Chapter 4

Monday, August 3rd 2009

It's been sixteen weeks to the day since I met Jack; four months. We'll reach Alexandria in a few hours and spend a day there while the captain meets with their Navy. Then it's straight back to the States.

For me, it means I'll get to see Jack again. It won't take as long to get back so we'll be there in October as I told him. I can't wait to be with him again, and to finally consummate our relationship.

I talked to him on the phone yesterday; he told me that he'd had a dream about me in bed with him. He said that I was just there, and that I took over and made love to him. He told me that when he woke up, he'd come all over himself and had to clean himself up. I was at a loss for words when he told me; I had no idea that a dream about me could have that effect on someone, but clearly he feels that way about me and I'm happy about it.

I keep wondering what it'll be like when we do finally do it. I'm not sure who will be on top, but I guess we'll just wait until we're in the moment and it'll be decided for us. Either way, I want to have him in my arms again and to hold him close to me. Maybe we can spend the day on his sofa, talking and kissing, and then go to bed later on. I'd like to stay overnight at his place, now that the others know I'm seeing someone in the city. I just hope that nobody follows me and sees me with Jack.

I keep thinking that he might think I'm ashamed to be seen with him, but that's really not the case. I want to show him off to everybody I know but I can't do that without risking my job. If they find out, I could be sacked and they won't let me keep my dignity when they get rid of me. They'll make sure everyone knows why I was shown the door. Jack worries about me being found out, but I hope he doesn't feel guilty that I can't be open about who I am. I knew I was gay long before I met him, and if I was with someone else it would be the same story.

Anyway, I can't wait to be back with him. I'm sure now that I love him and I can't wait to see the look on his face when I tell him. I hope he's happy about it even though we hardly know each other. I think he will be. I don't know what's going to happen for us in the future, but I'd like to at least try to make a go of it with him. I want to be with him, no matter how long it takes for us to get there together.

Ennis put his pen down and sighed to himself, reading over the entry and thinking about the conversation they had the day before. He was certainly surprised by Jack's confession.

"I had a dream about you last night, you know. I mean, I've had dreams about you before but this was different."

"How d'you mean?"

"Ennis...we bed together. We did it, you know? We slept together."

"Oh," he replied, feeling his face grow warm. "Right. Um...was it good, then?"

"Hell yeah. I woke up and saw that I'd shot all over my stomach. It was really good..."

Ennis smiled. "Well, um...I guess I was good, then."

" were amazing," Jack assured him. "You kissed me and helped me relax. You were a damn tease but it was so good. It was really vivid made me surer than ever that I want to do it for real."

"I'm glad," Ennis replied, smiling wider. "It's just...I've never done it with a guy before so...if I'm nervous and don't really know what to do..."

"It's okay. We'll help each other," Jack told him firmly. "I know we don't have the experience, but we've both had dreams now. We can work from those to figure out what to do. And you know what? I reckon it'll just come to us naturally."

"Yeah, you're right," Ennis replied, feeling slightly more confident.

Ennis shook himself from his memory and put his journal into his trunk, thinking about the day. In about an hour they had to get ready for their landing in Egypt and he was looking forward to going there. He had promised Jack that he would get some good photos to send to him and he would hold himself to that promise.

Out of concern for his privacy and his job, Ennis had put a password onto his phone that nobody else could know. It was the name of the street where Jack lived and he figured that nobody on the ship would guess it even if they saw him there.

Ennis hoped that one day he and Jack could meet each other's parents and start to form a more permanent bond. He didn't know when he might leave the Navy, provided that he wasn't kicked out first, but he figured that he should give it some time so that he and Jack could find their feet with this relationship. He didn't want to pressure Jack into making a decision about his life, like where they would live, so soon after they had met. Under normal circumstances, six months was usually enough for someone to at least have an idea of whether or not a relationship was going somewhere, but this wasn't the normal way of doing things.

But he pushed these thoughts out of his mind and just thought about the upcoming landing. He wasn't sure if he could send photos right away but he would save them until he could; he knew that Jack would enjoy seeing the places he had been to.

They reached Alexandria and were given strict instructions to return to the ship at dusk while the captain went about his business. Ennis declined the offer to go walking around with his friends, the quieter guys, and set off alone with a map in his hand.

The first thing he did was take some photos of the bay for Jack on his phone, knowing that his friend would love to see them when he got back. It was a beautiful day, but it was as hot as they had warned him it would be.

He set off in search of food, wanting to try the local cuisine. He found a place a few streets away from the port and decided to start there. He noticed how the locals were looking at him curiously but he kept his head down, not wanting to cause any trouble. The woman who served him was friendly enough and he did like the food there, strange to him though it was.

Afterwards, he took a bus further into the city and made his way to the National Museum, which seemed to him a good place to start learning about the country. He walked up the white staircase at the front and into the slightly dark building. There were many ancient artefacts in here, and he noticed that he wasn't the only tourist. He took some photos on his phone and read the labels with interest. There were pieces that had been discovered underwater and he was struck by the sheer range of the displays. He knew that Jack would love this place if they could come here together, and he hoped that one day he could show Jack the world.

He spent around an hour in there; it was now two in the afternoon and he had plenty of time left. Ennis made his way to the Roman Amphitheatre. It was absolutely stunning and he tagged along with a tour group who were walking around, listening to the guide as he explained the area. There was a live excavation dig going on as they were there, which was fascinating considering how long ago it must have formed.

He wondered where his fellow shipmates were and if they were taking in the sights as well as himself. He thought bitterly that the rowdy ones were probably on the prowl, which made him shudder. He knew that the people here had more self-respect than that and were very religious; he hoped that they weren't put in an awkward position.

Still, he enjoyed walking around and enjoying the local sights, hoping that his sun cream was strong enough for this climate. The last thing he wanted was a painful sunburn when he went back to Jack; that would ruin their plans. He repressed a grin at the thought of being with Jack when he got back; he couldn't wait.

When he had finished here, he sat on a bench for a moment and scrolled through the photos he'd taken. He wasn't sure if he could send them to Jack from here, so he would wait until he either returned to the ship or arrived back in the States.

Ennis sighed and got up, hoping that Jack knew he was thinking of him. He found his way to Pompey's Pillar, craning his neck up to get a better look. It was apparently twenty-five metres high, with a pair of sphinx statues right next to it. There were a couple of other tourists there but it wasn't busy.

As the afternoon wore on, he headed south towards the Catacombs of Kom el Shaqafa. He'd heard stories of Egyptian curses in tombs and such, but he wasn't sure that he believed them. There was a guide around to explain the area to them and it was fairly busy by this time. It turned out that they weren't allowed to take photos inside but that was okay; he could explain it all to Jack when he returned.

Ennis realised that with everything he was doing on this trip, he kept thinking about when he would return to Jack. He vaguely felt as if he'd left behind part of his heart when he said goodbye to Jack, and he wondered if Jack felt as if part of his heart had gone on the ship. He was daring to hope that he meant as much to Jack as the man himself meant to him. One day, they would be together again and would move to the next level.

He left the catacombs as they were giving him an uneasy feeling with all of the coffins in there, and headed back out into the sunlight. The afternoon was passing by and soon it would be evening; he had to start heading back to the ship.

Since he had enough time, he decided to walk back and see some more of the area as the sun hung low in the sky. He wanted to get a picture of the sunset before they left, thinking that he could give it to Jack as a romantic gift. He knew that his friend's birthday was in October and he hoped that they could spend it together before he had to leave again.

He reached the ship and spotted his co-workers also arriving back. Some of them had bought things while exploring and he thought of the photo he'd taken of the sunset just now. He knew that Jack would love it and would probably put it somewhere in his apartment, in a place where he could see it all the time.

Ennis returned to his cabin once the ship was on its way, feeling tired after his long day of exploring but happy with the experience. The only thing missing from it was Jack, and he hoped that one day he could take Jack there on a trip, maybe even one day for a honeymoon. He smiled at the thought of marrying Jack and he hoped that one day it would happen. Nothing would make him happier.

August 10th, 2009

Time was marching on, and they had left Alexandria and were now headed home. Ennis couldn't wait to see Jack again and he hoped that Jack was prepared for the sheer intensity of the sex that he wanted to have. He would never hurt Jack, but he hoped that Jack would be able to take his lust; Jack had assured him that he could. He was a man and fairly strong; more than enough to handle what Ennis could dish out in the bedroom. Ennis was sure that Jack would end up walking funny by the time they were satisfied.

At the moment, he was working on the ship and trying not to let his thoughts stray too far. He was cleaning one of the metal structures on deck and thinking about his time in Alexandria. It was a beautiful city full of history and culture.

He had enjoyed it, but he'd been lonely without Jack. Ennis missed him so much and was looking forward to their reunion a lot. He hoped that they got the chance to talk before proceeding to the bedroom, because he wanted to hold Jack in his arms and hear him talk; hearing it over the phone was good but not quite the same. He wanted that purr in his ear; he wanted that warm body in his arms as they embraced.

Still, he tried to remain upbeat despite his yearning for Jack. He knew that their first time together would be worth the wait, and he was prepared to wait however long he had to. He couldn't do anything else, so he might as well try to deal with the long time.

He'd had another dream of Jack last night, but it hadn't been about sex. They were just sitting together on the sofa, drinking wine and watching TV. Ennis could recall feeling warm and happy, something that he always felt when he was with Jack. He hoped to have many evenings like that with him, where it was just the two of them enjoying a little romance. He liked that notion very much.

"I could stay here forever," Jack said, nuzzling against him as they relaxed together. Ennis enjoyed the warm weight leaning on him and hoped that this moment would remain forever in his memory.

"I know," Ennis replied, squeezing him tighter. "I always wanted something like I've got you..."

"You sure have," Jack told him, kissing his cheek. The clock struck eleven and he smiled. "You wanna go to bed?" he asked lightly, knowing that Ennis certainly did.

"You bet," Ennis replied, smiling back and getting up with Jack holding onto his hand. They went into the bedroom together to spend yet another night of passion and love.

Ennis shook himself from his memory and carried on working, thinking about the tone of his dream. He was glad that they weren't all about sex; he didn't just want that from Jack. He knew that it would be good, but he wanted more as well. Jack would not be just a one night stand to him, ever. He wanted a relationship with him, despite the long time they were bound to spend apart.

He pulled out his phone when nobody was looking, looking through the last few texts that he and Jack had sent to each other since the departure from Egypt. He had decided to save the photos for when he returned.

Left Alexandria now, on the way home xxx

Can't wait to see you. Hope you're ready ;-)

Ennis had smirked at Jack's flirtatious tone, knowing exactly what he was talking about.

I am if you are xxx

Ennis smiled at the sheer thought of what they were going to do. He was incredibly nervous about it, but that was mainly due to his inexperience and his desire to make it good for Jack in spite of this. He had a good idea of what to do and how it was supposed to happen, and he so wanted to see how he could make Jack feel.

When alone, Ennis did research on his phone. He'd learned about the prostate some time ago, but had never been able to put this knowledge into practice. He hoped he would live up to the expectations Jack had built up of him. He knew that Jack would still want to be with him even if it wasn't all he'd expected, but Ennis didn't like to think of them being in a relationship where the sex wasn't very good. Dreams were just dreams, and neither of them had any idea if the reality would match up. He really hoped that it would, because in all other aspects it could be a wonderful relationship. He loved Jack, and he hoped they could have a future.

While he was thinking, he felt his phone buzz and looked at the new text from Jack.

What are you up to?

Ennis smirked; he knew that Jack would like the image he was about to describe. He had a feeling that Jack liked seeing him in his uniform anyway.

Cleaning up on deck. Not wearing my shirt :-)

He bit his lip as he waited for Jack's response. He really had taken off his shirt due to the heat, and he wondered what Jack's face was like right now.

Wish I could be there to lick the sweat off you xxx

Ennis's cheeks grew warm and he bit back a laugh. Jack had turned the teasing around on him.

Cheeky bastard, he thought affectionately. He loved the relationship that he and Jack already had and he hoped that this would grow as they spent more time together. He wanted to be with Jack when he eventually left the Navy.

He went back to his work and tried not to get distracted by the thought of Jack licking him. He shivered as he imagined having Jack's tongue on his body and hoped that nobody noticed. The next two months couldn't pass quickly enough as far as he was concerned.

That night, Ennis couldn't sleep. His mind was full of Jack and their impending reunion, and exactly how it would go once they were back together. He wanted to save their first time together until the evening, when he could go to bed with Jack and hold him through the night afterwards. That would be perfect as far as he was concerned; to make love to Jack and connect with him, then to tell him that he loved him and fall asleep together. He couldn't think of anything more perfect for their first time and he hoped that Jack felt the same way. Judging from what he knew of Jack so far, he was fairly confident that Jack did.

Jack's earlier text to him made him think. It would be ridiculous to claim that their love for each other was so pure that it transcended sex; they were both red-blooded males and they had needs that would need to be taken care of. Ennis had no doubt that the sex would be amazing and he liked the idea. But at the same time, he knew that it wouldn't just be about getting off for the hell of it; they would be doing it because of their deeper feelings for each other. There was no better way to show someone that you loved them, and he knew it would say so much more than he ever could.

He could tell Jack that he loved him, and one day they might get married and somehow have children. Those were great ways of showing that they loved each other, but he felt as if sex was still the best way for Jack to see everything that he was feeling inside himself. He'd never opened up too much to anyone before, not even his parents, so Jack would be the first to see him vulnerable. There could be times when he needed reassurance and to be taken care of, and he only trusted Jack to do this.

Ennis slipped out of bed and out of the cabin, needing some fresh air. They were allowed to walk around on deck as long as they didn't disrupt anyone, which was fair enough as people were trying to sleep. He hated drawing attention to himself anyway.

He headed up onto the deck and breathed in the sea air, thinking that it would clear his head. The sky was full of twinkling stars out here, and he smiled as he wondered what Jack would make of them. There was so much he still didn't know about Jack, but he figured that he would learn it as they spent more time together. That was something to think about and he was looking forward to spending more time with his new friend and future lover.

He leaned against the railing, watching the water below as the ship slowly moved west. The captain didn't like to move the ship too quickly at night. Ennis was at the front of the ship, peering out into the darkness and wondering when the first sight of land would occur. He knew it would be a couple of months yet but still; he hoped the time would pass quickly so that he could see Jack's face again. That beautiful face with the blue eyes and dimples and wide smile that drove him crazy...

I love you, he thought as he pictured Jack's smiling face, welcoming him back. I love you now and I always will; I'm sure of it. I hate the waiting too, but soon I'll be home and I'll show you how much I love you.

He sighed, wishing that Jack could hear him and reply. He hoped that Jack knew the depths of his feelings and felt the same. There were still eight weeks until their predicted return to the States and they were dragging by. When he did return and they consummated their relationship, he wondered what they might do then. Maybe they would go for walks in the park, or go for dinner and see a movie; the normal things that couples did. He still had no idea how much time they would get on land, but he hoped it was longer than three days. A week would be good, he figured; that would be more than enough time for them to get re-acquainted and move to the next level. He wanted to spend all of the time with Jack and he knew that his parents would be fine with this.

He had yet to tell his parents that he was seeing someone, and made a mental note to do so at the first opportunity. He felt slightly guilty about not talking to them much over the last few months but he'd been so distracted now that Jack was in his life. He knew that his parents would understand if he told them, but still. They meant a lot to him too and he decided he would speak to them as soon as he could.

With this decided, Ennis felt ready to go back to bed and try to sleep. There was a high chance that he would dream of Jack, but that was okay. He was used to that by now, but something worried him. He wasn't always sure of his cabin-mate being asleep when he was, so what if he yelled out Jack's name in passion? The other guy would hear it and realise what was going on. Ennis was terrified of waking up one morning to find that everyone on the ship knew who he was and who he'd been seeing on land. He didn't know if the other guy could be trusted to keep his mouth shut, or how he even felt about gay people.

Jack would tell him not to worry, that everything would be fine. Ennis held onto this thought as he got back into bed, trying to get warm under the thin sheets and wishing that he could just sleep the time away until they landed back at home.

August 15th, 2009

On Saturday, Ennis had a day off working so he decided to call his parents and catch up with them. He mainly wanted to tell them about Jack but he also wanted to see how they were and tell them about his trip to Alexandria.

He sent a text to Jack explaining what he was about to do, and Jack told him he was all for it. With this approval, Ennis dialled his parents' home number and waited as he sat on his bunk.

"Hello?" It was his mother.

"Mom, it's me," he replied, smiling at her familiar voice.

"Ennis! How are you, honey? It's been a while since we heard from you."

"I know, and I'm sorry about that. I've been a little distracted lately so I just kept forgetting to call you."

"It's okay. How's life on the open sea?" she asked, clearly smiling.

"It's good. I'm being kept busy. We've just been to Alexandria in Egypt, and I took a load of photos while I was there."

"That sounds great. I'm glad you like it there, Ennis. I was worried that you wouldn't, being away from home for so long."

"It's really okay. And...there's something you and Dad ought to know."

"Is there?"

"Yeah. I, um...last time I was on shore leave, we were in Jacksonville in Florida. That's our main base now. And...I met someone while I was there."

"You did? Who is it?"

"Well...his name's Jack," he told her; his parents knew that he was gay and had long since accepted it, which was a relief to him. "I literally bumped into him on the street. He saw that I was new around there so he showed me around."

"That was nice of him, considering that you were a stranger. What's he like?"

"He's..." Ennis had to work to find words that would sufficiently describe Jack. "Really nice. Works in a bookstore in the city and his parents live up on Fernandina Beach to the north of the city. We had lunch together and I spent some time with him for the three days I was there."

"That sounds wonderful, but...Ennis, I hear things about sailors on shore leave. They don't tend to have a good reputation..."

"We just kissed," he told her. "We're waiting for other stuff until I come back in October. We're on our way home now."

"Okay then. In the circumstances, it's good to take things slowly."

"We both know that, Mom. We talk every chance we get and we're growing closer, I reckon."

"I'm glad to hear it, Ennis. I'll tell your dad when he comes home from work; I'm sure he'll be happy to know that you've found someone. Are you sure about him, Ennis?"

"I really am. We both know it's not easy, being so far apart for so long. But we can do this. We just need to work things out for ourselves, you know?"

"I understand, honey. So...I guess your colleagues don't know, because of that law?"

"No...and I don't know what I'd do if someone found out. I could be sacked because of who I am..."

"I'm sure it won't come to that. I know you're proud of who you are, and we are too. But you have to keep your head down. I know it's not easy but I'm sure you can do it."

"Guess I've got no choice. I never had to pretend when I was alone with Jack...was a nice break from all of that, you know?"

"I'm sure it was. Listen, I won't keep you. I've got some things to do around the house and I'm sure you're busy. But just remember that your dad and I are always here for you when you need us. And give our best to Jack the next time you talk to him."

"I will. Thanks, Mom."

"You're welcome, Ennis. Talk to you soon, okay?"

"Yeah, sure. Bye, Mom." He hung up and smiled to himself; she had always been more focused on his happiness than how others might see him. Ennis felt very lucky that she and his dad accepted him for who he was, and he knew that if they met Jack they would like him. Maybe they could do that some time if he was on shore leave for long enough; he would like that a lot.

With this done, he decided to head out and see if he could spot anyone to pass the time with; hopefully he wouldn't run into the rowdy sailors. Before he went, he sent a text to Jack.

Told my mom, she's happy for me. My dad will be too xxx

He was walking down the corridor when he felt a buzz in his pocket. He bit his lip, looking forward to Jack's reply as he always did.

Good. Things are coming together for us xxx

Ennis smiled and realised that Jack was right; if only he could tell his friends about Jack without the fear of being sacked and ridiculed. He felt that it was extremely unfair, given that he wasn't the slightest bit interested in anyone on this ship and would remain faithful to Jack. He hated the jokes and bigotry that littered many of the conversations on this ship. He wondered how they would all react if he told them the truth; would they apologise because they were his friends, or would they take the opportunity to show just how prejudiced they were?

He shook his head and decided to stay by himself for now; he just couldn't be around those guys right now. There was a library downstairs where they had plenty of books to keep him occupied for a while. He hated being around those other guys now more than ever, because he loved Jack and wanted to shout it to the world. Hopefully one day, they would be able to walk down the street hand in hand without caring who saw them. Maybe then, he would finally have the life he'd always wanted.