February 5th, 1984
A couple of days later, Ennis had gotten used to the strange turn of events. Jack had stayed with him all the time since his appearance, and remained in the trailer when Ennis went off to work. Ennis was happier than he had been lately, but his cough was getting worse and he was starting to move slower than usual. Nobody said anything to him and that was just fine. He didn't want sympathy, even though people meant well when they gave it.
When he returned from work, he found Jack sitting around and reading his Saddle catalogue or watching TV. The sight warmed his heart; it gave him a glimpse of what could have happened if he'd said yes to Jack. It did pain him a little to know this now, but at least they would be together properly soon. Just a short amount of time and it would all be over at last.
He hadn't seen his girls yet, since they were busy themselves, but he knew he would have to before the week was up. They deserved to know that he wouldn't be around for much longer. Not only that, but a plan was forming in his mind that he only trusted Junior with.
It was Sunday now; he and Jack were sitting on the bed together and talking. He did yearn to do more with Jack than just kiss, but it wasn't possible. He could wait; they would have eternity to spend together and that was a reassuring thought. All of that time with Jack, with nobody to hurt them or tell them it was wrong. Part of him couldn't wait.
"Jack?" he asked, squeezing his lover's cold hand. Jack turned to look at him. He was happy, even though it was strange.
"You said...that there's a reason why Lureen lied about what happened to you. Um...you ready to tell me?" Part of him suspected what had happened, but he needed to hear it from Jack.
Jack sighed and sat up a little. "Okay. The thing is...Lureen knew about us. And that wasn't the only thing. You knew about me goin' to Mexico, but that wasn't all. Remember me tellin' you about seein' the ranch foreman's wife? Well..."
Ennis looked away; he'd known it for a while. "Jack...I guess I knew as soon as I figured out about Mexico. An' I get why you didn't tell me the truth."
"I didn't wanna lose you," Jack told him, wanting Ennis to face him again. "I knew you'd flip out if I told you. Ennis...I lied to you, that evenin' after we had sex the first time. I am queer an' I've always known it. Sorry I had to lie..."
Ennis shook his head; he didn't need to hear an apology. "Water under the bridge, Jack. Was kinda my fault that you did all that stuff, huh?"
"If we'd been together, then I never woulda done that stuff," Jack told him earnestly. "I swear...I woulda been faithful."
"I know, bud. So, um...about Lureen? She knew?"
"Well...after our last trip I went home, an' I did some thinkin'. I couldn't live like that anymore an' I didn't wanna keep meetin' that guy either. I wanted you, so I...I decided to tell Lureen everythin' an' move up closer to you, to Wyomin'."
"You were gonna move up here?" Ennis asked in disbelief. If Jack had done that then maybe they might have had a chance. But it was too late to know now.
Jack nodded. "Yep. So about a week after our trip, I called it all off with that guy an' decided to tell Lureen. She took it okay, I guess. Didn't cry or yell at me, but she was weird. Barely spoke to me except about the divorce. I stayed in the spare room after that while I wrapped things up."
"How come you didn't let me know you was comin'?" Ennis asked. Jack shrugged.
"I wanted to surprise you. Maybe it was better that I didn't, considerin' what happened a few weeks later. I was lookin' at places to live an' everythin', willin' to give you time."
Ennis half-smiled at him, nodding. "Okay. So...?"
"So the week before I died, Lureen asked me if you were the only guy I ever...you know. I told her everythin', an' she was upset by that. When you called her, she had decided to cover everythin' up for her dignity. She didn't want anyone knowin' why I got killed. They were mechanics from town, an'...I dunno, they must have seen me with that guy. They followed me out of town an' into the fields."
Jack sighed when he had finished his story, wondering how Ennis felt about all of this.
"How many guys, Jack?" Ennis finally asked, trying not to hurt too much. "Just tell me."
"Well...there was the guy durin' my first summer, then you. Couple on the rodeo circuit before I met Lureen. Then there weren't any more until I found you in Riverton. You made me hope that we might have somethin' so I decided to wait it out. Didn't do anythin' until I turned up at your house an' you drove me away. That's when I went to Mexico. After that...i went down there a couple times a year."
Ennis nodded. "So, then what?"
"Then I started thinkin' about how dangerous it was, so I decided to stop. That's when I met the ranch foreman."
"Jack, I...I don't wanna know the details," Ennis told him, shaking his head. Jack nodded.
"Fair enough. All that matters is what's happenin' now. I'm with you, like I always wanted. An' when you die, we're gonna be together. I love you, Ennis." He smiled widely, squeezing Ennis's hand. Ennis nodded.
"Love you too, Jack." They kissed and Ennis got up to use the bathroom, leaving Jack alone to think. They had been through so much in their lives, but now everything was coming together and they would be okay.