Chapter 7

Saturday, October 31st 2009

It's been nearly three weeks since I left Jack again. I can't believe how the time has flown and I miss him even more now than I did before. I know why, of course. Because of what we did together and how incredible it was to be with him like that. It was everything I hoped for and more, and I can't wait until I see him again.

He texted me as I was on my way back to the ship, thanking me for the framed photo. I knew he'd like it and I was happy that I could give him a birthday present even if I couldn't be there.

I'll never forget the moment when he told me that he loves me. I had a feeling he did, given how we communicated during our time apart and how happy he was when I returned, but to hear him say it was like nothing else I've ever experienced in my life. I love him too and I was so happy to be able to tell him. It wasn't an easy thing for me to say, but I'm glad I was able to for him.

We're having a Halloween party on the ship tonight, which might actually be fun. We have one every year, so I might as well keep going to them. I guess they're okay at first until the guys start getting drunk. We're technically not allowed alcohol on the ship but that doesn't stop some of them from sneaking it on after shore leave.

I miss Jack. Every morning I wake up and wonder if he's awake or still asleep, and I think about him all day. I try to picture what he might be doing. Now that I have a photo of him, I can go into the bathrooms to try and relieve the pressure when it becomes too much, but it's not quite the same as having him with me. I remember how it felt to hold him and whisper in his ear as I moved inside him and I knew that he was feeling everything I was feeling.

I wonder if next time, I might meet his parents. If I get enough time it might be possible. Maybe they might happen to visit next time I'm there. I'd like to meet them, since me and Jack are serious about each other. I know both his parents and mine are very accepting of who we are and who we've chosen to be with.

We're off to Hong Kong next, which should be interesting. I never really know why we go to overseas ports; I don't think I have a high enough rank to be told about official business. But I enjoy seeing new places, even though I wish Jack could be here with me. All I can do is remember everything we did together at his place and think about what we might do next time. I can't wait to see him again.

Ennis finished writing and sat back in his chair, thinking. He would never regret having sex with Jack, but he had to admit that it made the separation harder to deal with because they were a lot closer now. Jack had given him a hickey on his collarbone which had long since faded, but every time he looked at the area he could still picture it in his mind. He hated how he had to be away from Jack for so long and wished it could be less than six months before he saw Jack again. He wasn't sure how to get through this.

He went to his bed and stretched out, thinking about their relationship and how it was progressing. They were moving fairly quickly, but maybe that was a good thing since they spent so long apart; they were making up for lost time.

Ennis thought about Jack's offer to stay in his apartment instead of moving between it and the barracks, and he felt his heart fill with happiness every time he thought about it. Was Jack asking him to move in, to a certain degree? He wasn't sure but he knew that nothing would make him happier than to do so. Even if that hadn't been Jack's intention, Ennis still appreciated the offer and was looking forward to having somewhere to go. He hated the barracks anyway, with the loud noises that came from the other guys as they brought girls back; usually different ones every night. He preferred to stay with Jack so they could make noises of their own with nobody to disturb them.

He pulled out his phone and found the photo of Jack he'd taken. Jack had been sitting next to him with a wide grin on his face, which brought a smile to Ennis's face as he saw it.

I love you so much, he thought as he examined Jack's face. He knew that he would never be able to stop thinking about Jack, not even to distract himself from his longing, so he might as well embrace it and think of Jack all the time.

Ennis wished he could tell someone about the wonderful man he'd met; this was very lonely and he felt like the only gay man on the ship. He knew this probably wasn't the case but he was too scared to ask this of anyone for fear of being wrong and found out. He had his suspicions about some of the guys, but he had no evidence and he didn't want to ask without being sure. What if they turned out to be straight and told everyone else about him? He could get beaten up, and while he could handle himself in a fight he couldn't fight off several of them.

He shook his head and remembered how proud Jack was of him for holding his head high and carrying on. He couldn't risk this, not when he just wasn't ready to leave. Jack wouldn't want him to.

Ennis remained in his cabin for most of the day, only emerging when he heard music starting to play for the party. It was mostly being held in the communal room below his cabin, but he knew that the celebrations would be going on all over. He wondered how much booze had been sneaked on board this time.

He found people milling about and talking, with suspicious paper cups that could be full of anything. "Hey, Ennis," one of them said to him as he walked near them. "You joining the party?"

"Reckon I might as well," he replied, nodding.

"Well, here's a tip. If you want booze, go to Mark Dawson's cabin next door to the communal room." Ennis nodded and figured it might not be such a bad idea after all. He knew that the bosses didn't come to these parties so there wasn't much chance of being caught drinking.

He got himself a drink and went into the large room next door, watching as some of the guys played pool or watched a Halloween movie on TV. There were decorations hanging up, and some of the guys were clearly having shot contests at the tables. He didn't really like the rowdiness of it, but it was better than sitting upstairs on his own. He missed Jack so much and hearing about his co-workers' latest conquests didn't really help, but he put up with it well enough.

Ennis sat down near the TV and started half-watching the movie, not really seeing it but thinking more about what Jack might be doing right now. When he'd spoken to Jack, he hadn't been too sure of his plans for tonight.

"I mean, there's this party going on at the local dance hall, so I might go to that with Lureen. I don't normally bother but...I'm kinda lonely, you know?"

"I know, bud," Ennis replied, sighing. "Feel like that myself. I miss you so much that I'll hang out with anyone, even the ones I don't really like."

Jack laughed. "Guess we've got it bad for each other, huh? I love you, much."

"I love you too. And...I'm looking forward to staying with you the next time I'm there. It'll be great."

"Sure will. Your face will be the last thing I see at night and the first I see in the morning," Jack told him, which brought a smile to his face.

"Sounds good to me."

Ennis was brought back to the present when a loud roaring cheer came from one of the shot tables, and he shook his head. His greatest fear was someone finding out about him and Jack, and yet here he was daydreaming. He just couldn't risk someone finding out. He knew that Jack worried he would blame him if they were found out, but Ennis was sure that he could never do that to Jack. He didn't have it in him to feel any kind of negative emotion towards Jack, at all. He loved him too much.

"Ennis!" called one of the louder guys who seemed to think that Ennis was like him and his friends in terms of behaviour. "You wanna do some shots?"

He shook his head. "No, I'm good," he replied as patiently as possible. In truth, he hated how they acted and wished they could understand that he wasn't interested in being friends with them.

"Why not? This is a party, come on," the other guy pressed. Ennis could feel the others staring at him with the attention he was getting and the volume of the other guy's voice. He felt his cheeks starting to burn and wished the ground would swallow him up. Why did they have to be so embarrassing? "Ennis!"

He'd had enough of this party, if it could be called that. He should have known better than to even try, and wished more than ever that Jack could be here. He stood up, claiming that he felt unwell and just left the room, needing to get away.

Nobody followed him, which he was relieved about. He ended up locking himself in a cubicle for a while to calm down and try not to get too angry at those idiots he had to work with. Why couldn't they see that he just wanted to be left alone? Were they really that stupid?

Ennis sighed and looked at the photo of Jack on his phone, part of him wishing that he'd never left and that he could still be with the love of his life. He couldn't get a signal in here so decided to head up to the deck; he wanted to send Jack a message and hoped that he would reply tonight. He wondered if Jack had gone to the party after all; at least one of them should be having fun.

Up on the deck, everything was blessedly silent. Ennis breathed in the fresh air and headed for a chair that someone had brought out here. Knowing that nobody could sneak up on him without him being aware of it, he took out his phone and started texting. He hated not being with Jack, even though Jack had told him it was okay.

Left the party, guys too rowdy. Hate it and wish I was with you xxx

He looked up into the night sky, wondering if Jack was doing the same thing. They were going around South America to take the western route to their destination, which they had been told was the quicker way. Maybe they would be back sooner than he'd thought, which gave him some hope of seeing Jack again soon.

His phone buzzed and he looked down; Jack had replied.

I didn't go to mine, didn't feel like it. I miss you too xxx

Ennis smiled and settled into the chair to carry on talking with Jack, perfectly happy to stay out here all night; he was lonely, but as long as Jack was in his life he would never be alone.

November 4th, 2009

On Wednesday, Ennis was scrubbing part of the deck and thinking of the journey ahead. He didn't mind the grunt work he had to do, for it gave him the chance for some privacy and nobody bothered him. He preferred being on his own while on the ship and he hoped that at some point, the other guys would realise this.

He hadn't spoken to the other guys much at all since the disastrous Halloween party, and that was fine by him. He wanted nothing to do with those guys right now.

As he worked, he thought about Jack and what he might be doing right now. He knew that Jack's parents would be visiting in December, and he wished he could be there to meet them. If the circumstances had been normal, he probably would have met them by now since he and Jack had been together for six months now. Maybe they would be around next time.

Ennis stood up to take a break and wiped his brow, looking out over the ocean as they moved across. As far as the eye could see, there was nothing but sea and sky. They had just passed the southern tip of Argentina and there was still a long way to go yet.

He sighed to himself and was about to continue working when he heard footsteps. He looked over and groaned inwardly; it was the drunken idiot from the party who had been trying to get him to do shots and thoroughly embarrassing him in the process. "Ennis?"

"Yeah?" he asked patiently, wanting him to just say what he had to and then leave. Mike looked sheepish.

"I wanted to say sorry for the night of the party. I was pissed as hell on that tequila and...I shouldn't have made you the focus of attention like that. I know you don't like it."

"I sure as hell don't," Ennis replied, giving him a look. "I've never liked drawing attention to myself, but you did that for me. I hated it." Mike nodded.

"Like I said...I'm sorry. And the next time there's a party, if you're there I'll leave you alone. Okay?"

"Yeah, fine," Ennis replied, not trusting himself to say much. He was still angry over the whole thing and also worried; what if Mike found out about him and Jack? He clearly wasn't capable of keeping his mouth shut when drunk.

Ennis was nervous; he didn't know what he would do if someone found out the truth and used it to blackmail him or something. What if he went up for a promotion that someone else wanted and they'd found out about Jack? They could use that to force him into backing out and that scared him. He wanted to make this a success and knew that he never would if someone found out.

More than anything, Ennis wanted a friend who he could be honest with. Jack had Lureen to talk to when he needed it, and Ennis wanted the same thing with one of his co-workers. Surely there must be someone on here, gay or straight, that he could talk to about Jack when he missed him and it became too much. But he was too suspicious of everyone on board to even try and find someone like that; he had no idea of who he could trust.

When he'd finished, he went back down to his cabin and found it empty. He sighed and went to sit on his bed for a while, knowing that they would be serving lunch soon and looking forward to it.

He sent a text to Jack to tell him that he missed him and hoped he was doing okay, and passed the time by scrolling through the texts already on his phone. He missed Jack so much and wanted nothing more than be with him again. If it were possible, he would jump into the sea and swim back to Florida just to hold Jack in his arms again.

His phone buzzed and he looked at the new text from Jack.

I'm okay, but I miss you too, every day. I love you and can't wait to see you again. Just remember everything we did together last month and how it felt; remember that it'll happen again one day xxx

Ennis smiled and felt a little better at Jack's words; he always seemed to know what to say to make him feel better and Ennis loved him for it. Part of him suspected that Jack was playing down his own feelings of longing so that he didn't feel bad, and sometimes he wished that Jack wouldn't do that. But he did appreciate knowing that Jack missed him because it showed him that Jack's feelings were just as strong as his own.

He went down for lunch and joined the quieter group of guys that he knew, wondering if any of them were gay and if he might be able to talk to them. But without any kind of proof he was too scared in case he was wrong and someone took offence. That was the last thing he needed.

"You okay?" asked one of the guys when they noticed he wasn't eating much. Ennis nodded. "I heard what happened at the party...I'm guessing you weren't happy about being shown up..."

"Not really," Ennis sighed, looking over at Mike and his friends. He didn't understand why they even wanted to be friends with him, thinking that he was like them. He'd never shown any desire to do the things that they did. He hoped that one of them didn't follow him the next time he went to Jack's apartment. If someone saw them together he wasn't sure how he could explain it.

He kept mostly quiet during lunch, only speaking when asked to give an opinion about something and feeling more alone than ever even though he was surrounded by people. If Jack was here, he would have everything he needed.

Late that night, Ennis was lying in bed and trying to get to sleep. He liked hearing the waves outside and that sometimes helped him drop off, even when he wasn't really tired.

The ship was silent, which was a lot better than the night of the party and he appreciated it. As he lay there, he thought of Jack and if he too was trying to get to sleep. The moonlight was shining through the window and he looked up at it, wondering if Jack was looking at it too. It made a nice connection between them, to know that they looked upon the same sun and moon each day.

Ennis curled up on his side, closing his eyes and knowing that he was going to dream of Jack. That was no hardship to him; he loved dreaming about his friend and lover when he couldn't be there for real.

"Hey," Jack murmured to him, kissing his neck. "I missed you..."

"Missed you too," Ennis sighed, wrapping his arms around Jack as they stood there together, reunited after so long. Jack felt warm and familiar; everything that he loved and remembered. "Feels good to hold you again..."

"Mmm..." Jack pulled away and smiled at him. "How about I welcome you home properly?" he asked suggestively, and Ennis grinned.

"Sounds good to me." Jack pulled him close for a deep kiss and started walking backwards to the sofa, bringing Ennis with him and feeling his lover grow hard.

They sank down onto the sofa together with Ennis on top, one leg in between Jack's and trying to refrain from humping against him. "Oh God, I want you..." he breathed in Jack's ear. Jack started undoing his buttons.

"Then come and get me," he whispered, eyes full of lust as he exposed his chest. Ennis immediately leaned down to kiss the glowing skin, having missed this for so long. "Ennis..."

As they kissed, they found their shirts being flung to the floor and kicked their shoes off. Ennis started grinding against Jack, drawing a whimper from him as Jack bucked upwards. "You want me, Jack?" he asked, nuzzling his lover's neck. Jack nodded.

"Take me," he groaned, needing to feel Ennis inside him. They undid each other's jeans and pulled them off, now with nothing to separate their bodies. Jack grabbed a bottle of lube that had appeared and handed it to Ennis, grinning. "You'll need this..."

Ennis smirked and smeared some over himself, knowing that Jack was watching him hungrily. It humbled him to know how much Jack wanted him.

He pushed Jack's legs apart as far as they would go on the narrow sofa and started pushing in, biting his lip. Jack gasped at the initial contact and the pain that came with it, but by now he was used to it and took deep breaths; it would be well worth it. "Oh God..."

"That feel good, darlin'?" Ennis asked as he kept pushing further in. Jack nodded, sighing when Ennis was fully inside him and they were tightly pressed together. "You look beautiful like this, Jack..."

Jack smiled up at him and wrapped his legs around his waist, holding on tight. "Make love to me," he whispered, and Ennis started to move. He pulled out halfway before moving smoothly back in and drawing a moan out of Jack. "Ennis...feels wonderful..."

Ennis kissed him deeply as he rocked into him, knowing that he was doing everything he could do make Jack feel good and that Jack appreciated his efforts. He trailed a hand down to take hold of Jack, hearing a gasp from beneath him. "Oh God..." he groaned, bucking underneath Ennis's touch.

It didn't take long before Ennis felt ribbons of fluid hit his chest, accompanied by Jack yelling out as the pleasure overtook him. He thrust a few more times until he himself had finally released, and then sank down onto Jack's body. They were covered in sweat and Ennis could feel himself sticking to Jack but he didn't care; this felt too good to care about the mess. "Oh, Jack...I love you so much..."

"I love you too," Jack sighed, kissing his face and hair. He was smiling and felt exhausted, but didn't want to move because that would involve being away from Ennis; he didn't want that just yet. "You make me happy..."

Ennis smiled down at him, stroking Jack's face tenderly. "You make me happy too. I just...can't describe how I feel about you, Jack. There aren't words for what I'm feeling right now..."

Jack shook his head. "That's okay, Ennis..." He placed his hand over Ennis's heart. "I know what you feel anyway. You tell me you love me; that's more than enough because I can see the rest in your eyes. I feel it when you touch me, show me that you love me even when you can't say much about it except those three words."

Ennis blushed a little; he'd never had much confidence about himself. "Don't know about all can really tell?"

"Yes, I can," Jack assured him, holding his face in both hands. "You've got a good heart, Ennis...and you're the best man I've ever known. I'm so proud of you for being who you are and not letting anyone try to change you. I swear..." He kissed Ennis again and pulled him close. "I love you..."

"I love you too, Jack..."

Ennis jerked awake when he heard rain hitting the window and he blinked, still feeling Jack's lips on his own and seeing that face in his mind. He sighed, not being pleased by the interruption to his dream. But he had enjoyed it anyway; he hated it when he woke up during a sex dream before he came as it left him so frustrated that he had to take care of it before trying to get back to sleep.

He turned over and closed his eyes again, hoping that Jack knew he was thinking of him.

November 16th, 2009

On Monday, Ennis decided to call Jack when he had nothing else to do. It was early evening, so he knew that Jack would have finished work by now. He only ever called Jack from his cabin, and even then only when it was empty because he couldn't risk someone finding out who he was talking to. He knew that Jack wouldn't want him to risk his job for him.

He sat on his bed and scrolled through to Jack's number, smiling as he did every time he saw Jack's name on the screen. He took a deep breath before dialling; he always felt nervous about talking to Jack, even now. He could only guess that it was because of how much he loved Jack.

"Ennis?" came Jack's voice, sounding eager. Ennis smiled.

"Hey, Jack. Just...wanted to talk. Miss hearing your voice."

"Ennis..." Jack sighed. "That's really sweet. I miss you too, much. Can you tell me anything about what you're doing right now?"

"We're heading for Hong Kong. Should be there just after the New Year and we'll be spending a few days there before coming back. Should be back in April."

"That's a long time away..." Jack replied, sounding wistful.

"I know, but think of it like this; when I come back, it'll be about a year since we met. That's a good thing, right?"

"Yeah, it's quite a milestone," Jack admitted in spite of himself. "But...we've only spent about a week in each other's company. We should have had so much more by now..."

"Jack...I'm sorry," Ennis told him; he didn't know what else to say that might ease the pain. "You know I would be with you more often if I could be, but I've got this contract..."

Jack sighed. "I know. I'm sorry too, Ennis...I shouldn't keep whining like this when I've known all along how things have to be. I knew from the start and I've accepted that because I wanted anything I could get from you. And don't get me wrong...the time we've spent together so far has been amazing. I'm sorry if I sound ungrateful when I complain about this..."

Ennis smiled affectionately. "You're not ungrateful, Jack. You're just lonely. I know it hurts that we can't be together more often, because I feel that pain too. I want nothing more than to be with you again, and I hate how I can't be just yet. The guys here...they all talk about the girls they've been with on shore leave and I can't talk about you. Even if I could...they wouldn't get it anyway. I swear, they think it's all about sex...we've got more than just that, you know?"

"I know, Ennis. The sex is incredible and you really do know how to rattle a headboard," Jack informed him, clearly grinning. "But...other than that...there's something else. The way you hold me and whisper to me...the way you kiss be honest, I remember that more than the sex sometimes. But it all comes together and we're just...we're great together."

Ennis smiled. "We sure are. Never thought I'd ever find anyone that I wanted to spend more than just a night with. I never got the whole 'girl in every port' thing, to be honest. How can that anything for them besides getting off?"

"I don't know, but I'm glad you're not like that," Jack told him. "You are so...better than that. You didn't want just one night with me, and we even put off sex until our next meeting so that we could be sure instead of doing it in the heat of the moment, which we could have regretted. I know that you didn't just do that for me, but for you as needed to be sure that you weren't going to break my heart by having sex with me after only just meeting and then leaving without a word."

"I would never do that to you, Jack," Ennis assured him. "I did want to sleep with you, but I knew it would be a bad idea at the time. I'm glad we waited because we were sure of it by then. We were sure it would work out despite how little time we spend together."

"Yeah, and I'm still sure of that. I love you so much, Ennis...and I'm looking forward to seeing you again. God knows I'm missing you so much right know what I did?"


"After you left, I didn't change the sheets for a lot longer than I normally do. Your smell was still on your side of the bed and I...curled up into it every night and tried to imagine that you were there with me. Couldn't bring myself to change the sheets until the smell had faded."

Ennis had no idea how to respond to this. To think that Jack had missed him so much as to do that humbled him. He was starting to see how much he meant to Jack. "Bud...I don't know what to say. Nobody's ever loved me enough to do that..."

"Well...I did it," Jack said softly. "You mean the world to me, Ennis...and I don't care if we're moving so fast when we are together. If we'd been together every day, we'd be at the same place we are now. The part where it's all sex and talking and just being together. That makes it okay for us to move fast when you're here. I love you."

"I love you too...and when I come back I'm gonna kiss you so hard your lips will feel numb afterwards. By the time I leave, you'll be walking funny for a week," he promised in a low voice.

"That sounds...perfect," Jack replied, and Ennis knew he was smiling. "I can't wait to see you again, Ennis. Take care, okay?"

"Yeah, you too. Night, Jack."

"Night, bud."

Ennis clicked off and smiled at the thought of Jack on his side of the bed, just waiting until it could be filled again.