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Hey guys :) Please check out my livejournal after reading this, the entry titled Important Announcement. You all need to see it.

Kathryn xxx

Chapter 25

Friday, August 5th 2011

Not long to go now until Ennis comes home. I've been looking forward to this for months and soon he'll be here. There's just over two months to go, which I know will drag by but I don't care; he'll be here one day and that means so much to me.

Lureen did as I asked her and told Ennis that I was open to a proposal; she says that he's now seriously thinking about asking me. I know it's a little manipulative, but he was hesitating because he wasn't sure how I would react. All I'm doing is giving him a nudge in the right direction, and I will tell him the truth once it's done. I'm pretty sure he won't be mad at me; it was for a good reason.

I've been taking another look through the photos of Ennis's place that his parents sent to me; it really does look like somewhere I could settle down in, especially with him. I know we'll be happy.

I do wonder about what his proposal is gonna be like; will he get down on one knee in front of everybody there? I know he's shy about this kind of thing, so maybe not. But it doesn't matter; I'm sure now that he's going to ask me because he knows that I won't turn him down. He knows I want to marry him so he's bound to ask me now.

When I think about being a teenager, when I realised that I was gay, I honestly never thought that I would meet someone who could make me happy. There's still so much stigma about gay people and it was even worse back then. But now, I've got Ennis. He makes me very happy and I swear I will do the same for him no matter what. I would literally do anything for him, even move to a different country if he asked.

I don't know what else lies in our future, but I would like all the 'normal' things that people take for granted. A home, a partner, kids...I want all of that. I don't know if we're meant to have kids in some way, but I do hope so. One day we're bound to be ready for it and it would be great to raise a baby with him; he'd make a good dad.

But for now, I'm just thinking about what's coming next. One step at a time, so that we can savour every moment. I really hope that everything goes well for us, but I know one thing. Even if there are hard times ahead of us, for whatever reason, I know that we will be able to deal with them together because that's what a relationship is about. We can look after each other and we're strong together.

I love him so much, and I can't wait to spend my life with him. I know in my heart that it's going to be great.

Jack put his pen down and picked up his phone, which had just buzzed with a text. He grinned when he saw Ennis's name.

I love you. Be home soon and I can't wait xxx

The sight warmed his heart, and he loved knowing that Ennis was thinking about him so much. It was never easy for him, being away from Ennis for so long, but soon enough it would all be over and they could concentrate on their new life. Whatever it held for them, he knew he would enjoy it.

He texted back and closed his journal, stretching.

Can't wait either. Miss you so much xxx

Jack fondly recalled the time when Lureen had reported back that Ennis was going to propose to him upon his return. It had been a great moment for him and he would never forget it.

"He's going to do it," she replied after hanging up. "He was hesitant before because he didn't know if it was too soon, looks like he's gonna do it." She took his hands excitedly and he kissed her cheek.

"Thank you so much, Lureen. He just needs a nudge in the right direction; that's all. And I promise that when it's done, I'll tell him the truth. I hope he doesn't feel manipulated..."

"Oh, Jack...I'm sure he won't. If anything, I think he'll be grateful that you took matters into your own hands like this. You said yourself that he's shy about things like this, so I think he'll be happy."

Jack smiled and nodded, truly grateful that things were going so well.

He sighed as he thought of that day, and he couldn't wait for the moment when Ennis asked him. He didn't think that Ennis would have had time to get a ring, but he didn't care. They could sort that out once they were engaged; get matching bands or something and then have another pair made specially, perhaps with inscriptions. That would be a good idea to make the rings unique.

He loved being able to plan out his future, knowing now that he was going to have one with Ennis. There was surely nothing better than to plan a life with someone that you love, and Jack was discovering that now. He couldn't wait for Ennis to get back so that they could do this together.

He heard his phone buzz again and looked at Ennis's new message.

I've got a surprise for you when I get back. I think you'll like it xxx

Jack grinned, knowing exactly what it was. He was tempted to tell Ennis that he already knew, but this was just too much fun. He would make it up to Ennis in the best way possible when they were celebrating.

I'm sure I will. Come home safe to me xxx

He thought about the long distance over the sea, and wondered exactly when Ennis would be coming back. Hopefully it would be before his birthday, so that they could start sharing these special days together.

That night, Jack was watching TV from the sofa when he heard his phone ringing. I'm popular today, he mused to himself as he turned the volume down and answered it, glancing at the screen; it was his mother. "Hey, Mom."

"Hi, sweetie. How are you?"

"I'm fine. Really looking forward to Ennis coming back..."

"I'm sure you are. He seems to be a good man, Jack. We trust him to take care of you, and to make you happy."

"So do I. And you know I'll do the same for him when he needs me to. I love him so much."

"I know you do, honey. And there's not long to go, right?" she asked, and he smiled; she was right about that.

"No...just over two months, maybe closer to that. I've been waiting for nearly two and half years, so I can wait a little longer for him. I know it'll be worth it in the end because...we're just so made for each other, you know?"

"I know. I wanted to're still coming for a visit before heading up to Iowa, right?"

"Yeah, of course we are. Why?"

"I thought we could really celebrate your new life. Invite some relatives, have a big dinner, you know?"

Jack narrowed his eyes. "Mom...could there possibly be another reason for this?" he asked suspiciously; did she know about Ennis's plans? He thought that only he and Lureen knew, and she was sworn to secrecy.

"," she replied unconvincingly, and he sighed.

"Mom, I love you. But we both know that you can't keep secrets. You know what Ennis is planning, don't you? That he's gonna propose to me?"

She sighed. "Yeah, we do. I'm sorry, honey...he called your dad and asked for our blessing, which he's been given. I've been bursting to tell you because I'm so happy for you, do you know already?"

"Because Ennis spoke to Lureen ages ago, asking her what I think of marriage and if I might be ready for it. Turns out that he was thinking about it, but wasn't sure in case I turned him down. So she asked me, I figured it out and got her to tell him that I wanted to marry him. So that made him decide to go for it. He's gonna ask me when he gets back."

"Oh, Jack...this is wonderful! You two are going to be so happy!"

"I know," he replied, grinning. "So this's for the engagement, right?"

"You got me," she replied, laughing. "I want to make a fuss over you two. As your mother, I have that right."

Jack smiled; he was very happy that they were so accepting of his life. It meant a lot to him. "Thanks, Mom. And maybe Ennis's parents will do the same once they find out. I'd like all of you to meet before the wedding, you know."

"We'd like that, Jack. I'm so happy for you, honey...when you came out to us I thought..."

"You didn't know if I'd find someone," he finished for her, nodding to himself. "But now I have, and you don't need to worry about me anymore."

"Jack, I'm always going to do that. It's what parents do. How do you think he's going to propose?" she asked. He wished he could answer that question.

"I've no idea," he said honestly. "I know he's shy, though. So maybe it'll be a quiet thing at the port, just us. I know that his friends want to meet me, though, and the captain. So they'll probably be hovering nearby, ready to congratulate us. I would like to share it with our friends. And I'm hoping that they can come to the wedding, too. That would be great."

"It would," she agreed. "I'm very happy for you and your new life, Jack. You deserve to be as happy as we are, regardless of who with."

"Thanks, Mom," he said softly. "That means a lot to me. You know, after Ennis proposes I am gonna tell him that I already knew, and that I got Lureen to coax him into it. I'm sure he won't be angry at me."

"Definitely not. If he was so hesitant because of your reaction, then it makes sense for you to push him in the right direction. Sometimes people need a little guidance, or they'll never make a decision. Without you doing this, he might never be brave enough to ask. But I'm sure it won't last forever, Jack; he'll find his confidence with you and making decisions."

"Yeah, he will. Once he knows for sure that I want all of this stuff with him, then he won't be scared to ask. I day...we might have kids. And that's a decision we'll need to make together."

"It will be. It would be wonderful if you had children, in whichever way you decide. There are loads of options these days, and I know it's expensive but you've got us and Ennis's parents. We'll all help you out; I'm sure."

"Thanks, Mom. I just...can't wait to spend my life with him. I wish he could be here sooner..."

"Just remember one thing; every day brings him closer to you. That way, it won't seem as long to wait. He'll be back before you know it, honey. And then you can have the life you've always wanted."

"Yeah. Anyway, Mom...I think I'm gonna head to bed soon, so..."

"Okay, honey. Keep your chin up. Night, Jack."

"Night." He clicked off and yawned, knowing that he should probably go to bed soon. He was bound to dream of Ennis tonight, which he always loved. It was just enough to keep him going when he felt so lonely.

As he locked up, he thought about what domestic life with Ennis would be like. He had some notion, from when Ennis had stayed here during shore leave, but it would be different. They would be partners, and he was very much looking forward to that.

August 10th, 2011

On Wednesday, both Jack and Lureen had a day off. They decided to spend it at Jack's apartment while he looked closer at the potential jobs that he could go after; he figured he might as well make a start on this since Ennis would be coming home soon. He didn't know exactly when they were going to move, but he knew he had to be prepared.

It wasn't very hard, now that Ennis's mother had given him some pointers. He was now aware of the best places to look and where to avoid, which was exactly what he'd needed help with. It probably wouldn't be as difficult now.

"Anything?" Lureen asked as she hovered behind him with a sandwich, peering at the screen. He nodded.

"Yeah, there's loads of stuff. But to be honest, it's not easy to decide. I know I'd have to start at the bottom with a new career, and I'm fine with that. But there's so many places that want assistants and...they all look good. Don't really know where to start."

"Well, you know what they say...beggars can't be choosers, Jack. I would suggest going down the list and applying to everything. That might be your best option, you know?"

"Yeah, probably. Then I can at least narrow it down, right?"

"Yep." She went to sit on the sofa and he started doing as she suggested; clicking on every job that he could do and uploading his résumé. Then he stretched and yawned; he'd been at it for a couple of hours now.

"Who knew that this could be so difficult?" he mused, and she grinned.

"You're doing this because you love him," she reminded him. "That's a good enough reason to make a few life changes, right?"

"I know," he agreed, nodding. "And I really do want all of this. I just...I hope that nothing goes wrong now. What if there's a storm at sea? Christ, what if they get attacked? You hear all the time about those Somali pirates hijacking boats..."

"Jack, it's not a fishing boat," Lureen said, kneeling up to look over the back of the sofa at him. "They're the Navy, for God's sake. They've probably got loads of weapons on there to defend themselves. As for storms...okay, it could happen. But I'm sure they know what they're doing. The Navy's been going for a very long time, remember?"

"I know, I's not easy, being here when anything could be happening to him. And if something happens while he's away...I don't know what I'll do."

Lureen sighed, rubbing her forehead. "I understand that you worry for him. But you can't do this to yourself, Jack. It won't do you any good in the long run and you'll just do yourself damage. You know that Ennis wouldn't want that; he'd feel guilty."

"Yeah, that's true," he admitted, nodding. "You're right; I'm sure he'll be okay. Still..."

"Stop it," she said gently, getting up to walk over to him, hands on his shoulders. "He's going to be fine. Come on; just try and concentrate on what you're doing here. If you have something to do, you'll think less and won't worry so much."

Jack did as she told him, trying not to let his thoughts stray to Ennis's safety. She was right, but he couldn't help it. Things had been going so well for them lately and now Ennis was planning to propose to him; he couldn't help but feel that it was all too good to be true, and that something was bound to go wrong with it. Maybe he was just being paranoid, but this was only because he loved Ennis so much. He would feel a lot better when his partner was safely home.

"Can I ask you something?" he said suddenly, and her head popped up from the sofa again.


"What do you make of all this? I mean, me and Ennis...we're moving along so quickly even though we haven't spent that much time actually together. Do you think it's too soon?"

"Do you?" she asked in alarm. "Are you having doubts?" He shook his head; that was far from the truth. There was no way that he could have doubts about being with Ennis.

"No, nothing like that. I just wonder about what other people think. Our parents seem happy for us, but then they just want us to be happy. You're more neutral, less biased. So what do you think?"

She sat up. " is moving along very quickly. But didn't your parents get engaged less than a year after meeting?" He nodded. "Some couples just know right away that they're supposed to be together. And that's just the way it is. I guess you get a feeling, you know? That this is the person who is your perfect match. I believe in soul mates, and I'm sure that you and Ennis are perfect for each other."

"He is my soul mate," Jack agreed; he knew that much if nothing else. "I don't know...maybe I'm over-thinking things again. But I am sure, a hundred percent, that I'm supposed to be with him. I just can't imagine settling down with anyone else, because...I want my life to be with him. I want everything that he can give me, and I swear that I'll do the same for him."

"There you go," she said simply, grinning at him. "Now you know how you really feel. It doesn't matter what other people think; all that matters is what you think, Jack. You and Ennis...if you're sure that you want to be together, you can't let anyone else tell you anything different. You just have to go for it; life's too short not to."

He knew that she was right, and he nodded. He and Ennis were good for each other, and he never wanted to be with anyone else. This was surely a lifetime thing that he had here, and he would nurture that as they built their new life together.

That night, Jack was once more alone in bed. He was stretched across it, trying to fill the gap in Ennis's absence and wishing that his lover could be there with him. It was never easy during the day, but this time was always the worst. They tended to have a lot of sex while Ennis was here, and he missed it. He had needs, after all. But there was simply no way that he was going to search for a one night stand just to pass the time; he would never forgive himself.

All he could do for now was try and imagine that Ennis was here with him. It usually worked well, with him holding Ennis's shirt close to his chest. He could almost believe that his partner was here.

He rolled over a little and was met with a familiar sight; Ennis's warm brown eyes were gazing at him. "You're here..." he sighed, smiling. Ennis stroked his thigh, sending shivers down his spine. "I missed you..."

"I know. But I'm here now," Ennis murmured to him, leaning down to kiss the back of his neck. "You don't have to move, Jack. Stay right there," he instructed, watching Jack lying on his side. Jack nodded and turned his head away again, eagerly anticipating what was about to happen.

He heard the lubricant being snapped open and he grinned, being able to picture it in his mind. Before he knew it, Ennis was pressing him down to the mattress and sliding one leg between his own, straddling him from behind. Jack gulped when he felt the penetration, trying to focus on the aftermath of the pain that shot through him. "Oh God..."

"Just relax," Ennis soothed, nuzzling his neck. "I know it hurts, but you'll be okay..." He slowly worked his way in, seeming to know when he had to pause so that Jack could get used to it. At last, Jack could feel Ennis buried inside him and the pain faded away to be replaced by gentle pressure. It felt as good as ever, and he reached a hand back to Ennis's hip.

"Ennis...come on, move..." he breathed, pushing back to let Ennis know it was okay. He was answered by a firm kiss on the back of his neck as Ennis started to move inside him, taking it slowly. They moved together silently, except for a few gasps and whispered names.

Afterwards, they lay together in pure bliss with Ennis holding Jack tightly. "That was amazing," he sighed, squeezing his lover. Jack purred in response.

"It really was. We're good together, aren't we? We together, you know?" he replied, stroking Ennis's arm.

"I know what you mean," Ennis agreed, lazily rubbing his foot against Jack's. "Two halves of a whole, I reckon."

"Mmm. up for another round?" Jack asked, becoming aroused by something that was poking at his ass. He was well aware that Ennis was after some more, and there was no way he was going to refuse. He could never quite get enough of this man.

"Reckon I am," Ennis replied before pouncing on him again.

A clap of thunder made Jack wake up with a start, and he sat up. He blinked around the room and soon realised that there was storm brewing outside. He didn't think anything of it at first, but then he remembered his fears of something happening to Ennis. What if the storm was coming from the sea, where Ennis was?

Without caring what time it might be, he grabbed his phone and quickly sent a text; he just had to know that his lover was okay. Hopefully it wasn't a very bad time where Ennis was.

Storm brewing here, are you okay? I'm worried xxx

He sat on the end of the bed, biting his lip; what if something was wrong? He wouldn't be able to take it if his new life was snatched away from him when they were so close. He didn't think he would ever get over losing Ennis.

He breathed a sigh of relief when Ennis called, and he immediately answered. "Ennis?"

"I'm fine, darlin'," Ennis assured him. "There's no storm out here. We're nowhere near the States yet. But you don't sound so good..."

Jack raised a shaky hand to his eyes, breathing deeply. "I panicked, okay? I was just talking to Lureen earlier about you getting caught up in a storm, and I was worried. So when I woke up just now and heard the thunder..."

"Jack..." Ennis said in a soothing voice, trying to calm him. "I'm okay. I appreciate you worrying, but there's really no need. Are you okay now?"

He nodded. "Yeah, I am. Sorry if I woke you up...but I just had to make sure that you were okay. We're so close to being together, and if something happened now to take that away from us..."

"Hey, it's okay," Ennis told him gently. "Nothing's gonna happen, bud. I'm on my way back, and we're gonna be together for the rest of our lives. I promise you that."

Jack thought of Ennis's plan to propose to him and he smiled; he was so much looking forward to that. "I know, Ennis. Whatever we've got coming in our future, I only want to spend it with you. I know we can make each other happy, bud..."

"We really can. Now you should get some more sleep, Jack. You know what you're like when you're tired; good for nothing but lying on the sofa complaining." His tone was light and affectionate, making Jack laugh. Ennis did know him very well; they were obviously suited to each other.

"That's true. Thanks, Ennis. This really helped. I love you..."

"I love you too, darlin'. Night."

"Night, bud." Jack hung up and sighed, feeling much better. He always did after talking to Ennis, after all. He got into bed again and curled up with Ennis's shirt, knowing that he would sleep much better now. Soon enough, Ennis would be home.

August 18th, 2011

On Thursday, Jack was spending his lunch break in the park. Ennis would be calling him soon, which he was looking forward to. There was still quite some time to go before Ennis returned, but Jack was sure that he could cope. It had been two years; what was another few months?

He still worried about Ennis, with him being so far away, but all he could do was try and remember that Ennis could take care of himself. Jack knew that he would never truly relax until Ennis was safely home with him.

He sat there on a bench, eating a sandwich and watching the world pass by. What would it be like when he and Ennis were living together? How would they adjust to being together every day? He wasn't entirely sure, but he was looking forward to it anyway.

Jack grinned when his phone started ringing and he saw Ennis's name on the screen. "Hey, bud."

"Hey, darlin'. You feel better now? You didn't sound so good that night when there was a storm..."

"I'm fine now," Jack assured him. "I just panicked, you know? To be honest...I'm kind of embarrassed..." He knew that he could admit this to Ennis without fear of being laughed at; Ennis loved him and would never judge or mock anything he did or felt.

"You don't need to be," Ennis told him gently. "Honestly; you really don't. You panicked because you love me, and that's not a bad thing at all. But it won't do you any good to worry about me all the time; you'll run yourself ragged. I told you, two years ago, that you should just try to carry on as best you can without worrying. That's why I'm so glad that you've got Lureen; because at least then you're not alone."

"But I don't love her like that, so it's not the same," Jack told him, sighing. "She's like my's completely different when you're here."

"I know. Even when I'm with the other guys, I still feel lonely without you," Ennis admitted. "What are we like, huh?"

Jack grinned. "Guess we're just crazy about each other. And I love that feeling, Ennis. To be so in love that I feel lonely without you...not everybody gets to feel that in their life. We're very lucky to be together."

"We sure are. And things are only gonna get better when I come back. You'll love the surprise I've got for you."

Jack had to wonder if Ennis had found a ring after all, but he could just mean the proposal itself. To Ennis, it would be a surprise, and Jack wanted him to have that for now. "I'm sure I will, if it's coming from you. Can I get a hint?" he asked hopefully, and Ennis laughed.

"Sorry, bud. Not gonna happen. But you can believe that it's something great. You trust me, don't you?"

"With my life," Jack replied seriously, knowing in his heart that it was true. "And I'm not even exaggerating, Ennis. I really do." He trusted Ennis more than anyone else; this wonderful man would never hurt him.

"Jack...I can promise you something right here. I will never hurt you, or allow someone else to hurt you. I...I know you can look after yourself but I'll always want to protect you. I...I love you more than anything else, baby. And I never want to lose you."

Jack smiled, feeling a lump form in his throat. "Same to you, Ennis. And...I appreciate what you're saying. I feel exactly the same about you."

"We're a right pair, aren't we? Talking sweet nothings to each other down the phone like a couple of teenagers..."

"I like it," Jack replied, leaning back against the bench. "I don't know...when I was growing up I never thought I'd have a relationship like this, with anyone. So I'm making the most of it."

"You're right," Ennis agreed. "We should do that. Living's gonna be really great, Jack. I know we'll be happy."

"I agree," Jack said, smiling. "Why does it have to be so long before you come back?"

"I know, darlin'. I miss you so much...even to just hold you would be good right now, you know? And to kiss you...this sounds crazy, but I miss your lips. Seems to me like they just fit with mine, you know?"

Jack felt warm throughout his body, enjoying this conversation very much. "I know what you mean. And I think you're right, Ennis. We're just perfect for each other. What are the odds of finding the love of your life, these days? People go from partner to partner, never really finding the one that they want to spend their life with. Those of us who do...we're really lucky."

"We are. Listen, I...I need to get back to work soon. And I guess you do too, right?"

Jack sighed. "Yeah, that's true. Never enough time for us, is there?"

"Unfortunately not. But there will be soon, bud. Take care of yourself, yeah? And don't worry so much. I'll be home soon."

"I know. I can't wait for that day, Ennis. We're gonna be so happy..."

"Yep. I love you, Jack. Speak soon..."

"Okay. Love you too, sailor." He clicked off and sighed to himself, wishing that he could just go to sleep and wake up when Ennis was home. He hated the long waiting and the pining, but soon it would be over and Ennis would be home for good. That was enough to keep him going. In a year's time, this would be a mere memory because they would be used to domestic life by then. They would probably even be married.

He smiled when he thought about Ennis wanting to marry him. That was a clear indication of how strong Ennis's feelings were, even if he sometimes struggled with the words. He was humbled that Ennis wanted him, and silently vowed that he would be a good partner; the kind that such a man deserved.