Chapter 10

August 1st, 2009

On a bright Saturday morning, Jack was out in town trying to find an anniversary present for Ennis. They had agreed to buy something for each other and take the gifts with them to the cabin. Ennis was back at the apartment with Junior and talking to Alma on the phone; Jack would rather stay away from that anyway. He didn't especially like being around when Ennis spoke to Alma, but he really didn't want to be there right now.

After their interruption in the middle of the night the week before, things had been slightly tense between him and Ennis. There had been a couple of times when he was simply unable to go further than kissing, for whatever reason, and this had frustrated both of them. He loved Ennis so much still and he didn't like it when things were like this, but he was trying to work on it and knew that it meant a lot to Ennis.

One thing he knew was that they needed some time away by themselves, with no interruptions. He realised that this kind of thing could have happened if they had a child of their own, so he didn't understand why he was having so much trouble with it. They had come to an agreement that they could kiss and sit on the sofa together in front of Junior, but that was it. This was fair; Ennis made up for it when they were alone and their sex life was as amazing as ever when they weren't tense.

Jack shook his head as he walked down the street looking in shop windows, wondering what to buy for Ennis. He couldn't think about his internal issues just now; their anniversary was in less than two weeks and he was looking forward to it. He couldn't wait for them to be in the large pine bed and he knew that their nights there would be full of love and passion; they could recharge their batteries and rediscover their deep love for one another. Now he understood why his parents had always looked forward to their wedding anniversaries.

He was just looking at the window of a jewellery shop when he heard a familiar voice. "Jack!" It was Jessica, and she was smiling widely at him. He was glad to see a friend right now; someone neutral whom he could talk to who was a friend to both of them.

"Hey, Jess," he greeted her, kissing her cheek. "How're you doing?"

"I'm good. Just doing some clothes shopping while Amy's at work. Retail therapy's very therapeutic." He'd heard that before.

"Lureen says the same thing," Jack mused, smirking. "I'm trying to find an anniversary present for Ennis..."

"Right, that's coming up. You guys got your trip all planned out?" she asked; she and Amy had discussed it a few times and knew that their friends needed this time together.

"Yep, we're all set. We'll be taking a plane out to the nearest airport and then take a rental car to the area." Their plane would depart from Provincetown Municipal and land at the Edward F Knapp airport at Barre, so it was fairly straightforward. He'd always liked flying but he knew that Ennis still wasn't too comfortable with it. Still, they usually managed to distract themselves fairly well and he always took care of Ennis if he started to feel sick.

"How's Ennis about flying?" Jessica asked as she set her bags down for a moment. Jack shrugged; it had never really changed.

"Still not too good, but...we can always renew our membership to the Mile High Club," he answered with a grin. Jessica laughed.

"Good answer. So...what are you looking to buy for him?"

"I don't know...I was thinking maybe a watch or something. I know he said he needed a new one..."

"Okay, that's a good choice. I'm sure you'll make your time there very romantic, Jack. stuff..."

"And plenty of lube," he replied, and she rolled her eyes.

"'ve got a one-track mind at the moment." She looked over at the shop window he'd been perusing. "These look really nice."

"Yeah, they are." He eventually went inside and bought one for Ennis, sensing that his husband would love it.

They ended up having lunch together at a nearby café, and Jack took the opportunity to tell her about what had been happening lately.

"So...things haven't really been so good after that. We're kind of...tense...after that interruption. Or at least...I am," he added, picking at his food. Jessica sighed.

"It must be hard, having a kid around that's not yours. But you know...I'm sure that Ennis doesn't judge you for this. He understands that you just need time. And I bet that your time away together will help a lot."

"Yeah. You know...Ennis and I have agreed that maybe one day, we could have a kid together somehow. You never know...maybe we'll end up arranging something with you and Amy." They were his and Ennis's closest friends, after all, and since all four of them were gay there was no chance of any jealousy arising from spending time together.

Jessica smiled and nodded. "We'll keep that in mind. I'm sure Amy would be happy with that if we get to that point. But not yet; we want to have some time for our careers right now. We, uh...we've actually talked about getting married."

"Yeah? Well, we'd be happy to help with that. Just let us know." As much as he loved Ennis, he was glad to have a female friend around to talk to. He missed Lureen and knew that women were good at talking and listening.

As they ate, he thought about the present for Ennis and wondered what his husband would buy for him. Now that they were spending their first anniversary together, he was looking forward to what their time at the cabin would be like. One thing was certain; it would be exactly what they needed.

After he'd finished in town and bid goodbye to Jessica, Jack headed home to be with his husband and stepdaughter. He knew that technically she was, and it wasn't something he could deny. Even though he was yet to adopt her, he was still married to Ennis and that made him her guardian. And it also made his parents her grandparents, and he knew that they liked that notion.

He entered the apartment to see Ennis in front of the TV, flicking through channels and trying to find something to watch. He didn't seem to hear Jack come in and simply kept staring at the TV. Jack smiled and put his bag down before joining Ennis on the sofa. "Hey, cowboy."

Ennis turned and smiled at him. "Hey, darlin'...didn't hear you come in." He leaned over and they kissed, pleased to be together. "Did you get what you wanted?" He wondered what Jack had bought him but knew he would never tell.

"Yep, I did. Ended up having lunch with Jess; I met her in town. I was gonna text you but I ran out of credit..." He gave an apologetic look to his husband.

"It's okay, bud. I know you like havin' lunch with yer friends now an' then. We don't hafta spend twenty-four hours a day together, Jack. You enjoy yourself?"

"Yeah, it was good. And she said that she and Amy are thinking of getting married, like us."

Ennis smiled; he fondly recalled their wedding on the beach and how it had been the best day of his life. "That'd be good. Maybe we could help 'em out with that." He did like weddings and it felt good for them to be married legally; he wanted that happiness for their friends too.

"Yeah. Where's Junior?" Jack asked, looking around. Ennis sighed and put an arm around him. Jack settled against him, starting to relax.

"She's drawin' in her room. Reckon we've got a few hours to ourselves..." He gave Jack a look. "But...we can't start goin' at it out here, Jack. You know that." He took Jack's hand and looked into his eyes. "Bud...just 'cos we can't do it out here with Junior around...that don't mean I'm turnin' you away. An' you know it don't mean I don't love you. I hope you know that..."

"I know," Jack replied softly, kissing his hand. "I really do, Ennis. And I'm sorry about that day when I got pissed off. I'm learning, Ennis...and I think I'm getting better." He smiled and nodded. " it okay if I...spend some time with Junior?" he asked, feeling like he wanted to be around her right now.

"Sure, go ahead," Ennis told him, smiling back. Jack got up and headed for Junior's room, knowing that he had to make this effort. Ennis watched him go, feeling happy that Jack was doing this. Whatever Jack needed to do to get through his issues, Ennis was willing to help. They needed to work together on this and he just wanted Jack to be happy.

Jack entered Junior's room, feeling nervous. He knew that she wanted to bond with him, and he hated that he'd been keeping his distance. This little girl needed both of them. "Hey, Junior," he said to her, seeing her look up at him.

"Hi, Jack. I'm drawin' outta my book," she told him, and he sat down beside her, wondering how to act around her. He'd watched Ennis a few times and hoped that he'd picked up on something.

"Right...sure looks good." He watched as she concentrated on each part of the picture in the book before reproducing it on her paper, and he had to admit that she had talent for it. He hadn't really known that until now.

A few hours later, all three of them were in front of the TV and Ennis was wondering what they should have for dinner. He knew it was Jack's turn and had a feeling that Junior would be getting hungry soon. He gently nudged Jack, who was half-dozing next to him. "Hey...bud?"

"Hmm? Oh...time to make dinner?" he asked, looking at the clock. Ennis nodded.

"Want some help with it?" he offered, but Jack shook his head.

"No, I'm good. What d'you want?" Ennis shrugged and then looked at his daughter.

"Junior, what d'you want for dinner?" he asked her, and she blinked at him.

"Um...dunno. Can we have fries?" Jack nodded and ruffled her hair.

"Sure, Junior. I'll make some burgers or something." He kissed Ennis on the cheek and got up, heading for the kitchen. Ennis was pleased to see how his husband was bonding with his daughter, and looked at Jack affectionately.

Despite Jack's statement that he could make dinner by himself, Ennis found himself getting up anyway to be with him. He sat at the kitchen island and simply watched as Jack flipped the burgers. "I'm glad that yer doin' okay, darlin'."

Jack smiled at him, relieved that Ennis could see the effort he was making. "Thanks, cowboy. It won't be easy, and it's gonna take a while...but I am trying."

Ennis got up and stood behind him, wrapping his arms around Jack's waist. "I know, baby," he murmured in Jack's ear. "I know you are..."

He nibbled at Jack's neck a little while Junior was distracted, making Jack grin and squirm. "Ennis...gonna burn dinner if you don't get off me..." Ennis relented and let him go, planting one last kiss to Jack's cheek.

"Alright, bud. Gonna get you later, though." He walked back to the sofa, leaving Jack with a grin on his face.

As he prepared dinner, he thought about their upcoming anniversary trip and what they might get up to while there. They would have to buy fresh supplies of candles and massage oils, not to mention a large bottle of lube. The very thought sent shivers down his spine. He wondered how much sex they were going to have over their week away, and he couldn't wait to find out.

Two days later, Ennis was making breakfast for the three of them. Jack was still in the shower and Junior was still asleep, so he liked having a few moments to think. Life often became hectic and they had busy days, so a little time to himself was welcomed. Junior wasn't a difficult child to manage, far from it, but she took up a lot of their energy.

There was just a week left until he and Jack departed for their trip, and he couldn't wait. They needed some time alone together to just focus on each other, and this was the perfect opportunity. Junior would be spending the week with Amy and Jessica, so everything was sorted. Both women had talked about having children one day, so they were happy to gain some experience.

He and Jack had planned a date tonight, just the two of them. He knew that it was important for them to spend time together to keep their marriage alive, and he was willing to do whatever it took. And they would have the apartment to themselves when they got back; the connotations of this always put a grin on his face as he thought of what they might get up to and how they would make each other feel.

"What're you smirking about?" asked Jack from the doorway, making him jump. Ennis exhaled as his heart rate went up, turning to Jack. Damn, he looks good, he managed to think even in his shock.

"Jesus, Jack...don't do that." Jack smiled and kissed him on the cheek.

"Sorry, bud. So what were you smiling about?"

"Um, our date tonight. Just thinkin' about...when we get back..." He looked into Jack's eyes and he understood what Ennis was trying to say. A smile played around his lips.

" thinking about that stuff already? Not even eight yet."

"Well..." Ennis shrugged. "Always thinkin' of you, Jack." He watched Jack pour himself some coffee and looked back down at what he was doing; Jack had a certain skill of distracting him just by being there and looking good enough to eat. Maybe he could do that when they got back.

His cell phone rang on the counter and he picked it up. Seeing that it was his mother, he motioned to Jack to keep an eye on the food while he spoke to her. Jack took over while he answered it. "Mama?"

"Hey, Ennis. Sorry to disturb you at this time..."

"It's okay, we're just makin' breakfast. What's up?"

"Well...I was thinkin'...would it be okay if I came up an' visited you sometime? I haven't met Junior yet, an' I'd like to see you an' Jack."

"Oh...okay. Well, can I just ask Jack? He's right here."

"Sure." Ennis put the phone to his shoulder to ask.

"Jack? My ma wants to know if she can come an' visit us sometime. Wants to see the three of us."

"Sounds great," Jack replied, nodding. They hadn't seen her for quite a few months and he was grateful to her for accepting their relationship and giving Ennis the love of at least one of his parents. Ennis put the phone back to his ear.

"We're lookin' forward to it, mama. But you an' Jack are goin' away next week for our anniversary." Jack smiled at these words, thinking of the cabin and the large pine bed in there.

"I remember you tellin' me. What if I came up a couple of weeks after?" she asked, checking her calendar. "Lureen tells me that things are goin' well for you guys now."

"Yeah, they are. An' that sounds fine. Just...let us know when you've got a flight, okay? One of us will pick you up from the airport."

"Okay, honey. I'll let you get back to your breakfast."

"Okay. See you soon, mama."

"Bye." They clicked off and Ennis looked at his husband, who was smiling at him.

"Looks like we got another visit comin'," he said, and Jack nodded as Ennis carried on with the eggs. Jack stepped away and thought for a moment before speaking.

"Yeah. And I'm glad, Ennis. She always accepted who you are, and that you love me. I know you would've loved it if your dad had accepted it, but..."

"It's okay," Ennis replied, shaking his head. "I've still got her...and I don't think he ever would've come around." Jack sighed and slid his arms around Ennis's waist, squeezing him gently. He knew that it sometimes got to Ennis how he'd never made peace with his father.

"Maybe not...but still. Everybody deserves two parents who love them." He thought of Junior, who actually had three. He did love her, in his own way, but he didn't feel like her father yet. That would come with time.

"Can't believe there's just a week until our trip," Ennis said as he came back from getting Junior up. Jack nodded, dishing the food out onto three plates.

"I know. Seems like only yesterday that you had the idea to go away together." Jack smiled at him. I'm really looking forward to it, bud. Reckon we need it."

"Yeah." Junior soon emerged from her room and they ate together as a family, Ennis enjoying the feeling of having here the two people who meant the most to him. He was starting to find a balance between being a husband and a father, and knew that he was doing something right because they were both happy.

Jack was looking forward to their date tonight; they were going for a meal and then to the movies together, and he remembered that it was how they had spent their very first date so long ago. They hadn't been for a meal back then, had simply grabbed snacks at the cinema, but still. Both of them loved going out for an evening and then coming back to make love through the night. It sounded like a perfect evening to him, and he knew that Ennis felt the same.

When Ennis finished work, he stopped by Amy and Jessica's apartment to say goodnight to Junior and then headed home to get ready for his date with Jack. He knew it was important for them to do this regularly and he was more than happy to.

Entering the apartment, he could hear Jack moving around in their bedroom and smiled at the thought of what they would be doing tonight. He loved seeing Jack's eyes sparkling with happiness at him and knew that he had it bad for this man.

He opened the bedroom door slowly and as quietly as possible, hoping not to scare Jack too much. Jack remained oblivious as he did up a cleaner pair of jeans, but was startled when he felt a pair of strong arms wrap around his waist. "Hey, bud...didn't hear you come in..."

"Mmm." Ennis kissed his cheek and ran his hands over Jack's smooth chest. There was just something about Jack's masculinity that attracted him immensely, and he'd long since stopped caring about that. He was gay, and that was just all there was to it. "You look good..."

"Ennis...I'm half-naked," Jack pointed out, laughing. Ennis nodded.

"I know..." Jack soon got the message and sighed.

"You sure you wanna go out? Sure you don't wanna just throw me down on the bed right now?"

"I'm sure," Ennis replied, kissing him once more and then letting him go. "Somethin' to look forward to, though."

"You bet, cowboy." Jack pulled out a deep red shirt that Ennis had bought him for one of his birthdays. "Reckon I'll wear this bought it for me, remember?"

"I sure do...I've always loved spendin' birthdays with you. An' Christmas," Ennis added. "Remember the first birthday I spent with you, back in college when we was just friends an' you had that crush on me?"

"Yep, the boots. hugged me afterwards. That was the first time I was ever in your arms...and I liked it...I loved it, Ennis," Jack told him, smiling. "I never dared to hope that you'd ever feel the same way."

"Well...we're here now," Ennis replied, placing his hands on Jack's shoulders. "An' that's all that matters." He kissed Jack a few times before going to get changed, leaving Jack smiling widely to himself.

They eventually got to the restaurant and shared a seafood platter; it was their favourite item on the menu and they liked sharing food together. Jack kept running his foot up and down Ennis's leg and smirking at him, clearly thinking about the night ahead.

"You know...I was thinking. If this table had one of those really long tablecloths on it, the kind that touches the floor, you know what I'd do?"

"What?" Ennis asked warily, wondering what on earth Jack was plotting in his head.

"I'd get under it...undo your jeans and suck you off. We could make it a game...see how crazy I can get you without making too much noise." Jack grinned and Ennis shook his head.

"What am I gonna do with you, Twist?" he asked, and Jack shrugged.

"I'm sure you'll think of a suitable punishment," he replied. He had always loved hitting on Ennis like this and knew that his husband loved it just as much, even though he didn't always have the confidence to give it back.

"So...when we get back tonight...what d'you wanna do?" Ennis asked him, and Jack gave him a look. "No, I know that...but how? Dunno about you, but...I'm thinkin' we could do somethin' different tonight."

"Like what?" Jack asked, tilting his head to one side in puzzlement. Ennis took a deep breath.

"Well...I was thinkin'...could we it in front of the fire tonight? We ain't done that in a long time." It was a very romantic way of making love as far as he could see, and the look in Jack's eyes told him that this would be very welcome.

"Oh...okay. That sounds great, Ennis. I'd love to." He leaned over the table to kiss Ennis, their lips meeting and moulding together perfectly like two pieces of a puzzle. When they broke away, he nuzzled Ennis's nose and smiled softly at him. "It sounds romantic, bud..."

"Yeah..." Ennis breathed a sigh of relief; he'd never really been the kind of person to talk openly about what he wanted regarding sex, but he was getting better all the time and he figured that it was Jack's influence on him. Either way, he was glad that he could make Jack happy.

Afterwards, they went to the cinema and picked a movie at random, choosing to make out at the back instead. They weren't the only couple with this idea, and they were once again very thankful that they were living in such an accepting town. They saw same-sex couples everywhere they went; some even had children with them. Jack was adjusting to having Junior in their lives, and he kept reminding himself that Ennis loved him very much, even though they'd had to make a few changes. So they couldn't do much more than kissing when Junior was awake and could walk in on them, but he was starting to see that it didn't matter.

"Mmm," he moaned as Ennis opened a few of his shirt buttons and slipped a hand inside, feeling his warm stomach. "That feels good..." He trailed a hand down and squeezed Ennis's crotch, grinning when he felt Ennis groan into his mouth.

"Jack...wish we could go all the way here..." He bit his lip as Jack drew away, his eyes glittering.

"Who says we have to wait until the movie's over?" he whispered, looking so tempting that Ennis was unable to protest. He had to have Jack soon and couldn't wait for much longer; they needed to get home before they did it right here on the floor.

With no more words, he grabbed Jack's hand and practically dragged him outside and to the car, hoping not to break any speed limits on the way home.

Ennis had no idea how he'd managed to drive home with the swelling in his jeans, not to mention the sound of Jack breathing heavily next to him. It took all of his willpower not to look at Jack as they neared their apartment; he knew that one look would undo him and he didn't want to cause an accident.

Finally parked in the garage down the street, they jumped out of the car and headed to the building, stopping to kiss a few times in shadowy corners.

"I want you," Ennis breathed in Jack's ear, wondering if he could last until they got upstairs. Jack took a few breaths and grabbed his hand.

"Come on." He managed to get them inside and up the stairs, fumbling with his key as Ennis pressed up close behind him. He could feel Ennis's erection against his ass and bit his lip, finally getting the door open.

Ennis put the fire on as Jack retrieved a few blankets from the linen closet, both of them eager to get this started. Jack thankfully remembered to grab the lube from the bedroom before heading back out; that was the key ingredient for tonight. As soon as everything was arranged, the two of them locked eyes and moved in close together, mouths meeting. Ennis held Jack close to him, feeling such need for this man that he thought he would burst. "Darlin'..." They sank down to the blankets and their clothes came flying off, their hard muscled bodies sliding together and their skin on fire where they touched each other.

Ennis laid Jack down on his back, seeing how the light from the fire made his skin glow and how it shone in his blue eyes. Jack just looked perfect to him, and Ennis held Jack's face in his hands.

"I love you," he breathed, leaning down to kiss his lover deeply. Jack kissed him back and wrapped his legs around Ennis's waist.

"I love you too...come on..." Ennis settled himself into position and smoothed the lube over himself, fumbling slightly in his eagerness to connect their bodies. When he was ready, he pushed in and watched Jack's eyes slide shut in pleasure. "God...Ennis...never get tired of this..."

"Me neither..." Ennis sank down onto him and pulled him close once more, rocking Jack in his arms as he started to thrust. Jack held on for dear life and moaned softly in Ennis's ear, spurring him on as his hips moved smoothly forward, pushing deeper with every thrust until he couldn't get any further. "Jack...always feels so fuckin' good with you..."

"Same to you, baby," Jack murmured, eyes closed and mouth open as he held on, appreciating that Ennis was holding him so tightly out of love, like he wanted every part of their bodies to be touching. Their immediate burst of need for each other had simmered down now that they were making love, and in its place was a slow rocking motion that was everything he loved.

It only took a few more thrusts for Jack to slip over the edge, bucking and moaning in Ennis's ear and whispering over and over that he loved him. Ennis soon followed suit and sank down onto Jack and the blankets underneath them, breathing heavily. He pulled out but couldn't otherwise move, and Jack simply wrapped his arms around his back, kissing his forehead.

"Ennis...that was amazing...perfect even..." he breathed, turning his head to look at the dancing flames and sighing. Ennis nodded and slowly ran a hand over Jack's chest; it was covered in sweat and come.

"Hmm..." He lowered his head and licked everywhere he could reach, not minding the taste at all; he loved it in fact. Being with Jack, another man, had always been messy, and he'd never had an issue with that. There was just something about the presence of these fluids on Jack's chest that made him feel proud; like they were a testament to how much they loved each other and how good their sex life was. He and Jack had done this together, and it gave him a warm feeling in his stomach.

Jack started laughing as Ennis licked him, grinning. "Ennis...I'm ticklish, remember?"

"Yep, I do," Ennis replied, a wicked look in his eyes. They weren't their usual shade of brown right now; they looked darker and very seductive. He outstretched his hands and Jack saw what was coming.

"Don't you dare," he warned, but he was unable to move with Ennis's weight on him. With Jack at his mercy, Ennis started tickling him and making him squirm. "Ennis!" he laughed, trying to get away but to no avail. Ennis was pleased to hear Jack laughing, especially after the lovemaking they'd just done.

When he finally took pity on Jack and stopped, he looked down at his lover's face. Jack's cheeks were pink and his eyes were sparkling up at him in the firelight; a sight that always reminded Ennis of just how much he loved this man. He smiled softly down at Jack, stroking his face.

"Love you so much, darlin'," he murmured, and Jack leaned into his touch, looking peaceful and content. Ennis had made him feel so happy tonight, and he was more in love than ever.

"Right back at you, baby," he replied, and with one more lingering kiss Ennis rolled off him to the side. They gathered the blankets together and got comfortable in front of the fire, Jack curled up in Ennis's arms and feeling so safe that he just wanted them to stay like this forever. Ennis rubbed Jack's back until he fell asleep, thinking that he could hear Jack purring like a cat in pure happiness. He smiled and closed his own eyes, feeling that this evening had been everything he hoped it would be and more. It was the best night together they'd had in a while, and he promised himself that they would have more like this in the future.