Chapter 11

April 3rd, 2010

On Saturday, Jack was sitting on the sofa and eagerly awaiting Ennis's return. Six months was a long time and he couldn't wait to have Ennis back with him. He was keeping his ears peeled for any approaching footsteps outside his door, aching to see Ennis's face again.

He jumped when there was a knock at the door; Ennis must have gotten in by himself. Jack got up and opened the door; his heart leapt when he saw that beloved face once more. "Ennis..." he sighed, grinning. Ennis put his things down and pulled him close, not caring who might see.

"Darlin'..." he whispered, embracing Jack tightly and feeling lighter than he had in months. Neither of them was aware of someone watching them from the stairwell, eyes narrowed in dislike and suspicion. When they went inside, their observer disappeared from sight; Ennis had no idea that he'd been followed.

"How was the trip here from the port?" Jack asked as he turned to face his lover. Ennis shrugged; there wasn't much to tell about that.

"Long, I guess. Even more so because I knew you were waiting for me." He smiled and planted a kiss on Jack's lips, stroking his cheek. "Feels damn good to be back."

Jack grinned. "You're always welcome here, Ennis. You know that." He allowed Ennis to pull him close again, breathing in his scent. "Mmm..." This felt good, and he'd missed feeling like this.

"I missed you so much. It was hard to be without you at Christmas and New Year's...and now we can't even spend our anniversary together..."

"I know. But we still get to spend some time together, right? And you know I love you." He smiled at Ennis when they pulled apart. " remember what I told you, right? No matter what happens, I'll always be there for you. I won't ever let it get to a point where you've got nowhere to go, I promise."

Ennis nodded. "Thanks, Jack. I really appreciate it, bud. So...what's on the agenda for tonight?"

"Well..." Jack started, trailing a finger over Ennis's shirt. "I was thinking of a romantic dinner to celebrate you coming back, with candles and wine and everything. Then maybe we could put some music on and," he added, eyes sparkling. "And know...we'll go to bed," he said simply, making Ennis smirk. That sounded good to him.

"To sleep?" he asked playfully, and Jack grinned.

"Not until I'm done with you for one night," he replied seductively, leaning in to kiss Ennis again. He loved it when Ennis held him tightly; he'd missed this so much. "Ennis...there's something I wanted to tell you. Nothing bad," he added quickly when he felt Ennis tense up. He pulled away and took Ennis's hand. "But I want you to hear it. Come here..." He led Ennis over to the sofa and they sat down, Ennis looking puzzled.

"What's up?" he asked, wondering what was on Jack's mind. He hadn't expected this just yet.

"The thing is...we've been together for nearly a year now. And even though we've only spent about two weeks actually together, if that, there's one thing that I'm very sure of. And I want you to know it." He sighed. "'re the love of my life. I've never been in love before you but I know what I feel. I never thought I'd end up this happy, you know?"

Ennis felt a lump in his throat; he hadn't seen this one coming. " You know what? I feel exactly the same, bud. You're the love of my life too." He smiled and squeezed Jack's hand, kissing him on the cheek. Jack exhaled in relief and Ennis could tell he'd been bursting to say that.

"I'm glad to get that out. I wanted to tell you when I saw you. So, um...I'll do the dinner later you want anything now?" he offered, and Ennis shook his head. More than anything else, he wanted Jack in his arms because he'd missed him so much.

"No, I'm fine. Stay here..." He tugged Jack closer to him and kissed his neck, making him purr. "God, I missed you..."

"I know..." Jack turned to face him and leaned in, kissing him deeply. He draped his legs over Ennis's lap and felt a familiar heat starting to run through his body; he'd missed this close contact sorely. "Ennis..."

They looked at each other for a few seconds, and before they knew it their clothes were coming off. Ennis didn't even care about his uniform being strewn about; he simply pulled Jack closer as they desperately kissed. Jack shot up from the sofa, completely naked and leaving Ennis in a daze. "Hey!"

"Hang on," Jack called, and he was soon back with the lube in his hand. "I love you, but there's no way I'm taking it dry." Ennis took the tube as he sat down, having already decided on something.

"Who said you're taking it at all?" he asked softly, and Jack stared at him; Ennis hadn't bottomed at all during their time together yet.

"Ennis..." he started, wanting to know if he'd heard right. "Do you mean...?"

His lover nodded. "Yeah. I want it like that, Jack. If that's okay with you..." Jack nodded and kissed him again, and soon Ennis found himself on his back with Jack leaning over him. He was apprehensive, but he could trust Jack to take care of him in such a vulnerable position.

It started off slowly and it was painful at first, but Ennis had never felt like this in his life. Jack was careful and tender with him, which he appreciated. As they moved together, Ennis knew in his heart that he would always love Jack and that they could overcome anything.

"That was...wonderful," he sighed as they relaxed together afterwards. Jack nuzzled his neck and smiled at him.

"It sure was. I love you, Ennis...welcome back..."

"Good to be back," Ennis replied, kissing his forehead.

They had a romantic dinner together as planned, once Jack had managed to pry himself away from Ennis long enough. As they ate, Jack kept rubbing his foot along Ennis's leg and smiling at him. Ennis kept thinking about how it had felt to have Jack inside him and he knew that he was more in love than ever.

Afterwards, they started drinking wine on the sofa and Jack had a CD of love songs playing in the background. One of his favourites started playing and he grinned at Ennis. "Come on, I wanna dance with you." That was high up on his list for sure; he would love to dance with the man he loved.

Ennis bit his lip as they stood up together. "I should warn you, I don't have much experience..." Jack shrugged and got them into position. He could feel Ennis's heart beating against his body and smiled; this was perfect.

"I don't care," he said softly, putting his arms around Ennis's neck and feeling his lover pull him close. "I just wanna do this..." They started swaying to the music, heads pressed together. He could tell that Ennis wasn't very confident with dancing, but that didn't bother him. It was the thought that counted.

I wanna call the stars

Down from the sky

I wanna live a day

That never dies

I wanna change the world

Only for you

All the impossible

I wanna do

Ennis squeezed Jack a little and heard him purr slightly. He was a lot happier now than he had been over the last six months, now that he was back with Jack. This was where he belonged and he knew that. When his contract was over, in eighteen months, he would leave and then return to Jack for good. He knew that Jack was looking forward to that day for sure; they both were.

I wanna hold you close

Under the rain

I wanna kiss your smile

And feel the pain

I know what's beautiful

Looking at you

In a world of lies

You are the truth

Jack sighed as he felt Ennis rub his back; this was pure bliss and he'd longed for this moment for what felt like years. There was no telling what the future might hold for them, but Jack was certain that they would have a future together. There was so much that he wanted to have with Ennis. A home, possibly getting married and maybe even children somehow. The kind of life he'd always wanted.

And baby

Every time you touch me

I become a hero

I'll make you safe

No matter where you are

And bring you

Everything you ask for

Nothing is above me

I'm shining like a candle in the dark

When you tell me that you love me

Both of them felt as if the other was the missing part of themselves; as if they had only been half a person before meeting each other and falling in love. Neither of them knew why they felt so complete right now, but they couldn't deny it.

"You're my soul mate," Jack whispered in Ennis's ear, kissing his cheek as they moved slowly. Ennis smiled at him and kissed him on the lips, feeling warm and relaxed. There was nowhere else in the world that he would rather be right now; this was home to him, where Jack was.

I wanna make you see

Just what I was

Show you the loneliness

And what it does

You walked into my life

To stop my tears

Everything's easy now

I have you here

It was true; before meeting each other they had both been a little uncertain of their futures. Ennis had had no plans beyond the Navy and Jack was still trying to find something that he wanted to do with his life. Now, they had each other and were more certain that everything was going to work out for them. They had plans and a possible future, which they still needed to talk about over the next few days. But there was time for that.

And baby

Every time you touch me

I become a hero

I'll make you safe

No matter where you are

And bring you

Everything you ask for

Nothing is above me

I'm shining like a candle in the dark

When you tell me that you love me

Ennis knew he would do absolutely anything for Jack that he could, no matter what it was. But the one thing he couldn't give Jack yet was the thing he knew Jack wanted the most; to be with him every day. He sorely wished he could give Jack that.

In a world without you

I would always hunger

All I need is your love to make me stronger

"I love you," he murmured in Jack's ear. "And you're my soul mate too, you know." Jack smiled and pulled him closer, keeping his eyes closed to savour the moment. He knew that Ennis wished he could give him that one thing that just wasn't possible right now. He didn't blame Ennis for that; it wasn't his fault.

And baby

Every time you touch me

I become a hero

I'll make you safe

No matter where you are

And bring you

Everything you ask for

Nothing is above me

I'm shining like a candle in the dark

When you tell me that you love me

You love me

When you tell me that you love me

The song finished and they stopped dancing, Jack smiling widely at Ennis. "I enjoyed that...really romantic." Ennis nodded.

"Yeah, sure was..." He kissed Jack softly and noticed the time. " ready to go to bed?" he asked, knowing that he sounded hopeful. Jack grinned.

"Think I might be. I'll lock up and put the wine back in the fridge. You get yourself comfortable in my bed; how's that sound?"

"Sounds good to me," Ennis replied, and they went their separate ways to prepare for the night ahead.

April 4th, 2010

On Sunday, Ennis and Jack decided to stay inside for a change. They were still tired from the previous night; their contest had taken place and Jack had lost by just one point, so he'd received his just punishment and was in no mood to complain about it. Afterwards, they had held each other and talked until they'd dropped off, which hadn't taken long after that marathon.

Both of them were aware that they grew closer all the time, even when they were apart. Their first anniversary was approaching and even though they couldn't be together for it, both of them were still looking forward to it. This was a huge deal for both of them and they knew that they would have many more to come in the future.

That was one thing that Jack wanted to talk about today; for as long as they had been together they hadn't spoken much about the future. Eighteen months was a long time, but they both knew that they had to have a serious talk at some point.

The afternoon found them on the sofa together, curled up and watching TV while occasionally kissing and squeezing hands. Ennis sighed and nuzzled his lover's hair. "Jack..."


"I reckon we oughta have that talk at some point. You know...about us." Jack looked up at him and nodded, resigned.

"Yeah, you're right. Been together a year, but we've never really...not seriously, anyway." He sat up and faced Ennis. "So...?"

"Well, you know my contract ends in eighteen months. I know it's a long time but it seems to me I should have plans for that. And I would love it if those plans could include you because...I don't wanna lose you, ever."

Jack smiled slightly. "I don't wanna lose you either, Ennis. So yeah...we need to talk about that. I of the things we should talk about is where we're gonna live. Here, your place or somewhere new."

"I won't ask you to leave here if you can't do it," Ennis told him gently, taking his hand. "I know it's a huge deal to just up and leave. I would be happy to move here, unless a job opportunity came up in Knoxville or something."

Jack nodded. "Sounds fair. It would be hard to leave this place because I've never lived anywhere else. But if I had you with me it might be easier, you know?"

"Right. But until that day, I'm happy to stay here when I'm on shore leave. I have to wonder, though...when you offered a place to stay did you mean...that I'm kind of moving in with you?" They looked at each other for several moments before Jack was able to speak.

"Well...I didn't mean that at the time. But now you mention it...does kind of sound like that, doesn't it? I mean, it's for a week at the most every six months so I never really...but I guess it's like that, isn't it? You have kind of moved in with me." He wondered why he'd never realised it before, but he honestly didn't feel scared by the whole thing. As a matter of fact, he loved the idea of Ennis having moved in with him.

Ennis smiled. "I like the sound of that. You know, my thinking's always been...where would we be right now if we'd spent every day together? We probably would have moved in together by now, right?"

"I guess so. I love you so much and I'm sure it'll work out, so...yeah, probably," Jack agreed, nodding. "And that's good logic. Makes the whole thing easier to deal with and less scary. I think you're right." He took a deep breath. "Ennis, I...I wanna give you your present now, if that's okay."

"Sure, I'll get mine too." Ennis watched as Jack got up and went to retrieve his own gift from his bag in the bedroom; he was sure that Jack would like it. He'd done the best he could, anyway, to give something special to Jack for their anniversary.

They met back on the sofa and Jack held out the key. "Here. It's a key to the apartment. I had mine duplicated for you so that when you're here and I have to can stay here. You don't have to spend the morning or afternoon wandering around town if you'd rather stay put." He smiled at the astonished look on Ennis's face.

"Jack...I don't know what to say..." He took the key and they kissed, feeling as though another milestone had been crossed. "Thank you, but...mine isn't nearly as good as that..."

Jack looked at him. "I'm sure I'll like it," he replied, opening up the package. He looked at the ornamental heart curiously. "What do these symbols mean?"

"It's Chinese for 'I love you'," Ennis told him softly, watching a smile form on Jack's face. "Got it from a street trader in Hong Kong. You like it?"

"I love it," Jack told him, kissing him again. "It's beautiful. I'll hang it up in my room later. Thank you, Ennis." He hugged him tightly, feeling as if he was falling in love more and more every day.

"You're welcome, darlin'. Just glad I can make you happy."

"You do make me happy," Jack told him firmly, looking into his eyes. "You do now and you will when we're together every day; I know it. I love you so much..."

"I love you too." They kissed again and Ennis held Jack close, feeling pleased with the way that had gone. He sometimes worried that this was going too well; that something was going to happen to put strain on their relationship. But he couldn't think about that too much when Jack was in his arms like this, happy and content. All he could do was focus on this because it was what his heart wanted; to be with Jack and make him happy. They would be fine as long as they had each other.

That night, Ennis and Jack were in bed together and kissing heavily, looking forward to another night of lovemaking. Since they had only one full day left together, they had agreed to make every moment count. This included having sex whenever the opportunity arose because they wanted to remember how they made each other feel. Jack knew he'd be walking funny for a week after this but he didn't care; the pain would just remind him of being with Ennis and that was a good thing.

"God, you're beautiful," Ennis breathed in his ear, legs sliding against Jack's. They were both hard but Ennis was teasing Jack slightly, knowing exactly what he wanted. He heard Jack whimper in response.

"Please, Ennis...fuck me...I need you..."

"You want me to fuck you hard?" Ennis asked, biting his neck. Jack groaned.

"Come on, just do it..."

Ennis grabbed the lube and smoothed it over himself, seeing the hungry look in Jack's eyes. It still humbled him to know that Jack wanted him, out of all the people he could have. He might never understand why Jack had chosen him, but he was very glad for it anyway.

When he was ready, he widened Jack's legs and leaned over him, smiling softly. "Just relax, darlin'," he instructed, always fearful of hurting Jack too much. Jack nodded and gasped when he felt Ennis pushing into him.

"Oh God...every single time it feels so fucking good," he groaned, tilting his head back. Ennis worked his way inside, nuzzling Jack's neck to help him relax.

When he was fully inside and they were tightly pressed together, he watched Jack open his eyes and smiled. "You feel okay?"

"Feels great, like it always does," Jack told him, wrapping his legs around Ennis's waist. "Come on, sailor. I want a headboard mark on my wall from this."

Ennis grinned and leaned down, bracing his hands on the bed while letting Jack hold onto him for dear life. He started moving into his lover and immediately he saw the change overcome Jack's face. The blue eyes had closed and Jack's mouth fell open in bliss; Ennis loved watching that and knowing that he was the one causing it. He kept moving, drinking in the sounds coming from Jack's mouth and kissing his neck.

"I love you," he breathed in Jack's ear, rocking his hips steadily and thrusting deeper every time. Jack moaned, holding on tight.

"I love you too...touch me, please..." Ennis did as he was asked and took hold of Jack with one hand, knowing how much Jack loved being touched by him everywhere. Ennis knew that Jack must trust him immensely to allow such intimacy, and he also knew that he trusted Jack just as much. There was nothing better than being able to take down his barriers in front of someone else; he knew that Jack would never judge him for anything. This was the one place in his life right now where he didn't have to pretend or lie; Jack knew everything and that was a relief for him.

Jack groaned under his touch, and soon Ennis felt ribbons of sticky fluid hit his stomach. Jack's muscles were clamping and his hips were bucking against Ennis, which triggered Ennis's own climax. He shot deep into Jack while biting his lip and they collapsed together, out of breath.

They lay there for a while, unable to move but just stroking each other's faces. Ennis kissed the tip of Jack's nose and heard a soft laugh escape from him. "I love hearing you laugh, darlin'..."

Jack smiled up at him, eyes full of love and trust. "Ennis...I'm gonna miss you when you go away again, but every time you do I've got new memories to keep me going. That's a great thing and it helps me to get through six months without you. So I enjoy every minute that you're here because it helps me so much. I love having new memories of you."

Ennis nodded and finally pulled out of him, sighing in contentment and falling down to his side of the bed. "Damn...but you wear me out. I'm still knackered from last night. How many times did we come?"

"Um...I think you were on ten and I managed nine before we couldn't move anymore. But then you still gave me a good seeing-to later when we got our breath back."

"You said the loser had to be punished," Ennis pointed out, and they both laughed. "I need to use your bathroom..."

"Sure." Jack watched him go with a smile on his face, but this faded slightly when he realised how time was running short. He needed to do something. He crept out of bed and went to Ennis's bag; he felt bad for stealing from his lover but he was desperate; he'd give it back one day. Jack pulled out a white shirt from the bag, after making sure it wasn't the one from Ennis's uniform; he just wanted a regular one that Ennis wouldn't think too much of if it went missing.

He breathed in Ennis's scent from the shirt and stuffed it into his bedside cabinet for now; that would help when he was alone and wanted to remember his lover. He got back into bed and became aware of Ennis returning. "Mmm...hey," he said when Ennis kissed his shoulder. Ennis spooned up behind him and pulled him close; Jack felt pure happiness running through him at the warm contact.

"Hey yourself. You tired?" asked Ennis in a soft voice which was like music to Jack's ears. He loved how Ennis could make his toes curl and yet still be so tender when the moment called for it. He'd never thought that he could be this happy with someone.

"Yeah, a bit..." He turned his face to kiss Ennis one last time. "Love you."

"Love you too." Ennis settled down behind him and rubbed his stomach. "Night, Jack."

Jack smiled, burrowing backwards into the embrace. "Night, Ennis."

April 6th, 2010

On Tuesday, Ennis was leaving again. He was dreading having to leave Jack again even though he had always known that this was going to happen. He wished that his contract could finish sooner so that he could come back sooner, but there wasn't much chance of that happening.

The night before, they'd tried to soak up every part of each other to help with the loneliness that was coming; they wanted to remember their last time together for the next six months; it was the perfect way of saying goodbye.

He finished packing his bag on the bed and looked around; he was certain that he was missing a shirt but couldn't find it anywhere. It didn't bother him too much; it was only a plain shirt that wouldn't make any difference if he'd misplaced it. Jack was in the kitchen making him a sandwich for the journey to the port, which he appreciated. But he hated how they were on borrowed time.

Ennis sighed and became aware of a wrapped sandwich being placed on the bed in front of him, then he felt a pair of arms around his waist. "Hey..."

"Hey," Jack replied in a quiet voice. "Made you a cheese and tomato; I know you like that." Ennis smiled and covered Jack's arms with his own.

"Thanks, darlin'. I sure as hell wish I could stay longer. If there wasn't a contract I would."

Jack nodded. "I know. But we'll cope, Ennis. We have to, because it's the only thing we can do right now. I'm gonna miss you..."

"Me too..." Ennis turned around to face him, cupping Jack's face in his hands. He knew that Jack liked it when he did that. "Jack...I love you so much and I'll think of you every day. Can't think of a better way to pass the time when we're apart."

"I know," Jack replied with a smile. "Listen...if you ever do want to tell Richard the truth I'm sure it'll be okay. He sounds like a decent guy, from what you've told me."

Ennis rested his arms on Jack's shoulders. "He is, but...I've got no idea how he'll react and I hate that. It's not right, being scared to tell someone who we are. Shouldn't be like that."

Jack sighed and kissed him. "You're right. But you'll never know if you don't try. So it's worth thinking about. Life's all about taking risks, right?"

"Yeah..." Ennis pulled Jack close and hugged him tightly. "How'd I manage to land someone so smart, huh?"

Jack grinned and kissed his neck. "Because I was smart enough to fall in love with you." Ennis felt a lump grow in his throat and Jack sensed that he was feeling emotional. "Ennis..."

"Gonna miss you," he choked out, and Jack closed his eyes. He tried to ignore the prickling in them as the emotional moment got to him, but he couldn't help it; he didn't want Ennis to go.

"Ennis...I hope the next eighteen months go quickly so that you can come back for good." Ennis squeezed him.

"So do I, Jack. But just a few days we'll have been together for a whole year. That's something to be happy about, right?"

"Yeah, it is," Jack admitted. "Never had that before. Wish you could come back, even for just that one night." Ennis pulled away and stroked his cheeks.

"Jack...I've never wanted you for just one night. You're worth so much more than that." Jack couldn't fight the tears any longer; he let them fall and Ennis wiped them away with his thumbs. "Hey...come on..."

"I can't help it," Jack replied, trembling slightly. "I just...I wish you didn't have to go. Four days, Ennis...not even that, really. For our anniversary too...I hate this." Ennis made Jack meet his eyes.

"I do too, Jack. But we're going in circles with this. We won't get anywhere if we keep this up; it's only making you upset and I'm not far behind. Shh..." He kissed Jack again and stroked his face. "Just remember how much I love you."

Jack nodded, trying to remain strong. "I know, Ennis. I love you too and...I always will." He managed to smile and wiped his eyes. "So...when do you have to leave?" Ennis looked at his watch, and his heart sank when he realised the time.

"About fifteen minutes," he replied, and then looked deep into Jack's eyes. "Jack...I love you and we'll be back together soon. I want to be with you when all of this is over, every day. Who knows? One day we might even get married."

Jack grinned. "I'd like that, one day. I can see myself marrying you." Ennis nodded and they kissed as firmly as they could to seal this promise.

All too soon, it was time for Ennis to go; Jack was trying to remain strong so that Ennis wouldn't feel guilty, but it was hard. He walked his lover to the front door and Ennis kissed his cheek. "Take care, Jack."

"Yeah, you too. Speak soon, yeah?" He looked hopefully into Ennis's eyes, and Ennis nodded.

"Of course, bud." He looked at Jack one last time and then went through the door, not noticing the figure on the stairwell that was again watching them, who vanished when Ennis started walking away from the door.

Jack closed the door behind him and turned around, looking around the once more empty apartment. He felt his heart ache for the man who had just left, and sank down to the floor. He wrapped his arms around his knees and felt fresh tears leaking, unable to stop them. He hated being apart from Ennis for so long and he hated how they couldn't be together for their anniversary. Why did it have to be so hard for them?

Outside, Ennis looked up at Jack's window and silently vowed to him that everything was going to be alright. One day, this would just be a memory.