Chapter 14

August 16th, 2009

By Sunday, Ennis and Jack had settled back into their normal routine after their week away. As fun as it had been to celebrate their anniversary together and spend a lot of time in bed, there was a serious side to it. They had spoken about the future and how things would be different from now on, and it showed. Jack was spending more time with Junior by himself and he was enjoying it.

Also, he and Ennis were closer than ever. They had agreed to have a date night once a week on a Friday or Saturday, just the two of them. And they had decided that each of their anniversaries would be spent by doing something special. They were building a future together and they loved planning what would happen.

The next major occurrence was Ennis's mother coming to visit. She wanted to see them and Junior, and on Sunday Ennis was talking to her on the phone to find out if she had a flight yet.

"I've got one, Ennis. It's next Friday at noon. It'll only take about an hour."

"Sounds great, ma. We're lookin' forward to seein' you again. An' I know Junior wants to meet you."

"I'd love to meet her, too. was your trip? Did you enjoy your anniversary?"

"Yeah, it was great," he replied, not wanting to go into detail. The tape they had made was labelled as their first anniversary and safely locked away in their bedroom with the others they had made over the years. It was always fun to watch them when they were in the mood; it got them aroused and ready to go at each other. Those were the good nights.

Jack was smiling to himself as he made lunch, listening to Ennis talking to his mother. He knew that Ennis was remembering their nights in the cabin but didn't want his mother to know the details. That was understandable; one day Junior would learn about sex and become curious about their private life. It was a conversation that parents were never ready for; he had some embarrassing memories of "the talk" himself.

But there was a long way to go yet before they would have to do that; Junior was still very young and there was time for them to work out how to approach the questions she might have for them.

"So, I guess I'll pick you up from the airport," Ennis suggested with a glance at Jack, who nodded. He could look after Junior well enough by now; he liked spending time with her.

"Okay, Ennis. How are you an' Jack doin' now?"

"We're fine, ma. I know it hasn't been easy these last few months, but that trip was exactly what we needed. Jack's been spendin' more time with Junior than before, an'...if it's possible, I love him even more than I did." Jack looked back at Ennis as he said this, a smile playing around his lips.

Can't believe he said that, Jack thought to himself, going slightly red as he turned his attention back to the food. He's always saying that he doesn't have the words to tell me how he feels...why can't he see that he really does? Jack knew he would never understand that one; Ennis simply didn't see it in himself and he might never do so.

Still, he was very happy with the way things were. Ennis made him happy and they had a family together. That was all he needed.

"Okay, so we'll see you soon," Ennis was saying to his mother. "I think Jack's nearly done with lunch."

"Alright, honey. My best to him an' Junior."

"Yep, bye." Ennis hung up and sidled over to Jack, kissing his cheek. "My ma sends her best to you."

"I heard what you said to her...about loving me even more than you did," Jack replied, nuzzling him. "You mean that?"

"Sure did. I'm real glad that things worked out, Jack. For a while I...I was worried that they wouldn't. That it'd be too hard for us to get through it."

"It didn't happen," Jack said softly, turning towards him and putting his hands on Ennis's shoulders. "Things are gonna be okay." He leaned in and kissed his husband, slowly so that they could savour the moment. Ennis parted his lips willingly so that Jack could push his tongue inside, exploring the warm mouth that awaited him. They kissed for several long moments before finally pulling apart to breathe, and were a little stunned afterwards. "Damn," Jack murmured, grinning slightly.

"" Ennis nodded and turned to look at the food. "Um...this done now?"

"Uh, yeah, pretty much," Jack replied. Both of them were a little flustered after such an intense kiss, but they had enjoyed it. They turned away from each other and Ennis went to set the table, trying to hide his grin. He had always loved kissing Jack, and following their trip together it felt like they were in a second honeymoon. He knew in his heart that he would never tire of being with Jack.

Junior woke up soon after, which gave them a good distraction from their lust for one another. They knew what would happen; their feelings would simmer underneath the surface for the rest of the day, ready to explode when they were in bed later.

The day was largely uneventful, with the three of them watching TV for most of it and the two men giving each other a look of longing. Junior was oblivious to this as she sat between them and watched the cartoons that were on. They felt like a real family now, and Jack kept thinking about the papers that Alma had given to them; all it would take was one little signature and he could begin the process of becoming a real father to Junior. As he looked down at the little girl by his side, he knew that he was well on the way to that.

After about half an hour of slow and emotional lovemaking, Ennis was lying on his back with Jack on top of him. He'd been on the receiving end tonight, and Jack had been so gentle with him that he'd thought he could melt right there. As much as he loved being inside Jack, there was definitely something special about letting Jack top him; the feeling was unlike anything else. After all, their very first time together had been like that, back in college. It was a precious memory that had been etched into his mind.

"You enjoy that?" Jack murmured, running a hand over Ennis's chest. He could feel the strong muscles of his man under his fingers; the ones that turned him on every time he saw them. Despite having not worked on a ranch for a number of years, Ennis was still in good shape and Jack figured it was something to do with all the exercise they did together.

"Sure did," Ennis replied, stroking through Jack's dark hair and loving its velvety texture. He loved every part of Jack; he just seemed so perfect. They were still deeply in love with each other despite the shakiness of the past few months. The trip to Vermont had worked wonders for them, allowing them to just be together with no demands on their time and nothing to distract them.

Jack raised his head and looked down at him. "You know...I'm looking forward to seeing your mom again. She was always nice to us back when we were in college. Remember?"

"Yeah, I do. An' she didn't care what my dad thought...she just accepted us anyway an' came to see us. Bet it wasn't easy for her..."

"She did it 'cos she loves you," Jack told him quietly, stroking his cheek. "People will do anything for someone they love. I know I'd do anything for you, bud."

Ennis smiled back at him. "Darlin'...same to you." Jack bit his lip, wondering if he should voice these thoughts. But they had promised to always be honest with each other no matter what.

" know I'd never ask you to choose between me and Junior, right? Or that I'd ask you to get rid of her. You know that?" he asked, as if suddenly afraid that Ennis might think he would. "I'd never do that to you."

"I know, baby," Ennis said softly, running his hand through Jack's hair. "But thanks for sayin' it anyway. I could never choose between you two...I love you both."

"Right. And I'm starting to love Junior too, so...I'll never ask you to give her up for me. We're finally starting to become a family..."

"We sure are." Ennis pulled Jack's lips down to his for a few sweet kisses, and could hear Jack making a soft moaning sound. "Love kissin' you," he murmured.

"Mmm...yep." Jack nuzzled their noses together and sighed, resting his head on Ennis's chest. "I've gotta say, Ennis...I always knew we'd be happy together. Didn't think I'd be as happy as this. Didn't even know I could be this happy. You know what I mean?"

"Yeah, think I do. Especially with how hard it was for you to come out, an' then havin' a crush on someone who you thought was straight. I know it wasn't easy for you..."

"Wasn't so easy for you, as I recall," Jack replied, lazily trailing his fingers along Ennis's skin. "When you nearly kissed me in the locker room...I'll always remember that. You walk fast, you know."

"Yeah. For me, it was just too much to hope that you'd be interested in me. Even though by then I knew you're gay, I just...I thought it was too good to be true. That's part of why I talked about movin' out of the room an' then I just ran off. Didn't know how to deal with it."

"I know you didn't, cowboy. First time you had feelings for a's bound to freak anyone out. But you came back...and look what happened."

"Yeah..." Ennis smiled at his husband, love blazing in his heart for this man. Every day, he was grateful that he had decided to go back to the room; it had led him to a lifetime of love and happiness. Nothing could tear them apart now.

"You know what I was thinking?" Jack asked after a few minutes of silence. "Maybe next summer, we could take Junior somewhere. Like Disneyland in Florida or something. Think she'd like that?"

"Yeah, reckon she would. I'm glad that you're bondin' with her, Jack. It's all I've wanted since she came to live with us...just to see you sittin' with her makes me happy."

"I'm really trying, Ennis. Think I'm getting better at it all the time. And you know...she's a great kid. I've tried to hate Alma for springing this on us, but I can't. She did what she had to do to keep that guy she wants to marry. He must mean a lot to her for that...she gave her kid to her gay ex-boyfriend and his husband. I mean, I've heard what it's like out there, Ennis. Lureen told me...they don't like it when someone's different, like us. And they don't like women to have kids out of wedlock. Bet it wasn't easy for her to bring Junior up on her own."

"Probably wasn't. But...she can start over now with that other guy an' maybe he'll make her happy. I want that for her, even though it won't be with me. I'm happy, so she deserves it too."

Jack smiled up at him, nodding. "You're a good man, Ennis. Don't let anybody tell you any different, you hear me?" He rolled off Ennis and yawned. "Think I'm gonna try and sleep now...could you get the lamp?"

"Sure." Ennis switched the bedside lamp off and shuffled down, facing Jack and taking his hand. "Love you, bud."

"Love you too," Jack replied with his eyes still closed. Everything was working out for them now.

August 18th, 2009

On Tuesday, Ennis and Jack met up for lunch while Amy was looking after Junior. They had come to realise that they needed these moments to themselves if their relationship was going to work, which was what they wanted more than anything. It was very important for them to spend time together.

They sat in a small café on the front, looking out of the window at the boats on the water and the people swimming. Both of them loved living here and they hoped that Junior would too as she grew older.

"Always good weather here," Ennis observed, and Jack nodded in agreement.

"Yep. Hardly ever rains here...really different from West Virginia. And I bet Wyoming has some really bad weather."

"Sure does, especially in winter. Horrible stuff...sure am glad I don't live there anymore."

"Me too, 'cos otherwise it'd be damn hard for us to be together in peace. They'd probably run us out of town, or tie us to a fence and bash our brains in like that poor kid, you remember?"

"Yeah...kinda feel ashamed of comin' from there now after that. This is the best place for us, Jack. I know that much if nothin' else."

"Yep. Listen, I was thinking...isn't Junior supposed to be starting kindergarten next month? We talked about it a while ago..."

"Oh...yeah, you're right. We oughta go get her registered at the school. When could we do it? This weekend?"

"Yeah, that'll be fine." Jack smiled a little. "Listen to us, talking about this stuff. We sound like real parents..."

"We are," Ennis told him firmly, covering Jack's hand where it lay on the table. "We're Junior's parents an' that's just how it is. I like this feelin', Jack...always wanted this with you."

"Me too," Jack replied. "Hope she makes some friends. I know she's been playing with the other kids when we take her to the park, but I dunno if they're her age or they'll be in the same class. I don't even know how many kids are around here, to be honest."

"Bet there's more than you think. I reckon a lot are from the other parts of the bay, more around the curve, you know? Ain't a long drive, an' there's probably a bus or somethin'."

"Yeah. Well, I bet she'll be fine. She probably makes friends real easily. They do at that age, don't they?"

"Reckon they do. An' you can't help but love her. She'll be fine." They continued to eat their way through lunch, enjoying the bright sunlight flowing through the window and the sound of children laughing on the beach. Life was just so peaceful here and everybody was so accepting; it made it hard for them to believe that somewhere in this world, there were people who said their relationship was wrong and something to be ashamed of. They were glad that Junior didn't have to hear things like that.

After they'd eaten, the two of them decided to take a walk along the front together. They held hands and were greeted by other gay couples that they knew; everybody seemed to know everybody else and they had many friends here.

"Ennis?" Jack asked as they sat down on a bench together. "Before, when you said we should go on cruises and see the world...where do you want to go? Is there anywhere in particular you wanna see?"

"Um, yeah," he replied, nodding. "Like...I always wanted to see Australia. An' New Zealand...places like that. What about you?"

"Dunno. Maybe...Italy, Spain, Greece...lots of sun there. That'd be good, I reckon."

"Yeah. That'd probably have to wait 'til Junior's in college, though. Could take a few months."

" that's at least another thirteen years away," Jack lamented, resting his head against Ennis's shoulder. "Oh well..."

"Good things come to those who wait, darlin'," Ennis told him, kissing his forehead. Jack nodded.

"Yep, that's true. I waited for you back at the dorm room that night, and you turned up."

Ennis smiled, squeezing his fingers. "An' I'm real glad I did, Jack. Don't like to think what mighta happened if I hadn't. I mean...would you..." His throat felt tight but he knew he had to ask this. "Would you be...with someone else by now?"

Jack rubbed his arm. "Probably," he said softly. "But I wouldn't have had any other choice. You would've been gone, probably back with Alma. And I wouldn't have wanted to be alone, so..." He shook his head. "Don't think about it, Ennis. Won't do us any good. We're together, and everything worked out like it was supposed to." He smiled up at his husband, kissing his cheek. "Can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you."

"Hmm." Ennis leaned in and kissed him, reassurance flowing between them. Jack felt good in his arms, and it made him feel like he was exactly where he was supposed to be. There was a ring on Jack's finger that he'd put there himself, and a ring on his own that Jack had placed, only last summer.

Unfortunately, their time was coming to an end and they had to return to work, so Ennis walked Jack to the point where they normally said goodbye and turned to him. "Wish we didn't have to do this," he sighed, both of his hands holding Jack's.

"I know, bud. But just think...a couple more hours and we'll be seeing each other again. We'll pick up Junior, go home, have dinner and watch TV. And then...well..." He shrugged and grinned, leaving his sentence open. Ennis liked the prospect laid out before him.

"Sounds good to me." He pulled Jack close and kissed him a few more times before finally breaking away. "See you later, bud."

"Bye," Jack replied, watching Ennis walk away from him. He then smiled to himself and headed back to the clinic; it was okay for them to be apart during the day. They would have the entire night together and that was all that he cared about.

Ennis closed the door behind him and turned to Jack, who was smiling at him. "Alone at last..." he murmured, and Jack moved closer to him. This was his favourite time of day, when they came together to make love and enjoy each other's bodies.

"Yep...been looking forward to this all day..." He pressed himself close to Ennis and kissed him, working his tongue between Ennis's lips and drawing a sigh out of him.

"Mmm...come on..." They moved around to their respective sides of the bed and watched closely as they undressed. Ennis could feel Jack's eyes on him and blushed, knowing what Jack was thinking. He'd always felt comfortable to be naked in Jack's presence; Jack was always paying him compliments.

They got under the sheets and Jack rested on his elbow, looking down at his husband. " wanna?"

"Yeah, but...I wanna talk to you 'bout somethin' first," Ennis said, hesitating slightly. " know how you're always sayin' what you like about me? I mean...why you're attracted to me?" He wanted to do this, and he hoped that Jack could help him through it. He still wasn't too confident at these conversations.

"Yeah," Jack replied, playing with his fingers. "You've got a great body, bud. Why d'you ask?"

"Well...I've been thinkin'...I've never really been able to talk to you about...that. What I like about you..."

Jack nodded; he knew that Ennis sometimes struggled with voicing these things and sensed that Ennis wanted to give it a go. "Okay...we can work on that." He ran a finger along Ennis's chest. "Just tell me what you like about me."

"Um, well..." Ennis turned onto his side and looked over Jack's body. "You,'re in great shape, Jack. Real...muscly, you know?"

"I guess. You like those muscles, cowboy?" Jack asked, smiling at him.

"Yeah. An''s real smooth. I like...runnin' my hands on it." Jack could sense how shy he was, so he decided to help.

"I noticed you like running your hands through my hair, too. Guess you like that."

"Yeah,'s nice. An'...yer neck. I like...kissin' you there." Gaining confidence, Ennis slid his hand over Jack's waist and to his ass. "Like this bein' inside you." He squeezed a little and felt his crotch stirring. Just touching Jack like this got him aroused.

"I noticed that," Jack replied with a grin. He then took Ennis's hand and lowered it to his crotch, which was swelling by now. "What about that?" he whispered, looking into Ennis's eyes. He nodded.

"Uh huh. Not bad at all, bud." Ennis exhaled, relieved that he'd at least made a good attempt at this. Jack kissed his fingers.

"See? Wasn't too hard, huh? Now then...I'm thinking we can stop talking and start fucking, what d'you say?"

Ennis smirked, liking the notion. "Sure. How?"

"Wanna ride you," Jack murmured, kissing Ennis's jaw. "Wanna ride a bull..." Ennis's eyes were half-closed as Jack kissed his skin, enjoying the sensations running through his body. He nodded and rolled onto his back, Jack following and straddling him.

They looked at each other in the semi-darkness, Jack switching on the bedside lamp so that they could see each other. "I love you," he whispered, feeling Ennis's strong muscles under his hands. "And if you ever need help with anything like that again, I'm right here."

Ennis nodded, hands resting on Jack's hips. He could see for himself how aroused Jack was, and the thought sent volts of electricity through him. Jack grabbed the lube and started smoothing it over Ennis, watching his face as he touched him. Ennis bit his lip and prayed that he wouldn't shoot before they got going; he wanted to be inside Jack when it happened.

At last, Jack was lowering onto him and being filled up, both of them breathing heavily as their bodies connected. It was as if they were a perfect fit for each other; like they were meant to be doing this. When Jack was seated and comfortable, he took hold of Ennis's hands and laced their fingers together.

They began a slow rocking motion, Ennis pushing up as much as he could and Jack taking it all, enjoying the look on Ennis's face. His eyes were closed but his mouth was open, and he looked as if he was in a completely different place. Jack smiled at seeing him like this, knowing that it was them and their love that did this.

Jack let go of his hands and leaned down, into Ennis's arms. Ennis held him close as he thrust inside him, kissing Jack all over his face and occasionally catching his lips. Love was blazing in his heart as he felt Jack squeeze him, muscles contracting. Jack had his lips on Ennis's neck, right on the pulse and feeling his heartbeat. "Ennis...feels so good, baby..."

"Uh feel good," Ennis managed to reply, head tilting back. His hand dipped between them to take hold of Jack, jerking him off in a quick and efficient motion. Jack groaned and shuddered against him, unable to stop moving.

With a few more thrusts, Ennis was shooting deep into Jack but still moving. Jack bucked and moaned in his ear before finally rising up and shooting right at the headboard, just above Ennis's head. He fell into Ennis's arms, breathing heavily and gasping.

"Damn," he breathed, feeling Ennis slip out of him. "That was a good ride."

"Sure like that, darlin'?" Ennis replied, kissing his forehead. Jack nodded.

"Yep. You know that saying, Ennis? Save a horse, ride a cowboy." He grinned when he felt Ennis laughing underneath him and joined in.

"You're crazy," Ennis told him, rubbing his back. "An' I love you for it." Jack smiled and sank further down onto him, unable to move.

"Think I'm gonna go to sleep right here...not too heavy, am I?" he asked, and Ennis shook his head.

"No, you're fine. I like havin' you there...kinda like a warm blanket."

"You sweet talker," Jack said, settling down. "Night, baby."

"Night, darlin'."

The next day, Jack finished work a little later than Ennis and hurried through the streets so that he could be with his family. He had sent a text to Ennis and knew that his husband would start dinner as a result, so at least everything would be taken care of. When they had taken their jobs they knew that this could occur, and it was okay for them as long as Junior was looked after.

However, when he entered the apartment he couldn't smell any cooking. He spotted Ennis on the phone and looking very distracted; Junior was in front of the TV.

"You just took me by surprise is all, Alma. Didn't expect to hear from you." Alma? Jack thought to himself. What does she want?

He walked over to Ennis with a questioning look on his face, and Ennis took his hand, squeezing it in greeting. "No, it ain't a problem. But you oughta know we don't have the room for you to stay with us. You'd have to book a room at a hotel. Okay...when d'you wanna come?"

Jack decided to leave him to it, and walked over to sit with Junior. "Hey, honey," he said to her, and she smiled at him.

"Jack, my mama called Daddy! She wants to come an' see me!" Jack nodded, digesting this information. He and Ennis had only just gotten back on track after the shock of finding themselves with a child; he wasn't sure if they were ready to have Alma around so soon. But it wasn't fair to deprive Junior of her mother either, not after having to be separated.

" know that if you come here, you'll have to see me with Jack. I don't wanna hurt yer feelin's, but if I wanna give him a kiss or hold his hand I'll do it. Especially in our own home. An' there's a lot of gay couples here, male an' female. We're good friends with two women who live near us, an' we leave Junior with 'em when we're at work. They're gonna do whatever they want even if you don't like it. So if you can't deal with seein' that..." He trailed off, and Jack was pleased to hear Ennis defending them and their friends. It was true; the residents of the town weren't going to censor themselves just because Alma might not like what they did. He didn't see why they should; she had no right to judge them.

Eventually, Alma seemed to have agreed because Ennis sounded a lot calmer. "Okay, then. That's...great. So you'll be here on the Sunday? Right. You want me to pick you up or...? Oh, okay. See you then. Bye." He finally hung up and came over to the others, flopping onto the sofa wearily. "She wears me out, that one. Never did like havin' to talk to her."

"So she's comin' here?" Jack asked him, and he nodded.

"Yep, wants to see Junior. She's comin' on the thirtieth for a few days, an' she'll take a taxi from the airport."

"Heard you warning her about having to see us together, not to mention all the other gay couples around here. You were right; we shouldn't have to hold back just because she doesn't like it."

"She's really religious," Ennis reminded him. "They think it's a sin over there. Still, it's different here. We're legally married, for God's sake."

"And you can bet that if she says anything in front of Jess or Amy, they'll give her a real talking to," Jack said, grinning. "If only Lureen could be here too; she wouldn't know what hit her."

Ennis laughed a little. "Yeah. She just married that other guy, an' he's stayin' with his folks while she comes to see Junior. She might not get chance once she starts havin' his kids. An' I bet his folks don't like her comin' here at all."

"Not our problem, Ennis. So...I wondered why there wasn't anything cooking. I guess she phoned before you could start, huh?"

"Oh, yeah. I'll get started..." Ennis made to get up, but Jack pulled him back down and got his phone out.

"Don't worry about it; I'll call for a couple of pizzas." He got up and went to place the order, leaving Ennis with his daughter.

"You lookin' forward to seein' yer mama again?" he asked her, and she nodded.

"Yeah. Is she gonna remember me?" Junior asked, seeming genuinely concerned. Ennis figured that to a five-year-old, two months was more like two years. He put his arm around her and kissed the top of her head.

"She will, honey. She's lookin' forward to it, too. An' you can show her that you like livin' here, right?" Part of him wanted to show Alma that he could give Junior a better home life than her; at least nobody would be narrow-minded about his relationship with Jack here.

When the pizza was delivered, the three of them ate their way through it all in front of the TV, watching a game show and then a movie until it was Junior's bedtime. Both Ennis and Jack were pleased for her that she could see her mother again, but they also knew it could be very stressful for them.

"We've just gotta stick together," Ennis was saying as they sat on the sofa, stroking Jack's hair as he held him close. "Stand our ground an' not let her get to us."

"I know. I reckon we'll be okay, Ennis. She can't do anything to hurt us now; we're way past that after our trip to Vermont. And...I know it won't be easy to have her around, but we'll manage." Even as he said this, Jack started to feel a niggling doubt in his mind. There was something there, something about Alma's trip that made him feel uneasy. But with no way of knowing what it was, he tried to ignore it and just focus on Ennis and Junior; they would need him to keep it together.