August 7th, 2012
Ennis and Jack were sat in their doctor's office, waiting for him to retrieve information on the different ways in which they could have a child. Jack was well aware that if they wanted one of their own, then Ennis would have to be the biological father because of his negative status. He didn't feel resentful, and if that was the only way then so be it.
Their hands were linked between them and Ennis kept running his thumb over Jack's hands, clearly thinking. He wondered how it was all supposed to work and he hoped it wouldn't be too expensive; they weren't exactly rich.
Still, he knew he wanted this. Ever since they had agreed to try to have a baby he had been looking forward to it. They really would make good parents and the child would still have a female influence because of their friends. Apart from Rachel, the child would also have Lureen at least whenever she visited. He wasn't sure about Alma; she was supportive of their relationship but it might hurt too much for her to see him have a family with Jack. That was understandable, and he didn't want to force her to be involved if she didn't want to.
"So..." Their doctor's voice distracted them as he came back into the room. His name was John and had been very good to them since their move here. He was keeping an eye on Jack's medication after their scare with the pancreatitis and Ennis was grateful for that. "You've chosen to have a child together and I've gathered information on your options." He sat down opposite them and fanned out the leaflets.
"What've we got?" Jack asked, leaning forward.
"Well, you're obviously unable to conceive naturally so you have two options. One is adoption, either with a child of someone you know who is putting it up for adoption, or by putting your names on a register and waiting for someone to call the agency looking for prospective parents. But I should warn you...same sex couples aren't exactly at the top of the list and it could take a long time for someone to pick you."
Ennis nodded, feeling the injustice. Too many people thought that gay people wouldn't make good parents. "What's the other?"
"That would be artificial insemination. You would choose a mother for the child, perhaps a close friend if you're short on cash. Hiring someone could get expensive and most people prefer asking someone they know because of trust. Now...Jack, I'm afraid you wouldn't be able to be the father because of the HIV, which means Ennis would have to be if you still want the baby to be related to you."
"We know," Jack replied, feeling Ennis squeeze his hand. "Whatever it takes...we can do it."
"Good. Once you've chosen a mother and everything has been signed, Ennis would have to regularly provide sperm and this would be injected into your chosen mother. Hopefully, she will be impregnated and you will have a baby."
"How many tries would we get?" Ennis asked.
"That depends on how many times the mother is prepared to go through this. A close friend will likely want to try as many times as it takes. According to law, you would have to pay her but the fees would be a lot lower than if you hired someone. But the details of the contract can be agreed between yourselves and her, whoever you choose. Once the baby is born, Jack would then adopt it as his own so that the two of you are its parents. However, you can allow the mother to still be part of the baby's life and for her to be referred to as the mother. She would have no parental rights to the child but I strongly recommend that she is still involved somehow."
"Right..." The only woman that came to Jack's mind for such a request was Lureen; they didn't know Rachel that well and Alma was out of the question. He knew that Lureen would be fair with them if she agreed. "So all we have to do right now is pick someone?"
"Yes. When you have, bring her in and we can get started with ironing out the details. It could be a long process, far more than just the nine months of pregnancy. But if you choose someone you can trust for this and everything works out, it should be smooth sailing."
"Okay," Ennis replied, nodding to himself. He then looked at Jack. "Guess we better go thinking about all of this."
"Yeah, we should. Thanks, John," Jack said to him, shaking his hand and taking the leaflets. Ennis bid goodbye to their doctor and they left, blinking in the bright sunshine when they got outside. "Got a lot to think about..."
"Yeah..." He looked around. "Wanna get some lunch?" Jack nodded and they linked hands again as they wandered down the street, looking for the first café they found. They knew the city very well by now.
They found one of their favourites and sat inside, rifling through the leaflets together. "Jack...I know we're all excited about doing this, but we should remember to think everything through before deciding anything," Ennis said to him, and Jack nodded.
"I know. I'm not sure about adoption, Ennis. It's great to give a home to a kid that needs one, but...you heard him. We could be on the list for years just because we're gay and nobody wants us to raise a kid because they think we're sick bastards..." He took a deep breath. "Well..."
Ennis smiled at him, liking how Jack could be so vocal about what he believed in. "Don't worry about it. We'll figure this out and have ourselves a kid. If we don't want adoption, then there's insemination. Let's look into that a little more when we get home, on the internet."
"Right," Jack agreed as the waitress came over, ready to take their orders.
When they got home, they sat on the sofa together and started looking on the internet for information about artificial insemination. While their doctor had described the basic procedure, they still wanted to know more about the legal side of it. Jack's family lawyer was now working with both of them as well so they could always ask him.
"I reckon it's our best shot," Jack concluded after a while, scrolling through. "At least then the kid would be related to one of us."
"Yeah...you sure you're okay about that?" Ennis asked, squeezing his arm. Jack looked over his shoulder at him.
"I really am. I know I can't have kids, Ennis. I've known that for almost eight years now. I've just had to deal with it as much as being positive. Besides...it'll still be ours together, with a friend."
Ennis nodded, and then began to think of something else. If he was soon to become a father, then should he tell his parents? They had been estranged ever since they had learned that Jack was positive, and despite Ennis's attempts to get everybody on the same page it just hadn't worked. They hadn't even attended the wedding, which had hurt the most for him. The death of Jack's father made him want to be close to his own parents, but he couldn't do that when they couldn't accept Jack.
"What are you thinking about there?" Jack asked, seeing that something was on his mind.
"My parents," he replied in a low voice. "Just wondering if I should tell them that I'm gonna be a dad." He cleared his throat. "I mean...they'd be grandparents. That's a big thing."
Jack put the laptop onto the coffee table and turned to face him. "Ennis...you said you didn't want anything more to do with them. I know we invited them to the wedding and they didn't even reply...but I thought that was it now. How long have you been feeling like you want to talk to them?"
Ennis should have known that Jack could see right through him, and lowered his head. "Since your dad died," he said quietly.
Jack looked at him in shock. "Ennis, that was two years ago. Why didn't you say anything?"
He shrugged. "Didn't think it would ever happen, especially when we had that scare and tried to talk to them again. When we stormed out a second time, remember?"
"Yeah, I do..." Jack grasped his hands. "You should have told me how you're feeling. I'm not gonna lie to you...part of me still hopes that you guys can work it out. I know you won't talk to them until they accept me, and I sometimes wish that it wasn't an issue. But if you really do want to at least try with them, you know I'll be supportive. I'm not going anywhere; as your husband it's my job to offer support when you need it."
"You wouldn't mind if I tried to talk to them? I know you don't exactly like them..."
Jack shook his head. "It doesn't matter. I'm thinking of you, bud. Besides...when we went to New York that first time, at first I wouldn't talk to my dad because of what he said to me when I caught it, and I certainly didn't like him then. But he apologised to me and said he wanted to know me. Okay, he was dying at the time, but still. He made the effort and I figured it was only right that I do my bit too."
"I still want them to apologise to you," Ennis told him firmly, squeezing his hand. Jack nodded.
"I know you do. And I'm grateful that you're standing by me like that, but I think you should at least try to bridge the gap. If you don't...I'm worried that you'll end up regretting it like I nearly did." He kissed Ennis softly on the mouth and rubbed the back of his neck. "You see what I mean?"
Ennis nodded. "Think I do. Thanks, darlin'." He smiled and kissed Jack again. "What would I do without you, huh?" he asked, and Jack grinned.
"Go crazy," he replied, nudging Ennis's nose with his own. "Anyway...let's get back to this." He picked the laptop back up and resumed his position between Ennis's legs, getting comfortable. Ennis liked having Jack leaning against him like that; he was always warm and cosy. He kissed the back of Jack's neck and peered over his shoulder at the screen.
Conversations like this were just one reason why Ennis loved Jack so much. They really could talk about anything because they were so close, and Ennis knew that Jack would never judge him for anything. He'd tried to be a good partner to Jack and make sure that he did his part in making their relationship work. He thought they were doing a good job because they were so happy, and he wished that his parents could see how it was all worth it despite the risks.
He was sure now that they would make great fathers and all they had to do was choose a mother. He had a feeling that Lureen would be their best option and he hoped that she would be willing to do it; they would be asking her to put her body through a lot over nine months and then give up her baby after it was born. Of course they would let her have as much contact as she wanted and would include her in the important decisions of the child's upbringing, but it was still a lot to ask.
But as they sat there, comfortably nestled together, Ennis felt sure that everything would work out. He did love Jack and was prepared to do whatever it took to make a family with him; it was what they both wanted.
"Love you," he said softly, kissing Jack's ear. Jack smiled but didn't reply; they didn't always need to. They each knew how the other felt even without words.
The pair of them spent the day in the apartment together, enjoying the rest of their day off. After lunch, they relaxed on the sofa for a while and slowly made out, keeping their hands above their waists because they didn't always need for it to progress to sex; sometimes kissing for a long time satisfied them until later on.
When they were watching TV and waiting for dinner to cook, Jack cleared his throat. "You know...there's one thing about all this that we haven't talked about yet."
"The mother," Ennis finished, knowing what he was going to say. "Well...I've been thinking. What about Lureen?"
Jack smirked. "Great minds think alike. I reckon she's our best option. We don't know Rachel all that well and she's got a boyfriend; he might not like her having a kid that isn't theirs. It's weird for some people and they can't always cope with it." He bit his lip. "We can't ask Alma...it's not really fair for you to ask her to carry your baby and then give it up to us."
"Yeah, I don't wanna hurt her like that," Ennis agreed. "Is Lureen seeing anyone?"
"Don't think so...she usually mentions stuff like that when we talk. I think she'd be happy to do this for us if we asked...she was always supportive of us, and...it's because of her that I didn't die when I got pancreatitis. If I'd been alone when I collapsed, it could've been hours until someone figured out I was missing. Probably not until the next day when I didn't turn up for work. I...I could've died that night if she hadn't been there. I know we're both grateful to her for that."
Ennis nodded, trying not to think about that night. He remembered Lureen's phone call and how he'd dashed around to get to Jack's side. He held Jack a little closer to him and Jack felt guilty. "Sorry...I know you don't like thinking about that."
"Was a hard time for both of us, even though it was just a few days," Ennis replied, resting his head on top of Jack's. "But I know what you mean. She deserves to be part of our family after everything she's done for us. But...she was your best friend before we met. Are you sure you'd be okay with her carrying my baby? Wouldn't it be weird for you?"
"Maybe at first," Jack agreed, playing with his fingers. "But at the end of the day...I couldn't carry your kid even if I was negative. And she can, so...I'll just have to deal with that. It's gonna be our kid anyway, even if we didn't make it together." He turned to smile up into Ennis's face, feeling a lot happier now that they were making plans. They were going to be parents. "It's fine, bud."
Ennis nodded. "What if...she can't do it? For any reason? What do we do then?"
"Try and find someone else. We could always ask Rachel, just in case she can." He thought for a moment. "Other than that...we could hire someone to do it. But it wouldn't be anybody we know and that could create all kinds of problems. What if they've got terms and conditions of their own, like wanting partial custody or demanding that the kid spends a certain birthday with them? That's not the way to bring up a kid."
"I know. Hope Lureen can do it then. If she does, we'll let her have contact as much as she wants." Jack nodded his agreement. "And I reckon we could let her have a say in the big decisions, like names and schools and maybe even colleges one day. She would be the kid's mother, after all."
"Yeah. I think every kid needs a male and female role model," Jack mused. "Especially if our kid turns out to be a girl. One day she'll need to know about...female stuff and that's not exactly something we know a lot about." He smiled. "But imagine us bringing up a kid together...teaching them how to walk and talk...birthdays, Christmas...wouldn't it be great?"
"Sure would," Ennis replied, smiling to himself. He could just imagine himself and Jack raising a child together. "What about our jobs? Could we both get paternity leave?"
"Probably, but I think we should ask our lawyer about that," Jack answered. "There's a lot of answers we'll need before we start this. So...about Lureen. I know she's coming over in two weeks to see us. Should we ask her then?"
Ennis nodded. "Yeah, I think so. Then we've got time to talk to Peter about all this. I'm sure he can tell us everything we need to know. And maybe we can tell your mom that she's gonna be a Grandma."
Jack grinned. "She'll love that. Look...don't worry about your parents. If you wanna see them, that's okay with me. I'll give you whatever support you need. And if you don't...it's up to you. Either way, I'm on your side. Alright?" He looked up into Ennis's eyes, into the warm brown gaze that he loved so much.
"Alright, darlin'," Ennis replied, and was about to kiss him when the timer went off. "Looks like dinner's ready," he added, reluctantly disentangling himself from Jack. When he went over to the kitchen, Jack stretched and thought about their plans. He couldn't wait for things to get started, but at the same time he was willing to take it slowly so that they could plan properly. He knew that everything would be fine for them, and he hoped that Lureen could help them.
He set the table while Ennis got the food out of the oven and started dishing it out for them; they worked well together and he knew it would be a great home for a child one day. Considering how the law had changed for people like themselves, he thought it was a good idea to take full advantage of it. And now they would be, because they loved each other.
August 3rd, 2012
It had been exactly three years to the day since they had first met, so Ennis and Jack had arranged to go out on a date since it was a Friday. They liked to go out together whenever they could anyway because they thought it would be good for them, but this was a special occasion.
When he got home after work, Ennis entered the bedroom to find Jack trying on a red shirt that he'd bought him for Christmas. "Hey, darlin'."
Jack grinned at him in the mirror and turned around. "Hey, bud. Good day at work?" They kissed and Ennis nodded.
"Yeah, kind of quiet, though. Probably a good thing since we're going out tonight. Don't wanna be on overtime."
"I know. What d'you think of this?" Jack asked, spreading his arms so that Ennis could see properly. Ennis nodded his approval, trying to ignore the slight pressure in his jeans.
"Yeah, you look...beautiful," he said softly, unable to keep a smile from his face. Jack's cheeks coloured and he turned to look at himself.
"Alright, then. What are you gonna wear?"
"Don't know..." Ennis opened up his side of the wardrobe and mused over what he could wear. At first he hadn't really understood why married couples on a date made so much effort to look good for each other, since they were already together and didn't really need to impress each other. But now he got it; dates were special nights for married couples, all about keeping the flame burning. Not that he and Jack had any problems; far from it. But he did like how they were still so interested in each other and wanted to make the effort.
While Ennis was deciding what to wear, Jack had finished and was in the living room, flicking through the paper as he waited. Some part of him was fearful of finding an article about Daniel Waters either escaping from jail or being released early, but there was nothing yet. He didn't know what he would do if that happened; they couldn't just leave because they had lives here now, and they were trying to make a family. They would just have to cope with it.
Jack grinned when he felt a pair of familiar arms circle his neck, followed by a kiss on his cheek as he smelt cologne. "Mmm, you smell good."
"You look good," Ennis replied in his ear, nuzzling the dark locks. "You ready to go?"
"Yeah, you bet," Jack replied, putting the paper down and standing up. He stared at Ennis, who was wearing a crisp white shirt that certainly worked well with his skin tone. He could also see Ennis's muscles quite clearly underneath and gulped, now feeling aroused. Ennis smirked.
"Cat got your tongue, Jack? You wanna skip the date and just go to bed?" he asked in amusement. Jack shook his head.
"No, we'll go out...but I'm gonna get you good later," he warned playfully. Ennis raised his eyebrows.
"I'll hold you to that," he replied as he put his jacket on and grabbed his keys. Jack led the way out of the door and waited in the hallway as Ennis locked up, and then took his hand.
"So, where we going?" he asked. Ennis smiled; he loved living in this city. They lived on Montague Street near the Columbus Park here in Brooklyn Heights, but because they both worked up in Manhattan they spent a lot of time there.
"Thought we'd go to that River Café near the Bridge," he replied. "We haven't been there yet and I heard it's romantic. Thought we'd give it a try."
Jack nodded, looking forward to it already. They arrived there by cab and Jack soon saw why Ennis had chosen this place. The whole place had a nautical feeling to it, being right next to the river, and he was taken aback by the main dining room when they were shown to their table; there was a spectacular view of Manhattan from here and since night was falling the lights were starting to appear in buildings. It really was very romantic here.
"This is amazing," he breathed as they took their seats, looking out across the water. "I can't believe we've never been here before."
"Well..." Ennis started, looking sheepish. "It's not exactly a cheap place. But since it's an anniversary I wanted to bring you here. Special night and all."
Jack smiled at him and they picked up the menus. "Well, it was a good idea. I love it here..."
Ennis saw the light in Jack's eyes and knew he'd done the right thing. "I won't ever forget the day we met," he said softly, and Jack met his eyes. "Wasn't all that happy and...you changed all that."
"You know what you've done for me," Jack replied, taking his hand. "You know I was lost and mostly alone...that I needed someone to take care of me. You did all that and...the time we were apart was just horrible." He would never forget that no matter how much he tried.
"I know, and I'm sorry for that," Ennis told him, squeezing his fingers. "But I swear...it won't happen again. I'm not going anywhere now, ever. Staying right by your side." He saw Jack smile and let go of his hand. Music started playing in a corner of the room and he saw a few couples get up to dance, one of them being two men. Seeing that nobody was batting an eyelid, Ennis nudged Jack gently with his foot. "You want to...when we've eaten?"
Jack looked over and then nodded. "Sure. Don't think we'll get thrown out; those guys sure aren't." It was not lost on him just how much things had changed around here since he'd left. He knew that hate crime was still going on around the city, but they hadn't been subjected to any of it. He figured that they would be safe as long as they stuck together.
The next day, Ennis and Jack had decided to stay in bed all morning together. It was a Saturday and they didn't have to work, but they were also worn out from the night before. Once they had got back and into bed, they just couldn't take their hands off each other. Jack had started by pushing himself into Ennis and making love to him slowly, which had been as enjoyable as ever. Then once they'd cooled down from that they had sucked each other off and then rubbed against each other to finish. It was as if they couldn't get enough of each other, and they were quite tired by the end of it.
Jack blearily opened his eyes and saw Ennis lying next to him, still fast asleep. He smiled as he remembered everything they had done last night, and blushed slightly. Ennis sometimes had doubts about his skills in the bedroom, but Jack had always thought of him as the best lover he could hope for. He saw to his own needs and to Jack's as well, was never selfish and always considerate.
"God, I love you," he whispered, stroking Ennis's curls as he slept. "Can't wait to have a family with you..." He pressed a kiss to the top of his husband's head and slid out from between the sheets, eyeing the many condoms they had used the night before. He grinned and went to dispose of them in the bathroom. He sometimes disliked how they had to remember to be so careful, but they had to live with that.
He blinked when he turned the light on, being used to the dark. All was quiet and the clock told him it was almost seven. It was light outside and he figured that the city would be waking up by now.
On his way back to the bedroom, he heard his cell ringing and realised that it was still in his jeans, which were on the bedroom floor. Praying that it wouldn't wake Ennis up, he crept back and pulled his phone out, taking it away from his sleeping partner.
"Hello?" he asked without having looked at the number.
"Honey, it's me," came his mother's voice. "Sorry to disturb you so early...were you still in bed?"
"Kind of...we were out last night. What's up?"
"Just wanted to know how things are going for you guys. I wouldn't call so early, but I'm off on a little trip later to see a friend over in Vermont. I'll be gone for a few days and I just wanted to say goodbye."
"Oh. Well, um..." He figured it was a good time to tell her. "Well...I talked to Ennis about having kids, and we agreed that we're ready. We're gonna do it." Even as he spoke, a grin unfurled across his face. "We're gonna ask Lureen to be the mother."
"Jack, that's great! I'm gonna be a Grandma," she said happily.
"You sure are. I'll let Ennis know you called."
"Alright. I'll talk to you when I get back. Bye, honey."
"Bye, mom." He hung up and headed back to bed, seeing that Ennis was still asleep. Guess I really wore him out, Jack thought to himself as he slid back in, turning to face his husband.
After a few minutes of looking, Jack noticed that Ennis was starting to stir. Any minute now, those deep brown eyes were going to open and pierce into his heart like they always did. "Morning, sleepyhead," he said softly as Ennis blinked until his eyes were open. "You sleep okay?"
"Mmmph," Ennis replied, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "Jack? Did you move? Thought I felt you leave the bed..." He couldn't explain it; he had sensed Jack's absence even though he'd been asleep.
Jack nodded. "I went to use the bathroom, then my mom called. My phone was in here; surprised it didn't wake you up."
"Guess you wore me out," Ennis told him, a smile forming on his lips. "C'mere..." Jack leaned forward and their lips met softly, moulding together like a perfect fit. "Mmm..."
"We can stay in bed as long as we want," Jack said to him, stroking his curls. "Only just after seven and it's the weekend."
"Yeah, probably a good idea," Ennis agreed with a yawn. "How's your mom?"
"She's off seeing a friend in Maine; that's why she called so early. I told her about our plans to have a kid; she seemed really happy about being a Grandma."
Ennis smiled as Jack shuffled closer to him, and he wrapped an arm around Jack. "I'll bet." He felt Jack kissing his neck, not in a sexual way but just out of affection. He loved it when Jack kissed him, wherever he did it. Those lips were just so talented and he knew he was very lucky. "That's good..."
Jack kissed his ear. "Just like kissing you...can't help it." He nuzzled their noses together. "Love everything about you..."
"Same to you, darlin'," Ennis replied, and then he yawned again. Jack heard his jaw crack and winced, rubbing it tenderly.
"Go back to sleep," he said softly, seeing Ennis's eyes starting to droop. "Reckon you need it after last night."
"Mmm..." Ennis fell asleep with a smile on his face. Jack couldn't really move now with Ennis's arm holding him securely, but he didn't really want to. He was happy to spend the next few hours just looking at Ennis, even if he didn't fall asleep. They were warm and cosy in their own bedroom, with nobody to disturb them and no reason to get up. The world could end around them and he wouldn't care as long as they were together.
I love you...wish there were stronger words to describe how I feel about you. I keep trying to show you every day...and I hope you know what you mean to me. Jack sighed inwardly and moved closer, curling up against Ennis's warmth and closing his eyes.