Chapter 11

March 1971

Ennis and Jack were riding through a copse of trees, just going slowly and talking about various things. They were in the middle of their current trip and perfectly happy in each other's company. Ennis especially liked how much of a talker Jack was; he didn't have to contribute too much when Jack was around, just happy to listen.

He did like talking to Jack, though; the way they just sensed what each other were thinking, and how they came to an agreement on most things. It just felt good to be out here, with nobody to bother them. For a week every few months, they could just be themselves and leave behind what society expected of them.

After a while, they dismounted and gave the horses a break, sitting down on a log and stretching. "Nice day," Jack commented, and Ennis nodded.

"Sure is." His arm migrated to Jack's shoulders of its own accord, making the other man smile to himself. He loved it when Ennis showed him affection; it proved that Ennis was feeling everything that he was when they were together. "The girls love weather like this..." he said absent-mindedly, and Jack looked at him. They sometimes talked about their kids on these trips, but not often. Both of them tried to keep these two lives separate.

"Yeah?" he asked softly, and Ennis cleared his throat.

"Yeah...I remember takin' 'em to the park when they was little. Just after we moved to Riverton an' there ain't much space out front."

"I remember the stairwell..." Jack replied, grinning as he thought of their reunion. Ennis smirked and looked down.

"Well...yeah. Can't help but look over there every time I'm near it. Leavin' for work in the mornin' or comin' back at night...I look at it an' remember..." He then looked at Jack. "Miss you somethin' awful durin' them times."

Jack pressed closer to him and rested his head on Ennis's shoulder. "Miss you too. Bobby's started readin' now...an' he's got this book about cowboys. Swear to God, the cowboy in the pictures looks just like you. Blonde hair, that hat...even that shirt you wore on Brokeback."

"That white one? Yeah...musta lost it up there, 'cos I never found it." Jack's heart skipped a beat; he knew exactly where it was, but didn't want to tell Ennis. He wasn't sure how Ennis might react; he didn't think that Ennis would hit him, but it might cause other problems for them. The subject of them being together on a more permanent basis was very delicate, and Jack had silently promised not to bring it up again. It would cause a fight and they would end up unhappy, which would in turn ruin their trips.

"Oh..." Jack thought for a moment, and then his hand found Ennis's. "Well..."

"Yeah." They sat there in silence, uncomfortable on Jack's part. He wasn't sure if he should tell Ennis about the shirts; they were, after all, monuments to hope and not reality. If Ennis was so sure that living together could never happen, he probably wouldn't see the point of Jack holding onto that hope. Ennis wasn't a malicious person, but Jack knew that the wrong words from the man he loved could destroy everything they had. He wanted to avoid getting to a point where he didn't want to see Ennis anymore.

"Ennis?" he said quietly, and Ennis looked down at him. Jack leaned up and pressed their lips together gently, needing to push aside his troubled thoughts and just concentrate on the here and now. Ennis kissed him back eagerly, winding their tongues together and sighing. He'd always loved kissing Jack, ever since that second night in the tent. Jack had taught him so much about kissing and tenderness and intimacy that night, and it had been the best night of his life. He would never forget that as long as he lived, and it would always be a treasured memory.

But now, his mind snapped to the present as Jack tugged at him, and they ended up on the ground with Jack rubbing his hips against Ennis's. He gave a low moan in response and went for the buckle, undoing it quickly and pulling Jack's jeans down. Jack did the same to him and then flipped around, taking Ennis into his mouth and guiding himself to Ennis's mouth.

They sucked feverishly at each other, unsure of where this had come from but neither complaining. Ennis slid his hand around Jack and pushed a finger inside him, eliciting another moan from his lover. The vibration made him tremble with need, and he doubled his efforts. After a few heated moments in which Jack was sure he could see stars, they brought each other to orgasm and then lay panting, staring up at the vast blue sky.

Eventually, their senses returned to them and they pulled their pants back up, and then turned to each other. Jack had a dozy grin on his face. "Damn, cowboy. Where'd that come from?"

"Dunno, bud," Ennis admitted. He loved that they could just drop to the ground like this whenever the mood struck them; there was nothing holding them back up here, and it was easy to forget that this was supposedly a sin. It was as though this was too high up to adhere to society and what the Church taught. Nobody but himself and Jack knew about this, and they could keep the secret safe as long as this was all they had. As much as he wanted to live with this man, he knew it wouldn't be wise. Someone would be bound to figure them out, and that would be the end of it. He hated knowing that, but there was nothing he could do.

Jack crawled over to him and gave him another kiss. "Mmm...that was fun. We oughta do that again sometime."

"Sounds good to me," Ennis told him, wrapping his arm around Jack again and holding him close, protecting him.