Words were never his strong suit, Ennis was more for actions. People lie, but to date, Ennis could always rely on his gut.
When he stated, “I ain’t queer,” and Jack repeated those words back to him, Ennis knew they felt wrong. Ennis’ gut feeling about the other cowboy was more than he ever felt for any girl, even Alma, but he needed to make sure though that it wasn’t just sex to him or to Jack.
Throughout the next day, as Jack tended to the herd, Ennis reflected, not through words or by even conscious thoughts, but just feeling the world around him as he rode with his horse up on the mountain. The new feelings that swirled within him weren’t just from his first time and just a product of sex that everyone experiences. Ennis knew this instinctively even if the thought never fully formed.
It didn’t surprise Ennis all that much that night when he kissed Jack. It compared to nothing he had ever experienced. It wasn’t even in the same realm as the few small kisses Alma and him had stolen behind the barn. As though kissing Jack and kissing Alma were two different activities.
At some level they were, for all through the next few days Ennis let tending the sheep keep his hands busy as his traitorous mind wouldn’t stop reflecting on the futures set before him. He knew staying with Alma would be fulfilling the role that was expected of him, and being with Jack was giving in to happiness. His daddy had always beaten into him that cowboys didn’t need happiness anyway.
Though Jack always chose his happiness, even when he needed to be realistic he would find a way to have a small amount of happiness like taking this job away from his folks.
The dreamer was going to get himself hurt with that sort of recklessness. If Ennis had been anyone else Jack might have been killed just a few nights ago. Just the thought sent a shot of pure terror through him. Someone had to look out for this dreamer. His dreamer.
Just like with most things, Ennis trusted his gut and it said that Jack would always be in danger without someone there for him. After that a decision was easy. He would be that someone.
Hard-working cowboys with no close family could make it together. It wouldn’t be hard to explain the costs of living, especially that of a bachelor who wanted a little more than an apartment.
Just couldn’t let anyone in public knowledge, or go someplace with either very little public that liked their isolation or someplace where they could get lost in a crowd. That could be Jack’s choice.
However, knowing Jack it would probably be somewhere in between just to be contrary. He would get his dreams. Ennis smiled a small smile to himself as giving Jack his dream started to form in his own head just with himself alongside him. Jack talked of that damn rodeo enough that would probably be part of it. But before he went too far down that rabbit hole he had to make sure that was actually where Jack would want to be. For the rodeos have horses that need training and Jack was talkative, never shut up. Ennis knew it wouldn’t be hard to convince him to deal with all of the people and he would be helpful with the horses as well.
The next day out of the blue Ennis broke his silence, “why the rodeo?”
Jack gave a sideways glance to Ennis as they were making their trek back up to camp and hadn’t heard more than a necessary grunt or word in three days. However, instead of asking as he would have with anyone else he launched into a long narrative about how thrilling the ride was the feeling of flying until you were actually flying off the bull. At some point, every thought about becoming someone more than his father and the feeling of escape was intertwined through all the jabber that Jack kept up for their ride out to the sheep.
Throughout the day, whenever he would wane in his storytelling Ennis would ask another question that showed Jack still held his full attention and kept talking.
It wasn’t until the evening meal of beans that Jack questioned why Ennis would bring up the rodeo, “you thinking of trying it, friend? Cause I can tell you now, you won’t beat me.”
Ennis snorted at Jack with a soft smile illuminated by the firelight mustered up the courage that only the darkness can compel and removed the space between him and Jack until he could pull him close, “reckon you could ride me just as well as any bull.”
Jack gasped at the audacity of what Ennis was implying and feeling Ennis fully hard wanting him had the same effect on Jack. This was the first time Ennis had truly acknowledge what they were doing and actively initiated anything beyond sneaking into their tent and not talking about it.
That night Ennis bucked into Jack and had him holding on to Ennis's shoulders for dear life. The part that stole his breath was that Ennis’ eyes never left his own and the soft smile remained.
Ennis declaring him a fine cowboy in the morning light over breakfast. Jack just blushed and started wondering what changed so quickly for Ennis, but was determined to enjoy it.
Jack broke within a few hours and asked Ennis where his head was at.
“Texas,” was the one-word explanation Jack got.
“Friend what the hell is in Texas!”
“Your rodeos,” Ennis said as he continued on with his task like Jack was being simple.
Now Jack was confused not sure what Ennis was implying. While Jack was getting better at reading between the silences to the double meaning that was really being said it was still difficult to decipher what the words really meant. Of course, before Jack could loudly declare his confusion with expletives directed at Ennis the sheep started getting fussy on the far side. That only spelled trouble for the rest of the day.
That night for once Ennis got ready for bed first and looked to be staying with Jack in the tent. Jack joined shortly after and was thrilled to see Ennis already shirtless and on what was deemed his side of the small blanket.
Jack dropped to his knees, but before he was able to do anything else Ennis rose up to meet him and took his shirt off one button at a time kissing all the newly exposed areas of skin.
A thrill of possession roared up as Jack laid down under him exposing his throat Ennis kissed up Jack’s neck leaving marks that would be visible for Ennis all the next day.
Before kissing Jack as sweetly as Ennis could trying to convey and quell the questions and give Jack the knowledge that he wasn’t leaving no matter what Jack might try.
They were slow that night and Ennis didn’t just leave Jack to get himself off like he did their first time. He took his time just like the boys on the farm used to say was how you treated a girl. Though Jack was no girl, Ennis always thought to get someone else that pleasure was where the real pleasure was.
Seeing Jack come undone almost did it for Ennis, but he was stubborn as ever and while Jack was recovering Ennis waited until the squirming began just like the boys said it would then he started rocking again and Jack threw his head back so hard Ennis was sure there would be a lump in the morning. It didn’t take Jack long to be practically screaming hoarsely with pleasure.
Ennis was determined to last until Jack came again but it seemed Jack had other ideas and started convulsing around him. Without warning Ennis was filling Jack up and when he pulled out. Jack attacked him as a feral beast in heat. A few strokes of the hand later Jack spilled all over Ennis’ stomach then he did something Ennis wasn’t expecting and cleaned him up with his tongue.
That one action confirmed it for Ennis, Jack was an impulsive son of a bitch that needed to have someone watching his back at all times. Flopping back over on what was unofficially dubbed Jack’s side. Jack looked over at Ennis and Ennis still being daring, kissed him. Jack still had questions in his eyes but for once Jack didn’t voice it. He didn’t know why Ennis wasn’t fighting this thing between them anymore, especially how he acted the first few days after their first time, but he was going to enjoy it.
When the snow came he thought that was it, and the teasing nature of the fight to lighten Ennis up about losing a month's worth of pay and thinking he was in the poor house was meant to help not hurt. Instead of punching Jack, Ennis pinned him to the ground and kissed him, “I don’t like talking.”
“No shit friend, you could have fooled me.” The look in Ennis’ eyes was pretty damn close to the definition of devastation, and it was at that moment that Jack realized this was probably his last moment with Ennis.
The tears got to him and Ennis noticed being this close. “What. What’s wrong.”
“Nuthin’,” then Jack quickly changed the subject, “you must be glad to be going home to your girl, even if your wallet may be lighter than you wanted it. Might have to push that wedding of yours off until the spring.”
Ennis just looks all kinds of confused believing Jack had understood that he was going with him down to Texas where they could start over. “Not getting married. Just have to talk to Alma. Don’t like talkin’. Have a couple of hundred dollars as a wedding fund, I don’t think I could ever quit you Jack Twist.”
“Thought you weren’t queer,” Jack asked with hope filling his voice, but wanting, no needing, to make sure they were on the same page.
Ennis shrugged, “I'm not. Don’t like guys. Just like you. Can’t quit you.” That just about summed Ennis up, short direct statements and Jack couldn’t help but kiss him.
Their life wasn’t an easy one, there were fights and possessive attitudes on the rodeo circuit, but it was theirs. Together.