Chapter 9

July, 1970

It was the middle of summer, and the two men were enjoying the warm weather that it brought. Now that their lives had settled down after the holidays, they were eager to make the most of the summer. It reminded them of Brokeback, when they had been together every day during times like this.

Jack led the way up the hill with a grin on his face. "Come on, cowboy! Gonna be fun." Ennis was behind him, wondering why he'd agreed to this. Jack wanted to jump off the cliff into the river, naked, and he'd gone along with the idea. They may be nearing thirty, but Jack was showing no signs of slowing down. But that was what Ennis loved about him.

"Right behind you, bud," he called back as they neared the top. Once up there, Ennis became distracted by Jack starting to remove his clothes. "Um..."

Jack grinned further. "You gonna join me, or you just gonna stare?" Ennis shook his head and started stripping off, wishing that they could do more than just these trips. He wanted it so much, and it was all he could do to reassure Jack that he would do it if things were different. He hoped that Jack didn't think he didn't want to.

"Come on then," he replied, taking a few steps back. Jack stood next to him and they linked hands, bracing themselves for the exhilaration. "On the count of three..."

"One...two...three!" They started running for the edge hand in hand, and before they knew it they were flying through the air, down until they hit the water. Their hands lost their grip and even in their carefree state, they still felt like they'd lost something important.

Jack's head popped up from the water and he shook his hair out of his eyes. Ennis came up near him, expelling water from his mouth. Jack grinned at him. "Always did like doin' that with you," he told Ennis, swimming over to him. He put his arms around Ennis's neck and they floated there together, just enjoying the strange feeling of being in water. As men who lived on the land down below, this was the only chance they got to really enjoy nature and appreciate its beauty. But Ennis felt like all the beauty around him couldn't possibly compare to what he had in his arms.

He held Jack close to him, breathing in his scent and just sending up a prayer of thanks that they had found some way of being together, even if it wasn't often. After everything they'd been through, he didn't think that he would be able to live without seeing Jack at all. At least they were getting some time together.

He pulled his face away and looked into Jack's eyes, seeing the happiness shining in them. It humbled him to know that he was the one receiving that smile, and it made him feel like he was worth something after all. Jack always made him feel like that.

"This was fun," he said quietly, stroking Jack's face gently. There were times when he couldn't help but touch Jack, especially his face. It made this thing between them less about sex and more about tenderness and intimacy. It also made it about love, but he didn't know if he could ever admit that out loud. He so wanted to tell Jack that he loved him, but the words just didn't make it past his throat.

"Sure was," Jack replied, oblivious to Ennis's internal battle to say three little words. "I love bein' out here with you." It was the closest he'd ever come to telling Ennis the same three words, and he figured it was a start. "Hey...you remember back on Brokeback, when we jumped off that bridge into the river, an' we did it in the water?"

Ennis smirked. "Sure I do. You sayin' you wanna?"

"Well..." Jack nibbled at Ennis's earlobe. "Sounds like fun..."

"You'd hafta take it dry," Ennis warned him, knowing it would hurt that way. "Ain't got the lube here."

"It's okay," Jack reassured him. "The water might help..." Ennis nodded and hitched Jack's legs up, where they wrapped around his waist. Now Jack was clinging to him and gazing into his eyes. Ennis guided himself through and found his way in, pushing into Jack slowly while feeling the water swirling around them. It was an unusual feeling, but every bit as wonderful as when they did it on land.

When they were ready, Ennis started thrusting as best he could in this position, and the look on Jack's face told him that he was doing the right thing. They moved together slowly, hands roaming and lips meeting. Jack was running his tongue all around Ennis's mouth, exploring it like he wanted to count his lover's teeth. Ennis gave back as good as he got, and he wondered what it might be like if their tongues caught twisted together. He didn't really want to choke, and he didn't want that for Jack either, but he had to wonder.

"Mmm," he moaned, sliding his hands down to Jack's ass and taking hold of it as he thrust. Jack sighed into his mouth and could feel himself rubbing against Ennis's stomach with the buoyancy of their movement. "Oh God, darlin'..."

He let out a groan and shot into Jack hard, making him buck his hips. He came between them and it washed away in the river. They stayed where they were, sighing and gently caressing each other in the way they did after sex. They both felt like they were in a vicious cycle; they made love because they missed each other when they were apart, but after a week of it, they missed each other even more. There was nothing they could do but just go along with it, because they needed this more than anything else. They were in love, and even if they could never say it, they could show it.