Chapter 10

November 1970

It was freezing up in the mountains, but Ennis and Jack hadn't been deterred. They loved going hunting during this time, as it reminded them of the elk up on Brokeback that Ennis had shot. At the time, he'd convinced himself that he'd only done it to keep Jack from bitching about the beans, but now he wasn't so sure. He had admitted to himself that he'd done it because he'd wanted to make Jack happy, even then.

One cold morning, the pair of them were wrapped around each other in the tent, still entwined from the night before. Ennis loved it when they did this; Jack felt so warm and familiar, and he wished that they could do this in a home of their own. But it was a perfect dream that he knew could never come true, and it ate into his heart that they couldn't have what they wanted, just because they were both men.

He opened his eyes and saw Jack's sleeping face just inches away. He looked peaceful and carefree, and Ennis couldn't help but smile. He loved watching Jack undetected, as it gave him the opportunity to really appreciate Jack without being taken over by lust. A lot of the time, things would start out slow and they looked at each other, but their desire for one another just took over and things ended rather quickly. At least now, he could take his time and just look at the man; he sure was a sight for sore eyes.

"You just gonna look at me all mornin', cowboy?" Jack murmured, and Ennis started. He blushed as Jack's eyes opened, embarrassed about being caught in the act. He didn't often just let go like that; he always had some kind of guard up even when Jack was awake. The only time it seemed to disappear was when they were doing something intimate. He knew that Jack would never judge him for anything.

"Um..."

Jack smiled softly. "It's okay. Look all you want, Ennis...just you an' me here. An' I'm just gonna look at you too. Ain't no-one here to bother us."

Ennis nodded and leaned back down, eyes boring into Jack's. They were silent as their hands found each other, squeezing and gently caressing as they looked over each other. This wasn't something they did often, for they usually tried to squeeze in as much sex as possible when they were on these trips, but Ennis liked taking this time for them to just look.

"Wish we could stay here all day," he murmured, and Jack nodded.

"I know. Wish we didn't have to leave at all..." He spoke without thinking, and Ennis took his hand away.

"Jack...we've been over this..." Jack took his hand again and squeezed it.

"I know, I know...sorry. Didn't mean to bring that up." Ennis relaxed and Jack stroked his hand with his thumb. "Just hate havin' to say goodbye, after everythin' we do up here. Makes me miss you somethin' awful, Ennis."

"Me too...but we can't. You know we can't...too dangerous," Ennis protested, wishing it wasn't the case. If there was no danger and he could still have contact with his girls, he would happily leave Alma and be with Jack. He didn't hate her, and didn't want to be malicious, but he figured she was better off without him. He didn't like having to turn her away because he would rather be with Jack.

"It's okay," Jack whispered, and then he leaned over. Their lips met softly, and Ennis tried desperately without words to tell Jack how he wished things were different, and that he wanted a life together more than anything. He constantly worried that Jack thought he didn't want it, and he wanted to reassure Jack that he did.

They kissed lazily for several long moments, occasionally squeezing hands and sighing into each other's mouths. This was like heaven to them, and Ennis sent up a prayer of thanks that Jack was back in his life. He didn't like to think where he might be if Jack hadn't sent that postcard. He knew he wouldn't have had the guts to go after Jack while married. Like their first and second nights together, Jack had taken the lead and shown him what he had to do. He was very grateful that Jack kept coming back.

"Jack," he said suddenly, breaking away from his lover. "Wanna tell you somethin'."

"What?" Jack asked him, wondering what was going on. He didn't think he was about to hear a certain trio of words, but the look on Ennis's face was quite intense.

"I...I just wanna tell you...I'm real glad you keep comin' back to meet me, even though I keep sayin' no to livin' together. Means a lot that you...ain't gotten mad at me an' said you can't take it no more."

Jack sighed and rubbed his arm. "Ennis...don't worry about it. I know you'd say yes if things were different, an' that's okay. An' you never know...things could still change. We might get that sweet life one day. I promise...there's never gonna be a time when I tell you that I don't wanna meet up no more. I'm always gonna wanna see you. Okay?"

"Yeah," Ennis replied, relief flooding through him. "Thanks, bud."

They kissed again and Jack shuffled over, into Ennis's arms where he was wrapped up securely. "Don't wanna be nowhere else right now. Just wanna be here...with you." He slid an arm around Ennis's waist and held him back, feeling safe and warm. He knew in his heart that Ennis loved him, even if the man couldn't say it; his actions were more than enough to confirm it for him. Ennis did love him and that was what Jack held on to when he got frustrated at being alone so much. He knew that Ennis would say yes if things weren't like this, and even though it was a small consolation, it was all he had.