Chapter 15

July 4th, 1963

It was Independence Day, and the two young cowboys were sat near the fire talking about how they usually spent the holiday.

"My mama makes this cake, an' all our relatives come to see us through the day. I've got some cousins about my age, so at least I've got someone to talk to," Jack was saying, eating one of Ennis's biscuits. "When I was younger we'd play all day, runnin' around the fields. But you know how it is...people just grow up in the end. The guys all wanna go into the rodeo or run off to get married. The girls tend to find a guy of their own an' run off too, but some wanna be barrel racers."

Ennis was listening intently, liking the sound of Jack's voice as he reminisced. They were sat close together, close enough for him to feel Jack's body heat. They'd never had sex outside the tent yet; he'd been too scared of Aguirre catching them. But the sun was starting to set and Jack had talked him into staying in camp tonight to celebrate the day; perhaps he could be a little more adventurous. Just a week ago, he'd sucked Jack off for the first time and loved it; he was becoming slightly more confident at this.

"Anyway, what about you?" Jack asked, turning to look at his friend. Even though Ennis was fairly quiet, Jack still loved to hear him speak. He'd heard Ennis whisper things in his ear when they'd made love and it was so arousing to him. "What do you usually do today?"

Ennis shrugged. "Not much. This is my first since K.E. got married an' left me on my own. Last year, we was on that ranch in Worland I told you 'bout. The owners gave us a day off for it an' they had food out like yer mama. People would be drinkin', an' dancin', but...I never liked all that so I was in the corner all night." He knew that Jack was giving him a sympathetic look but pressed on. "We watched the fireworks an' then went back to the bunkhouse where we was stayin'."

"What about when yer parents were alive?" Jack asked gently, knowing that this was a delicate subject for Ennis.

"I was always real quiet anyway," Ennis replied, thinking about how this had increased after what he'd seen at nine years old. "Never really got into it. My dad always said it was just a way to get folk to spend their money, an' he never saw the point of it."

"Guess he wasn't patriotic then," Jack said, hoping to raise a smile. Ennis nodded.

"Not really. We always lived hand to mouth, Jack...couldn't afford to get into all that."

Jack nodded and decided not to press him for information. He knew it was a feat that Ennis was saying so much as it was. "Right."

They dozed off after this, Jack resting his head against Ennis's shoulder and curling up. Ennis smiled down at him and rested his head on top of Jack's, their hands finding each other.

A few hours later, a distant booming woke them up. They jerked awake in time to see fireworks going up in the distance. Jack grinned and stood up, watching them.

"Guess those are in Signal or somewhere close," he said as Ennis came up behind him. He turned and smiled up into Ennis's face. "Happy 4th July, Ennis."

"You too, Jack," Ennis replied before leaning in, drawing Jack into his arms and kissing him deeply. Jack was taken aback by his boldness but wasn't complaining. It felt somewhat romantic to kiss while the fireworks were going up and Jack was in heaven.

They pulled apart and Jack ran his hand down Ennis's chest. " wanna make some fireworks of our own?" he asked lightly, peering up at Ennis seductively. Ennis grinned and started pulling him towards the campfire, hands reaching for his buttons. "Wait...what about the tent?" Jack asked, knowing that Ennis was scared about being caught, literally, with his trousers down.

Ennis pulled Jack's shirt off and threw it to the ground, becoming aroused when he saw Jack's bare chest. "Wanna do it here, Jack. Near the fire, with them fireworks goin' wanna?"

"Hell yeah," Jack replied, all hesitation gone. He ripped Ennis's shirt off and they sank to the ground, kissing fiercely. He toed his boots off and saw Ennis doing the same as the fumbled for their zippers, eager to feel skin on skin.

In record time, Ennis had Jack on his back near the fire and was gazing down into his eyes, applying the grease to himself and revelling in the fact that this beautiful creature was all for him right now. He loved to be inside Jack, fucking him deeply while they kissed and touched each other, and now was the time.

He pushed into Jack in a single stroke and heard a groan. "Oh God..." Jack wrapped his arms and legs around Ennis as he was taken quickly, unable to protest even if he'd wanted to. The rhythm was quick and slightly forceful, but he loved it and tilted his head to the side, allowing Ennis to attack his neck.

Ennis knew he wouldn't last long, not while this aroused and while Jack felt this good. All it took was a few thrusts before he felt himself coming, shooting deep into Jack and practically growling in his ear. He felt sticky fluid hit his stomach from Jack and collapsed on top of him, panting and seeing stars.

"Fuck," Jack breathed. "We didn't last long, but...that was fuckin' good..."

"Or good fuckin'," Ennis replied, grinning into Jack's neck. Jack started laughing at Ennis's quip, heart lifting at how comfortable they were together. Maybe, just maybe, there was a chance for them. When Ennis pulled out of him and their eyes met, Jack knew that he would never love another as long as he lived.