Chapter 35

August 1979

Ennis and Jack were lying in the grass together near the tent, slowly making out and having a good feel of each other in the process. It was just like old times, before things turned sour and Jack made such huge mistakes.

He had seen the ranch neighbour a couple of times since the last trip, but he was learning how to detach himself during these encounters. He told himself that it was just because he was lonely and had no other option when Ennis wasn't around. He visualised Ennis there, pretending that it was him and nobody else. It worked, to some degree, and it helped to simmer down his guilt.

As a result, he was able to engage in moments like this again. He knew he loved Ennis and that was all that mattered; he'd missed just letting go and enjoying these trips. Ennis, for his part, wasn't sure what had happened to make Jack seem like his usual self, but he wasn't complaining. He had so much tension and bad times down in Riverton, so it was a relief for him to come up here and enjoy being with Jack.

He pulled his lips away from Jack's and smiled at him. "Sure am glad you got yer head sorted out, rodeo."

Jack smiled back and laced their fingers together. He would always feel guilty about what he was doing down in Texas, but he pushed it to the back of his mind when with Ennis. It was just sex, but his times with Ennis were so much more and that was what he held on to for his sanity. "Me too, bud. Come back here." He grabbed Ennis's lips again and rolled on top of him, eyes glittering. "Want you in my mouth, cowboy...gonna suck you dry."

Ennis gulped and was rendered speechless when he felt Jack undoing his jeans. "Jesus, Jack...yer crazy..."

Only for you, Jack thought to himself as he pulled Ennis's jeans down and grinned wickedly at what he found. "That sure looks painful, Ennis...reckon I can make that swellin' go down." He undid his own jeans so that he could take care of himself at the same time; he didn't want to be leaving unsightly stains on his jeans.

He went to work, wrapping his mouth around Ennis and sucking hard, which drew a groan out of Ennis. "Oh, fuck..." His head fell back to the ground as Jack lavished attention on him, wondering where on earth this had come from. Whatever had been bothering Jack before had clearly been resolved, and he was glad for it. He'd sorely missed how things used to be.

Jack ran a hand along Ennis's lower stomach, knowing that it would be enough to drive Ennis over the edge. Sure enough, he was rewarded with the thick, unique fluid running down his throat and into his heart, it seemed. As strange as that sounded to him, he felt it was true; Ennis had filled him up like nobody else ever could.

He bucked a few times until he himself was done and finally let go of Ennis, hearing the heavy breathing that indicated Ennis's happiness after what they'd just done. He had always loved making Ennis feel good like this, and was very glad that they were getting back on track. They might bitch at each other now and then, but in general they were okay. It felt like they were out of the storm at last.

"Fuck," Ennis gasped as Jack lay back down beside him, a smile on his face. "When was the last time we did that?"

"Couple of trips ago," Jack replied, pushing down the guilt as it reared its ugly head. He couldn't let that man into his thoughts when he was here with Ennis; this was the man he loved. "Anyway...don't wanna talk about that now."

"Me neither," Ennis agreed, and he turned onto his side. He gave a small smile and stroked Jack's cheek with one finger, taking in the deep blue eyes that he could just drown in. Those eyes had captured his heart so many years ago, and he wished that they could stay here forever.

He'd thought the same back in 1963, but then the snow came and ruined everything. If only they had been allowed to stay another month...would that have been enough to make him decide to stay with Jack? Could they have run off together if they'd just had a little more time? If only he'd had time to think and come to a decision...but it had been snatched away from him and now they were suffering for it.

Ennis shook his head and planted a kiss on Jack's lips, his hand now in Jack's hair. Jack sighed against his mouth and was truly glad that they were back to normal. Things weren't perfect, but definitely could be worse, so they were grateful for what they had. "Be right back, bud." Ennis got up and headed for the edge of camp to relieve himself, leaving Jack to stare after him.

He had decided that he wouldn't press the issue of living together, and that he wouldn't try to have any intense conversations with Ennis. It would just spell trouble and he didn't want that. He had enough stress down in Texas, and this was his way of escaping all of it. His heart belonged up in the mountains, with the shy, quiet cowboy he'd fallen for all those years ago.

Jack was seriously considering telling Ennis that he loved him, now more than ever. But he was so uncertain of the reaction. While he was sure that Ennis felt the same, he didn't think it would make things any better. They still might not be able to be together, and it would hurt even more than it did now. All he could do was wait for the winds of change to start blowing around them; to fix everything and allow them to save themselves before it was too late.