of the girls, she had been thrilled to find out she would be having a little brother to look after.

"I don't, honey. Ain't never met him. But Jack says he's real nice. The thing is...Jack says Bobby's been havin' nightmares 'bout his mama dyin', so...I need you two to keep an eye on him, okay? He's gonna be in the room next to yours."

They both nodded, acknowledging this request for help from their father and determined to do as they were asked. Junior figured that whatever was going on between Jack and their father, it was clear that they meant a lot to each other. That alone was enough to make her decide that they were doing the right thing by getting together; already, he looked a lot happier than she had ever seen him.

The phone rang in the living room and Ennis got up to answer it, trailed by his daughters. "Hello?"

"Bud, it's me."

"Hey, Jack," he replied, and the girls caught the secret smile on his face. "Where are you?"

"Just outside Lamar, Colorado. Just wanted to let you know we'll definitely be there by tomorrow night."

Ennis sighed and sat down. "Glad to hear that, darlin'." He hadn't realised that the girls were just out of sight, and had heard the endearment. They silently crept back to their room to discuss what they had just heard. "Sure do miss you."

"Miss you too," Jack sighed, wishing he could be there right now. "How are the girls?"

"Doin' okay. Talked to 'em a little 'bout you comin' up. Reckon they're lookin' forward to havin' a brother."

Jack laughed. "Bobby's the same about havin' two sisters. I think things are gonna be okay."

"Yeah. should probably get some sleep, bud. Got a lot more drivin' to do."

"I know. Just wanted to tell you where we are, an'...wanted to say goodnight."

"Night, darlin'," Ennis said softly, yearning for tomorrow night when he would say those words in Jack's ear.

"Night, Ennis." They clicked off and both of them went to bed, dreaming of tomorrow when they would finally be reunited, this time permanently. Their life together would no longer be a dream, but reality.

June 16th, 1975

The next evening, Ennis and the girls were in the living room and watching TV when Ennis heard the familiar sound of tires on the gravel outside. He got up and looked out of the window, seeing a dark blue truck outside. He hadn't seen it before, but he knew in his heart who the driver was. He grinned and turned back to the girls.

"Hey, Jack's here, girls. Just gonna go outside an' talk to him, okay?" They nodded and stayed where they were, curious about the man outside. Ennis left the apartment and looked down from the balcony. Jack had left the truck by now and was stretching. In the glow from the streetlight, Ennis could see how tired he was. "Jack?"

Jack looked up and smiled, heart quickening at the sight of Ennis. Regardless of everything that had happened over the last few days, he was happy to be here. "Hey, bud."

Ennis went down the steps and stood in front of his lover (his partner now) and raised his hands to Jack's shoulders. "You okay, darlin'?"

"Better now I'm here," Jack replied, and Ennis pulled him into an embrace, holding the back of Jack's head gently. They melted into each other and Jack sighed in contentment. "God, I missed you..."

"Me too, bud." Ennis pulled back and stroked Jack's cheek. "So where's this boy of yours I've heard so much about?"

Jack smiled and pulled away. "I think he's still asleep..." Checking the back seat, he added, "Scratch that, he's wakin' up...hey, buddy..."

"Daddy?" Ennis heard the small voice and couldn't help but smile. He'd always wanted a boy for a kid, and in some way he was now getting one. Jack leaned into the truck and helped out a sleepy young boy. He was the spitting image of Jack, right down to the blue eyes.

"Okay, Bobby," Jack started, bringing him over to Ennis. "This is Ennis Del Mar, my fishin' buddy. Remember I said we're gonna live with him an' his girls?"

Bobby nodded and smiled, extending his hand. "Hi, Mr Del Mar." Ennis chuckled and shook Bobby's hand, amused by how polite he was.

"You can call me Ennis, son," he replied, the word slipping from his mouth effortlessly. Jack grinned. "Nice to meet you."

"You too." Ennis and Jack looked at each other, and then Jack glanced at the truck bed.

"Um...I've got a lot of stuff there...would you mind?" Ennis shook his head.

"No, it's okay. But, um...maybe the girls can keep an eye on Bobby while we do that."

"You sure?" Jack asked, wondering if the girls were capable of that. Ennis nodded.

"Sure, they know what they're doin'. Like when I was at work an' Alma was busy cleanin' the apartment, Junior used to keep an eye on Jenny all the time."

Jack nodded. "Okay. Thanks." He smiled and the two of them led Bobby up to the apartment. Once inside, they saw the girls stand up and look at the newcomers curiously.

"Girls, this is Jack an' his son Bobby," Ennis introduced them, seeing a family form before his eyes.

"Hi, Mr Twist," the girls chorused in unison, reminding the two men of Bobby meeting Ennis just outside. "Hi, Bobby."

Bobby greeted them with a smile and Jack told them to call him by his given name. Ennis then cleared his throat.

"Okay, girls. I need to help Jack get their stuff outta his truck. Can you keep an eye on Bobby?"

"Sure," said Junior, feeling like a big sister all over again. "Bobby, you wanna watch cartoons with us?" Bobby looked at his father, who nodded in encouragement, and joined them by the TV. Ennis and Jack left the room, knowing that it would be okay to leave the kids alone for a little while.

Once outside, they reached the bottom of the steps and Ennis touched Jack's arm. "Bud?" Jack turned and saw a tender look in Ennis's eyes. "Come here..." He allowed Ennis to pull him into the corner of the stairwell, where they had kissed during their reunion.

Ennis pushed Jack gently against the wall and held his face in both hands. "Just wanted you to know...I'm glad I asked you up here. Really needed you."

Jack smiled, arms sliding around Ennis's waist. "Yeah. I'm happy I'm here." They leaned in and their lips finally met, softly and gently. Jack sighed into Ennis's mouth and they pressed closer to each other. It was one of the most romantic moments they'd ever experienced together, and Jack knew he would never forget it.

When they finally pulled apart, Ennis nuzzled their noses together. "Never thought this would happen..."

"Me neither. I...I wish it hadn't taken Alma an' Lureen dyin' to get us together, but..."

"We'll make the best of it," Ennis told him, gazing into his eyes. "I really wanna make this work, Jack. You, me, the kids...I really want this."

"I do too," Jack replied, kissing the side of Ennis's mouth. "An' the kids are gettin' on already...watchin' TV together. Bobby always wanted siblin'' now he's got 'em."

"Mmm...the girls always wanted a brother, especially Jenny, bein' the youngest. Reckon this'll be good for 'em."

"Yeah. Anyway...we better start gettin' the stuff upstairs." They kissed once more and headed for the truck, grabbing the luggage and bringing it up to the apartment. The kids were all sat down, leaning against the sofa and eyes glued to the TV. Their fathers smiled at the sight and then each other. They dumped the luggage in the hallway, leaving it for the next morning. Ennis grabbed two beers from the fridge and they manoeuvred themselves past the kids onto the sofa, their socked feet brushing together and making them grin at each other.

The kids continued to watch TV and their fathers looked on silently, occasionally glancing at each other and smiling. They both had a real family now; the kind they had both always wanted ever since they were their children's age. Both of them were determined to make this work, no matter what.

When the kids started to tire, Ennis got the girls into bed and Jack dug out Bobby's favourite cowboy quilt, following Ennis's directions to the room set aside for his son. He got Bobby into bed and then met Ennis back in the living room, smiling. As much as he loved his son, and knew that he would grow to love the girls, he needed this alone time with his partner.

They kissed and sat back down on the sofa, this time close together. Ennis stroked Jack's hair and Jack closed his eyes, feeling warm and drowsy. "Mmm..."

"Feel good, darlin'?" Ennis asked, nuzzling him. Jack nodded. It did feel good, here in Ennis's arms. He was where he belonged.

"Yeah. Can't believe I'm here."

"I know...feels's where we're meant to be. Don't wanna be without you ever again."

"You won't be," Jack told him firmly, squeezing his leg. "I promise."

They finally moved and got up, stretching. Jack then looked at Ennis. "Ready to go to bed?" Ennis nodded and they moved into the hallway where the bedrooms were. Jack started walking down to where he knew Ennis's bedroom was, and Ennis paused.

"Where you goin', bud?" he asked, looking puzzled. Jack gestured to the room.

"I thought..."

Ennis shook his head. "You ain't sleepin' in there, bud." He fully intended to sleep in the same bed as Jack, but not in there.

Jack's eyebrows rose. "Why the hell not?"

"I..." Ennis chewed his lip, wondering how to explain this. "The thing is..."

Jack gave him a hard look. "We ain't sleepin' together? What the hell is goin' on?"

Ennis winced at the rise in his voice and pulled Jack down the hallway, away from the kids. "Would you calm down?"

They went back into the living room and Jack stared him down, hands on his hips. As much as he loved Ennis, he couldn't believe what was going on. "So you tell me you want us to be together, an' be a family. You, me an' the kids. An' now yer tellin' me we ain't even sharin' a room?"

"I ain't sayin' that, Jack," Ennis told him, trying to placate him. "Listen to me, will ya?" He stepped closer and grabbed Jack's hands. "I wanna be in the same bed as you. That's what I always meant since I asked you up here."

"So what the hell is goin' on?" Jack demanded. "You're sayin' we ain't sleepin' in that room. If this is how it's gonna be, sneakin' around so the kids don't see us in our own home, then...this ain't gonna work. I'm sorry, but...I spent so long bein' miles away from you an' wantin' you. Now we're livin' together, but we'll be in separate rooms or sneakin' around? I hate it when you give me mixed signals, Ennis."

He broke away and walked to the window, looking out and folding his arms. "I thought, when you asked me up here, that we'd be together, like a real...couple. The kind I always wanted us to be. We ain't a couple if we ain't sleepin' together, Ennis."

Ennis sighed and knew he would have to tell Jack that he'd told the girls. He came up behind his lover and slid his arms around his waist. "Darlin'...we are gonna be sleepin' together. I want us to be together, too."

"Then what the hell's goin' on?" Jack asked quietly.

"We're sleepin' in the guest room," Ennis told him softly. Jack closed his eyes, mentally kicking himself for raging at Ennis and not giving him time to explain. "That's what I'm tryin' to tell you."

Jack turned in Ennis's arms. "I'm sorry, bud. Didn't mean to yell at you."

Ennis kissed him gently. "S'alright, Jack. I shoulda told you sooner...I even put a lock on the door so the kids wouldn't walk in on us." Jack hung his head, ashamed of himself for doubting Ennis, after everything. "I just figured...I slept in the other room with Alma, an' I hurt her enough when she was alive. Thought it'd be an insult to sleep in there with you."

Jack nodded and allowed Ennis to pull him close. "Makes sense. Sure am sorry..."

"I told the girls about us, bud," Ennis whispered, and Jack pulled away, eyes wide.

"You did?" he asked, completely stunned. It was the last thing he'd been expecting of Ennis. He had actually told his daughters about them. "What...?"

"I didn't tell 'em everythin', 'cos there's a lot they won't understand yet. But...I told 'em how I felt strong about you."

"You told 'em me?" Jack asked, and Ennis nodded. He did love Jack, and wanted to tell him more than anything. Jack deserved to hear it.

"Yeah, I did. An' that we'd be sharin' a room 'cos if it. They understood, I reckon. Told them...yer special to me." His cheeks reddened a little, and he wished he was braver, like Jack. Then he would be able to say those three little words.

Jack smiled and kissed him warmly. " got no idea what that means. That you told 'em about us. I ain't told Bobby nothin'...didn't know if that would be okay."

"It's alright, Jack. You can tell him if you want." Ennis knew that if this was going to work between them, they would have to be honest with their children. It was the only way.

"Ennis...they're gonna learn about sex someday. An' they're gonna ask us..."

"I know. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, I reckon. wanna go get some sleep? I'm too tired for much else."

"God, me too. All that drivin'. Let's go to bed." He smiled and took Ennis's hand, allowing Ennis to lead him to the bathroom and grabbing his bag along the way. They brushed their teeth side by side, glancing at each other in the mirror and smiling. Ennis then led him into the spare bedroom and locked the door behind them, looking forward to some private time with Jack.

Jack couldn't help but smile as he and Ennis got into bed. The last time they'd been in bed together was at the Siesta Motel during their reunion, and now they would be doing this every night. He was looking forward to it.

They crawled under the sheets and turned towards each other, Ennis looking a little shy. He still couldn't believe that Jack was actually here, and that they were finally together. It wouldn't be easy, and he knew they would have some difficult times ahead, but he was happy.

He leaned in and tentatively kissed Jack, hand reaching up to his partner's face. They kissed for several moments and then settled onto their sides so they could talk. Ennis's hand found Jack's under the sheets and their fingers laced together.

"First night in a bed since the motel," he said quietly, and Jack nodded.

"I know. Lookin' forward to this." He hesitated. "Ennis...I wanted to ask you somethin'. About...what happened with Alma. You didn't say much on the phone..."

Ennis nodded. "Um...the thing is...she knew about us, Jack." At Jack's wide-eyed look, he continued. "She saw us kissin' on the steps in '67."

"Jesus...I thought she was givin' me a funny look when you brought me up here to meet her. Guess I was right..."

"Yeah..." Ennis played with Jack's fingers, trying to draw the strength to continue. "The day she died...after dinner, she cornered me an' told me she wanted a divorce. Said she was gonna take the girls from me. She started yellin' at me, an'...she had the heart attack."

Jack was squeezing his fingers. "Cowboy...I'm so sorry." Ennis swallowed and carried on.

"It's all my fault," he whispered, and sat up, facing away from Jack. "She knew all along, an' it broke her heart. If I'd...gone off with you back in '63, it woulda hurt her, but...not as bad as it was. I was a coward, Jack..."

At this, Jack sat up and put his arms around Ennis. "'s okay. You ain't a coward. You stayed with her 'cos you thought you had to. You married her, an' made promises to her. I know that..." He started to rub Ennis's stomach. "It ain't your fault..."

Ennis chewed his lip. "You know...a part of me thinks...that I oughta be blamin' you for it. That it's all your fault. But..." He turned to look at Jack. "I can't do it, Jack. I can't blame you for any of it."

"That's a relief," Jack replied, smiling a little. "But I don't wanna hear you blamin' yourself."

He kissed Ennis's cheek and leaned against him. Ennis liked the feeling of Jack there, warm and familiar. He never thought that this would happen. "Can't help it. Just...she said it was all my fault, an'...called me some names that I probably deserved. She got so angry, Jack..."

Jack pulled Ennis back into bed and looked into his face. Ennis was clearly distraught over this and it would be a long time before he stopped blaming himself. "Ennis...don't do this to yourself. It ain't your' you gotta be strong. The girls need you now. I...I need you. Okay?"

He looked into Ennis's face, knowing that he would have to do his part; to step up and make sure Ennis was okay. He couldn't rely on Ennis to do everything. Ennis slowly nodded and Jack kissed him, slowly and sensuously.

When they finally pulled apart, Ennis was looking more relaxed, and Jack smiled at him. "Tell you what...let's talk 'bout somethin' else. Like...what we're gonna do. You wanna go back to work?"

Ennis nodded. "Yeah, least for now. I was hopin' could watch the kids durin' the day while they ain't at school."

"Sure. I think Bobby needs me around right now, an' I'd like to get to know the girls."

"He still havin' nightmares?" Ennis asked, finding Jack's hand again.

"Yeah. I never shoulda brought him to identify her...but I didn't know what we'd see. We have this neighbour, Marie, who normally watches him if we're both at work. Shoulda left him with her."

"You didn't know, Jack. You just wanted your kid with you...I know 'bout that. He gonna be okay?"

"I think so. Got pyjamas with me in case I need to get up in the middle of the night. How are the girls doin'?"

"Still upset about their mama dyin', but...they're copin'. I reckon it helps that...we're makin' a new family for 'em. An' that Bobby's here...lookin' after him would be good for 'em."

"Right," Jack agreed. "Keep 'em busy, an' it'll take their minds off things. We'll be alright, cowboy." He shuffled forward and Ennis wrapped his arms around him, liking how Jack felt against him. Jack's arm wrapped around his back and their legs tangled together under the sheets.

After a while, Jack spoke again in a soft voice. "Just want you to know...means a lot to me that you asked me up here. An' that you want us to be a family."

Ennis smiled and rubbed Jack's back. "I really do want it, Jack. Always did...just never thought I could do it. Still scared, even now..."

"I know. You still have nightmares, don't ya?" He planted a kiss to Ennis's neck. "Don't worry, okay?"

"Get nightmares of you...where I'm back in that ditch, but instead of seein' Earl...I see you."

Jack's heart ached for him; Ennis had never told him this before. "'ll be alright. We'll be real careful, an' nobody's gonna know. No matter what happens, we can take care of each other. Yer always gonna have me, I promise."

Ennis leaned back and smiled at him, feeling just as happy as he had been up on Brokeback, when it had been just the two of them. Jack was right; even though it was a huge risk to be together like this, at least they could look after each other and their children. Being apart all those years had been keeping them safe, but not happy; now they could be both.