There was nothing that Jack Twist liked more than holiday shopping, maybe because now he had the money to spend on his loved ones. The holiday sure was different than when he was a kid, when he didn't have a pot to piss in and was poorer than dirt. If it weren't for his momma they probably wouldn't celebrate Christmas at all.
All that has changed when he met Ennis Del Mar up on Brokeback Mountain. It took some doing to convince that stubborn cowboy that living together wasn't going to be a death sentence. Jack didn't know if it was the praying, or that coin he'd wished on then threw into the fountain at the mall that did the trick, but Jack would never forget the day he was going to finally give up and move on or so he thought, from asking Ennis to make a life together. He sent him a postcard telling Ennis to meet him in Signal, at the coffee shop in town. It wasn't far from Aguirre's old trailer or the bar they'd hung out in while waiting to go up to Brokeback.
"What do you want to meet here for?" Ennis asked him, all grumpy like.
"Cause this is where it all began, Ennis. This is where we met, Signal, and maybe it's fitting that this is where it will end, too."
"What the hell are ya talkin' about Jack? End it, you mean end what we got?" Ennis looked stricken, his eyes got wide and his face was white.
"I can't do this anymore, being apart for months at a time. Only getting to see you once or twice a year, and only for a week or two at that. That fourteen-hour drive is a killer, it it almost killed me the last time I drove back to Texas. It was foggy and there was a terrible pile up on route eighty-three. I was almost home when it happened. Luckily I'd gotten off to run some errands and heard about it on the radio. I could have been in the middle of that. Several people were killed or hurt. I just don't want to do this anymore, Ennis. "
"Well what do you wanna do, Jack?"
"What I always wanted to do, I want a life with you. I want to pack up my stuff in Texas and move here to Wyoming. We'll find us a place, a nice quiet place in a town with one traffic light and where it's nice and peaceful. We can have ourselves a ranch, that cow and calf operation I told you about. But it's up to you, Ennis. All I can say is when I leave Wyoming I'm not planning to come back, except to see my folks. So it's up to you now. Is this the last time we see each other? Is this goodbye?"
This was it. Jack had hemmed and hawed for ages, playing this very scenario in his head but always chickening out when it came time to confront Ennis. Well here it was out on the table, it was all or nothing. Jack didn't notice the other customers, didn't notice the waitress putting down the cups of coffee they'd ordered, all he saw was Ennis looking down at the table, then out the window to the parking lot, then glanced at him, then down at the mug of hot coffee sitting in front of him.
"Can we move to Lovell?" Ennis said real low like he was talking to the coffee instead of Jack. But whether he shouted the words or barely whispered them, Jack heard him loud and clear.
"I don't care if we moved to Timbuktu, hell I don't even know where Lovell is. Are you saying you want to move in together?" He kept his voice low knowing Ennis would be afraid of anyone overhearing.
"Yeah, I don't wanna do this anymore either, only seeing you some of the time. I wanna see you all the time, Jack. I just didn't know how we was gonna work this all out. I don't want this to be the end."
"Ennis I'd kiss ya if we were alone right now." Jack took a sip from the glass of water in that had been put on the table when they'd first sat down. "Lovell? Where is that?"
"Up near the Montana border, near the Big Horns. Not far from Brokeback." That sacred place they'd not been to since that fat bastard Joe Aguirre had thrown them out of their Eden.
"Sounds fine to me, friend. I don't much care where we settle as along as we're together. Don't worry we'll figure it all out." Jack slid his hand under the table and Ennis grabbed it and squeezed it briefly.
That was seven years ago. The town had been big enough so that they had all the basics they needed and small enough so that he and Ennis could live a wonderful life without drawing any attention. Here Jack was in the Eastridge Mall in Casper, Wyoming shopping for gifts for Ennis. He bought him a new coat at JC Penney boots. And a wood carving kit from one of the novelty stores. He knew Ennis had a sweet tooth and loved chocolate, so he bought him a box of assorted chocolates.
When he got home he barely got in the door when a pair of lips greeted him. "Ennis, I should go away more often if that is the kind of greeting I get."
"Mistletoe." Ennis pointed to the sprig of the plant hanging over their doorway.
"Mm, I like. Now let me take my stuff upstairs. You're not supposed to see these, otherwise Santa will take them back." He snuck upstairs and put the packages in their spare bedroom. He'd wrap them when Ennis was asleep. He came back downstairs and spotted the gifts under the tree. Ennis had done his shopping early and apparently had wrapped them all up.
Ennis was sitting on the couch in front of the fireplace. Two cups of steaming hot cocoa sat on the coffee table. There were extra marshmallows in his. Just like he liked it. And there was his cowboy, in their house. Also just like he liked it.
TBC (Christmas Morning)