Chapter 13

August 13th, 2009

On Thursday morning, Ennis awoke early and found a pair of bright blue eyes looking at him. "Huh?" he asked groggily, blinking. Jack smiled and shuffled closer.

"Morning, bud. Woke up and saw you all peaceful...thought I'd just have a good look at you..." Ennis pulled Jack close to him for a kiss before rolling onto his stomach, head resting on his folded arms. Jack copied his movement so that they could talk. "You sleep okay?"

"Always do, next to you," Ennis replied. "An' after last night..."

Jack smirked. "It was pretty fun, wasn't it? Gonna label that tape as our first anniversary...something special."

Ennis nodded and sighed. "Jack...been wantin' to ask you somethin'. When we get back...are things gonna be different? It's been hard for us these last couple of months, since Junior came to live with us. Are they gonna get better?" Jack moved closer to him and kissed his cheek.

"Yeah, they are. Promise. I think...I might be able to sign those papers at some point..."

Ennis raised his head, looking taken aback but happy. "Really? Darlin'..." He kissed Jack again, but Jack looked hesitant.

"I don't know for sure yet, but I've been thinking about it. Could be that I'm not ready yet after all. I don't really know."

Ennis nodded, trying not to feel too disappointed. It was Jack's choice, after all. He couldn't force the issue if Jack wasn't ready. "Okay, bud. You know there ain't no rush for it."

"Right. And I wanna thank you for that, Ennis. I know it hasn't been easy for you, either. And...I just wanna say thank you for making it so easy for me despite that. Things were hard enough for me to get used to, but you made it a little easier." He kissed Ennis's shoulder and smiled at him. "So I think we're on the right track for me to be thinking about signing."

He leaned in close to Ennis, feeling the warmth radiating from his husband's body. He had always loved lying in bed with Ennis, ever since they had first gotten together in college. Remembering how small their beds were back then, he was glad that they had a double to stretch out in now. It had been fun to squash together when they were younger, but now they needed the space and comfort of a real bed that they could share.

"Jack?" Ennis murmured after a while, and Jack raised his head.


"You know how I told you that we might be able to have our own kid one day, somehow?"

"Yeah...and you said we oughta wait until Junior's older. I'm okay with that."

"Good," Ennis said softly, nuzzling him. "I was thinkin'...if we go through that artificial insemination...who would be the mother? Would the surrogate be the egg donor too? Or would they be two different women? I don't know about that stuff."

"I don't either, really. But...let's say it could be the same one. It would have to be a woman who we're close with, who lives nearby. Lureen couldn't do it, though that was my first thought," he admitted. "She's trying to make it as a dancer...she can't go getting pregnant now. And she lives in a different state. So..."

"Amy and Jessica," Ennis finished for him. "They're really the only ones who could do it."

"Ennis, I...when I bought your present, I ran into Jessica and we had lunch, remember? I mentioned the idea to her and she said that she and Amy would be open to it if we wanted to."

"Okay. I think they'd be our best option." Jack ran his hand up and down Ennis's back, thinking.

"Ennis...if we were to do that...who would be the father? Would we just flip a coin?"

"Guess so." Ennis yawned and Jack could tell he was falling asleep again.

"You wanna get some more sleep, cowboy?" he asked softly, and Ennis nodded. "Alright...I need to stretch my legs; I'm wide awake. I'll leave you to it, okay?" He kissed Ennis's cheek again and slowly slid out of bed, seeing that the sunlight was flowing through the curtains. He closed them so that Ennis could sleep and gathered his clothes, heading for the shower.

As he stood under the spray, he thought about their future together. He did still want to have a family with Ennis, maybe even a big one. Jessica and Amy were bound to be fair if they decided to do it together, and all four of them could be a family with whatever children they had. But for now, he was content with Junior and in bringing her up. He didn't even know if they were really ready for a child of their own yet; they still had so much to learn about being parents. He figured that bringing Junior up would teach them all of that.

I'd do anything for him, Jack realised as he thought of the man lying just beyond the door. Absolutely anything. He's done so much for me and probably doesn't realise it. I've got to do whatever I can for him.

He finished up in the shower and got dressed before emerging; Ennis was still asleep so he crept out of the room and headed for the kitchen area, needing coffee. As an afterthought, he slipped back into the bedroom to retrieve the video camera before leaving Ennis alone.

Jack sipped his coffee as he watched the video, smirking to himself and trying to keep his arousal down. They both looked good on film, he had to admit. And the sound was enough to turn him on; hearing Ennis moan like that brought back lots of good memories for him and he knew that what they had was something very special. They simply had to make this a tradition; one day their bodies wouldn't be able to cope with sex so they would have to have reminders of how good it was in their youth. He would remember everything about his life with Ennis.

Ennis awoke a little later, so Jack made him some breakfast and then they went for another walk. This was their last full day at the cabin and they had enjoyed it very much.

As they walked, they agreed that all of their future anniversaries would be spent by doing something special.

"Maybe not always to a cabin," Jack said as they walked along the trail that led to the lake, holding onto Ennis's hand. "But just go somewhere different. There's lots of places in the States that we can go...maybe even one day we'll see some other countries. We've got so many options."

"You're right," Ennis agreed, seeing how excited Jack was about this. He was nervous about flying but he didn't want to keep Jack in one place just because of that; it wasn't fair. Clearly, he needed to look into ways of keeping his food in his stomach when they were flying. "Maybe I could take somethin' for when we fly to places, so I won't get sick."

"Yeah, I guess. I hate to see you suffering," Jack told him, rubbing his arm. "Just think of where we could go for the special anniversaries...maybe one day we could go on a cruise..." They stopped when they reached the lake and Jack turned to Ennis. "I'd love to see the world with you..."

Ennis kissed him and then tugged at his hand. "Come on." He pulled Jack over to where they usually sat, and they huddled up together, Jack playing with Ennis's fingers and smiling to himself. They had been right; this trip had done them a lot of good and they both felt a lot better than before. It was as if the dark days of the past few months had been washed away and they could start over afresh. Everything was just so peaceful out here that he couldn't help but relax and forget about his own issues.

Eventually, they lay back onto the grass together and stared up at the sky, observing how it was free of clouds. "Hey, I had a thought," Jack said suddenly, sitting up. "What if we went camping sometime, maybe next year? We could sleep under the stars together..."

Ennis smiled, stroking Jack's arm. "Sounds...pretty good, Jack. Romantic, even..."

"Yeah. I mean, we'd have to be wary of bears and everything, but...we'd check out the area first online. Just to be on the safe side."

"Yeah." Ennis pulled Jack back down to him, Jack landing on his chest.

"Hey...we're too old for that," he said in mock protest, and Ennis shook his head.

"I ain't old, an' neither are you." He kissed the side of Jack's face and welcomed the warm weight on him. "Mmm..."

"Ennis...when I was in the shower this morning, I was thinking about our future. I'd love to have a big family with you, and the girls too. I think we'd be a great family."

"We would, Jack," Ennis agreed, rubbing his back. "Sometimes I wish...we could have a kid together. Just you an' me. I keep picturin' what it might be like if we could..."

"So who would carry it?" Jack asked, grinning down at him. Ennis shrugged.

"Well...I keep thinkin' it might be you. If you could carry my baby...I'd rub your feet an' bring you ice cream at three in the mornin'. I'd give you back rubs an' chest rubs...anythin' you want."

"Hmm...nice idea," Jack replied, kissing the tip of his nose. "Shame it can't work out like that."

"I know. I'd be good to you, darlin', if it could work that way."

Jack stroked Ennis's face with the back of his hand, a deep and unreadable look in his eyes. " already are good to me. You' husband, and despite what you might think, you're doing everything right to make me happy. If I make you half as happy as you-"

"You make me real happy, darlin'," Ennis cut in, gently covering his mouth. The intense moment passed and he sighed. "So...let's talk about when we get back. My mama wants to come an' see us sometime. I reckon Junior will like that."

"Yeah, first time meeting her. I know my parents loved her. Technically, they're her grandparents. Just like your mom and Alma's parents. Junior's lucky; she's got three parents who love her, and three sets of grandparents. I reckon that your dad would've loved her despite everything."

"Probably. But he was never gonna accept you an' me bein' together," Ennis reminded him, thinking of when he'd been disowned for being with Jack. "But...I had to make the right choice for me, like you always told me. I decided I wanted to be with you, an' he just couldn't deal with it. It wasn't your fault, Jack. Just the way things worked out."

"I know, bud. Still...I reckon that things worked out for the best. We ended up together, now we're married and planning our future. I'd say that things are as good as they could be even if he was still alive. I know it hurt you when he died...even though he never accepted us."

"Because he never accepted us," Ennis corrected him. "All I wanted was some approval from him. But even before we got together, he was pissed at me for leavin' the ranch to him an' goin' off to college. He was never gonna get over that. Just wanted me to stay there for the rest of my life, marry Alma an' have some kids. I would've died of boredom, Jack. Bein' with's the best thing that ever happened to me."

He ran his hand through Jack's hair as he spoke, every word coming out of his mouth the truth. He was so much happier with Jack than he ever could have been back in Wyoming, so he was grateful that he'd left and decided to go to Amherst to finish his education. Of all the colleges he could have gone to, he'd managed to pick the one that led him to his true love.

That night, Jack lay sleeping with his head on Ennis's chest after another good night together. They would be leaving tomorrow and were mostly packed except for anything they might need the following morning. The trip had been a success and they'd enjoyed it a lot, but were both looking forward to getting back home. Ennis wanted to see Junior again and he had a feeling that Jack did, too. Despite how Jack seemed to still struggle with having her around, Ennis could tell that he was trying anyway, and he appreciated it.

He looked down at his sleeping husband, who looked very peaceful and comfortable. They did like to sleep in this position now and then, and Ennis liked having Jack's warm body next to his. He was someone to hold in the middle of the night if Ennis got too cold or perhaps had a nightmare. It still happened now and then, but less so since his father's death. Ennis could remember feeling terrified that his father would hurt Jack for them being together, and he recalled Jack comforting him and making everything okay again.

He's always been there for me, Ennis thought to himself, stroking Jack's dark hair. Even when we were just friends...

A little later, Jack rolled away and ended up on his side, stretching out even in his sleep. Ennis gave him an affectionate look and decided to get up for a few minutes now that he could move. He wasn't sure why he couldn't sleep; maybe he was just nervous about the flight home; he'd been like that since he was a child, and the tendency for travel sickness had never really gone away as he'd grown up. Luckily, he had someone like Jack who would take care of him.

He slowly slid out of bed and pulled his jeans on, hoping not to disturb Jack as he silently left the room. He walked through the quiet and dark cabin towards the double glass doors next to the kitchen, and went out onto the back porch. The air was crisp and cool at this time of night and it was very tranquil, making him feel at peace.

Ennis sighed and settled into one of the wicker chairs, thinking. Maybe one day, they could buy a house and have a back porch of their own, and a garden for Junior to play in. But they didn't have the funds right now; Jack was doing well in his project but there was a lot of time left, and the only money available to them was Jack's inheritance, with a little of what they had earned before leaving Amherst.

Still, he knew that his future would be with Jack; that much was certain. He couldn't imagine living his life any other way now that they were together.

Jack padded barefoot through the cabin, wearing just his jeans and wondering why Ennis had gone outside. He'd woken up to find himself alone in bed and the door open, a slight chill creeping through the cabin. He knew that Ennis didn't sleepwalk, so he had no idea why his cowboy was awake. He had a blanket with him just in case it was cold outside.

He found Ennis in the wicker chair and cleared his throat. "Hey," he said softly, and Ennis turned to look at him. He'd hoped not to disturb Jack but it looked as if that was inevitable. Jack didn't look as if he minded, though. Ennis knew from experience that Jack could sleep just about anywhere, and could get by on less than six hours if he had to.

"Oh, hey. Come here..." Ennis motioned him over and Jack managed to squeeze into the chair with him, mostly sat on Ennis's lap. Neither of them cared; at least they would be warm and cosy.

"How come you're awake?" he asked, draping the blanket over them both. Ennis slid his arms around Jack's waist and squeezed him, glad now that Jack was here and they could talk.

"Dunno. Just couldn't seem to drop off. Thought I might be nervous about the flight tomorrow."

Jack sighed and rested his head on Ennis's shoulder. "I know, bud. Hate seeing you like that...but you'll be okay. I'll be there and I'll try to look after you." Ennis kissed the top of his head, grateful to him.

"Thanks, darlin'. You lookin' forward to seein' Junior again?"

"Yeah, sure I am. I'd like to spend more time with her, Ennis. Maybe then I could be ready to sign those papers."

"Great." Ennis hugged Jack close to him, warming up now that Jack was here. "I was just thinkin' of what it'd be like when we've got some money comin' in. day we could buy a house somewhere."

"A house? Really?" Jack asked, looking up at him. The moon was reflected in his eyes and Ennis had to admit it was a beautiful sight. "Like...with a garden and everything?"

"Yep. Junior would like that, an' we could do barbeques in the summer. An' we'd have a back porch, like this one. An'...I dunno, maybe we could get a dog or somethin'."

"A real family," Jack said softly, stroking his arm. "I'd like that."

"Hmm. I always wanted a family, just never thought it'd be like this.'s what I still want. I wanna be with you, Jack. Want a family an' a home with you." He leaned in and kissed Jack gently, knowing that Jack liked it when he was tender. They knew each other so well by now and it showed when they were together.

"Mmm," Jack sighed when they pulled apart. "Are we staying out here all night, or going back to bed?"

"Probably should go back's freezin' out here." Jack nodded and got up, and they went back into the cabin together. After they were settled in bed and Jack was curled up against Ennis, they simply looked at each other and played with each other's fingers until they fell asleep.

The following morning, they bid goodbye to the owner of the cabin and headed back to the airport, looking forward to getting home. This week had been exactly what they had needed, and had given them the chance to just enjoy some time together. They didn't often get that with the life they had back in Provincetown, especially now that Junior was with them. Ennis had a feeling that now they were going to be bringing her up, there would be more demands on their time. But he wasn't about to complain; they were fathers now and had to take on responsibility.

Jack noticed that Ennis still looked very nervous as they approached the airport. "You gonna be okay?" he asked, nudging him gently. Ennis nodded, but didn't look as though he believed it. It was simply too much for him to hope that nothing would happen, even though he knew that these thoughts would only make it worse.

"Think so...but don't know. We got a paper bag somewhere?" he asked, feeling like he would panic even more if they didn't have one.

"Yeah, there's a couple in my bag. We'll have them with us." He smiled at Ennis and continued driving, hoping for Ennis's sake that he wouldn't be sick. If they were going to make this an annual thing, they had to find out if there were ways of helping Ennis with the travel sickness. Jack made a mental note to call their doctor when they got back; perhaps there really was something that Ennis could take for his nerves so that he wouldn't get sick.

When they got to the airport, there was the usual waiting for a couple of hours before they could proceed. They sat down on a sofa together and read the newspaper, wondering if anything had happened since they had been in the woods away from everything. Neither of them had any missed calls or messages, so they figured that nothing drastic had happened.

Nevertheless, Jack called his parents and Ennis called the girls to make sure that Junior was okay. Amy reported that she was doing fine but clearly missing them. Ennis felt a slight pang in his heart and couldn't wait to be reunited with his daughter.

"Anythin'?" he asked when Jack finally hung up. Jack shook his head; his mother had been pleased to hear from him but had no family news.

"Nope, everything's fine. How's Junior?"

"Amy says she's missin' us, but alright. I miss her, bud..." Jack took his hand, squeezing gently.

"I know...and I miss her too. We'll be home soon enough, cowboy." He kissed Ennis's cheek and they resumed their reading of the paper. One or two things had happened in the week they'd been away, but nothing major. There was a new TV show coming on soon that they were intrigued by, but that was pretty much it.

At last, they were allowed through the gate and onto the plane. Jack was keeping a firm grip on Ennis's hand, letting him know without words that he was there. Ennis kept taking deep breaths as he tried not to panic, remembering everything that Jack had taught him about keeping calm. They got seated on the plane and Ennis took the aisle seat, not wanting to look out of the window.

"So...what are we doing when we get back?" Jack asked him, rubbing his arm. "Getting Junior and then just going home?"

"Yeah, sounds good," Ennis replied, nodding. He knew that Jack was trying to distract him from feeling sick, and he appreciated the effort being made. He honestly didn't know what he would do without Jack in his life, and he was glad that he would never have to find out.

When the plane took off, Ennis grabbed one of the bags out of instinct and Jack rubbed his back, bracing himself for what he considered the inevitable.

But to their delight, Ennis made it through take-off without even retching. He didn't even look pale. "Guess it ain't every time," he mused, looking at Jack.

"I'm glad, bud," Jack told him, nuzzling their cheeks together. "You know...since you're gonna be okay...I was wondering..." He met Ennis's eyes and made sure his intentions were clear. Ennis smirked.

"You wanna? In the bathroom?" he asked, and Jack nodded.

"Yep. As soon as they turn off those seatbelt and me are gonna have some fun." He leaned against Ennis as they waited, hoping that they could get up soon. Now that their arrangement was made, he was getting aroused and couldn't wait for them to be alone. Ennis felt himself stirring down below and bit his lip, praying that the lights would go off before he did.

When they could finally move, Ennis kissed Jack on the cheek and headed for the bathroom, not caring in the slightest if someone figured it out.

Within just a few minutes, he found himself in very close proximity to Jack, who had a gleam in his eye. "Hey, cowboy," he murmured, pushing Ennis to the wall and grinning. "Looks like I've got you trapped now."

"Mmm..." Ennis felt Jack's lips on his and that was it; he pushed Jack to the other wall and undid his jeans, feeling Jack do the same to him. They moaned in each other's mouths to keep quiet as they stroked each other to orgasm, breathing heavily and hoping that nobody would hear them. "God, I love you," Ennis breathed, his lips attacking Jack's neck.

"Me too," Jack replied, biting his lip and trying not to yell out. When it was over, he rested his head tiredly on Ennis's shoulder and sighed. "Well...maybe we cured your travel sickness by ourselves." Ennis laughed as they pulled their jeans back up.

"Maybe not...wish it was that simple." They kissed a few times before Ennis left the bathroom, trying not to look too flushed by the encounter. When Jack re-joined him in their seats, both of them looked very happy and pleased with themselves.

On the journey back to Provincetown from the airport, Jack noticed that Ennis was now falling asleep next to him. It was clear that the journey had tired him out, and they were yet to pick up Junior from their friends.

"Bud?" Jack asked softly as the town came into view. "We're nearly there. You gonna be able to stay awake?"

"Hmm? Oh...right." Ennis looked around groggily, yawning. "Gotta pick up Junior yet...can't go fallin' asleep."

"Well..." Jack started, thinking. "What if we get you home and into bed, and then I go pick her up? I don't mind." All through this trip, he'd known that he needed to make more of an effort with Junior. He'd promised Ennis that things would be different from now on, so he had to at least try. Besides, he did genuinely want to get to know her; she was a very sweet girl who clearly wanted to know him.

Ennis looked at him, taken aback by this offer. "You sure? I mean..."

Jack nodded. "Sure. I can bring her back home, it's no problem. Ennis...I wanna start doing more for her, and for you. We're...her parents and that's what we're supposed to do when we've got a kid. We're supposed to put her first...I know that."

"Hmm, you're right. don't mean that we don't love each other," Ennis told him, squeezing his fingers. "Just 'cos we can't neck on the sofa when she's around don't mean nothin'."

"I know, cowboy." They kissed a few times and then the taxi was driving through town towards their apartment. Jack sent a text to Amy to tell her that he would be picking Junior up within the next hour and the taxi finally reached their street. They both got out, stretching and yawning but glad to be back out in the fresh air. Being in the woods had been great, but they enjoyed the sea air of the coast more than anything else; it was almost like a permanent vacation in some ways.

The pair of them carried their bags up to the apartment, both of them glad to be home. "Sure did enjoy our time away," Jack mused as he rifled through the mail that had piled up while they were gone. "But I'm looking forward to getting back to work."

"I know, bud. How's your project goin'?" Ennis asked as he checked the landline for messages and missed calls.

"Good. I'm right on track to finish in October, like they wanted. Emily's real pleased with my work." He grinned at Ennis, who nodded his approval. He was very proud of Jack for doing so well. " still wanna take a nap while I get Junior?"

"Yeah, for a while." Ennis put the phone back and moved over to Jack, kissing him and stroking his cheek before pulling away. "Love you, darlin'."

"I love you too, baby." Jack watched Ennis walk towards the bedroom and smiled to himself; everything was working out for them at last. He grabbed his keys and headed back out to collect Junior, finally feeling like a parent.

He whistled as he walked the few blocks over to where the girls lived, enjoying the bright sunshine and the familiar sound of seagulls flying overhead. This was their home now, where they belonged, and now Junior was a part of it. They were becoming a family and that meant a lot to him. All he'd ever wanted was for him and Ennis to be happy together, and now they were.

When he knocked, the door was opened and a pair of arms was wrapped around his knees. "Jack!" He nearly fell over with the weight, but didn't care.

"Hey, Junior," he greeted the little girl, sharing a wide grin with Amy. "Good to see you, honey." She let him go and he headed inside, hugging the girls in turn.

"Where's Daddy?" Junior asked, and he ruffled her hair.

"He's at home; he was tired and wanted to sleep, so I'm here to pick you up. You wanna get your things?" She nodded and scampered off, leaving Jack with his friends.

"How'd it go?" Jessica asked as they waited.

"Good. It was great...nice place, good was amazing."

"Did you celebrate your anniversary in style?" Amy asked with a smirk on her face.

"I don't kiss and tell," Jack replied. "But...we had a good day. And night," he added with a wink.

"I'm glad you guys had so much fun," Amy told him. "You deserve it after these last few months. Think you'll be okay, with Junior and all?"

"Yeah, I reckon so. That's part of why I offered to pick Junior up. I could've left it to him when he wakes up, but...I wanted to do it. Wanted to see her, you know?"

"That's great, Jack. I'm sure he appreciates it." Junior came back with her bag and Jack picked up her suitcase, which was waiting by the door.

"Okay, Junior. Let's get you home. Has she eaten recently?"

"We gave her some breakfast; figured that you'd take care of lunch."

Jack nodded. "Alright. Come on, honey." They left the apartment and Jack took her home, part of him feeling complete now that she was around him again. He was starting to feel the paternal instincts that Ennis had always seemed to have, and the thought comforted him.

Ennis was still asleep when they got back, so Jack made some lunch for himself and Junior and they sat in front of the TV to watch an afternoon movie. It felt good to spend time with Junior by himself, as if he was receiving some kind of confirmation that he could do this by himself. If he could prove to himself that he could be a father without Ennis having to act as mediator, that would make him very happy.

Ennis woke up to the sound of two people laughing, and when he realised who it was his heart filled with happiness. His family were beyond the door, bonding at last.