Chapter 15

Thursday, August 10th 2010

Dear Ennis,

I know it hasn't been easy for you lately, but I want you to know that I'm very happy you decided to take action and go to the captain for help. I just had a gut feeling that he wouldn't refuse to help you and I'm glad that he's okay with you being who you are. I know it's hard for you to be around Mike all the time, not knowing why he hasn't said anything despite his threat to do so.

I really hope he was bluffing and that he's too afraid of losing his job to put it at risk like that. But you have to watch people like that; sometimes you never know what's going on in their heads and sometimes you don't even want to know. But I'm sure everything will be fine.

I also hope that you can be here for longer this time, and not just because my parents want to meet you. I miss you so much, Ennis...and a few days isn't much of a consolation for six months apart. But I do appreciate every moment we have together and I don't regret getting involved with you, not for one second. It's never easy to be without you, but I know it'll all be worth it in the end.

When you get back, I really hope I can meet your friend Richard and thank him for having your back through all of this. Maybe I was a little bit jealous at first, mostly because he can actually help you and I can't. But I trust you completely and I know you would never hurt me.

My parents are really looking forward to meeting you, and they hope you can make it for dinner with us. I think they want to ask you a lot of uncomfortable questions that parents always ask their child's potential partner, so I hope you're prepared for that. But in general, they're really nice people and they just want to get to know you. If things go well between us then they will make you feel like you're truly part of the family.

I want you to keep your chin up, Ennis. I know it's not easy and that things might unravel very quickly on that ship, but I'm sure you can handle it. You're the strongest person I know and I'm certain you'll be fine in the long run. Even if you suffer because of this, just remember that I'll be here for you when you get back. And I'll even punch that guy Mike in the face if you want me to; he deserves it for doing this to you.

I hope you can give me the dates of your visit soon; I'm looking forward to seeing you so much. Just one more year to go, after all.

I love you, Ennis. You carry on being the strong, dependable guy that I fell in love with.

All my love, Jack xxx

Jack smiled to himself as he read the letter over, wanting to say so much more but not really having the words. He just couldn't find the right ones to describe just how much he loved Ennis, but that was okay. He knew that Ennis understood how he felt, because he had the same problem of finding the words and Jack still knew how much Ennis loved him.

He wondered what it might be like for Ennis to meet his parents at last, but he was sure that such a meeting would go very well. His parents had fully accepted Ennis as his choice of partner, after all. He was sure that everything would be fine.

Jack often thought about this time next year when Ennis would be returning to him for good; he couldn't wait. He still didn't know exactly what they were going to do or where they were going to live, but he didn't care too much right now; they could discuss that the next time Ennis was here or even the time after. He just knew that he wanted to be with Ennis for the rest of his life, wherever that took them.

He sighed and hoped that Ennis could get back to him soon about the dates of his next visit; perhaps he would even make it for his birthday, unlike the last time. Jack wanted to spend his birthday with Ennis and knew that the feeling was mutual; he wanted to spend all day and all night celebrating with him, perhaps not even leaving the bedroom except to get a load of food and champagne to keep in there with them.

Not a bad idea, he thought to himself, nodding. There was something appealing about spending the entire day in bed with Ennis, and he wondered how many times they could have sex, in every variety known to them. Maybe he could buy a copy of the Kama Sutra for them to use; that would be fun.

Either way, he was so looking forward to seeing Ennis again. Soon enough, he would be back and Jack would be able to make love with that wonderful man as he so wanted to. He missed Ennis with every part of himself and practically ached for him every day and night.

Jack felt his phone buzz and he looked at the screen; there was a text from Ennis.

Thinking of you, bud. Not easy, but looking forward to seeing you xxx

Jack grinned at this; he loved it when Ennis texted him now and then like this; it reminded him that despite the distance, Ennis was always close to him. He sent one back with a grin on his face, knowing that Ennis needed the words from him that would make him feel better.

I love you, baby. Come home soon to me xxx

He sighed and folded up the letter, putting it in the addressed envelope and then next to his keys by the door, thinking about the next time he would see Ennis.

Later that evening, Jack was preparing himself some dinner when Ennis called him. He'd been thinking about the man himself all day, which he always enjoyed doing. As much as he missed Ennis, he felt as though the more he thought about him, the less lonely he would feel. It did sort of work, after all.

He was just putting the dinner in the oven when the phone rang, and he grinned when he saw Ennis's name flashing on the screen. This was always a great moment for him, and he looked forward to every call. "Hey, baby. How's it going?"

"It's okay, I guess. I haven't heard anything from Mike about what he knows. I don't know what's going on with that, to be honest. I expected something to happen."

"Hey, what do I keep telling you? It's a good thing. And maybe he is biding his time before he says something, but maybe not. Try not to worry, okay?" He himself was very worried for Ennis's wellbeing, but he couldn't let Ennis know that because he wanted to be supportive. Ennis needed him to be there for him.

"Yeah, I know. And you're right. It's just hard to feel relaxed when he could say something at any time. The only thing getting me through this is knowing that I'll be seeing you soon."

Jack smiled. "Good. By the you know anything about your dates here yet?" he asked hopefully. Maybe there would be a longer visit this time and they could spend more time together. That was what he wanted more than anything.

"I sure do," Ennis replied, now sounding happier. Jack wondered what was going on. "You wanna hear it?"

"Is that a trick question?" Jack asked, grinning as he checked the food. Surely this could only be a good thing, judging by Ennis's tone of voice.

"Well...I'm gonna be there for fourteen days, Jack. Two whole weeks, more or less."

Jack wondered if he'd heard right; surely that couldn't be right. "Ennis, are you sure? How did that happen?"

"Not sure, but that's what the official order is. And that's not even the best part."

"What else is there?" he asked, wondering what on earth could possibly be better than two weeks with Ennis.

"I'll be here for your birthday, darlin'," Ennis said softly, and Jack felt warmth spreading through him. He'd longer for that so much and now it was going to happen; this was a great present and he loved it.

"Oh, Ennis...that's great! You can meet my parents and everything, and we can spend my birthday together!"

"We sure can," Ennis agreed, sounding just as happy as him. "I can't wait to be back with you, Jack. I'll make sure your birthday is really special, I promise."

"Well, I actually had an idea," Jack started, thinking that Ennis would like this. "How about...we take some food and champagne into the bedroom in the morning, and stay in there all day? What do you say to that, bud?"

"Hmm. I say...that's perfect. Sounds like an amazing day to me, Jack. Wonder how many times we can do it in a day like that?"

"I don't know...but I'd love to find out," Jack said, his tone flirtatious. He could practically see Ennis grinning at this. "I still can't believe it...two whole weeks with you. That'll be amazing."

"It really will...and I can't wait to meet your parents. I'm looking forward to that."

"You'll make my mom happy; she loves cooking that big roast. I can't wait for you to meet them. I know they'll like you, Ennis. And...maybe one day they'll be your in-laws, right?"

"Yeah, maybe. I day," Ennis said tentatively; he wasn't sure how Jack felt about marriage yet. They'd never talked seriously about it, after all.

"It's a possibility," Jack agreed. "You never know what's gonna happen in life. I just know...that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. And I know that we'll have that."

"Absolutely. Jack, I...I know we have to talk about the future at some point. Like, where exactly we're gonna live and stuff. But...I still haven't made any decisions about that. I'm not sure yet what I want, and I don't know if you are, but..."

"Ennis, it's okay," Jack reassured him. "I'm not sure yet either, to be honest. Like you just said, there's plenty of time for us to talk about that. I'm fine with not knowing right now, bud. It's gonna be okay, you know. We'll have a sit-down together when the time is right and work all of this out together. I think that's the best solution."

"Yeah, you're right. I just hope we don't end up arguing over it..."

"I don't think we will, Ennis," Jack replied. He put his phone to his shoulder and took his dinner out of the oven. "We're really compatible, I reckon. And we'll figure it out, together."

"Sounds like a plan, Jack. Anyway, I'd better get going. I've got some stuff to do and I don't want Mike to come barging in on me using the phone. I don't need that right now."

"I know, baby. Try not to worry about it too much. Just a couple of months we'll have two weeks together, including my birthday. I think that's definitely something to look forward to."

"Yeah, it is. Anyway...I'll speak to you soon, Jack. Love you."

"I love you too, Ennis. Bye." He clicked off and settled down with his dinner, thinking about Ennis's upcoming visit and what his birthday was going to be like. He knew that he would have to buy a lot of lubricant for such a day, not to mention some champagne and more food. But it would all be worth it in the end and he knew that. He was looking forward to having sex with Ennis all day and all night; it was something to be very happy about and he couldn't wait for it to happen.

August 17th, 2010

On Tuesday, Jack didn't have to work so he contented himself with having a lie-in for once. He did wish that Ennis could be here with him to enjoy it, but there was nothing he could do about that just yet. When Ennis did arrive, they would be spending the entire day of his birthday right here in the bedroom, except obviously if they needed the bathroom. Jack was glad he had an en-suite bathroom; at least then they technically wouldn't need to leave the bedroom.

Every day, he wondered how Ennis was faring and also why Mike hadn't said anything to anyone. They had both thought that Mike would react like that to being reported to the captain, and yet he hadn't. Jack was extremely suspicious as to why this hadn't happened, but he knew that they were lucky. He just hoped this luck wasn't short-lived.

As he lay staring at the ceiling, he became aware of his phone ringing on the nightstand; it was his mother. "Hey, Mom."

"Hi, honey. You sent me a text saying that you had the dates of Ennis's stay, right? Can you tell me?"

"Uh, yeah," he replied, sitting up a little and clearing his throat. "Well, he's gonna be here for two weeks, so we'll definitely be able to have dinner with you guys."

"That's great, Jack! Two whole weeks together...does that include your birthday?"

"Yeah, it does. And we've got plans for that." He decided that he didn't need to go into detail. "Um...he'll be here on the first of October and he's leaving on the sixteenth. It's up to you when we can come up for dinner."

"I'll have a word with your father and we'll work something out," she told him. "Has anything happened with that colleague of his? The one blackmailing him?"

"Ennis went to the captain to report him, and says that the whole thing's gonna get sorted. Mike got a warning for it, but he told Ennis that he'll regret grassing him up. We keep thinking that he's going to tell everyone anyway out of spite, which I hate him for right now. But nothing's happened."

"Really? He hasn't said a word? So then why...?"

"I hope he was bluffing just to keep Ennis intimidated," Jack told her, stretching. "But we don't know for sure. A guy like that...he could just be biding his time."

"Oh, Jack...I hope that's not the case. From what you've told me, Ennis is taking the whole thing pretty hard. He needs to get back soon so that he can be with you."

"I know. I miss him every day and when he calls me, scared that Mike's gonna tell everyone...I just wanna hold him and tell him it's okay. He's not a weak person, far from it...but he's just scared. I completely understand him."

"As do I. He's found a good man in you, Jack. I want you to know that we're both very proud of how you deal with all of this. It's hard for you to be away from him for so long, but sometimes it's like you're not even thinking about that; you seem more concerned with how he's doing. And that is a great thing; I'm sure he appreciates it."

"He does. I just know that if our situations were reversed, he would do everything that I'm doing right now. He'd do all of this for me, I'm sure."

"We're looking forward to meeting this wonderful young man, Jack. Someone who makes you feel like this...not everybody gets that in their life. You're very lucky."

Jack smiled when he thought about how right she was. It wasn't just about how he was supporting Ennis through this situation, but also of the bigger picture. Ennis loved him and if this wasn't going on, they would be a lot more relaxed at the moment. He loved it when nothing was going on, so they could just think about each other and what the next visit might bring. He didn't mind that things were difficult right now because his relationship with Ennis was solid; nothing was going to tear them apart now.

"You're right, Mom. I'm really lucky and...I can't wait to see him again. I'm sure that you guys are gonna love him."

"We will, judging by everything you've told us about him. All we need to know is that you're happy, with someone who loves you. And we're certain that you are. We would love to welcome Ennis into our family."

"I know he'll like that. He hasn't had the chance to see his parents for a couple of years since they live so far away. He talks to them on the phone but...we both know it's not quite the same."

"Oh, honey...he'll be back soon. And at least you'll get to spend your birthday with him this time."

"Yeah, that's true," he admitted, smiling. He couldn't wait for that day and he knew it would be perfect, even though he would probably be walking funny the next day. "Anyway..."

"Yeah. We'll make arrangements for dinner nearer the time, honey. Give our best to Ennis when he calls, and we'll see you soon."

"Yep. Bye, Mom." He clicked off and looked at the time; he didn't have to get up just yet, so he flicked through the photos of him and Ennis on his phone. Some were of Ennis alone and some were of them together, which he had either taken himself or Lureen had taken for them. Maybe one day, there would be photos of a wedding for him to look at.

But that was way off into the future. Right now, he just wanted to think about his birthday and everything they might get up to in this very room. He shivered at the thought of having sex with Ennis all day, only stopping when they needed to eat or use the bathroom. It was shaping up to the best birthday of his life so far.

That night, Jack was struggling to sleep. He was excited about Ennis's upcoming visit and was looking forward to his birthday, but he was also worried. Ennis had shared his fears that someone from the ship, namely Mike, would follow him and cause trouble for them on the next shore leave. Although Jack had tried to soothe Ennis's worries, now he was wondering. If anything did happen to him as a result, Jack knew that Ennis would never forgive himself. All he could do was try to convince Ennis that this wouldn't be the case; it simply wouldn't be his fault if anything happened.

He had the suspicion that Mike was biding his time before saying anything, and this scared him. He remembered the Halloween party that Ennis had told him about, when Mike had gotten drunk and tried to get him to do shots. If he got drunk this time, he could easily say anything that would incriminate Ennis and that would be a disaster. Jack just hoped that if this happened, nobody would believe it because of Mike being drunk. Hopefully, nothing was going to happen.

The only thing that helped was holding Ennis's shirt through the night; it still smelled of him so Jack loved holding it close as he lay in bed. He felt as if it really did help him to sleep because it was almost as if Ennis was there with him; that was a wonderful feeling and he was a little less lonely. Not to mention the dreams he had because Ennis was in his mind.

He felt a warm presence behind him in the bed, and started to move but then there was a hand on his back. "Shh," Ennis shushed him. "Don't move. Let me do everything." He was caressing Jack's glowing skin, nuzzling him softly.

"Ennis," Jack sighed, smiling. He was naked and wondering what exactly Ennis was going to do with such an offer. He loved it when Ennis took over and made him feel so good. "I missed you..."

"Missed you too, darlin'," Ennis murmured in his ear, and Jack heard the familiar sound of the lubricant being opened. He shivered when he felt Ennis press tightly against him, his erection unmistakeable. "Wanna be inside you..."

"It's all yours," Jack told him, pushing backwards to invite him. "Fuck me..." Ennis kissed his ear and straddled him, pushing Jack's legs apart to lean over him. He took his position and started to work his way inside, hand on Jack's hip to steady him. "Oh God..." he groaned when he felt the well-known warmth starting to wash over him. "You feel so damn good, every single time..."

"So do you," Ennis replied, pushing his way in until they were one. Jack whimpered slightly at the pain but he reached back for Ennis; a signal that he was ready. He knew very well that Ennis wouldn't do anything until he was comfortable; that was just one of the many things he loved about Ennis.

It happened slowly, all the way through. Ennis took his time to kiss Jack's neck and caress every part of skin he could reach. He rubbed Jack's lower stomach to arouse him even more and when Jack turned his head, they kissed deeply. Ennis then lowered his hand to take hold of Jack, running it along Jack's length and drawing a moan out of him. "I love you, Jack," he whispered.

"Love you too," Jack groaned, trembling under the light touch and eventually spilling onto the bed. He felt Ennis thrust a few more times until the burning sensation ran through him. They collapsed together and he sighed. "That was wonderful..."

"It really're amazing, Jack." He kissed the back of Jack's neck again and wrapped his arms around him, as if he never wanted to let go. Jack wished that Ennis was never going to leave ever again; that he could always be here from now on.

Jack woke up and sighed happily; he always loved dreaming about Ennis, particularly sex dreams. They were almost as good as the real thing and it helped him to remember how Ennis made him feel when they were together. He loved it when Ennis held him and whispered to him; that made him feel so special, and he knew that Ennis would take care of him if he needed it. That was part of a healthy relationship, after all. He and Ennis were doing really well, despite the issues.

At the moment, Jack knew that he needed to be there for Ennis. But that was okay; he knew that if he needed Ennis to be there for him, he would be. They were already almost like a married couple anyway, despite the long distance and how they hadn't spent a lot of time together yet. He hoped one day that they would get married; that would be a great thing for both of them.

He watched the moonlight streaming through the curtains onto the floor, thinking about what Ennis might be doing right now. Perhaps he was asleep, but not necessarily. Jack knew that Ennis sometimes went up onto the deck to watch the water if he couldn't sleep. He liked the image of Ennis standing there at the railing, in the moonlight, alone and silent.

Jack sighed and looked over at the clock; it was early morning and he had to get up for work in six hours. Still, he'd had a good dream of Ennis and that made him happy. He didn't feel so lonely when that happened, and it was always enjoyable to dream of the man he loved.

He thought about the upcoming visit and wondered what else they were going to do while Ennis was here. He wanted to go to the movies with Ennis so they could make out at the back in the dark, and he wanted to go for a walk in the park again. Either way, he was glad that Ennis was coming home soon.

August 24th, 2010

On Monday, Jack was busy at work when Lureen arrived for her shift. He looked up as she approached and smiled. "Hey."

"Back to you," she replied, kissing his cheek as she put her bag down. "How's everything?"

"Good, actually. Ennis is coming home in just over a month, so I'm happy about that," he told her, and she took her coat off.

"Right...he's meeting your parents, isn't he?"

"Yeah. We've got it all sorted now. I think they're all looking forward to it, especially my mom. I know it wasn't easy for her when I started seeing someone who was gonna be away for so long..."

"She just wants the best for you," Lureen reminded him. "Every decent parent wants their children to be happy, and she was just trying to make sure that you would be."

"I know. But the thing is...even with all the crap Ennis is going through right now with that Mike guy...we're still happy together. He knows that one day, we'll look back on this time and wonder what all the fuss was about. It won't matter then because we'll be together every day, and that's what we want. We'll spend so much time together, even with working. I just can't wait to find out what it's gonna be like."

Lureen smiled at him. "Sounds like you've got it bad, Jack. I'm sure Ennis feels the same way. Just one more year to go, right?"

"Yeah. It's weird...I think back to when we met and his permanent return seemed like a lifetime away. I never thought I'd see the light at the end of the tunnel, you know?"

"I know. You've wanted this for so long're maybe concerned that it won't turn out to be how you imagined, right?"

Jack bit his lip. "Maybe. I love him, I really do...but what if we can't live together? What if we can't stand each other for more than a few days?"

"Jack, stop it. You know that won't be the case; Ennis loves you too. And if it makes you feel any better, just remember that this time he'll be here for two weeks. That's a good trial run, right? It should give you some idea of whether or not you can live together. I firmly believe that you have nothing to worry about; I've seen the way you guys look at each other when you think nobody's looking. You're crazy about each other, Jack."

"Yeah, that's true," Jack admitted, smiling as he thought about how Ennis made him feel. There was no other feeling like it, and he was fairly certain that his fears were unfounded. He was just feeling them because he wanted to live with Ennis so much and worried that it wasn't going to work out; he didn't want to lose Ennis, ever.

"Anyway," Lureen started as she started stocking the shelves close to him. "How's he doing with that Mike guy giving him grief?"

"To be honest, we don't know what's going on," Jack told her. "The guy hasn't said a thing to anyone, but I don't think it's over yet. Maybe he was bluffing when he told Ennis he was going to regret it, but then...maybe he's just biding his time. Remember that he got drunk at that Halloween party? What if it happens again and he starts shooting his mouth off?"

"I hope you're wrong, Jack," she said to him as she passed. "I can't even imagine what it'll do to Ennis if they all start on him. But he can take care of himself, right?"

"Yeah. He's not exactly weak...but this scares him. He can hold his own in a fight if he has to, but...he can't go around punching everyone who looks at him funny and he knows it. He'll definitely get sacked if he does that. He comes across as tough, but...there's another side to him. It's gentler, and I know he'll be the perfect partner when we're together for good. I know I can trust him no matter what, and that he'll never hurt me."

He looked up to see Lureen smirking at him and realised that he'd been staring into space as he'd spoken. "Oh, um..."

"You've really got it bad for him, haven't you?" she asked, looking at him knowingly. " I hear wedding bells sometime in the future?"

He grinned at her sheepishly. "I don't know...I can see myself marrying him some day. But...we've never seriously talked about it, only in passing. Maybe one day it'll happen."

"You want to marry him one day?" she asked, and there was no need for him to think this one over. It was one of those things that didn't need thinking about as far as he was concerned.

"Yeah, I do," he said softly, nodding. "I want all of marry him, live with him...maybe even somehow have a family with him."

Lureen put her hand over his. "Jack...if you do decide to have kids with him, you know I'll help with that if you want me to. You're my best friend and I like Ennis a lot; I know we'll be good friends when I see him more often. If you need my help..."

He looked at her, deeply touched by the offer. He hadn't expected that. "Thanks, Lureen...I don't know what to say. I'll definitely keep that one in mind for when the time comes." He kissed her on the cheek and she went off to stack more shelves.

Jack thought about what the future was going to hold for him and Ennis, and he knew deep down that Ennis wanted all of the things he did; they were always talking about moving in together and that was a good start. Still, he was aware that they had a lot to get through before that time came, starting with the imminent problem of Mike threatening Ennis and yet not actually doing anything. Jack didn't know what to think of it, but he hoped that his fears were wrong.