Rating: M (language, sexual situations)
Pairing: Jack/Ennis
Disclaimer: Jack and Ennis belong to Annie Proulx. This story has no commercial purpose whatsoever and is not intended to infringe on any copyrights.
Summary: Jack and Ennis reunite four years after the summer on Brokeback Mountain.
Note: This is about the two men and their psychosexual experiences during their first reunion and "fishing trip."


Part 1 (Thursday early evening)
"Once we get ta drinkin' an' talkin' …"

Ennis paces like a caged animal, and Alma thinks, he's just so eager ta meet this fishin' buddy a his! Can't wait ta meet him, must be a real nice man. Funny Ennis ain't never said nothin' 'bout him before. But good ol' Ennis, lots a things he don't talk about. Lots a things.

Kind a excitin' havin' a visitor from out a town an' all, though. Really ought ta take him out for a tasty dinner, him drivin' all the way up from Texas an' all. "Ennis, how 'bout we get a babysitter an' take your friend out ta the Knife an' Fork for a proper meal?"

"Oh, Jack ain't the restaurant kind," Ennis replies. Jesus, that's all I need, Alma sittin' there while me an' Jack's … while we're tryin' ta catch up on ol' times. Shit, maybe we're just goin' ta have us a few beers, but I bet we ain't goin' ta be talkin' sheep. Well, I don't know … got families ta talk 'bout an' stuff … never know … but Alma, no way.

"We'll probably just go out an' get drunk." Fuck, ain't been right drunk in forever! "If he shows up." Where is the son of a bitch? Jack, ya cocksucker, can't wait forever. Probably was dumb ta take off a work, but shit, I was sure he was comin' earlier in the day. 'Course he didn't say nothin' 'bout that on his card, did he? Guess it's hard ta tell with all that drivin' how long things is really goin' ta take.

The afternoon drags on into early evening. Ennis slouches on the couch, eyes closed and lightly dozing behind a half dozen beer bottles. He's half-dreaming of Jack, and he has a hard-on. The girls finish up supper in the kitchen, and Alma tries to busy herself there to hide her disappointment at not treating Ennis' friend as a proper guest. He's surely goin' ta think we're rude, ain't he? she thinks. Or worse, he's goin' ta think we're too poor ta show him a bit of a good time.

Well, maybe he won't show up. Would serve Ennis right if he didn't show up, wouldn't it? Waste a day off a work. Oh, heavens, that's so mean a me! Relax, Alma, relax. Ain't no big deal, they just want ta talk 'bout ol' times, drink some beers, don't want no woman around.

If he shows up, guess it'll be pretty clear why he don't go ta restaurants, won't it? Do I hear someone pullin' in? I think I do. Well, sure can't wait ta meet the fella either way.

Ennis snaps right out of his slumber as soon as he hears Jack's truck pull into the gravel parking lot. He pushes himself up off the couch, knocks a couple of empties over on the way to the window. The look on his face is one of great relief, anticipation ... and love, all over again, no two ways about it.

Jack! It's him! Holy fuck, it's him! Let me out a here … got ta get out there, touch that man … oh christ, I got ta touch him! He looks so fne … made somethin' a himself, hasn't he? Jack … you're so goddamn beautiful, Ennis thinks as he bounds to the door. He wants to leap over the railing as he takes the steps down two at a time.

What on earth? Alma wonders from the kitchen. I ain't never seen Ennis act so excited, like a kid at Christmas. Careful honey, don't want ta fall down them stairs! she thinks with concern.

As Jack turns from the truck toward the stairway, he grins hugely. Goddamn, that's Ennis … oh, Ennis! He ain't changed a bit, has he? Wouldn't expect Ennis ta change at all … fuckin' old stick-in-the-mud … oh, Ennis, how could I ever a stopped lovin' you? Come on, let's have a big hug, a big, big hug here! Ennis, man, how come I stayed away so long? Well, I'm here now, an' that's all that matters, ain't it?

"Son of a bitch!" Jack exclaims heartily, happily, as the two men collide in a nearly bone-crushing, full-body hug.

"Son of a bitch!" Ennis replies in kind, his voice husky with desire. As their bodies press firmly together, Ennis' nose at Jack's neck instantly picks up Jack's smoky sweetness and the magic of that summer on the mountain.

His face is right here, body right here, touchin' me, touchin' me all over. I got ta have him, got ta have him now! Ennis thinks. Jack, Jack … I love ya so much, still, after all these years I fuckin' love ya! It hurts so bad, and it ain't goin' ta go away, is it, Jack? What the fuck we do 'bout it? Jack, I'm so happy … so happy ….

Ennis shares a rare endearment he uses only on his horses and little girls."Little darlin'," he half-whispers. In Jack's case, he means "I love you." They grab at each other blindly, clothing, hair, skin.

I'm gettin' hard, Ennis thinks. Don't have no control over this! Got ta do somethin', now! Got ta do it now! He glances around, pushes Jack toward a nearby wall. Ennis is overwhelmed by hope and lust, almost cries with joy—he thought he would never see his beloved Jack again—pins the other man against the clapboard so hard that Jack's hat flies off, plants his mouth hard on those sensuous lips that had taught him so much four summers ago. Ennis would like to turn Jack around, pull his pants down, and fuck him. Fuck the hell out of him, like that first incredible night in the tent, all animal desire, all instinct.

At first Jack is shocked, thinks, whoa, Ennis, whoa! But he smells the other man, is swept up by his own memories of their time on Brokeback. He reciprocates immediately, himself firmly erect by the time their tongues meet. Shit, he thinks, holy shit, this is goin' a whole lot faster 'n I expected! Ain't barely laid eyes on the guy an' we're just 'bout ruttin' out here in the open. Like we're still up on that mountain, ain't nobody else around. Goddamn! Let's just do it now, ta hell with anyone else!

Jack is ready, so ready.

His fingers grasp at Ennis' best shirt, pop some buttons open, bunch up the fabric, claw at the other man's undershirt and chest. Ennis, he thinks, oh Ennis, been thinkin' 'bout ya for how long now. Christ, Ennis, I've missed ya so much, so goddamn much! Got ta get ya back in my life now, right now!

Concerned about Ennis tripping down the stairs, Alma looks out the door, sees her husband's shoulders straining, sees his hands holding Jack's face, knows they are kissing deeply. She sees this but doesn't know what she is seeing. Why … why … why is Ennis kissing his friend like that? His friend is a man, ain't he? I don't understand ….

Jack and Ennis want to absorb each other, they are so much in love still, and so desperate for one another after the long separation.

Ennis reluctantly pulls himself from Jack. Got ta … got ta let Alma know … get away … introduce Jack, then get away.

He drags Jack toward the stairs. Ennis pulls his shirttails, trying to tuck his shirt in as he runs back up the stairs.

Damn, those jeans look tight, Jack thinks, and don't he look good in 'em! Can't wait ta get 'em off him! Jack knows every detail of Ennis' body, can't wait to put his knowledge to use again.

Ennis' chest is heaving after the run up the stairs. Jack breathes heavily right behind him. Their hands touch, and the electricity is palpable. Ennis thinks, I got ta get Jack out a here, got ta get him away from all this, away from Alma and the girls … away from my … away from all these mistakes. Four fuckin' years a mistakes! It's goin' ta be more 'n a few drinks, ain't it? Goddamn me for lovin' this man, wantin' ta be with Jack instead a my family, but fuck … I'm all hard an' shakin' … got ta get him alone.

Shit, Ennis, Jack thinks. Ya ain't done very well, buddy, have ya? Looks like I got ta save ya from yourself, don't it? Maybe your wife ain't the worst, but what a piss-poor place ta call home! An' you're raisin' kids here? Jesus, Ennis! Let's get out a here!

Ennis thinks his shirt still has all its buttons, but he doesn't know, and he doesn't care.

That shirt is awful wrinkled, ain't it? Alma thinks. She must focus on details, on meaningless details, until she can sit down and think about her husband kissing this friend he hasn't seen in years. I ironed that shirt so good, ain't no way ta go out, in a shirt looks like that! Specially since his friend looks pretty decent here, not bad lookin' at all, dressed nice. Looks like he'd go ta a restaurant … but Ennis knows him and I don't.

Ennis introduces Jack to his wife, yet Jack doesn't see her, not really. Her own husband might just as well be staring at a wall. At this moment, Alma Del Mar does not exist. Got ta get Jack out a here, Ennis thinks.

Jack trembles with anticipation. Let's get the fuck out a here, your wife is makin' me real nervous, he thinks. But he hears a wail from the living room, a welcome diversion from this awkward, breathless introduction. "You got a kid?" Jack asks.

"Yep, two little girls. I adore 'em," Ennis replies. Alma looks stone-faced, feels very left out of this scenario, the two men, the two girls, no room for her?

Jack remembers, oh yeah, I got a baby, too, don't I? He's keepin' us up nights, ain't he? Don't want ta say that, though. Little motherfucker. "I got a boy," Jack says. Keep talkin', goddamn it, I am so fuckin' nervous! "Eight months old. Smiles a lot," he adds with his own big smile, perhaps the first time in his life that Jack has ever forced a smile.

Ennis grabs his hat in a rush to the door. Can't look at Alma, he thinks. Just got ta forget about all this right now. Just me an' Jack, that's all it's goin' ta be so long as he's here. How much time we got after all?

He tells Alma, "Me an' Jack is goin' out an' get us a drink. Might not get back tonight once we get ta drinkin' an' talkin'."Alma stares forlornly at these two men who look like two bad boys who have just raided the cookie jar. She has no idea what she has just seen. Physically, yes. Her husband kissing a long-lost fishing buddy. Really kissing him, and men in this part of the world don't kiss each other. But she has no reference at all to help her figure out what this means.

She feels lost and alone. She relies on Ennis, love of her life, protective husband and father, to take care of things that go wrong. He stands very little that he doesn't like, manages to fix most everything. He's that kind of man, always living up to his responsibilities.

What Alma has just seen shocks her to the point of tears, but she is not sure why. That kiss, yes, that is terribly unusual, but what is behind it? Is it wrong? She has no reason to believe that the Ennis who returns after a night of drinking will be a different man. She has no reason at all to believe that two men would ever do the kinds of things Ennis and Jack spent the summer doing on Brokeback Mountain. She has no reason to believe that two men can love one another … the way she loves Ennis.

Jack convinces himself that Alma notices his arousal. Just like those girls in eighth grade who would giggle at one of his involuntary erections in his too-tight trousers. But he knows Ennis is hard, too. He felt it, and he knows it isn't going to go away as long as he is in Ennis' sight. He can't wait to get out of there.

Ennis wants Jack so badly now. He feels stirrings like those of four long years ago, when he and Jack had tended the sheep together, had shared the incredible vistas, had sat around the campfire on Brokeback Mountain eating beans, drinking whiskey, sharing stories. When they had still been just friends ... and he had desperately wanted more, but he didn't know what.

Ennis' awareness of his physical relationship to other people had always been acute and fearful, still is. He wouldn't have known how to approach Jack even if he had known what he himself wanted. Only when Jack invaded his territory in that tent, forced him into action, did he fuck the other man. That was the first time he had ever touched Jack, period, but he made sure Jack didn't touch him until the next night.

Even then, Ennis all but recoiled when he saw Jack's face approaching his own for their first kiss. He was so in love with his beautiful, charismatic friend, yet repulsed by that very attraction. Touching, kissing, gentleness all had become foreign to Ennis ever since his mother's death when he was a child. No one could get close to him, and he handled problems with his fists. Wherever he went, he filled an awkward space that he wasn't sure belonged to him. He was always on the defensive. He feared his newfound love for the other man. So intense, this feeling he didn't understand and was unable to control.

That summer Ennis overcame fear after fear after fear for the man he loved. He feared the love itself at first, never could even give it a name, but he thrived on his growing feelings for Jack.

His physical victories astonished him—he learned to use his mouth in unimaginable ways, found he enjoyed it even. Most amazingly, he let Jack penetrate him, after the other man told him about a spot of pleasure that Ennis never knew he even had. Thanks to Jack, Ennis' orgasms became so much more powerful than they had ever been under his own ministrations. This man who recoiled from contact with others came to trust Jack with his entire body. With his mind. With his heart.

Ennis discovered that when he submitted to the other man, he did not lose his manhood as he had feared. On the contrary, when Jack was fucking him, when Ennis was making himself so vulnerable, he felt more complete than ever. The emptiness he had always assumed to be his lot in life disappeared.

But so did Jack.

The love Ennis experienced with Jack that summer was so very different from his relationship to Alma. In contrast to the two men's unruly and boundless passion, his engagement to Alma had resulted more from a formal sequence of assumptions and events than anything else. Ennis and Alma's only real thing in common prior to their marriage was that they assumed they would lose their virginity to one another.

The couple's physical passion has been real enough, but while Alma feels she experiences the full range of love that Ennis has to offer, distant though that might seem at times, Ennis has felt Jack's absence from the very beginning.

Ennis' frequent dreams about this man whom he thought he would never see again—many of them warm and erotic—are one thing, but his waking fantasies belong to Jack, too. His memories always focus on Jack. As the four years have painfully slipped by, Ennis has found it more difficult to capture vivid images of Jack, what he actually had seen, smelled, tasted, touched up there on Brokeback Mountain. As of late, Ennis has had only impressions to go on. Regardless, he has built up a reserve of desire with just the thought of Jack on all fours or legs in the air, the thought of Jack's warm mouth.

How many times has Jack inspired Ennis as he pleasured himself these past four years? Eager to escape the old shack they called home, now eager to escape the tiny apartment that seems too small for the family, Alma often takes the girls to visit her family for a long weekend. How many weekends in four years? Even once a month multiplied by three or four days. Yep, well over a hundred sessions of stroking himself. Ennis rounds it all off: he's wrung it out a hundred times thinking about Jack.

It is a moment of brutal honesty for Ennis. Fuck, I been thinkin' about him all this time after just one summer a herdin' sheep an' foolin' around. Damn, might as well just tell him I love him or somethin'. That's what they call all this, ain't it? Like Alma does with me … acts like she's thinkin' about me all the time and shit. Bless her little heart, she probably is, poor thing. Bein' real concerned about me. Love, yeah, but this is … this is … fuck, Jack, what is it? You're a man! How come I kissed you like that, got hard soon as I seen your face? What the hell you done ta me, makin' me remember for four years, makin' me think 'bout ya when I'm with my wife and I fuckin' didn't even know if ya was alive?

Jack's truck screeches out of the parking lot on to the road.

Some sense of propriety has returned, and Ennis decides they will head for the Siesta Motel, out of town a ways, so they won't be seen by townsfolk. They pick up a bottle of whiskey before heading out there.

From this point, the two men will commit to memory every sight, sound, touch, smell, taste.

No sooner do they pull away from Ennis' apartment than he rips open Jack's shirt, tongues the closest nipple, hungering for the musky, salty tang of his skin. He works his fingers through the fine layer of dark chest hair. Jack playfully walks his own fingers up Ennis' leg from knee to thigh. A little further and through denim he finds his holy grail, Ennis' erection. Ennis lifts his butt enough to pull his pants down. Jack wants to bury his face in Ennis' groin right then and there, make Ennis feel good in all those ways he did that first summer, taste Ennis once again.

They continue to pull furiously at each other's clothing, trade hard, hot kisses, Jack barely keeping control of the vehicle. Everything ends up wet, drenched in sweat, precum, saliva, maybe even tears? They are half undressed by the time they get to the motel. Ennis reluctantly buttons up his jeans, tucks the erection back in that Jack has been stroking when he hasn't had his hand on the truck's gear shift. Ennis still sports a bulge and his shirt is unbuttoned, but what the hell. This is a motel that has hourly rates, after all.

Part 2 (Thursday evening, Siesta Motel)
"Got ourselves a situation …"

Ennis doesn't even wait for the door to close before he grabs Jack by his mostly unbuttoned shirt, clutches at the swirls of dark hair framing an erect nipple. Ennis doesn't look around like he did outside the apartment, instinctively fearful of who might be watching. No, he pushes Jack so hard toward the wall that the other man almost falls backwards. As soon as Jack hits the cheap paneling, hands flat on the wall to balance himself, Ennis has his fingers on the rodeo buckle, frantically unhasps the brass souvenir. His mind is in a whirl.

The sound of a belt being unbuckled … it's that first night in the tent all over again! Got ta have him now, got ta taste him now! Fuck, what's this button here, goddamn it, don't need a fuckin' button here! Ennis doesn't care, his strong fingers tear the button right off, rip open Jack's jeans as the other man looks on in astonishment. What the fuck, Ennis? Jack thinks. But there ain't much I can do 'bout it, he tells himself. Maybe true, maybe not.

Ennis goes mad at the triangle of boxer shorts he sees. Jack wears underwear now, does he? Fuck that, fuck that! as he claws at the waistband. He pulls at the elastic, roughly slides his hand down into the dark pubic hair, feels Jack, swollen, warm, pulsing. Ah, there it is, there it is! Ennis thinks. I'm goin' ta have ya, Jack, comin' ta make ya feel like a man, like a real man! Jack's heart races as Ennis yanks his jeans down to his knees, the shorts too, reveals him glistening with anticipation. Jack almost swoons with relief as he is finally being freed from his jeans. He's wanted to jerk off since he hit the state line, but didn't want to take the time. Jesus christ, he thinks, jesus christ, doesn't really have any time to anticipate Ennis' next move. But it doesn't matter. Ennis has taken the lead, and Jack is all his for the moment.

With Jack still backed against the wall, Ennis drops to his knees, doesn't even wait to hit the floor before his mouth swoops down. Jack sweats against the paneling as Ennis takes him deep, deeper than he ever has before. "Jesus christ," Jack gasps with pleasure, thrusts himself into Ennis' mouth. "Shit, Ennis," he groans. "Feels so good," is all he can say as he moves in and out. He also thinks, Ennis, I love ya so much, man, so much. He won't say it in so many words, though, counts rather on the loving, sensuous connection between them at this moment to tell Ennis as much.

Ennis doesn't yet know they are going to have a "fishing trip," will be spending a few more days and nights together, so he attends to Jack feverishly, as though his life depends on it. Got ta get everthin' Jack has ta give 'fore he goes away, Ennis tells himself. Wish I could just eat ya, Jack, he thinks desperately. Just fuckin' eat ya right up. Ennis doesn't know how long Jack will be here, where Jack is headed, if or when he might be back. He digs his fingers deeply into Jack's buttocks … can't let him get away … not this time … just can't, Ennis decides.

Ah, the taste a Jack, he thinks, ain't nothin' like it, just ain't nothin' like it, is there? Musky, sweet, salty all at once. He tastes every inch of Jack with his tongue, enjoys the rich taste of sweating skin. He is gentle, doesn't want to cause pain down there—yet.

Ennis remembers his first time pleasing Jack with his mouth. It was a warm afternoon on the mountain, and they had been enjoying a naked embrace in the sunshine. Ennis had suddenly dropped to his knees. Jack had been doing it to Ennis off and on since their second night together, but Ennis was mortified that he might be expected to return the favor. He thought dicks were dirty, and he couldn't imagine how Jack had even thought to put his mouth there in the first place.

Ennis convinced himself that Jack's mouth was specially suited to the purpose. Well, the other man did have a beautiful mouth, a generous mouth that would open easily to a huge smile with lovely curves up at each end. And there was Ennis, with his own tight lips, his close-mouthed approach to life. Ennis didn't know if he himself could do it, was so worried he might become ill, might accidentally bite Jack, might do something so Jack wouldn't come. But he succeeded beyond his—and more surprisingly, Jack's—wildest dreams. Not only did Ennis draw a healthy load out of Jack with finesse, but the impromptu oral excitement caused Jack to have a second, spontaneous orgasm. Jack pulled out in surprise and came all over Ennis' face. While Jack was horrified, certain that Ennis would be repulsed, in fact Ennis was overjoyed that he had performed so well, had so quickly mastered what he was sure would be a distasteful task, had brought such pleasure to the man he adored.

Ennis took his mouth to Jack plenty for the rest of the summer, didn't worry anymore about not being as good at it as Jack was. He didn't cause Jack to have any more multiple orgasms, but he found he enjoyed having Jack fill his mouth, feeling Jack's full-body jolts during orgasm, tasting what his lover had to offer.

Jack's moans grow louder as he responds to Ennis' ministrations with increasingly forceful thrusting. Ain't felt nothin' like this since … well … since I last seen this man, he thinks, almost feverishly. None of the others … the faceless ones … no … no one else done it like this. So passionately, so sensitively, dare he think it—so lovingly. Ennis does this, uses his tongue with love, that's what it is.

Ennis loves to please Jack, give of himself what he can to satisfy his lover, assure his man that he is the only person on earth who matters to Ennis at this moment. Making love, that's what this is, isn't it? Ennis has to remind himself that, yes, Jack is a man, but … but … I'm in love with him, and that's just the way it is. I loved him on Brokeback Mountain, almost from the very beginning. I remember watching him … watching him move, watching him breathe, watching him just be Jack. Watching and waiting … didn't know what I was waiting for … his hand, just that one night his hand taking mine.

Oh, Jack, he thinks. Oh, my darlin' Jack.

Jack feels that extreme sensitivity he gets right before hitting the wonderful point of no return.

"Ennis," he groans, "oh … jesus christ … Ennis … can't take much more a this!" By now, his sweating back is almost stuck to the wall, as he strokes Ennis' hair. Ennis gives Jack's balls a sudden twist.

"Fuck, Ennis, fuck," Jack yelps at the pain, writhes against the wall. But the pleasure is not far behind, and his release is all the more ecstatic because he is with the only person he has ever loved, the only person he has ever really wanted to share his body with. "Gun's goin' off, Ennis!" He has remembered Ennis' favorite phrase from their first summer as lovers.

The pleasure takes over Jack's entire body as Ennis savors every last drop. After all, when will he next have a chance to make love to this man who can turn his world upside down in barely an hour? Yes, not even an hour ago, Ennis Del Mar, married and the father of two children, was introducing Jack to his wife, and already he has taken the other man into his mouth!

Ennis pulls Jack to him, kisses him hard. Jack's mouth meets Ennis' mouth, tastes his own seed. Holy fuck, Ennis, Jack thinks about the speed and intensity of all this. Holy fuck! But Jack knew what he wanted and had fourteen hours on the road to plan for this, while Ennis … well, Ennis had just sat and drunk beer and wondered nervously.

Wondered … and wondered ... what would happen. What did he want to happen? He needed a cure for the four years of loss and heartache that had set in as soon as Jack drove away from Brokeback Mountain, he needed that for sure, but would this be it? Would it happen like this, get physical? At some level, he hoped it would get physical, give him some sort of immediate relief. But again, his family life … Alma … the girls … how would he work around that? He never imagined how easy it would be to turn his back on his family once he saw Jack. Betrayal … he has betrayed his family, hasn't he? But only momentarily, he reminds himself. Ennis is not thinking beyond this moment at all, aside from knowing that Jack will go away again.

As soon as Ennis realized that he and Jack would be having much more than just drinks, he wondered, would this really be it, he and Jack being men today, no longer the boys they were then? Do they really still need each other?

The two men continue to kiss against the wall, deep, probing, exploring again after so long. Jack's pants are still around his knees, he is half erect, and his naked groin presses against Ennis' jeans. Ennis is not wearing anything under that denim, didn't want any inconveniences just in case, and Jack feels a distinct swelling. Ennis grabs Jack's hand—much as Jack had grabbed his hand in the tent to start it all that one night—presses Jack's sweating palm on to the increasingly moist bulge. Skin against denim against skin, the friction in itself almost enough to make Ennis come.

Ennis has been ready to burst since first seeing Jack. In the truck he had to stop Jack's hand more than once to keep from shooting. Jack continues to fondle Ennis through the denim, not grabbing so much as stroking gently.

Jesus christ, Ennis thinks. It's goin' ta happen, an' ain't nothin' I can do about it! Here he is, fully clothed, somewhat disheveled with a few shirt buttons undone, and he is about to come. "Jack," he groans. "Jack … I need ta … uh, my jeans … goddamn, it's wet down there, Jack!" Is this really about to happen? Almost twenty-five years old, and he's on the verge of soiling himself, like some thirteen-year-old boy having a wet dream.

Jack pulls Ennis to him with his free hand, quiets him with a forceful kiss, continues to massage his lover's crotch through the denim. Jack is fully aroused again at the thought of Ennis coming in his pants. He knows this is something Ennis definitely would not want to happen, this loss of control, and that fact makes it all the more enticing for Jack. He would like Ennis to return to his wife with his jeans stiff with his own semen. Explain that to the woman who does your laundry, Jack thinks, a bit of that good old mischief from the Brokeback days surfacing amidst all this passion.

Ennis frantically tries to unzip his jeans, anything so he won't soil them. Fuck, why didn't I wear shorts? he asks himself. Goddamn it! The more he tries to free himself from the denim, the more it rubs. Ennis thinks there will be a big ol' stain for all to see. Shit! And Jack doesn't seem to care, keeps playing with my dick, the motherfucker! Jesus christ, but that feels so goddamn good … oh fuck, Jack, fuck!

Jack increases his massaging. Ennis knows he's heading into the home stretch, has to do something quick. He manages to pull away from Jack's groping hands, gets his zipper halfway down. Catches himself on the zipper, but what the fuck, he feels that at least the worst won't happen. He wants to make sure he clears his clothing, though, so he gives his genitals a forceful tug up. Now his balls catch on the half-opened zipper, no fun in itself, but Ennis is hitting the point of no return, doesn't care about pain now that he is fully free of his pants.

He thrusts his hips forward, shoots onto the carpet. Ennis sees double for a minute, but once he has recovered is relieved to see that he hasn't soiled his jeans any more than they already were. He breathes heavily, instinctively starts to tuck himself back in when he realizes, what the hell, that doesn't make sense considering how the rest of the night is going to go.

He looks at Jack, the first time their eyes have really locked since Jack's arrival. His drained member hanging out of his jeans, Ennis nods. His pants still around his knees, Jack nods back. Yep, they got themselves a fuckin' situation here. Got ta figure out what ta do.

Part 3 (Thursday night/Friday early a.m., Siesta Motel)
"Must be all that time ahorseback …"

Ennis stands there looking helpless, hanging out of his jeans like that. He's just voraciously attacked Jack with his mouth, just come all over the fucking carpet! He's trembling at his loss of control. What next? This man … this man … just shows up and Ennis goes berserk. He doesn't know that Alma saw him kissing Jack, won't know that for quite a few years yet. But he knows in the back of his mind that goddamn it, their passion got hold of them in the wrong place … at the wrong time. He vows that won't happen again. On the other hand, he still doesn't know how long Jack will be here, and the uncertainty is excruciating. What will he do next, what will they do next? His only comfort is in knowing that tonight at least they will be in the motel room.

But it's just this one night, isn't it? Just one night to get from Jack what he needs for … how long? Just one night to share himself with Jack. Ennis is sure that staining the carpet does not qualify as sharing. "I'm sorry, Jack, I'm so sorry," he says, embarrassed by his lack of self-control and ashamed at having wasted his semen. Ennis was in such a frenzy trying to work his way out of his own jeans that already he seems to have forgotten that Jack was massaging him through the denim, knowing full well what the result would be.

Jack leans suggestively with one hip against the wall, somewhat amused, pants still pulled down to his knees. He gives the other man a sidelong look. Ennis, he thinks, can't ya see what ya done ta me again? Shootin' out like that, Ennis, all over the goddamn carpet … no control at all, oh yeah, ya know what that does ta me, Ennis, don't ya? Like when I fucked ya up on Brokeback that first time … yeah, Ennis, when ya finally let go, ain't nobody more excitin' ta watch! You're so goddamn sexy, Ennis, an' ya don't even know it! But Jack doesn't want to make Ennis too self-conscious about what the other man sees as a weakness.

"Ennis, what the fuck ya got ta be sorry 'bout? Tell ya what, ya just got four years a juice out a me, friend, an' on top a it all, ya got me all excited again!"

Ennis is confused and tense. Jesus, that felt so goddamn good, he thinks. Just doin' it all over the rug, though, don't seem right, ain't very romantic, is it? But with Jack here … ah, Jack … just knowin' he was watchin'. Holy fuck, I really like that, him watchin' me, even if I was scared a comin' in my pants. I just been missin' him so goddamn much, so excitin' just havin' him in the same room, ain't it? But he ain't here 'cause a that, is he, ta watch me jerkin' off like that? Can't even do that right, gettin' caught in my zipper an' whatnot.

We're supposed ta be touchin', kissin' an' shit. Jack, I need ta be lovin' ya, ya know, like all those times when we was … touchin' … touchin' each other a lot. But he sure enough is hard again, ain't he? Did what I could do, though, don't know what else ta do 'bout it.

"Yeah, feels good an' all, Jack, but … well, ya know, I thought …," Ennis blushes, fumbles for words. Even after living with a woman for four years, he's still not fluent in the language of romance, in the niceties of love. But it's a big step for him to try. "I thought we was goin' ta be all … all … ya know, romantic an' stuff … like, ya know … well, like an anniversary or somethin' special." Shit, that kind a sounds like we're married or somethin', don't it? Fuckin' silly a me! "An' I don't know … I just kind a couldn't help myself, jumpin' on ya like that. It's just been so goddamn long, Jack, ya know? I just … just felt like I had ta do somethin' fast as I could 'fore ya get away from me again." Ennis looks pained at the thought of Jack going away. An' you're just so goddamn beautiful I can't hardly stand it, just fuckin' beautiful. "Ya really okay 'bout this, Jack?"

Oh, this man, Jack thinks, noticing the serious, questioning look on Ennis' face. Just had a fuckin' load a fun an' don't even know it! Hasn't changed a lick, an' thank god for it. Still got ta figure out how ta get him ta calm down, quit worryin' 'bout ever' little thing! Well, would be kind a nice ta get romantic now that we got the introductions out a the way, I suppose. Jack smiles to himself at the thought of their passionate "introductions."

"Ennis, my friend, I'm plenty okay 'bout this. Ain't nothin' wrong with a man jumpin' his buddy after four years. Seems pretty normal, if ya ask me! 'Sides Ennis, ya ain't forgot a damned thing 'bout makin' me feel good! I guess ya figured that one out, huh? You're probably still swallowin', ain't ya?" Anyways, maybe let's get in bed, kind a snuggle up an' all an' rub on each other an' who knows what. Relax, Ennis. Just relax. Got some serious shit ta figure out….ain't no little thing happenin' here.

Hey, I seen he got caught on his zipper there just 'fore he shot all over kingdom come. Must a hurt like a fuckin' bitch, poor guy. Let's see if he got any sense a humor left at all. "Did that mean ol' zipper snag your little feedbag, Ennis? How 'bout havin' ol' Jack here kiss it an' make it all better, huh?" Ennis doesn't mind the idea one bit. It plays into his fantasies about Jack using that beautiful mouth to great advantage.

But Ennis being Ennis, he is cautious after all and wonders, why is Jack here? Why is he doing this to me? To us … to me? What does he want? Hell yeah, it feels great … goin' ta feel great him lickin' me there, but … ain't this like screwin' up my life for a quick fuck? This is changin' everthin', man. But goddamn it, Jack, I can't get this nowhere else, nowhere else in the whole fuckin' world. Why the fuck ya got me ta fall in love with ya in the first place?

Things are not so uncertain in Jack's mind. In fact, he has their future planned out … a vision of a real sweet life. He needs to make sure he's got Ennis hooked—make sure Ennis needs him. Really needs him, like can't live without him. But at the moment, he just wants this man, wants to serve this man in any way possible to make up for the long separation.

Walking with his pants half down is awkward, but Jack manages to guide Ennis toward the bed. He tugs Ennis' jeans down past his hips, and Ennis sits on the edge of the bed. Jack kneels on the floor, spreads Ennis' knees, and kisses him where he is sure the hurt is. Ennis' scent is strong there, and Jack is so happy, so damned happy he has found this man again, this special man he hopes to make a life with. He'd just as soon lay his head gently in Ennis' lap, feel his warmth against his cheek, and wrap his arms around his lover's hips, but hormones are at work.

Ennis groans with appreciation as he almost instantly becomes aroused again. "Oh, Jack," he says. "Jesus, Jack, that feels so good. Ain't nobody else does that ta me, ya know." Jack flinches at the suggestion that maybe he himself isn't so deprived, but Ennis doesn't notice. He is merely stating a fact, that Alma doesn't do this, not that maybe Jack has found others to satisfy his own needs. Deep down, Ennis may wonder what Jack has been up to these four years, but right now he has other considerations as Jack's tongue soothes him.

Despite Ennis' having ravaged him in the truck and now in the room here, Jack senses how uncertain the other man is about picking up where they left off. Indeed, Ennis wonders, where did we really leave off? Was all so sudden, comin' off the mountain like that … bastard Aguirre. What happens next? What frightens Ennis the most: What's goin' ta happen after . . . after doin' this? He cannot face again the feeling of loss that set in after he and Jack went their separate ways that summer. Yet now he has the certainty of Alma and the girls, his obligations to them, and how can Jack possibly fit into that scenario? After all, how many more times can they meet like this? Will Jack visit again?

Ennis has no idea yet of Jack's ambitious plans for their life together.

Jack recalls fondly the times he and Ennis tried new things during that amazing summer on Brokeback Mountain, Ennis more often than not agonizing about some detail or another. Became a regular philosopher at times, as far as Jack could tell. Would lie there with his brow furrowed while Jack was trying to make him feel good. Jack would think, his philosophisin' ain't doin' anyone no damn good, though, 'cause the fucker ain't talkin' 'bout it, that's for sure. An' it don't make him taste no better neither.

Here in the motel, Jack thinks, damn, he's just as puzzlin' as ever, ain't he? Ain't never goin' ta figure out Ennis Del Mar. Ya'd think the son of a bitch was a first-timer here, but goddamn, I surely do know what the fucker can do. Ah, what the hell, once we get on that ranch together, maybe then I'll have more time ta figure him out.

With Ennis, it has always been the same old story: his childhood stolen from him by his parents' death, he has never learned to have fun beyond what Jack has been able to teach him. Ennis knows he's not meant to be like Jack, no two ways about it, but he's so goddamn tight, would be the best word for it. That's just one of the reasons he fell in love with Jack … just the opposite, talkative, entertaining, big ideas for the future, naturally romantic. When he's with Jack, Ennis becomes a different man, feels like he can express himself more, feels like a complete person for once. True, he instinctively puts up his defenses, yet deep down he knows he needn't do so when it's just him and Jack.

Jack wants to fuck Ennis here in the motel, thinks that's what Ennis needs to loosen up. But first Jack has to remind Ennis that it's just the two of them, that this time is theirs, that it's okay for Ennis to let this one very special man—who cares about him so much—dominate him, penetrate him. Jack can tell that right now Ennis is all wrapped up in those goddamn manhood issues that had plagued him back on Brokeback, worries that at times had made Jack's efforts seem in vain.

"Ennis, look," Jack says soothingly. "Remember we had fun doin' all kinds a different things back on Brokeback, didn't we, takin' turns an' all? That one time when we was doin' each other at the same time—that was crazy, huh?"

He continues, "If the two a us thinks it feels good, well, hell, no reason not ta give it a try, Ennis! Remember that summer? We didn't know nothin', had ta figure everthin' out on our own. Remember? All them different excitin' things we found ta do? You ain't forgot all that, have ya, Ennis?" Jack gets more direct about his intentions: "Don't need ta worry 'bout bein' a sissy or nothin'. Ya always been plenty a man for me, Ennis, with that big ol' dick crankin' out your man juice. Ya know, never took ya for a girl when I was fuckin' ya, no sir!"

Ennis does remember, and he almost smiles. Jack fuckin' Twist was way more man than he knew what to do with, and he feels that hasn't changed a bit. Not that he hadn't tried to figure out how much of it he could handle during their summer together. Ah, Jack, sometimes I just can't keep up with ya, he thinks.

Ennis recalls in detail all those times that summer when he and Jack had made love. Every day it had been, hadn't it? Often more than once a day, all over the place! In the tent, out of the tent, in the sunlight, by moonlight. At sunset when the romance of the moment overwhelmed them. Once during a goddamn hail storm! Just them against nature that time—fuck them sheep runnin' around out there, they had agreed. The only thought on each boy's mind: hope this fuckin' tent holds up till I done shot my load!

I worried about a lot a that shit, Ennis remembers, doin' things for the first time an' all, didn't I? And now I feel like that … weird … I don't know. Here Jack comes out a the blue, interruptin' everthin' I got goin' on. Ain't the best, all the things I got goin', but ain't the worst neither. Got Alma … got my girls … how the hell do I go back ta that after this?

Ennis, what the fuck are ya thinkin' 'bout now, cowboy? Jack wonders. Jesus christ. "Hey, Ennis. Remember that 'ride 'em cowboy' thing we did? That was lots a fun, wasn't it?" I want ta fuck this cocksucker 'til he can't see straight, Jack thinks. Can't get no closer than that ta gettin' ta this man's soul, an' lord knows I need him so bad! That's what he needs most, I damn well know it. An' shit, ain't no one else around goin' ta do that! Ain't nobody on earth goin' ta get near that gun-shy butthole a his!

Jack has thought more than once on the trip up about thrusting his love up into this man who didn't have an equal among Jack's other conquests, who made him feel like a complete man. For Jack, fucking a woman was easy, but fucking a man … well, fucking Ennis anyway … that was damned special!

Up on Brokeback, Jack had broken through Ennis' fear of being penetrated, of compromising his manhood. Ennis had been so grateful, so very grateful to Jack for making him feel safe to let go, for letting him know it was okay to lose control for the sake of love. But back on earth here, Ennis had found himself permanently in control again. He was the man in the family, after all. There would be no unguarded moments, no tears, no fears, no weaknesses. He had to bury all those special new feelings that Jack had drawn out during that summer.

Ennis looks away, hesitates. "Well, I don't know, Jack … it's been so long…." I ain't done this in forever. This shit really hurts, don't it? Maybe I shouldn't a never done it ta begin with, let him do me like he did. Tried not to, didn't I? Can't just start doin' this again, can't just start gettin' fucked again, Jack, just ain't that easy!

Uh-oh, Jack thinks. Tight motherfucker really don't want me ta fuck him, does he? Got it in his head again how he ain't goin' ta be a man no more if he got a dick up his ass. I just know it. "Shit, Ennis, it's my dick, and I ain't goin' ta forget that you're a man! All man, Ennis, as much a man as a guy can get. An' I'll do it slow, ain't goin' ta hurt ya, okay?"

Could let him do me, Jack thinks, but better ta break him in upfront. Don't give him a opportunity ta not do things we ought ta be doin'. Want ta look up at that naked man ridin' me, want ta feel him like that! Want ta hit that special spot, Ennis, make ya see double.

But Ennis is so overwhelmed, so shocked at how their rekindled passion has taken over, takes little comfort in Jack's observation. Jack sees that he has to be forceful to find the adventuresome lover he left on Brokeback Mountain.

"Ennis, just sit on my goddamned dick already! I ain't driven from state ta state just ta watch ya layin' there playin' with yourself or somethin'. Jesus christ, Ennis, I want ta fuck ya, I want ta be inside a ya! Ya don't know how goddamn bad I been needin' this, needin' ta pleasure ya by hittin' that spot, needin' ta feel ya clamp down like ya do when you're goin' ta shoot. Ennis, I been goin' crazy for days, for weeks, just thinkin' about ya bein' so tight an' warm an' we're kissin' an' you're thrashin' all around like ya do!" Jack knows what he drove a thousand miles for, and unlike Ennis, he isn't shy about expressing his needs.

Jack's graphic determination shocks Ennis but leaves no doubt as to where this reunion is headed. Jack is in charge now, and Ennis wants to believe it will be okay. He remembers how patient Jack always had been while he took his time warming up to some new type of sex, and he figures Jack will be patient now, even back off, if Ennis isn't ready for this.

Ennis tries to get in the mood, thinks back. Yeah, that ride 'em cowboy thing, that was kind a fun, wasn't it? Felt different than bein' on my back, but he hit that joy spot all the same, didn't he? Yeah, maybe that ain't such a bad idea….

"Yeah, Jack," Ennis says, "I'll ride ya, ya wild ass cowboy! I'll ride ya till both a us sees stars! That'll get us back in the swing a things, huh?" Ennis feels a little more confident.

Yet he wonders if he can really do this. Can he do this after being a husband and father for four years? After all, fantasies are one thing, but this is no fantasy!

Regardless, Jack enjoys it immensely when Ennis lets his enthusiasm take over. Jack urges Ennis on. "Damn. Four years! Imagine that. But here we are!"

"Fuckin' four years," Ennis repeats. "Didn't think I'd hear from you, ya know. Figured ya was sore 'bout that punch."

"Hell no, Ennis. Came back the next summer ta Brokeback, found out ya wasn't there. Wasn't too happy 'bout that an' headed for Texas. Rodeoin'. Where I met Lureen. But that don't matter, 'cause I'm here now, ain't I?"

Yeah, an' let's get back ta here an' now, Jack thinks. "Ain't got no interest in talkin' 'bout rodeoin' 'sides you ridin' me, anyways." For his part, Jack loves being conquered for a moment, being pinned down by his lover. Ennis will be in control until he is satisfied, until Jack is satisfied, and then they will collapse together, snuggle in a heated embrace, fall asleep.

Ennis finally relaxes enough to try getting fucked, and Jack reaches for his partner's slender hips.

Ain't goin' ta just do this without preparin' some, Ennis tells himself, and he does so. Even so, he is afraid of the pain, but he thrills to the thought and feel of Jack entering him once again.

Already he is sharing his male prerogative with Jack. And it's okay, isn't it?

Jack slowly but surely thrusts upward … careful, careful, don't want to startle Ennis, hurt him. Ennis leans to maximize the stimulation of his prostate, allow Jack to put just enough pressure there. Ya ain't forgot a thing, Ennis, Jack thinks happily. This is goin' ta be one hell of a' ride, I can tell already. An' you're goin' ta make both of us feel real good! Ain't ya, yeah….

Jack, Ennis thinks. Jack, oh, Jack, this feels so good! How could I forget … a little pain, maybe, but a whole lot a feelin' good! An' you inside me, Jack … I needed that so bad, havin' you inside me, like you're part a me. Jack, it's been four years, how did we do it? Four goddamn years! Jack, why did you make me wait four years? Ah, but Jack, it don't matter no more, 'cause this feels so good, so fuckin' good!

Ennis, starved for sex with another man—but as ever only with Jack—responds energetically to Jack's increase in speed, much to Jack's delight. Jack bucks like a goddamned bronco, darn near sends his lover flying. Jesus, Jack thinks, I ain't fucked like this since … jesus, since … well, since me an' Ennis last done it! Ain't played cowboy with nobody else, have I? A little foolin' around here an' there, but never with no cowboy.

Jack's heart skips a beat when he reminds himself that this is Ennis Del Mar before him here. Couldn't even take his clothes off in that tent when we first started foolin' around, could he? In the flesh here, naked as the day he was born, jerkin' himself off. Damn, he makes me hot! So beautiful … so strong … such a man!

Ennis feels like he is on a rollercoaster—up, down, slow, fast. Repeat. All of it a thrill. All the while, he vigorously tends to himself. "Oh, Jack," he moans. "Oh, that feels so goddamn good. Oh, you're hittin' that place a joy … oh … oh…don't stop!"

Ennis falls into a galloping rhythm bouncing up and down, up, down, up, down, and it doesn't go unnoticed. Jack groans, "Jesus christ, Ennis … chrissakes, Ennis, must be all that time a yours ahorseback … ridin' … ridin … ah, fuck! Fuck!"

Placing his hands firmly on Ennis' hips, Jack thrusts deliberately into this handsome, strapping man who is riding him, this man whom he loves so much, has always loved, finally had to come back to. Jack is fully in him now, and Ennis' face glows warmly. The good old Ennis of Brokeback days is returning. Nostrils flaring, he closes his eyes, throws his head back, strokes himself. "Jack … don't go away, little darlin', please don't go away," Ennis moans desperately as he grabs at himself.

Ennis' movements become too much for Jack, who finally loses control. "Gun's goin' off," he cries out deliriously, pumping deeply and furiously. Ennis feels Jack's spasms, and his own release is imminent. Jack watches in awe as a creamy stream jettisons right past him to splatter on the paneling.

"Holy christ, Ennis!" Jack gasps as he catches his breath. "You ain't never shot like that, boy!"

Ennis, soaked in sweat and almost too breathless to reply, pants, moans. "Well, Jack fuckin' Twist—whoa … gun's goin' off indeed! What in fuck's name you packin' there make me shoot like that? Jesus christ!"

He adds, "Might be all my time ahorseback makes it good, Jack, but all them hours a yours a drivin' 'round don't hurt none, neither, if ya know what I mean. The way ya hit that sweet spot … can't remember ever bein' worked over like this back on Brokeback."

They laugh, oblivious to the mess on the paneling, both delighted with the wonderful release of the "ride 'em cowboy" session, both physical and mental.

Jack thinks Ennis finally has loosened up enough to enjoy the rest of the time they might have together. Ennis silently thanks Jack for taking control, for reminding him that life can be good when there's another man around for balance.

Part 4 (Friday day/early evening, camp)
"Didn't know we was goin' ta get into this again …"

It's dawn at the Siesta Motel, pink sky, but damp outside after a windy night of rain and hail. The room is dark and warm, redolent of semen and smoke and sweat and whiskey, familiar, comforting smells for the two men who are wrapped up in the sheets and each other, sound asleep. They face one another.

The hail … the hail had come horizontal at the window and door. Jack and Ennis had thought the stones were going to shatter the dusty window … what the hell, it needed a good washing anyway. The storm took the two back to that afternoon on Brokeback when they had clutched each other—they really were afraid, weren't they?—during a sudden hailstorm. The adversity made them want each other even more, and they made love madly like at the motel here, except back then they had only a woefully unstable tent. It nonetheless did all that it needed to do—shelter two horny nineteen-year-olds who were very much in love and couldn't sit out a storm, couldn't be that close to one another without doing something about it.

Didn't have to worry about sheep this time, though, just about keeping each other safe and warm. For the moment. Didn't want to think about tomorrow. Their kisses had gotten drowsier and drowsier as they fell asleep in a deep hug, intoxicated by whiskey and the scent of each other.

The sun creeps over the mountains, setting in motion the workings for a wonderful late spring day, warm and clear.

Ennis begins to wake up, feels a pit in his stomach, realizes he really doesn't want to face this day. Jesus christ, I got ta say goodbye ta Jack today … this mornin' probably. Got ta get back ta Alma an' the girls. Already goin' ta be late for work as it is … shit. Jesus … feel like I'm goin' ta be sick … oh, not again, no, can't do that again.

An' look at him sleepin' there like a baby. Jack, don't none a this bother ya? Ain't ya feelin' bad 'bout sayin' goodbye again? I don't want ta let ya go. Can't let ya go. But I got ta, so what the fuck am I goin' ta do? … Don't wake up, Jack, don't. How 'bout I just watch ya sleepin' like that, won't never have ta leave this room. Why can't it be that easy, Jack? Ah, hell, guess ya better wake up after all, help me figure out how ta deal with all this. Drag me back home … kickin' an' screamin', I suppose. Home … where I belong, ain't it?

Ennis reaches for a cigarette, lights it, leans back against the headboard. Waits for the queasiness to go away. The whisps of smoke drift over Jack as he snores lightly, rolls over on to his back. His dreams finally slip away, too, and he begins to wake with a languid stretch of his lean body.

Damn! Ennis thinks. Guy is fuckin' beautiful, ain't he? Don't matter if he's sleepin' or not, does it? If I ain't lookin' deep into them blue eyes makin' me melt ever' time, I'm watchin' his dreams flickerin' like behind them eyelids, behind them long, curly eyelashes.

God … ain't he like a girl, though? Like … well, like how he makes me look at him. Well, hell, he sure ain't no girl, but … but … I look at him like I ought ta be lookin' at Alma. Just don't make no sense, me bein' able ta look at Jack that way, an' I try ta look at Alma that way an' … well, it just don't work the same, ain't no two ways 'bout it.

Jack, let me look at ya real good here, got ta remember your body. Stretchin' like that an' all. All's I can do is jerk off thinkin' 'bout ya, buddy, but now at least it's kind a like havin' a newer photograph. Your face, Jack, your chest … love that soft hair covers your chest … yeah, love the weirdest things 'bout ya, Jack. What the fuck am I doin' thinkin' 'bout the hair on your chest? Lots a guys got that. Then look at your, uh, nipples. Don't know why guys got 'em in the first place, except they're connected right ta your dick, come in handy when we're foolin' around, that's for sure. So kind a makes sense.

Your big arms … nice … real nice an' strong. Alma, ya know, she means well, but she just can't hold me like ya can, Jack. She kind a wraps herself around my neck an' all with those pretty little arms a hers, but ain't no way for me ta feel like I do here, almost like I'm bein' … well, like I'm bein' protected, that's it. Ya know what I mean, Jack, not that I'm scared or nothin', just that those arms a yours can hold me real tight. I need that sometimes, Jack, an' ain't no other place for me ta get it, ya know. Bet ya like that too, don't ya, that sometimes I can damn near squeeze ya ta death.

When ya stretch like that, I can see your armpits, Jack. Armpits … I like 'em! That's damn weird, ain't it—must be some kind a pervert even thinkin' 'bout somethin' like armpits. Somethin' wrong with me for sure. Hell, it's just that bit a hair there, an' you're damn ticklish under there too, guess it's kind of a special spot, ain't it, Jack? Just between you an' me, I bet, 'cause I can't think no one else cares 'bout under their arms.

Ennis sighs. So much to take in, so much to remember! After all, how much has he forgotten in four years? It's one thing to have most of a summer to watch someone, take in their every move, and another to have not even a day. He supposes that's all he's got, anyway.

He continues to gaze at the other man. Look at that dick just stickin' up out a that pretty bunch a curls there … what the hell ya dreamin' 'bout, Jack, make that happen when you're sleepin'? Well, shit, guess that happens ta me, too, don't it, wakin' up hard ever' mornin' since I was thirteen? Don't remember why, though. Too bad, must be a lot a fun, them dirty dreams!

Enticed by the cigarette smoke, Jack rolls over and opens his eyes. "Mornin', big fella," he croaks out to Ennis with a lazy smile. The look Jack receives is one of loss. Oh, Ennis … Ennis, Jack thinks. Ya been thinkin' 'bout somethin' already, ain't ya? Goddamn it, knew I should a got up earlier 'n him.

Ennis doesn't know what to say to Jack's greeting. Start with a goodbye, forget the kiss? What? He's never had an affair, never cheated on Alma. He doesn't feel guilty in the slightest—what happened had to happen. He's damned unhappy with his dilemma, but he knows nature when he sees it, when he feels it. So that was that, and now what? What the fuck do you do when it all comes to an end?

Ya just go back ta doin' what ya was doin', don't ya?

"What the hell's botherin' ya, Ennis? Too early in the mornin' for such a face, ain't it?" Jack asks carefully, his voice still thick with sleep.

"Jack, ya know, here we are, just like ol' times, ain't it? An' … an' I got ta … I got ta let ya go … an' damn it, Jack, I don't know how! Simple as that. I'm thinkin' must be easier for you, don't know how, but looks like you ain't havin' such a hard time." Ennis swallows hard, tries to control his emotions, which are so mixed. Here is the man who has returned to fuck up his life, the man whom he can't live without, the man who is going to leave him again … the thought makes Ennis physically ill … the very man he needs to help him figure out what to do about it all.

Jack props himself up on a pillow, reaches for a cigarette, leans over to get a light from Ennis. Begins to smoke deliberately, thoughtfully. One step at a time, got ta do this a step at a time, Jack thinks. Get him out there where we don't have ta worry 'bout no disturbances or people lookin' at us or nothin'. Ain't got time ta worry 'bout nothin' interruptin' what needs ta be done between the two a us.

"Ennis, swear ta god I didn't know we was goin' ta get into this again." Ennis gives him a look. "Okay … hell yeah, I did. Why I'm here, Ennis, I fuckin' knew it. Redlined all the way. Couldn't get here fast enough. Had ta get ya back in my life, friend, that's how bad it was gettin'."

Ennis reconsiders. Well, don't sound like he's goin' ta have an easy time of it after all, does it? He's got somethin' in mind, 'cause Jack just don't get caught up in these things the way I do sometimes. Hope we get ta it sooner rather than later. Got ta get home, after all. Can't wait ta see how he thinks this is goin' ta work out.

"How 'bout you, Ennis? Was ya waitin' for me ta show up, glad ta see me? Seems so, got ta say so myself, jumpin' all over me like ya did! Ain't complainin', no sir."

"Ya know, Jack, I was sittin' up here all that time tryin' ta figure out if I was…? I know I ain't. I mean here we both got wives an' kids, right? I like doin' it with Alma, she's okay, but damn, ain't nothin' like this. She's like … so little an' delicate an' all, like some little doll I don't want ta break. An' she don't like it when I do it from behind. Ain't no way I'm askin' her ta do those other kinds a things … ya know, some a those other things we did up on that mountain. Jesus christ, can't imagine what she'd think if she knew … well, ya know. Course she ain't got all the right parts for some a that shit anyways."

"Got ta tell ya, Jack, never had no thoughts a doin' it with another guy except I sure wrang it out a hundred times thinkin' 'bout you. I know ya got your wife an' all, but do ya … do ya do it with other guys? Jack?" Shit, can't believe I'm askin' him this, like he would ever get queer with other guys. I know it's just me an' him, always has been. But what if he says yeah? What if? I'd have ta deck the motherfucker, hurt him real bad so he don't forget how special it got ta be with the two a us, ain't no two ways about it. That's weird, though … I kind a like the idea a him an' other guys … doin' just some stuff, maybe, not like the most lovin' things we do. Thinkin' I wouldn't mind watchin'…. Shit, no call for me ta be thinkin' these things, like Jack's a … like Jack's a fuckin' queer or somethin'. Jesus christ!

Jack doesn't look directly at Ennis. Sometimes he thinks his eyes are too clear, that people can see when he's not telling the truth. I am a fuckin' queer, ain't I? he thinks. Screwin' Lureen is okay. But them other men, too …. Ennis is the one, I know that damn well. He knows it too, don't he? I'm crazy in love with the son of a bitch. But them other guys … liked bein' with 'em, too, didn't mind it anyway. Felt good all the same.

Savin' my ass for this boy, though, no doubt 'bout it. That's pretty important, ain't it, far as I'm concerned. Special, lettin' Ennis take me like that. Fuck, makes me hard just thinkin' 'bout it! Him inside a me, pushin' back an' forth, heatin' me up inside like he does. An' ain't never suckin' no other man besides him, that's for sure. Hell of a lot a fun watchin' other guys shootin' here, shootin' there when I'm doin' 'em, but don't like the idea a eatin' no other jizz 'n his. Damn … gettin' real hot in here again! Got ta get a taste a that stuff pretty damn soon. Want ta make this boy feel real good. Bet he still thinks I got a special mouth for suckin' … that's okay, means I'm doin' somethin' right, don't it?

"Shit no, Ennis. Wouldn't never do it with no other guy. Ya know that. Old Brokeback got us good an' it sure ain't over. We got ta work out what the fuck we're goin' ta do now." Come on, Ennis, ya didn't really think I was sayin' goodbye yet, did ya? Got big plans for the two a us … just got ta keep ya away from that apartment is all.

"Don't reckon there's much we can do, Jack. All I got time for is workin' ta feed the family," Ennis says. What are ya sayin', Jack, we got ta work somethin' out? Ain't nothin' ta work out here that I can see. It's back ta work for me, back to Alma an' my little girls, my horses.

Ya can't just walk out a here, friend, Jack thinks, givin' up on what's best for ya. May have ta work on ya a day or two … no need ta rush, but ya ain't gettin' away from me this time. "Look, Ennis. Tell ya what … I drove a thousand miles ta pick up where we left off. Ya know, that next summer I gone back there, Joe Aguirre says ta me when I asked 'bout ya, 'You boys found a way ta make the time pass up there, didn't ya?' Then I saw his big-ass pair a binoculars."

Even though it was four years ago, and no harm seems to have come of it, Ennis is alarmed that they might have been observed.

Jack continues, "What say we at least make up for the month that son of a bitch Aguirre stole from us! I know he brought us down 'cause he seen us with them honkin' binoculars, he did. So I say let's do it twice as much as we woulda!"

"Jack … wait, wait, wait. Can't do this! Got a family ta get back ta, take care a … my little girls. Alma, too. Got ta go ta work, Jack. Work? Ever heard a it?" What's this half-ass idea? He thinks I can just run off whenever I want to?

"Son of a bitch, Ennis, take a couple days off. Right now. Get us out a here. Throw your stuff in the back a my truck and let's get up in the mountains. Couple a days. Call Alma up an' tell her you're goin'." Can't let him win this one, can I? Got ta get him away from those things holdin' him down.

"Jack. …" He's serious? He thinks that would be easy, takin' off a few days out a the blue?

"Fuck it, Ennis, just do it already! Just a couple a days … in the mountains, remember the mountains? So goddamn close, Ennis, just a phone call." Do it, damn it, do it!

Shit, this could be the end a my job. So I can spend a couple more days with Jack? But he's really beggin' me, needs me bad as I need him, don't he? How the hell am I supposed ta explain that ta Alma? Fuck. "Okay, Jack, just a couple a days here. Comin' up on the weekend, so won't have ta miss so much work after all. But still … well, jesus, let's go get my fishin' gear. Don't know if I told ya, but you're my fuckin' fishin' buddy, Jack." Ennis reaches for the phone.

It's still early morning back in Riverton. Alma snoozes at the kitchen table, cup of cold coffee before her. She had vowed to stay awake until Ennis got home, but nodded off well before sunrise, doesn't wake up until the phone rings.

She's groggy, tries to orient herself. "You're doin' what, Ennis? The two a you's at some bar? Ya had a lot ta drink … Ennis, can't just take off work like that, can ya? That foreman … he don't like ya very much anyway, ya know."

"That foreman," Ennis replies, "he owes me. Remember I went out there in that blizzard on Christmas ta help out when he needed it? Well, he owes me a favor. Just two days, ya know, no big deal. Anyhow, I'll be home in a bit ta get my fishin' gear."

Whatever, Ennis, she thinks. She's relieved to hear from him, desperately wants to get a better sense of Jack Twist, this mysterious fishing buddy who … who her husband was kissing. Wants to see the two of them together again, like in the doorway there yesterday. They both seemed so jumpy, so uncomfortable. Ennis, looking out of place in his own home.

As the truck doors slam, Alma bolts upright in her chair. Pushes stray hairs out of her face, hopes her puffy eyes don't betray last night's tears. She hears Ennis on the stairs and tries to build a reserve of composure. Nothing to be scared about here, Alma, got ta be a good explanation, it's goin' ta be some silly reason, ain't it? Well, he's back, thank god, an' everthin's goin' ta be okay, like it always is when he's around. They had their drinks an' their chattin' an' now we can sit around a bit an' have us a real nice cup a coffee. Bet they're hungry, maybe make some bacon an' eggs.

Ennis storms through the door, doesn't notice Alma, who stands as he rushes to find his creel case, reel and rod. She is shocked by his singlemindedness, by his lack of acknowledgment, lack of a kiss. For heaven's sake, they can't just run out on me like this, she thinks. "Ennis," she says pointedly to her husband, "your friend could come inside for a nice cup a coffee. We ain't poison or nothin'. Got a fresh pot on the stove here."

"Oh, Jack's from Texas," Ennis replies.

Alma looks bewildered. "Texans don't drink coffee?" She goes to the living room window, looks out at Jack lounging against his truck. This don't seem right, he don't seem like a rude guy, this Jack fella, maybe I should just holler out the window an' ask him if he wants some coffee. Ennis here don't seem ta be in his right mind for some reason. Too much drink probably, but he ain't staggerin' around like he usually does when he's drunk.

Ennis gives her a look that says, why are ya in my way, woman? He throws a few items into his duffel bag, puts his hat on, heads for the door. He stops at the threshold, strides across the room, pecks his astonished wife on the cheek. Lets the door slam on his way out.

The truck peels out of the parking lot. Alma stands there in the living room, facing the window but looking at nothing, tears streaming down her face, still not sure she knows why she is crying.

At the campsite, the two are already shirtless on this warm day. Jack takes a piss, notably doesn't zip up. Ennis' passionate attack last evening at the motel taught Jack not to wear underpants when the other man is around. Well, in any case, the pair of shorts that Ennis got hold of got shredded beyond use, the elastic ripped out and limp.

Jack ostentatiously flashes his rodeo buckle at Ennis, reminding him of the first time Jack flashed that very buckle at him. Jack has other buckles now, but he made sure to pick that one. That first time, it also had been right after he had taken a piss. The campfire had glinted off the shiny brass as Jack paraded before Ennis, encouraging him to look at the souvenir. Ennis had tried to concentrate on the buckle, but Jack hadn't been wearing underwear, and a few stray drops of piss had worked their way through the denim, showing Ennis exact details of Jack's anatomy. Even without that clue, the tight jeans showed off enough. Ennis had swallowed hard, was sure he had turned red. Wouldn't have been able to describe that buckle if his life had depended on it, and he didn't know why. He enthused about it nonetheless, chimed in with, "My daddy thought rodeo cowboys was all fuck-ups."

This time around, Ennis says, "Let me see that rodeo buckle a yours, Jack fuckin' Twist. Ain't never really got a good close-up look at it, ya know!" Jack dances just out of reach like a prizefighter. Ennis lunges in and catches him by the belt, reels him in for a deep, wet kiss.

They wrangle around a bit, bare chest to bare chest, heaving, hands on each other, stroking the traces of hair here and there. Jack's dark hair, still soft and fine, covers more of his chest now than a few years ago. A little more to that tantalizing trail that disappears right below the top of his jeans. Ennis slips his fingers into the open zipper, and even the lightest touch makes Jack hard.

Ennis hasn't changed much, still has a tawny patch down the middle of his chest and swirls of the same around each nipple, below his belly button just a hint of the rich mound of curls below. He's got some pretty nice muscles in that chest, though, from working long hours, working more than his share, working to help him bear the years without Jack.

"Okay, bullrider," Ennis says, whipping Jack's belt right out of the loops and giving the jeans a good yank downward, too. "Looks like your pants is fallin' down, don't it? Shame on ya, Jack, an' out in public like this! Look at all them critters watchin'! Some of 'em's girls, ya know."

Goddamn, Ennis is in fine, fine fettle this morning, ain't he? Jack thinks. Jesus, he had ta burn off one hell of a lot a tension, I guess. Man, he gets cranked. But shit, I needed it pretty bad, too, didn't I? Yeah, needed it bad as he did, got ta admit it. Need it even badder now we started carryin' on again. Well, we'll get enough a each other on that ranch, I think. Sure, will be real busy settin' up an' all, but once things is settled down … hope we don't get tired a fuckin'! Jack smiles at such an absurd thought.

Jack watches his lover—yes, Ennis is his lover again, isn't he?—going through the common motions, recalls those early days on Brokeback when he would steal a glance at Ennis whenever he could, just watch the boy move, walk, swing his leg over the saddle. Watch him eat and drink, his Adam's apple moving with each swallow, and Jack just wanted to lean over and put his mouth there, wanted to kiss that vulnerable sign of a boy becoming a man.

That was damn strange, wasn't it? Jack remembers. Me gettin' all hard while we was eatin' or havin' a few beers. Had ta keep that plate on my lap, had ta sometimes wait 'fore I could go for seconds. Damned frustratin'… workin' all day, still hungry an' couldn't do nothin' 'bout it. An' there he was, ol' Ennis, just sittin' there, chewin' an' swallowin', ain't got a care in the world, an' he don't know what I'm thinkin'. Shit … I didn't know … sure as hell didn't know how bad I wanted him. Didn't take me long ta figure out I done gone an' fell in love with him, though, did it? Damn, a summer like that, an' I stayed away four years! Jesus, what the fuck was I thinkin'? But I guess we're doin' okay so far as pickin' up where we left off.

"Oh, shit, Ennis, they sure is fallin' down, ain't they?" Jack grins slyly at Ennis.

Ennis squats before Jack, tugs the jeans down to Jack's ankles. Helps Jack out of his boots, pulls his jeans off. Jack puts his boots back on.

Ennis sits on a log, pulls his boots off, shoves his pants down and off.

They start to set up camp in the nude, wearing just boots and hats. Ain't this a hoot, they agree. Never done it like this, an' that fuckin' Joe Aguirre ain't watchin' this time. Amidst a few rounds of wrestling, racing around with dicks flopping, poking, tickling, yes, hugging and kissing, too, they finally get the camp set up.

It's suppertime, and the campfire is blazing.

The cool night air hasn't set in yet, and the two are still naked. They are looking forward to the novelty of cooking and eating in the nude, impressed by the notion that they have invented this most unusual and undoubtedly perverted idea. Ennis does not object so much to perversity when it is a collaborative effort—with Jack.

Ennis unwraps one of Jack's contributions to the meal. "Jack, what's these sausages here? What's this say on the package here … 'Little Links' they call 'em?"

"Don't worry 'bout them sausages, Ennis. I got a 'little link' for ya right here, tastes a might lot better 'n those, I can guarantee it!" Jack wags his half-erect penis. "Matter a fact, got some prime beef right over here, if that's what you're lookin' for!"

"Yeah? What tells me that prime beef ain't aged, huh? Looks kind a wrinkly if ya ask me!" Ennis retorts mockingly.

"Well, how 'bout some goddamn ham then, motherfucker!" Jack twirls around and shakes his bare ass.

"Um-hmm," Ennis says. "Might go nice with them beans."

"Beans? What the fuck … I should a known!" Jack throws up his hands.

"Didn't think I'd let ya down, did ya, Jack? Didn't think I'd forget, did ya?" Ennis asks.

Fucker got his sense a humor back, that's for sure, Jack thinks. An' he really brought beans, didn't he? Cocksucker.

Part 5 (Friday evening/night, camp)
"If ya can't fix it …"

Supper's over. Just like in the old days, Jack and Ennis have enjoyed a first-time experience together, in this case, cooking and eating naked. They relished the opportunity to turn an activity as banal as eating into an erotic event. Unlike their first summer, when Jack's surreptitious mealtime observations of Ennis sometimes gave him an erection that he tried to hide in his tight jeans, this time Jack made sure he was aroused when he got up to get a second helping. Seeing that instantly made Ennis hard, too. "Goddamn it, Jack," he said teasingly. "My plate darned near popped right off my lap 'cause a what ya just done!"

That set off a round of chasing around the campfire, not a lot to hold on to with no clothes on, so all the more fun.

But the night chill set in, and the two reluctantly got dressed again.

As the fire dies down, the men are seemingly back in their old routine. Jack sits on a log watching the fading embers. Ennis lies stretched out on his back, arms behind his head. He looks up at the stars in the clear sky.

They are quiet, just a little more serious, smoking and passing the whiskey bottle back and forth—each man thinking, it's wonderful we have a couple more days left, ain't it? But then what?

Jack needs the whiskey to fortify himself and to soften Ennis up for his proposition … a totally reasonable plan, Jack is convinced, but nonetheless, with someone as cautious as Ennis, one never knows….

Jack asks, "Anythin' interestin' up there in heaven?" I think he's relaxin' finally, but got ta be somethin' goin' on if Ennis is starin' off into space.

"Hell Jack, I was just sendin' up a prayer a thanks." He'll like this, ain't used ta me comin' up with a good joke on my own, is he?

"For what?" Jack wonders. It's somethin' serious, ain't it … somethin' 'bout us? He been thinkin' 'bout us, got his own ideas 'bout how we can carry on now. Sure hope so, make things go easier so far as gettin' him on that ranch.

With a sly grin, Ennis says, "For you forgettin' ta bring that goddamned harmonica. I'm enjoyin' the peace an' quiet!" He chuckles.

Jack's face falls for just a moment, and then he joins in the laugh, is humored but disappointed that Ennis' prayer didn't have to do with their relationship, with figuring out what to do about "this."

Jack thinks fast. This is important, an' I can't screw it up. Is this a good time? He is enjoyin' himself, kind a bein' a optimist even. Fingers crossed … here goes. …

"Ya know, Ennis, it could be this way. Just like this, always."

The look on Ennis' face says what the fuck? But he asks with curiosity, "Yeah, how you figure that, Jack?"

Jack takes a deep breath. Could work, god let this work. Make sure I say it the right way. Got ta make this ranch idea work out, Ennis, 'cause you deserve the best too. Lord knows, you deserve the best, an' we're goin' ta have it together.

"Tell ya what, Ennis," Jack begins. Shit, all of a sudden this sounds like I'm askin' a lot, but I know I ain't. "What if you an' me … what if we had a little ranch together somewhere … ya know, just a little cow-and-calf operation? It'd be some sweet life, Ennis, sure would be … wouldn't it?" Better give him somethin' practical ta chew on here so he knows I been thinkin' serious 'bout this, that I know how ta make it work an' all. "Hell, Lureen's old man, ya bet he'd give me a downpayment for a spread if I'd get lost. Already more or less said it …."

Ennis' responds tensely, "It ain't goin' ta be that way, Jack. Ain't goin' ta be that way at all." Goddamn ya, Jack! Ennis thinks. I knew ya was up to somethin' with all that talk 'bout figurin' out what ta do 'bout our situation. Just knew it. Then makin' me say no like this, ya son of a bitch!

Can't believe this son of a bitch is willin' ta leave his wife an' son. His own son! I could leave Alma maybe … she can't give me this kind a lovin' like Jack does, things make me feel like more of a man 'n with her … but my little girls … jesus, got ta be crazy thinkin' I'm goin' ta leave them little darlin's for nobody!

Ennis' response is so adamant, leaves no room for bargaining. I ain't hearin' this, Jack tells himself. He is absolutely crushed. "Ennis, ya don't want ta just say no right off the bat 'bout somethin' so serious … big business proposition like this, best thing for both of us."

Oh fuck, Ennis thinks, like these harebrained ideas is my fault! Do I got ta slap some common sense into ya, Jack, or what? Jesus christ, you're the one ran off an' got married when ya didn't have ta. Ya oughtn't ta leave your wife, an' ya sure as hell can't just walk out on that little boy a yours.

"What I'm sayin', Jack, ya got your wife an' baby down in Texas, I got my life in Riverton."

Jack thinks, ya got ta be kiddin', Ennis. Ya better be kiddin'! I know ya sure ain't gettin' what ya need from that sorry-ass wife a yours, an' ya ain't goin' ta get it, neither!

"Is that so? You an' Alma, that's a life?" Jack asks cruelly.

Motherfucker, Ennis thinks. He wants to cry because he knows Jack is right, swallows deeply instead. Makin' me feel bad 'bout my mistakes? Well, fuck you, Jack, fuck you! Alma gave me my little girls, an' I love them kids, I really do. They're part a me, ya know. That counts for a whole lot! How the fuck ya could leave your own baby boy, I don't know. Somethin' wrong with your head, Jack Twist, that's what it is … somethin' wrong with your goddamn head.

"Jack, ya shut up 'bout Alma. This ain't her fault."

Damn, I want ya so bad, Jack, but this ain't all fun an' games, no sir. "Bottom line, we're around each other an' this thing grabs on ta us again in the wrong place, wrong time, we'll be dead." Got ta tell him that nasty story … don't want ta, don't even want ta think 'bout that shit no more, but he ain't goin' ta listen … can tell he ain't … 'less I give him good cause.

"Jack, let me tell ya 'bout somethin' I seen when I was a kid." Ennis goes on to describe in horrible detail the murder of a queer who ran a ranch with his partner. "They was tough old birds, too," Ennis notes, but the laughingstock of the town nonetheless.

I don't need ta hear this shit, Jack decides. What a fuck of a father … bad as mine, maybe worse! Goddamn it, Ennis! Fuck them old queers! Fuck your daddy! Fuck, fuck, fuck!

"You seen that?" Jack asks.

Listen up, Jack, listen for chrissake! I ain't kiddin' 'bout this shit, an' other people ain't neither.

"I was what, nine years old? My daddy, he made sure me an' my brother seen it." Jesus christ, still makes me want ta throw up. I hate that fucker for takin' us down ta see that! "Hell, for all I know, he done the job. Tell ya what, Jack, if my daddy was here right now, he'd have his tire iron out, believe me. Wouldn't make no difference that I was his son or nothin'. Two guys livin' together? No way," Ennis says with finality.

So we can't live together, Jack, but goddamn it, I do got ta have somethin' goin' on with ya! "We can get together once in a while way the hell out in the back a nowhere, but…."

The prick don't want me 'round no more! Can't do this, Ennis, can't do this! Jack has reclaimed the love of his life, and now he is losing him. He is almost in tears. "Once in a while … ever' four fuckin' years, Ennis, that what you're sayin'?"

Aw, Jack, you're still my little darlin', but I guess I ain't sayin' that right, am I? "No," Ennis says, leaving unspoken the fact that the four years was up to Jack. Hell, if it were up to me, Ennis thinks, I never would a seen Jack again, an' that would a been just fine, damn it. Ennis knows it wouldn't have been fine at all. He's had four years to figure that out.

"I hate it that you're goin' ta drive away on Sunday an' I'm goin' back ta work on Monday, Jack. But tell ya what, how 'bout we get together come November, huh? … Best I can do right now, but it ain't four years!"

He's tellin' me November, Jack thinks. November. Best he can do right now. That's six months from now … jesus, half a whole goddamned year. So it ain't four years … big fuckin' deal!

Well, one, maybe two more meetin's like that ought ta bring ya 'round, Ennis. It's damned inconvenient, awful damned far, could be just a couple a times an' then we're done. I don't like that idea, Ennis, don't like it at all. But it ain't goin' ta be that way, 'cause ya need me too much, don't ya? Yeah, I'll give ya six months ta think 'bout that ranch, 'bout how much ya want that sweet life with me, 'bout gettin' away from that miserable place ya call home … an' we'll take it from there. Not like Lureen's prick of a daddy goin' ta all of a sudden start likin' me or nothin'. That money will be waitin', no doubt 'bout that.

And way out in the back a nowhere! Where the fuck is that? Jack wonders. Okay, fine, Ennis, fine, lucky for you I like nature, too.

"November, Ennis? Can't do no better than that? Thinkin' maybe ya really don't want me 'round after all. I can leave now, ya know." Just how serious are ya, Ennis, 'bout this November thing? Bet ya can do better than that … can't ya?

Ennis looks pained, feels like he's causing a world of hurt to someone he loves very much. He has to explain himself: "If ya can't fix it, Jack … ya got ta stand it." It doesn't occur to him that his pearl of wisdom might lead to disaster.

Goddamn it, he's serious, Jack thinks. Tell ya what, Ennis, we can fix it, we can fix it! Just fuckin' leave it all behind an' let's go! Jesus christ. Jack asks, almost in a whisper, "For how long we got ta do that?"

Maybe a couple more visits, just a couple more, Jack? Don't want ta let ya go, can't let ya go. Ya got ta understand ….I love ya, Jack … I love ya! I ain't ready ta die for it, but I don't want ya ta go, neither. This is so fucked up, ain't it? I don't know what ta say, don't know what ta do 'bout it. Ennis responds, his voice betraying his desolation, "Long as we can ride it, Jack. … Ain't no reins on this one."

Jack thinks desperately, fuck, man, got ta have a couple more days ta work on him. Can't just tell me no like that. Can't do that, just 'cause a some dead old … queers. Ennis, I'm ready ta spring for ya … ya got ta feel the same way, ya just got ta! Okay, fuck it, ain't goin' ta happen today, ain't goin' ta happen tomorrow neither.

So what's another six months? Four years plus six months … ain't such a big deal, is it? "November works good for me too, Ennis, seems just fine. Ya think 'bout where ya want ta go, friend, someplace we can find us a nice elk, maybe—ya goin' ta do the shootin', a course."

Well, this ain't goin' ta be so easy after all, Jack realizes. Least ain't goin' ta go fast as I thought, but what the hell. November's better 'n nothin', gives me somethin' ta look forward to, don't it?

The tension of the evening's conversation mellowed by more whiskey and their agreement to meet in November, the two men settle in for a little romance, kissing and snuggling in the tent. Jack is on his back, Ennis more or less on top, his pants worked down past his hips, and he is hard. Jack's jeans are unbuttoned, unzipped, pulled down slightly, and Ennis is fondling him. Jack expects he might get fucked … but there is no rush, they'll get around to it in good time. Their positions suggest an intimate face-to-face encounter.

Their deep kissing, tongues sensuously sliding, stroking each other, takes Ennis back to the second night in the tent, the night after he had first taken Jack. This is like our first real night together, ain't it … when I was so scared an' didn't know what the fuck ta do. An' ya showed me what ta do, Jack, didn't ya? So lovin' ya were. Yeah … ya showed me all them wonderful things all the rest a that summer. An' then … an' then ya left me alone ta figure it all out. Alone.

At first sight of Jack, a wild range of emotions had overtaken Ennis: Loneliness. Lust. Rage. Jack immediately took care of Ennis' loneliness—for the moment. Their time in the motel would have satisfied any man's lust, and Ennis is no exception. But his rage remains.

Something clicks in his mind. He disregards that it was he who was engaged to Alma, that it was he who was determined to go through with that wedding even after that special summer with Jack. He forgets the fact that Jack had tried to track him down the following summer at Brokeback Mountain. Suddenly the man beneath him represents only the wonder of that summer, the fact that it was Jack who had initiated all of it, nurtured their friendship and love. And then abandoned Ennis for four years. And now Jack wants to pick up where they left off. Now! Just thinks he can step in and pick up where they left off!

Ennis feels his face get warm. Jack, ya fuckin' left me alone ta think 'bout all that shit I didn't know nothin' 'bout before I met ya! An' most of it I ain't never figured out 'cause somehow ya know how ta deal with it all an' I don't. Ya taught me all them things, Jack, an' then ya left me alone … ain't fair, motherfucker, an' I can't stand it. You're controllin' me, ain't ya, makin' me do things I don't want ta do! … An' tryin' ta make me leave my little girls an' feel bad 'cause I ain't goin' ta do it. All's I can say is fuck you, fuck you!

Jack senses a sudden clenching in Ennis' jaw, and the other man's kissing becomes more forceful, more like fucking than like kissing, and Ennis is not waiting for Jack to respond in kind. Jack squirms beneath him, turns his face away. "Ennis, what the fuck?" he asks. Christ, what's got into his head now? Jack wonders. This was goin' ta be such a nice time! "Ennis….?" A question from Jack with an edge of alarm.

Ennis sits up, pulls Jack up, face to face. It is like that first night in the tent years ago, when it all started. Only this time, instead of fighting off Jack's kisses, Ennis attacks Jack's surprised mouth, plunges his tongue between the other man's teeth. Jack opens his mouth to accommodate this unexpected roughness … they have played like this before, it's okay, he tells himself … but it doesn't matter. Ennis flips Jack over so he is on all fours. Holy fuck! Jack thinks. "Oh christ, Ennis, I ain't ready for this! I ain't ready … please…."

Ennis slicks himself up like he did that one night four years ago, pulls Jack back to his own groin, plunges right in, no preliminaries. Jack momentarily loses his erection, gasps in pain, as Ennis starts fucking him.

There is no doubt about the intensity and focus of the punishment Ennis plans to deliver: "God … damn … you … Jack … fuckin' … Twist … you … know … there …ain't …no … 'us' … ta … plan … for!"

Ennis assaults Jack with each beat, each push more intense than the last. Jesus fuck … ow! … jesus … oh shit … just like that first night, ain't it? Jack thinks, the pain from more than four years ago still fresh in his mind. The pain that turned to pleasure such as he had never experienced, but even though Jack is hard as a rock again, Ennis isn't hitting that pleasure spot yet. Ennis, you gone crazy, ain't ya? … ow, goddamn it! … don't know … jesus that hurts! … what the fuck you doin'?

For Ennis, taking Jack like this is instinctive like that first time, but in a different way. Instead of pure lust being unbridled, this is pure rage being unleashed.

Ennis isn't slick enough to be moving in and out like this, and for Jack it's not at all the same as that first night, that first night when he wanted Ennis so much, needed Ennis so badly that the latter man could have done anything he wanted and Jack would have let him. This time, Jack is too aware, too practiced to have another spontaneous orgasm, and he knows it. "Ah, christ, Ennis, christ!" he cries at last, tears welling in his eyes. But Ennis holds Jack firmly by the hips, strong bruising fingers digging into flesh, in a blind fury continues to fuck him.

And then it happens. Ennis may be tearing Jack in two, but suddenly he hits that prostate, starts hitting it relentlessly, and the sudden pleasure overwhelms Jack. He wonders about this incredible pleasure from this unexpected violence from Ennis. Do I need a future, seein's what I'm gettin' right now? Damn, this feels good! Maybe not, maybe it can all end right here. Oh, Ennis … oh, right there … oh yeah. Jesus, Ennis, you're just goin' ta push the jizz right out a me, ain't ya? Jack bucks himself back into Ennis, tries to pull himself tighter, tighter, as though that were possible. "Fuck me, Ennis … fuck me!" Jack moans. He is in pain … must be … but he doesn't care.

Ennis can't stop … won't stop. He watches himself, in, out, in, out, and he thinks how much he loves Jack. This thought still terrifies him, just like it did on that very first night, so long ago it seems. He almost says what he feels, but he is so confused, so very confused. What he says instead is, "Jack, I need ya so much, so much I can't stand it no more … oh, Jack … goddamn you, Jack, for what ya done ta me! Goddamn you!" Ennis finally begins to cry as inch by painful inch he shoves his four years of loneliness, confusion, uncertainty into the other man—make it go away, Jack, make it go away!—doesn't care how much pain or pleasure he is causing the person he loves most in the world.

He hates himself for doing this. He hates what he has just said, and he hates how he is punishing Jack for bringing hope into a life that was never meant to have that luxury, not back then on Brokeback Mountain and certainly not now. Goddamn you, Jack Twist, goddamn you!

Another forceful plunge brings Ennis to the brink, and finally he drives his seed deep into his lover.

Jack struggles to remain upright, has to keep one hand on the ground for support. He tries to reconcile his own pleasure with Ennis' violence and sorrow, but his mind is in a whirl. Just do this, Jack, just do this, he tells himself. We can work it all out later … but for now, this … oh, feels so good … feels so goddamned good! Ah, Ennis … fuck. With his other hand he gives himself a few violent jerks until he is ready to come, feels Ennis pumping into him, wildly soils the bedroll … and his pleasure is intensified because that is not allowed.

Both men are drained, neither moving for a few moments. Then Ennis wraps himself around his lover from behind, rests a wet cheek on Jack's broad, sweating back. He breathes deeply, inhaling Jack's scent. This too he will have to remember for the coming months without Jack, this scented sweat. He still doesn't have any answers, still doesn't know what he will do after Jack leaves.

Ennis is thoroughly spent, exhausted emotionally and physically by his attack on Jack. Did I mean ta do this? he wonders. I don't know … just don't know. I know I come inside a ya, Jack, but that ain't what I'm feelin'. Ain't feelin' like I just done somethin' good. I hurt ya, Jack, didn't I? Really hurt ya … know I did. Goddamn me for that!

He knows he is going to cry, really cry, and he rolls off of Jack. Moves as far as he can to one side of the bedroll, turns his face away from his lover.

Jack lies there in shock He realizes that Ennis is too upset to talk, and is afraid to touch the man anyway, considering the unexpected, frightening change in mood during their lovemaking. Damn it, Jack thinks. We was doin' okay, Ennis, was havin' us a nice ol' time, wasn't goin' ta worry 'bout tomorrow … well, 'til tomorrow. Best we can do for now. An' jesus, Ennis, it's 'cause a you we can't plan for no future, not now anyways. I ain't goin' ta say it, though, 'cause I guess ya already got it figured out, ya desperate fuck. An' don't I know ya got it figured out, 'cause it's me goin' ta be walkin' funny for a week!

Besides that, Ennis, what ya think ain't the final word. Can't be the final word, can it? Can't just tell me we ain't goin' ta see each other but two, three times a year!

Jack feels Ennis shudder, wants to touch him, tell him it's okay to cry, tell him he loves him. But it's Ennis' game at the moment, Jack realizes, and his rules don't allow for that. Jack turns away from Ennis, shifts his body as much as he can to the other side of the bedroll. Guess we'll just sleep this one off, Ennis, huh? is Jack's last thought as he drifts off.

Part 6 (Saturday pre-dawn, camp)
"Kind a like holdin' hands …"

Jack and Ennis have been tossing and turning these past few hours. Despite their earlier separation, they have ended up next to one another, the dreamy instinct of lovers, no doubt drawn even in sleep by the heat of each other, by the scent of each other.

The unpleasantries of their earlier lovemaking shocked both men. Despite the ultimate physical pleasures, the sex was violent, alienating, emotionally draining. It was not how either man wanted to end this reunion … Ennis in tears loathing himself, Jack rejected and hostile.

Never had a disagreement of any kind threatened to hang over them from one day to another, and that is exactly what has happened. Instead of making the most of the fact that they will see one another— although not as soon as either man would like—Ennis turned one way, and Jack had no choice but to turn the other way. Jack knew that Ennis was crying himself to sleep, and he wanted to touch him so badly, wanted to hold him and tell him that everything would be all right. Isn't that one of Jack's strengths in life, after all, his ability to convince Ennis that everything is "all right"?

Regardless, it seems that Jack will not have that chance, seems he will be heading back to Texas tomorrow with tension in the air. Not at all the romantic departure he has been fantasizing about: With Ennis holding him tight, Jack would say, "Yes, Ennis, I know ya have affairs ta wrap up, that ya can't join me right away at our ranch. So I'll meet ya there in a month. I'll be fine 'til then, don't ya worry 'bout me." Then they would kiss, both joyful with the knowledge that finally they can begin the life with each other that they deserve, the life that will last for the rest of their days. His scenario includes no familial complications, no troublesome wives, no abandonment of children.

Jack is on his back sound asleep when he awakens to find his hand in a very warm place—on Ennis' erect cock! Ennis' hand is very firmly on Jack's. Jack thinks dozily, well jesus, this is kind a like holdin' hands, only ain't hands we're holdin', now is it? … But damn, I like havin' his big ol' hand on mine like that … yeah. Jack remembers when he was real little, holding his daddy's big hand when they went into town. So warm an' strong, Jack thinks … I like touchin' your dick like this, Ennis … never done it while sleepin'. Ya know, sometimes ya really surprise me. Jack's heart beats faster. He sure enough likes where his hand is, but what the hell does Ennis want now … this man who just a few hours earlier had taken him so viciously?

"Jack, I need ya … um … I need ya ta jerk me off … I really do," Ennis whispers huskily. Ennis lets pleasant things happen to him, but he rarely asks for them. His basic nature and spartan upbringing warn him away from frivolity, luxury, and it is remarkable that Jack ever got him to engage in anything this side of hard labor, let alone pleasures of the flesh! Jack feels Ennis stiffen even more beneath his fingers. Sometimes them dreams takes care a bad feelin's, don't they? Jack thinks.

Ennis lets Jack's hand go, and Jack rolls toward him, ends up in a spooning position behind him. Jack slips one arm under Ennis to wrap around his chest, pulls the other man as close as possible. Oh, Ennis, he thinks. Ennis, what am I goin' ta do with ya? His other hand finds Ennis' manhood, slick now with rampant desire.

Ennis' eyes are moist, and he swallows deeply, humiliated by his unexpected neediness. He bites his trembling lip as Jack continues to stroke lightly, very lightly. Jack's loving touch is electric, and Ennis responds under the other man's fingers. Ennis is so confused. He must let Jack go, yet he needs this so badly … this right here, Jack holding him tight, Jack caressing him there, Jack touching his very manhood. How can it be that I want ta cry while Jack is makin' me feel so goddamn good? Ennis asks himself.

He lies there, hardly moves at first, then begins to undulate gently to Jack's movements. The least Jack deserves is some sort of response, Ennis decides. This feels so good … feels so good, I know it's okay. It's always okay when Jack is here, ain't it? Oh, Jack, ya don't know how much I need ya. Ya mean so much ta me … it's called love, I know that, an' I don't know why I can't just say it. Ennis slips a hand over the hand that Jack has on his chest, presses tightly. Can he feel his own heartbeat through Jack's hand? Ennis believes he can.

Ennis has never come in this position before. He feels like he is so protected by this muscular man … exactly that strength that Ennis craves and cannot get from his poor little Alma. Exactly that strength that Ennis knows Jack sometimes needs from him, too. Jack pushes more closely against Ennis' back, grips him a little more tightly, moves his hand faster.

"Jack, oh god, the … bedroll …," Ennis gasps.

"Fuck the bedroll, Ennis," Jack whispers in his ear. Jack remembers with great excitement his own first time with Ennis, how he shot all over the bedroll without even touching himself when Ennis hit that place of joy. Apparently Ennis was too distracted to notice that Jack had made a mess all over the very same bedroll just hours before. After all, Jack didn't have any hands available at the time, as he struggled to stay up on all fours while delivering his own orgasm.

Jack feels Ennis pulsing, knows his lover is close, rolls him onto his back. Damn it, Ennis thinks. He was getting used to the idea of leaving his mark on the bedroll. Kind of losing control … doesn't do that very much at all, does he? Not known for losing control. But it can be fun sometimes, he has learned from Jack. Now he is going to make a mess all over himself instead … not near as much fun, is it?

True enough, but Jack has other intentions. He holds Ennis' dick straight up, and like a fountain it releases its spray.

Jack climbs on top of Ennis, starts sliding up and down. The combination of wiry pubic hair and silky lubricant brings him right to the edge, so he paces himself, slows down when he feels the urge. "God, Ennis, yes … this feels so good … so fuckin' good."

He drops his head to kiss Ennis, to see if they can make up face to face. They can, as Ennis' mouth is as hungry for Jack's as Jack's is for his. This time they kiss in unison, tongues dancing sensuously as Jack's slides over Ennis.

One last press against Ennis' warm body, and Jack is there. "Oh, christ!" he groans as he hits that point of no return.

His uncontrollable release onto Ennis mixes their semen in an alchemy of passion. Jack brings his body down to Ennis' sweating, sticky skin … anchors himself there in this creamy, fragrant glue of one man loving another.

Ennis wraps his legs around Jack's back.

Jack's lips move back to Ennis' mouth, and he kisses his lover deeply. They have definitely made up, can fall asleep now, figure out what to do about everything tomorrow … which is closer now, but nonetheless still is tomorrow.

"If ya can't fix it, Jack, ya got ta stand it," Ennis calmly said earlier in the day, apologetically though with much conviction, in an effort to dash Jack's crazy hopes for a life together. Yes, Ennis has gone ahead and set the harsh terms for continuing their love affair: a backwoods meeting, a mountaintop tryst or two ... and then who knows?

And now as he lies here in Jack's embrace, bound by this love that neither man can rightly describe, Ennis wonders, do I believe myself? Why does it have ta be this way? I'm just fuckin' afraid, ain't I? Of who? Of what? Tire irons? Alma? All them others who might find out?

No, he realizes. I'm afraid a bein' happy, ain't I, 'cause ya go down a lot harder when ya got a lot ta lose. That is what he has seen all around him. This is fate as Ennis knows it, this is his life, and what is he supposed to do about it?

Jesus christ, what am I doing? What am I doing with this man … what am I doing to this man? Ennis asks himself. God help me, please god help me … He tightens his hold on Jack, arms and legs wrapped securely around the other man.

Jack wonders, that business 'bout havin' ta stand it 'cause we can't fix it … is that really the final word?

He will find out in the morning. As the two become groggy again, Ennis releases his hold on Jack, who rolls off his lover back into a spoon position. When Ennis awakes at dawn, he will find Jack's strong arms wrapped protectively, lovingly around his chest.

REUNION: Part 7 (Saturday morning, camp)
"Guess it's everbody's business now …"

Ennis wakes up with Jack's arms wrapped around him, refreshed even though he's had only a few hours sleep. He's so relieved that the two seem to have patched things up after his assault on Jack last evening. They have, haven't they?

Jack sleeps peacefully, his chest full against Ennis' back, his nose releasing soft, measured breaths into the down on his lover's neck, almost tickling him. Ennis has yearned so long for just this sort of physical intimacy, finds this so comforting that he doesn't want to move. He has been on an emotional rollercoaster since Jack arrived. These past couple of days have brought forth feelings—some good, some bad—that he thought he had long ago abandoned. His present uncertainties, pleasures, guilt have mixed with these to form a volatile emotional brew. But right now he is so pleased to find that Jack—even while asleep—appears to be protecting him.

Even so, as Ennis lies there in cradled bliss, his eyes get teary. He loves this man dearly, he is so happy that Jack is here … but he has had to say no to his only friend, has had to dash the other man's dreams, no two ways about it … and it is all Jack's fault, Jack's crazy, romantic notions about two men living together. It is so very painful for Ennis to hurt Jack, the one love of his life, the man who has haunted him, blessed him for four years since their summer together on Brokeback.

I really ain't figured none a this out, have I? Ennis realizes. I know you an' me ain't goin' ta run off an' set up no ranch, Jack, but I sure as hell wish I knew what was goin' on sometimes … wish I knew what was goin' on in your head when ya made up your mind ta … ta drag me away from my … well, ya know, Alma, my little girls … everthin' I am, Jack! So I guess I'll see ya in November, but then what, Jack? Then what?

Yes, Jack is to blame for his very own dreams being shattered, but in the back of his mind, Ennis wonders, why did I go ahead an' marry Alma? Would a broke her heart maybe if I didn't, but hell, I ain't payin' much attention ta her these days, neither. I really didn't know better, that's what it was, wasn't it? Wouldn't a known how ta explain it all anyways, why I was changin' my plans. But even so, got my two little darlin's … love 'em crazy … can't get that from no man! An' sure enough, Jack, that means ya too, he thinks guiltily.

Then Ennis wonders why can't two men live on a goddamn ranch together? It's his belated challenge to the long-dead father who had forced him to look at that murdered queer. Ennis understands violence. He's got that streak himself when he doesn't know how to deal with something—his sometimes confused sexual episodes with Jack a good example—but he cannot comprehend the hatred that would have led to a man's brutal death simply because of the way he lived. Simply because of who he was, Ennis had always thought. After all, no one would choose to be like that, would they?

He feels Jack stirring behind him, hears a sigh of contentment when Jack realizes that Ennis is right there with him. When the two men are snuggling like this, Jack feels that everything is right with the world. He moves a hand down to Ennis' groin. "How we doin' this mornin', friend?" he asks his lover.

Ennis places his own hand over Jack's. "Feelin' great, Jack, but got ta do somethin' 'bout this crusty crotch. Tell ya what, I get a real kick out a ya slidin' all over me like that, but hell, does get kind a messy, don't it?"

"Um-hmm, sure does, don't it?" Jack responds. Ennis knows how to enjoy himself when he and Jack are making love, can be creative even, but Jack has always been much freer than Ennis physically, likes it a whole lot better when the sex gets messy. Jack thinks the more ground covered the better.

"How 'bout I step into that there stream, huh?" Ennis suggests. "Ya want ta follow me? We can enjoy our coffee better if we're all nice an' clean, don't ya think?"

"Sounds good, Ennis, but ya know that water's pretty damn cold," Jack warns him. Ennis notices how shallow the stream is, thinks, well it's not like plungin' into a frigid lake or nothin'. Don't need ta get anythin' above my dick wet anyways.

Ennis wades into the clear stream. The water is shallow, warming up a bit in the sun, but still plenty cold enough to shrivel everything up. He shivers, wraps his arms around himself.

"Told ya, Ennis. Pretty damn cold, ain't it? We both goin' ta come out a there with blue lips, ya know!" Jack jokes.

"Well, long as we don't get no blue dicks!" Ennis responds, pleased with the image his joke evokes, pleased that their last day of camping promises to be great fun. He doesn't look forward to tomorrow at all, feels very unsure about his feelings once Jack leaves. It will be a test of strength to see if he can let Jack out of his sights after this emotional reunion.

"It's blue balls I'm thinkin' is the problem right now, friend," Jack says. "Seems like a emergency we'd best take care a, don't ya think?"

"Damn good idea, Jack! Sure can't enjoy no coffee when ya got blue balls!" Ennis heartily agrees.

Bar of soap in hand, Jack gingerly steps into the stream, and Ennis splashes water at him. "I hear a cold shower's the best way ta make them blue balls go away!" Ennis laughs.

"Not what I had in mind, motherfucker," Jack responds, splashing back as he heads toward his lover.

He wades up behind Ennis, has soaped himself up by now, slides up against Ennis from behind. He hugs Ennis' wet back close to his chest, reaches both hands around the other man with a bar of soap. He starts soaping up Ennis, firmly massages him there. The results are immediate: Ennis gets a clean crotch and an erection.

Jack lovingly fondles Ennis' balls as he presses tighter against the other man. He says jokingly into Ennis' ear, "Ennis, feels like ya lost them big ol' nuts a yours! What's these baby balls … littler 'n Bobby's, for chrissake! Ain't goin' ta get much out a those little fellas, that's for sure. An' tell ya what, big boy, I'd hate ta head back ta Texas empty-mouthed, if ya get my meanin' … speakin' a which, how's about ya let me see if I can bring somethin' down there back ta life, huh?"

Jack gets really hard at the thought of going down on Ennis, wants to see if he really can revive the relevant parts of Ennis' anatomy.

They agree to try this novel activity with Ennis floating on his back.

"Was my brother taught me ta swim, ta float on my back," Ennis recalls fondly. "Yeah, used ta swim naked, a course, only way we had ta cool off. Didn't even have no electric fan in the house back then." He adds hurriedly, "Course we didn't do the kinds a things you an' me is doin' here, not on your life."

Jack smiles at that. Never would have crossed his mind, Ennis fooling around with another boy, let alone his own brother! But to Ennis a boy is a boy. "I wished I would a had a brother," Jack says. "Was goddamned lonely, never anyone ta play with or nothin'. No way for a boy ta grow up … but guess I did it anyways, didn't I?"

Ennis lies back in the water, closes his eyes, eagerly awaits Jack's wonderful, warm mouth. It has been four years since Jack's mouth has been there, and Ennis' thoughts come back from the very first time Jack took him in that way: damn, the most beautiful man in the world … the most beautiful man in the world is doing me … has Ennis Del Mar's dick in his mouth! Looking down at this other man, this strong, muscular man serving him so, gives Ennis a certain implicit power over Jack, but it is momentary and is always balanced by sincere affection … by love.

Jack tosses the soap to shore, wedges his way between Ennis' legs, lowers himself to the tightly wrinkled pouch. "Oh, Jack … that feels great … oh god, you're goin' ta bring me off right here in the water, ain't ya?"

"Oh fuck," Ennis gasps. Desperate for Jack's oral magic, he raises his groin as much as he can toward his lover's mouth. "Oh, Jack," he says, "I been missin' you … your beautiful lips … you an' your mouth … so much … so goddamn much!"

"So Jack," he adds, "where in hell did ya learn how ta do this … ya know, do this shit in the water an' all?" It may be a rhetorical question, but Jack knows the balance here with Ennis is much too delicate right now for complete honesty. I done enough just by tellin' him how much I missed him, that I come up here hopin' ta heaven we'd be havin' us somethin' a little special … that I want ta spend the rest a my life with him, for chrissake!

I'd tell him those other guys are just practice but you're the real thing, Ennis, that's what I'd tell him … tell him I ain't never been fucked by no one else, ain't never put no other dick in my mouth, 'cause I know ya think them things is real special, Ennis, ain't ta be shared. Guess I thought I was goin' ta see ya again some day, that we'd … well, I don't know … but somethin' like this. Like I was savin' myself 'til the next time I seen ya, dumb as that sounds! Like girls is supposed ta do 'til they get married. Funny, I sure as hell ain't no girl, those kinds a things shouldn't matter ta boys at all, but still … Can't say I remember a single one a those faces neither. But you, Ennis? I'm just fuckin' in love with ya, no two ways 'bout it. Wouldn't be here if I wasn't.

"Made it up right here, big boy. Ya know I got a damned good imagination. Thought ya might like it is all," Jack says before lowering his face again, takes in even more of the other man.

"Holy fuck!" Ennis exclaims. He wasn't expecting Jack to deep-throat him out here in the water, wants to kick wildly, but Jack steadies his legs. Ennis has to trust that Jack knows what he's doing.

Jack smiles to himself, almost laughs at Ennis' swearing. Ennis don't say much, but when he does … he sure can be funny. Oh, that one time, uh, what was we doin'? Made him cuss a blue streak. Oh, yeah, that first time I went down on him, that was it. Shit, was our first night together, wasn't it? Like … well, not like that first night, but like when we was really checkin' each other out … takin' our time an' all. Made him look at me naked, didn't I? There I was, lookin' for action, an' wasn't that boy scared … didn't even want ta kiss me, the fucker. Hell, figured he might as well get a good look at what he'd be wranglin' with!

Yeah, an' after showin' him mine, had ta darn near wrestle the guy out a his clothes, didn't I? Didn't mind the struggle, was half the fun, wasn't it? Cold as the water is, Jack becomes aroused at the memory of Ennis' response as Jack slowly pulled his pants down. It was the first time Jack had seen another man's erection, and he was in awe, down there on his knees in front of this man he had fallen so in love with.

But was my mouth really did ya in, wasn't it, Ennis? Scared the fuck out a ya, didn't it … didn't know what I was doin', slobberin' all over down there. Didn't have no control over that, did ya, couldn't keep quiet at all, son of a bitch. An' that taste … so good, wasn't it? Shit, Ennis, I been missin' your taste so goddamn much!

This is so much fun, out here in the water, Jack thinks. "Get these big ol' balls back in action here, bet you'll give me a good load this time 'fore I have ta go, won't ya, Ennis?"

"Oh, christ …," Ennis groans, which Jack takes to be an affirmative answer.

Such simple ministrations, yet Ennis is in near ecstasy after four long years without this. No one but Jack has ever done this to him, or even offered, not even Alma. And Ennis hasn't asked.

Occasionally he takes Alma from behind—much to her displeasure—but even so, he can't throw his full animal strength into it, can't bruise her hips like he does when Jack bucks against his groin. No, their sexual relationship is pretty much missionary, damned boring as far as Ennis is concerned. And for some reason … Ennis can't quite get his mind around it … Alma sucking on him just wouldn't be the same as Jack doing it. He thinks about Jack's broad, open smile. Maybe Alma's mouth is too small? Could that be it?

As Jack attends to Ennis, the latter man thinks, that mouth … so warm, so talented. A brief thought flickers in his mind: too talented, maybe? No, there's no call for thinking Jack does any of this anywhere else. Again Ennis reminds himself that Jack ain't no queer, Jack ain't no queer. Just like me got a wife an' a baby. I sure ain't no queer neither. It's just the two a us, an' that's somethin' special that ain't … that ain't that other thing. But it ain't no fuckin' one-shot deal no more, that's for sure. So what are we goin' ta do 'bout that? Guess we do got ta figure somethin' out, just ain't goin' ta be that ranch business.

Like Ennis, Jack has never made love in the water before, wonders what he can do to surprise his lover. He gently lets go of Ennis' legs, and the other man reflexively bends his knees, moves into a position with his feet on the bottom, his butt just below the water's surface. Jack places his hands on Ennis' hips, slides his fingers around to hold the cheeks far apart so the water laps between them. Ennis has never experienced this kind of stimulation before, but the cold water entering that sheltered area, licking against it, almost tickling it, drives him over the edge to an ecstatic release.

"Jesus christ, Jack! Oh, jesus …," Ennis begins.

But before he can continue, before he can even think about the unexpected and totally new and goddamn wonderful sensation of getting cold water up his ass, Jack is hard at his mouth with a kiss that mingles sperm and saliva.

Fuck, Ennis thinks. How can I let this man go back ta Texas? Lips still locked on Jack's, tongues swirling around each other, he wraps his arms around Jack and hugs him as tightly as he can. Got ta let ya go, Jack, Ennis thinks. Just got ta stand it an' let ya go. But not till tomorrow. Goin' ta enjoy every minute till tomorrow.

Jack is delighted to have brought Ennis such pleasure, that they are starting this beautiful spring day so splendidly. Their kissing continues for some time as they stand there in the stream.

So this ain't goin' ta make him live with me on no ranch yet, Jack thinks. But at least he won't forget this. Make it easier for me come November ta get him ta change his mind, won't it?

Finally Ennis steps back. "Remember how on Brokeback we used ta get naked ta wash our clothes?" Ennis asks. "Funny we never thought 'bout havin' fun in the water like this, ain't it?" So Jack, where exactly did ya learn this little bit a magic? he wonders, mighty pleased with the results but still not confident enough to dismiss his uncertainty. The maneuver seems too polished for Jack to have devised on the spot.

"Guess I just never thought a doin' it when we was doin' the laundry! Ya know, durin' a chore ya just want ta get it done," Jack replies. "But yeah, would a worked the same, I guess. Would a been fun, no doubt 'bout it."

So now you're practical-minded, Jack. Must be a first! Ennis thinks.

Jack's own excitement, tasting his lover again, and the deep kissing have brought him nearly to the brink.

Ennis senses this and moves around, steps up tight behind Jack, just like that one time on Brokeback when he came up behind him, told him he was sleeping on his feet like a horse, hummed a little song softly in his ear. Such a special moment for both of them, that had been. He presses tightly against Jack's butt as he reaches around, plays with Jack's nipples. He caresses the layer of soft hair on the other man's chest, follows the trail down to his belly, finally to his groin, where the dark, wet curls glisten in the sun.

Ennis runs his hands up and down Jack's body, and Jack closes his eyes, leans back into Ennis as he strokes himself. He grinds into Ennis', and Ennis' fingers bear down on those nipples, twist with increasing force as Jack's moans grow more frequent and get louder.

Ennis feels Jack's body tense up. With a thrust of his hips, he delivers a creamy arc into the rippling water.

Ennis softens the nipple pinching to a chest massage, kisses Jack's neck, just wants to keep this man right here, right here in this beautiful stream with the sun so warm on their skin, so far ... so far away from all those things that now seem like intrusions into some sort of idyll.

Jack is not one to dwell on problems. Sure, he was crushed when he realized Ennis wasn't ready for life on a ranch with him, but he figured he'd just have to work up another approach for November. Ennis will come around, Jack is certain of it … because making a life together is the right thing to do, the thing that will make their lives complete.

After last night's unexpectedly violent encounter, however, Jack remains wary of Ennis. The hostility … and then the desperation of Ennis' soft yearning for Jack's hand to bring him off. He could have done it himself, no doubt about it … like any man he's had plenty of experience. And Jack was sound asleep, never would have known. But it was Ennis' special way of telling Jack how very sorry he was, inviting Jack to touch him again … inviting the lover he had abused and then rejected to touch him again in the most intimate way.

It may be the vulnerable Ennis that Jack loves most—certainly not the violent one—yet he doesn't want to hurt him in any way. He is realizing how significantly his intentions for the two of them have affected Ennis. There's a lot a different moods goin' on in that head a his, ain't there? Jack decides. Don't know what ta expect from one minute ta the next now.

How stupid I was, he thinks. Just bargin' in here an' thinkin' I can drag Ennis away from his life. Should a known after we was together on Brokeback. Forgot though, didn't I, Ennis don't change very easy. Shit, spent most a that summer tryin' ta get the son of a bitch ta let me fuck him! Had ta work through ever' little thing … ever' goddamn little thing. Ah, Ennis … tellin' him that this or that wouldn't hurt … makin' him see how much fun somethin' could be.

Just like a big boy, wasn't he? Needin' ta learn stuff, not sure 'bout none a it. Except for when he fucked the hell out a me in that there tent. Jesus! Didn't need no instructions for that, did he? Course he wouldn't a done nothin' 'bout that neither if I hadn't a made him do it.

Ennis, ya ain't changed a bit, not a bit, have ya? But ain't like up there on that mountain this time … ain't like it's just the two a us no more, nobody's business but ours, like it was back then. Guess it's everbody's business now, ain't it, Ennis? Everbody's fuckin' business.

REUNION: Part 8 (Saturday evening, Siesta Motel)
"Things seem kind a up in the air …"

Yep, good ol' Ennis … always worryin' ' bout things, always needin' ta learn stuff, know what he's gettin' into, Jack thinks. An' me forgettin' I got ta take my time with that boy. …Yesterday at the camp, when Ennis had said no two ways about it, the ranch wasn't goin' ta happen, well, that was like a slap in the face to Jack. And he took it because he knew he deserved it … had gotten so wrapped up in his own romantic plans for the two of them living together that he had forgotten half the equation: Ennis Del Mar. Jack had thrown it out there like a done deal, this dream ranch … like Ennis was supposed to process it all in five minutes. Like Ennis was going to forget the murdered queer in that ditch when he was a kid. What the hell was I thinkin'? Jack wonders. Damn it all, I had ta fall in love with a good man, goin' ta take his sweet time 'bout all this. Ain't goin' ta step out on the wife an' kids, least not without thinkin' 'bout it a whole lot, anyways.

Despite that, Jack's dream still seems so promising—Ennis has taken a couple days off work, after all, seems to be enjoying himself away from his family, has gotten out of that godforsaken apartment. A boyish freshness has returned to his face. These past two days it has been just the two of them again … just two boys in love and nature … just like their summer on Brokeback Mountain. Things are headin' in the right direction, ain't they, Jack assures himself. Maybe not as fast as I would a liked 'em to, but still ….

Even so, Jack knows he is dealing with the old Ennis here—a man who has retreated so completely into himself that the only outlets for his emotions are violence and tears. Ever since he was a child when his parents died, no one but Jack has seen Ennis cry. On Brokeback, Ennis—as conflicted as ever about his desires and his manhood—almost cried when Jack penetrated him for the first time. Almost … but he didn't. Only last night did Jack see his lover cry, really cry … and turn away from him. The vulnerable Ennis … yes, that Ennis is the one that no one but Jack sees, the one he loves most. But the shocking change in mood that led to the tears … tender passion suddenly turning into a burst of violent sex—Jack doesn't remember that behavior from their summer together.

He does consider that back then, Ennis' only obligations were his horse and Aguirre's sheep, and he took them pretty seriously, even as he and Jack put more and more time and energy into their affair. Sure, Ennis was engaged to Alma, but Jack was pretty sure that was more a matter of happenstance and propriety than anything. It was just a fact that didn't seem to weigh on Ennis' mind back then, so far as Jack could tell.

But now Ennis is married, has his wife's needs to consider, even if he doesn't always know what to do about them. Maybe he loves her? Jack doesn't think it goes much beyond obligation, but who is he to say? She did after all give Ennis the children he adores, damn her. In any case, divorce is not taken lightly when children are involved, in a small town where people talk, Jack supposes. And if there ever was a man who wouldn't want to give others a reason to talk, it's Ennis Del Mar. That's why their ranch isn't going to be around Riverton, Jack has decided. Close enough so Ennis can see his little girls every now and then … but just.

Those damned daughters! Jack hasn't even met them, but Ennis sure as hell dotes on them, that much Jack can tell. The man really loves those two girls, and Jack … well, Jack is just a confusing diversion for their devoted daddy. Ennis cannot fight his passion for Jack, yet he knows he must betray his family to pursue it. The question facing Ennis is how far can he go—or not go—with Jack before destroying the other man or his own family?

The two men arrive back at the motel by mid-afternoon, are pleased to find the same room available. Just as wretched and dingy as any other room behind any other door, but somehow special now that they have anointed it. They note their stains here and there, that the closed room still smells strongly of the two men—tobacco, their whiskey breaths, sweat and piss and semen. The richness of their skin itself amidst all the lovemaking—all part of the primal scent that marks this room, this territory, as theirs.

This time, however, Ennis does not pounce on Jack like an untrained puppy, does not pin him against the wall, does not try to make up in five minutes what had gone lacking for four years. True, their time is limited, but today it's an even match. They awoke this morning at the campsite in a spooning position … discovered playful sex in the stream … have been in good spirits ever since. Now their tongues trade warm probes, mouths locked in coordinated passion.

After a bottle of whiskey, a few cigarettes as they relax after being on the road, adjust to being indoors again, they end up naked on the bed.

Ennis turns toward Jack … chest to chest … holds him tight, then gently pushes him down onto his back. Jack is pliant. Ennis, I love it when you're gentle like this, Jack thinks. But damn, it started out that way yesterday too, didn't it? Just don't go crazy on me this time, huh?

Jack gazes up at Ennis … at his bright, dark eyes. At his sandy hair, tidy and short after the haircut he had gotten specially the day before Jack arrived. At his angular face, fresh and rosy but strong-jawed. At his thick neck and broad chest, nipples perking up now as Ennis becomes more excited. Damn, Ennis, Jack thinks, you are so fuckin' sexy … such a man … so … so beautiful. So worth lovin', but ya just don't understand that, do ya?

Ennis leans over Jack to kiss him. "Ennis," Jack whispers, "do what ya gotta do … I want ta feel all a ya inside a me. I'm ready." Not like yesterday … oh damn, do I really want this? Can I handle him doin' that ta me so soon after that? Well, if it hurts too much, we'll do somethin' else, Jack decides.

Ennis slides back, lifts the other man's legs, like he usually does when he's going to enter him from the front. They both hear the crack of bones rubbing together.

"Ow! Ennis, ya got my rodeo leg there! What the fuck?" Jack is alarmed already. Goddamn it! He's goin' crazy on me again. "That really hurts … what do ya think you're doin'?"

Hell, he don't seem injured ta me, Ennis thinks, the way we been carryin' on the past couple a days. But sure didn't think I was hurtin' him … better ease up a little here.

Jack winces. "I ain't exactly crippled, Ennis, but tell ya what, had enough things broke ta keep me out a the army, ya know. Except my dick, only thing. An' my ass. Never broke my ass, lucky for you, ya son of a bitch." Jack is impressed with himself that his sense of humor isn't diminished by his discomfort.

But Ennis doesn't go crazy this time, calmly massages Jack's rodeo leg so the position is acceptable after all. Ennis puts a lot of power behind any thrust, and Jack tells himself to just stay calm, even as he breaks out in a sweat. As if reading Jack's mind, Ennis says, "Don't need ta worry, Jack … I ain't goin' ta hurt ya at all, no sir."

Ennis did things that summer on Brokeback he had never thought possible, even after the sex began. Little by little, he learned to enjoy the pleasures that Jack seemed to have invented. He marveled at the things Jack thought of—just the things he could do with his mouth! And the fact that Jack would try everything first, what seemed to be the harder or more painful half of it anyway. Well, Ennis could hardly say no to his mounting opportunities. Yes, a boy who went up simply to tend sheep, a virgin who "hadn't yet had the opportunity" to sin … came back a man.

That one cold night in the tent … there he found himself instinctively, furiously going at Jack from behind. Even so, Ennis didn't consider that a sin. The way he had been raised, he should have despised his actions, but he couldn't … because he knew the first moment he entered Jack that it was … well, it was love. He was hopelessly, helplessly in love with Jack. He feared that more than anything … and those thoughts were what he buried. He acted on those thoughts, though, fully enjoyed with Jack the carnal pleasures of their relationship, although he could frustrate Jack by taking so long to accept something new. Jack hadn't done any of this before, either, and not knowing exactly what to expect from Ennis sometimes made him uncomfortable.

Yet there was Ennis one day, on his knees, ready to please Jack … just like that … had worried about it for weeks, then suddenly was willing to do it! Jack had gone down on Ennis many times since their affair began, but Ennis found it unthinkable that he himself could do that to Jack. Jack, after all, had that special mouth … but of course because it was Jack … only ever Jack … it seemed that the right time always came sooner or later for Ennis to try it. Was it really a dirty thing to do? Well … maybe not after all. Instead, there was the bond they felt as Ennis performed the act on Jack, Jack understanding how much Ennis loved him to overcome his own objections and make a breakthrough like that. In fact, Ennis learned to crave Jack's sweet, musky flavor, like some sort of nourishment that had been withheld from him all his life.

Ennis was no less than astonished when he finally let Jack penetrate him, fill him with seed to his very core. His fiercely guarded manhood … christ, how Ennis had tried not to let that go! Apart from worrying about his masculinity, Ennis had determined that giving in would end their sojourn as lovers … had vowed that it wouldn't happen. Such an act would be so … so momentous, he figured, so final. But the day came when he could no longer deny his lover entry to that inner sanctum, when he could no longer fight the temptation to submit body and soul to Jack, this man with whom he had shared every other physical pleasure.

Ennis braced himself for the crossing into unfamiliar territory, into the uncomfortable realm of not knowing exactly what was going to happen—how he would feel physically, how he would feel mentally, indeed, how he would feel about Jack, afterward. But when his lover finally took him … Jack probing so gently … Jack being so careful, so attentive to Ennis' fear of the pain … finally slipping past the tight ring of muscle, finally breaking through Ennis' painstaking shield. Then Jack's kissing him deeply as he lovingly hit Ennis' pleasure spot. Ennis had felt closer than ever to Jack at that moment … had literally let the man enter forbidden territory, had given himself up to the only person in the world whom he could ever love.

And then … and then the indescribable ecstasy as he achieved orgasm with Jack so deep within him. Jack's loving moves … Ennis didn't want them to stop … wanted more and more of Jack in him, even though that wasn't possible. It was with joyous relief that Ennis did lose control … finally … to the one person in the world whom he had learned to trust. He would have entrusted his life to Jack.

He would never have another experience like that, would he?

There hasn't been anything in his life since those days that comes close. Sure, when he is alone and has a chance to jerk off, he thinks of Jack. Jack everywhere, in impossible permutations, in front and behind at the same time. Often Ennis will whisper to himself, "Jack … oh, Jack …" So simple, just conjuring up his lost lover's name to share this very personal act.

But when Alma and the girls are around, which is most of the time, he always has to be in charge, always has to be the man. Well, he always is a man, always has been, he knows that. But it is just … different … somehow, with Jack. When Jack is around, Ennis doesn't have to be dominant, and that is so refreshing for him. On Brokeback it had seemed that Jack was always a step ahead of him. At times that bothered Ennis, but mostly not, once he became comfortable with the arrangement. And Jack had never tried to use the seeming imbalance to his advantage. On the contrary, he nurtured Ennis' submissions, knowing that every chink in Ennis' heavy emotional armor would lead to deeper intimacy, make the other man a better lover. Not that Jack had all the answers. But he knew from experience how he enriched their love whenever he opened himself up to Ennis. When he followed his instincts like that first night in the tent. Like that second night in the tent, when he sensed how lost Ennis was when it came to romance … and it was up to him to feel his way through the experience for both of them.

Jack lies there expectantly … what in hell is he thinkin' about? he wonders. "Hey, Ennis, tell ya what … well, ya made my leg feel better an' all, but it's kind a hard keepin' my legs up like this."

Ennis looks down at Jack's reddened face, takes a deep breath. "Jack, look, ya know … I thought when ya drove away that summer … that … well, that I wouldn't never see ya again! Ya know how I felt 'bout that, Jack?" Ennis' face recalls the pain he felt as the man he loved so much left him there in the road. But before he satisfies himself and Jack in this loving way, he must make Jack understand.

Ennis tries to keep his voice steady. "I didn't have no one ta fuck, Jack … I mean, you bein' a man an' all, ya know, not like Alma. Ya weren't 'round ta do it ta me, neither, hit that place a joy like ya did. Ya know I ain't never thought a goin' with no other man. Was you I needed, Jack, only you. Just couldn't stand the idea a not havin' ya hug me with those strong arms an' all … wrap your big ol' legs 'round my back when I was movin' inside a ya an' we was kissin'. Ya know, Alma an' all … well, shit, she's so goddamn little, bless her heart! She don't like ta wrestle 'round neither."

Jack appreciates Ennis' pain. He was just as devastated when they had to end their affair so suddenly that one afternoon. He just handled it differently, spent four years diverting himself, fooling himself into thinking he was something he wasn't … a great rodeo rider … a great husband … and now a great father. He couldn't even get near the kid, thanks to Lureen's intrusive parents. What all his experiences taught him: he was a great lover, but to only one person—Ennis Del Mar. Damn it, it was just the way it was, the way it was meant to be. They both had known it, and the men had just handled their inner turmoil in different ways.

Jack thinks of saying, Ennis, ya know how many men are runnin' 'round out there? Got ta be one might a done ya 'fore I showed up here. But like Ennis says, he wouldn't go with another man, couldn't … never would even cross his mind, not being queer. It has only ever been Jack, period, just the two of them. Nothing queer, nothing queer at all. And in fact, Jack prefers it that way. A man like Ennis Del Mar was not meant to spread his seed where it doesn't belong, and both men know just where it does belong.

So here Jack lies, with his lover again, to make right what had gone so wrong on that day four years ago.

He prepares himself for Ennis, who hovers above him eager to drive him to ecstasy.

Jack needs this so bad, this part of Ennis, relaxes completely so the other man can enter him. As he penetrates Jack, Ennis leans down to kiss him. They begin a sensual rhythm of ins and outs, tongues and their entire bodies moving in harmony.

His eyes closed, kissing Ennis deeply, Jack pleasures himself. "Oh, Ennis," Jack sighs, "this is wonderful. I've missed this so much."

A few deft moves put Jack over the edge. "Oh christ, Ennis," he says, "oh christ …," as he enjoys an explosive release.

That excites Ennis even more, and Jack feels his lover's imminent loss of control. But surprisingly, Ennis pulls out at the last minute and aims toward Jack's chest, but in fact hits his face. Jack is startled but not at all displeased to feel the warm liquid on his face.

Jack closed his eyes when he saw the milky stream arc in that direction. Indeed, one of his eyes feels as though it has been plastered shut.

This intimate act of sharing that should be humiliating but isn't has mesmerized Ennis with further desire, an irrepressible need to come closer, closer to Jack. Ennis lowers his face again, gently extends his tongue to lick clean that eye … lick the tip of Jack's nose … lick his cheek, his chin. He licks slowly … his own semen … yes, but now it is part of Jack. No pretending this time. His warm, breathing, loving Jack is here. How wonderful you taste, Jack, he thinks. So wonderful. I don't know how I been livin' without it.

Their lips meet again. Jack's face glows beneath the wet warmth of it all. Oh, Ennis, he thinks. Oh, dearest Ennis. I love ya so much I can't hardly stand it. Jack tenderly strokes Ennis' hips, his back, his muscular arms.

Ennis lowers himself onto his lover, wet and spent. They kiss themselves into a deep slumber.

There they lie, as it should be … lovers together, always together. Yet tomorrow must come, they both know it.

Jack sleeps with a peaceful look on his face, an obvious reflection of the love they have just rekindled. Ennis sleeps fitfully, his anguished face betraying troubled dreams about his pending loss. No doubt about it, two tomorrows are in the making … two very different tomorrows.

Part 9 (Sunday morning, on the road)
"A moving violation …"

They fell asleep together, but by morning Jack and Ennis have drifted to opposite sides of the bed. Jack is well rested, his naked body sprawled out to embrace the new day, it seems. Sure, it's their last day together until November, but Jack's dreams have been hopeful. What can happen in six months! November has become a target date, and that ranch is just around the corner, as far as he is concerned. And all this lovemaking, wild and energetic—so much to look forward to!

Ennis sleeps curled up, wound tight in the crumpled sheets, hugging his pillow. His dreams have been dark, despairing. He is losing Jack … for how long doesn't even matter … and he can't see beyond that, sees only the void between now and November. This incredible lovemaking … it has clarified their love for each other so much. And even so he can't break away … from his perceived obligations … from his history … from himself.

So this is it. The end of their reunion is just a couple of hours away. Jack will drop Ennis off at the apartment in Riverton and hit the road right away, no pleasantries with Ennis' wife, one of the obstacles to him and Ennis finding that sweet life. Texans do drink coffee, Ennis would like to tell Alma, but I don't think you want Jack to stick around. He takes his with extra cream, he might add obscenely.

Their minimal gear packed up, the two men head for Jack's truck. Ennis is gloomy, shoulders sagging. I can't live with this, he has decided. He looks longingly at Jack. Forgive me, Jack, but I just can't live with this.

Jack thinks, don't know how I'm goin' ta carry on without ya, Ennis. Specially after four days a lovin' like I never would a dreamed! Jesus. But like ya say, I just got ta stand it … till ya come 'round, anyways. Couple more trips ought a do it, I bet. Couple more fishin' trips like this … yeah. That's a life, Ennis, not what you an' Alma got goin' on. What's it goin' ta take for me ta get inside that thick skull a yours ta change your mind? A year in paradise? Ah, no use mopin' 'bout it now, though … need ta plan ahead, got plenty a time on that trip back. Think 'bout how that little ol' ranch is goin' ta work, exactly how I'm goin' ta get that dough out a Lureen's ol' man. Bastard.

Shit, Ennis here, he ain't lookin' too good, Jack thinks. Got ta get him some coffee.… Oh, damn … that ain't his needin' coffee face.

"Ennis, how come ya in a bad mood, friend … I mean, considerin' last night an' all? Had ourselves a mighty good time, didn't we?" Understatement, that. Jesus, all that jizz we shot in just a few days here 'tween the two a us … wears me out just thinkin' 'bout it! Sure as hell makes me hard thinkin' 'bout it all. Ya ain't forgot nothin', Ennis, all I can say, Jack thinks. In fact, you're better 'n ever, buddy.

Ennis answers somberly, "Ain't in a bad mood, Jack, just ain't quite woke up yet is all. Just need some coffee or somethin'." I ain't in the mood ta be fucked with, Jack, save yourself the trouble, he thinks. Yeah … considerin' last night … an' now what? Now what, Jack?

"Coffee my ass, Ennis, you're full a shit an' ya know it!" Jack's in a fine mood, still high on last night's hormones … and as far as Jack can tell, Ennis enjoyed it all every bit as much as he did. These moods, these moods … Jack will have none of Ennis' changing moods today. No sir, they are going to part on romantic terms this time, Jack has decided, forward thinking, making plans … no watching in his rearview mirror as the love of his life trudges the other way down the dusty road at the bottom of Brokeback Mountain. Never again.

Jack remembers that time: So goddamn depressin', had ta be the worst day a my life, maybe. Fuckin' Ennis, man, shoulders hunched over like that … couldn't even look at each other. Just turned an' walked away. Could a been the last I ever would a seen a him, an' couldn't even see his eyes under that hat. So much for bein' men 'bout it all. Jesus, didn't even make it out a the fuckin' parkin' lot 'fore I was cryin' like a goddamn baby! Almost hit the poor guy, didn't I, 'cause I couldn't see through them tears.

Should a just grabbed the fucker by the collar an' kissed him long an' deep. Should a just slammed that boy up against that trailer an' fucked his ass. Aguirre, ugly ol' cocksucker, could a heard it all, right outside a his own goddamn window, an' couldn't a done nothin' 'bout it. Done already fired us, the stupid fuck! We could a stood there comin' all over his goddamn trailer, let him watch that with them goddamn binoculars!

Should a just fuckin' pulled Ennis right up into that truck, drove off 'fore he could do somethin' 'bout it. Didn't do that, though, did I? Left him standin' there like he was, all alone. Hidin' his own feelin's like usual. Must a felt bad as I did … like he says, tried ta puke his guts out … jesus, poor Ennis. Damn, I loved that man so much … so fuckin' much … an' just drove away like that, pretendin' like it didn't matter. Pretendin' like it motherfuckin' didn't matter—goddamn me, an' ain't I payin' the price now! Should a done it different maybe? How could I a driven off like that, like the guy didn't mean the world ta me? Did he really believe that? Christ, hope Ennis didn't believe that, not even for a minute.

Maybe I could a hung 'round with him, kept him from marryin' that girl? Shit, I don't know … Ennis … Ennis Del Mar … once he gets his mind set on somethin' … maybe not the best thing, but he always thinks it's right, don't he? God love him, he's so true like that. Like a boy trustin' his daddy ta do the best thing, do right by him. An' then he finds out daddy's a fuck-up but he don't have the sense ta walk away, move on, find somethin' better. Yeah, I probably could a tied myself ta Ennis an' he still would a gone ahead an' married Alma. Would a gone ahead an' made babies right while I was standin' there, son of a bitch!

So now we're here, man, both a us got families tyin' us down. Only difference, I know when I done made a mistake. Ennis don't see that right away … goin' ta take some time, hope not too long a time. Anyways, shouldn't a waited four years. No sir, goin' ta be hard bustin' him out a four years a bad habits, that's for sure. With them two little girls a his … goin' ta be damned hard, ain't it?

"Maybe I ain't seen ya in a few years, Ennis, but ya know I ain't forgot how your goddamn mind works. I ain't forgot what it means when ya got that look on your face."

Ennis glowers at Jack, his face changing from gloom to his "don't fuck with me buddy" look. Ya don't know how I really, really, really don't want ta be fucked with! Ennis nearly trembles as his resentment at being abandoned by Jack builds. It happened once … is going to happen again, is happening now in fact. And his rage at himself for not being able to break away works its way to the surface. He blames Jack … he blames himself … he blames Jack … he doesn't know who to blame anymore.

Damn, Jack thinks, better back off. Son of a bitch is really cranked today, ain't he? After all that … man, that was a hell of a lot of fun last night, good as anythin' we done the past few days! Shit, Ennis, I just don't understand.

Despite the tension in the air, Jack's face glows and he stiffens at the thought.

Ennis' mind races as he thinks, ya wonder why I'm in a bad mood, do ya? Makin' me say no ta that fucked-up ranch idea, Jack, an' now you're leavin', an' it looks like it's me makin' ya leave, don't it? Just 'cause I can't leave my little girls, can't just leave Alma like that. An' shit, I got ta think 'bout all this now too. Goin' ta be different than just thinkin' 'bout ya while I'm jerkin' off, Jack, damn different. All these other things, these other complications ya brought up here with ya!

Better smoothe things out here, Jack decides. Can't put up with this shit all the way back ta Riverton, that's for sure. "Tell ya what, Ennis, didn't mean ta piss ya off. Let's say we forget this an' just go get us some coffee, okay? Get us some breakfast up the road there?"

But Ennis is not thinking about coffee as he distractedly climbs into the passenger seat. How long is it goin' ta be 'fore I see ya again, Jack? We're sayin' six months. What if it's another four years? What if it's never? Goddamn it, can't think 'bout this … gives me a headache. Ennis sits there tensely, stares straight ahead.

Ain't too many miles, but it's goin' ta be a damn long ride back ta Riverton, Jack thinks. Shifting into gear, he glances at Ennis, who is swallowing deeply, apparently trying to keep tears in check. Jesus, Jack wonders, what have I done ta ya, Ennis? I know you're solid, man, more solid than ya been actin' the past few days. Look, I drag ya out a your miserable life an' ya can't deal with it … flyin' off the handle ever' time I turn 'round. Goddamn it, Ennis. I know what's underneath there, I do. Hope I get ta see some a that strong Ennis, that good ol' Ennis, come November. Shit, hope I see some a that Ennis by the time we hit Riverton, for chrissake. Jesus, Ennis, give me a break already!

Jack is about to put the truck in gear when he feels Ennis' hand on his knee. Firmly on his knee. Ennis looks directly at him, the first time their eyes have met this morning. Ennis' dark eyes are shiny, wet, intense, and his jaw is set. Goin' ta take care a this right now, Jack … can't stand it no more, can't stand not knowin' what ta think, whether I should be doin' this or doin' that. Ya come in ta town like this, Jack, an' it just ain't fair! I'm crazy in love with ya, an' I can't do nothin' 'bout it! But this ain't a game, Jack, it's my life! An' maybe you're right … maybe it ain't worth livin', least not like I been livin' it.

Jack gulps—it's that look. That look Ennis has when he is about to do something momentous … and unexpected. Oh fuck, Jack thinks.

"Jack, take those goddamn pants off right now," Ennis commands him.

Jack looks at the other man blankly. What are ya talkin 'bout, Ennis?

"Before I have ta do it myself. An' I ain't goin' ta be nice 'bout it!" Let's get this goin' 'fore I change my mind … it's the only way ta do this, I know it is. The only way ta finish up what you started, Jack.

Jack is stunned. What the fuck am I supposed ta say ta that? "Goddamn it, Ennis, I'm drivin'. Guys in trucks'll be able ta see what's goin' on here!"

"Yeah, well, fuck 'em, Jack. You're goin' away again, an' I don't fuckin' care who don't like what!" It ain't goin' ta matter, Jack. Ain't goin' ta matter at all, my … my darlin' Jack.

I can't believe you're talkin' like this, Ennis, Jack thinks. I just don't get ya, Ennis. Ya don't even want us ta be seen in the same goddamn state together! But what the hell, I'm the one leavin' town, so I don't care. An' I know better 'n ta mess with ya right now, that's for sure! Whatever it takes ta get back ta Riverton….

Jack pulls his boots off, undoes his brass rodeo buckle, unbuttons his jeans. Lifts his butt so Ennis can work them down past his hips. Jack is hard as can be by now, and Ennis darned near salivates once he gets the jeans past Jack's thighs and sees the other man's excitement. Ennis almost rips Jack's trousers down the rest of the way … pulls a few leg hairs out along the way … and over his bare feet.

Even in his wildest imagination, and he's known it to get wild, Jack has never found himself driving in the nude. Of course, he's never driven with anyone who has asked him to. Or rather, demanded that he do it. Ennis means it, and Jack knows it. He kicks his jeans aside, bends down and pulls his boots back on. Don't ever want to drive with bare feet, that much he knows, sure as hell not when you got a hard clutch. He's half undressed, but it's a warm spring day with the sun beating down, and he's getting hot all the same. His feet sweat in his boots, his butt sweats against the ribbed vinyl seat. Ennis stares intently at Jack's groin.

Holy mother a god, hope I can pay attention to drivin' while he's doin' whatever down there, Jack thinks with concern. But Jack's on the road all the time, thinks he can do it. He barely has the truck in gear before Ennis is lowering his face. This is goin' ta be fuckin' wild, Jack thinks. Ennis takes Jack in his mouth. There just ain't never enough time, Jack thinks. But damn, ya wouldn't know we just been screwin' like rabbits for three days, the way he's goin' at it!

Ennis is going down on Jack as a cattle truck barrels by in the other direction on the two-lane road. The truck slows down but Jack doesn't, and by then the truck is but a speck in his rearview mirror. Fuckin' maniac, Jack thinks about his lover. But damn that feels good! He glances down approvingly at Ennis' bobbing head. Guess he's apologizin' for bein' in a bad mood, Jack thinks. Damn strange … ain't never done that before. Awful damn strange!

What is it? Jack wonders. Why do I want ta keep his face down there? Ain't 'cause I'm wantin' ta force him ta do nothin' … it's just so close ta … ta where I'm a man most, maybe, I don't know. Where it all comes from, anyway, the center a everthin'. Hell, Ennis, ain't nothin' wrong with those other things ya do .. bitin', twistin', bruisin' me real good. But this, man … this … "Oh, yeah," Jack says, "right there, Ennis, just stay right there." Sort a … sort a real special kind a lovin', ain't it? Ennis keeps his lips locked in a kiss down there, hardly has to move at all, and Jack responds all the same.

The bizarre conditions of the sex aside, Jack thinks, as he often does, Ennis, I do love ya. Ya know that, don't ya? I don't got ta say it, do I? I love ya, plain an' simple … an' it's just so wonderful havin' ya so close ta my manhood, trustin' ya with my manhood like this. Just like you, means more ta me 'n anythin', ya know? Ain't just my dick an' stuff down there … but it's inside a me, too, Ennis, somethin' ya ain't never goin' ta see, but it's there all the same. Ya sure do know that, don't ya? Ya get that too ever' time ya touch me, hell, most a the time when I'm just lookin' at ya.

Jack tries to concentrate on the road ahead as Ennis' tongue finds its way to the most sensitive parts. This is important … and Ennis is determined to do it right. He's going to make Jack feel real good, better than he's ever felt before, Ennis hopes.

"Aw, shit, Ennis," Jack sighs. "Aw, jesus, why ya makin' me go back where I come from? Damn, that feels so good."

Ennis doesn't know why he is letting Jack go back to Texas … no, why he is making Jack go back to Texas. It is his decision, his decision alone that there will be no ranch, no sweet life. No, no, no. Thanks to me, Ennis thinks, there will be no fuckin' sweet life, just another bunch of negatives, voids, whatever. What am I doin'? he wonders in utter despair.

He sucks and sucks to forget, feels Jack's response, something for Ennis to focus on at the moment. Ennis wonders how it will go when he makes Jack come. He's pretty damned sure a man can't do that and drive at the same time. Doesn't know firsthand of it ever happening one way or the other, but he's got a good idea. A pretty damned good idea.

Which way will Jack veer off the road?

His mouth still at work, Ennis' fingers stroke their way up toward Jack's belly button, reach the fine layer of dark hair that covers Jack's chest. Ennis finds one of Jack's nipples, ever so tenderly brushes his fingers across it. Ennis knows how much Jack likes that, and Jack shivers with pleasure.

This'll be the last time, Ennis thinks. No need ta be brutal with this man I adore … I love ya so much, Jack … we ought ta go gentle, real gentle….

"Christ. Ennis, maybe this ain't … well, right now … ya know, I'm tryin' ta drive … oh, fuck! Do that again.…" Jack lowers one hand to push Ennis' head into his groin. "Ah, jesus christ, Ennis." Jack wants to close his eyes, just lie back and let Ennis do what he will. But they're supposed to be on the road—moving. Have to get Ennis back to Alma, the girls, his job. Jack keeps his eyes on the road, one hand on the steering wheel—no shifting needed on the highway, thank god, but the strong wind requires some attention—his other hand alternately stroking Ennis' hair and pushing his head into his crotch.

Jack raises his hips from the seat, wanting Ennis to devour him, if that were possible. Devour him so he would never have to leave this man behind.

What have I done to deserve this special goodbye? Jack wonders.

Ennis swiftly takes Jack's full length. He knows what that does to Jack … he knows all too well … and it is all the other man can do not to jump right out of the driver's seat.

"Ennis, fuck, Ennis," Jack gasps. Have ya forgotten what that does ta me, Ennis? "Can't drive … can't let you … goddamn it, got ta pull over now!" He almost veers into the next oncoming truck. It's that on one side or the cliff on the other.

Ennis resists. They can crash into the mountainside or the truck … doesn't' matter. Jack will die happy. No more decisions for he himself to make. Ugly decisions. Decisions that he knows are going to hurt him and those he loves. He and Jack will be together. Forever … just like they both want. Ennis is desperate, inconsolable. Eyes closed, he continues working expertly on his lover, praying for an orgasm … praying for that release … and another kind of explosion.

Jack slows down and pulls into the next clearing.

He is breathless, flushed, panicked … was about to hit that point … that point of inevitability where a man's body takes over. Driven by the imminent pleasure, by the natural urgency to ejaculate, he can't go back … a man can't go back even if his life depends on it. Jack stops thrusting, but Ennis' continues frantically with his efforts. Come now, now, now, goddamn it! Until Jack says something, Ennis doesn't realize they are not on the road anymore, that Jack has stopped the truck.

Jack is frightened, knows something is very wrong. "Ennis, what the fuck are ya doin'? Have ya gone crazy on me? What the goddamn fuck?" Got ta get away from him, but damn, ain't much room here, is there? Christ … he ain't lettin' go … got my dick in his mouth like it's some kind a baby's pacifier. Shit!

Jack looks with astonishment at this spectacle. I ain't really seein' this, he tells himself. What the hell is he doin' down there?

"Ennis, I ain't even hard no more. Get out a there already!" Never thought he'd say anything like that to Ennis, but damn. Ennis doesn't look up until Jack finally forces the other man's face up from his groin. Jesus christ … oh, jesus fuckin' christ. Son of a bitch is cryin', cryin' like a baby! Indeed, Ennis' face is all red and wet from saliva and slick and tears, now humiliation too. He cries uncontrollably, blindly reaches out for Jack, finds his waist, rests his face against Jack's stomach. "Oh, Jack," he sobs, "oh, Jack. I … Jack, I tried ta … ya know … we'd be together, Jack … forever … oh my god … oh my god…."

The enormity of what he has just tried to do strikes Ennis, and he grips Jack desperately as he cries. What … what … oh christ, no, I didn't … oh no. Oh, Jack. Was doin' it only 'cause … 'cause I love ya, Jack! Ya got ta believe me. It feels so good holdin' ya, please hold me, too. "Don't want ta let ya go. Please. Hold me, Jack. … I can't stand it, can't stand it no more! You're goin' away, Jack, you're leavin' me … leavin'. How am I goin' ta carry on without ya? An' I'm sendin' ya away … all my fault, it's all my fault, ain't it? I can't do it, Jack, I can't."

Jesus, Jack thinks. What is goin' on here, what is he talkin' about? "Ennis, Ennis … darlin'"—he has never used such an endearment with this man, wonders if he'll take a punch in the face for it—"my sweet darlin' Ennis. It's all right." His paternal instincts take over, and he tenderly strokes Ennis' hair. "It's all right."

Jesus, this is a hell of a sight, Jack thinks. He's cryin' all over the place an' I'm drippin' all over the place. Well, jesus, Ennis Del Mar, jesus christ, ya really got me goin'!

"Jack, your skin … your warm skin. I just want ta stay here, Jack, just like this. You're talkin' so soft, Jack, like ya do sometimes … I love ya ta talk soft." Ahh … this is like mama used ta do. Just like mama used ta do when I got scared. She used ta pet my hair, too. "Mama … she called me darlin', Jack, did ya know that? Mama called me little darlin', 'fore she died. Last time anyone called me that, ya know?"

Jack swallows deeply. He's not sure he has ever seen this Ennis at all, and he knows full well that if he hasn't, then no one has. He continues stroking his lover's hair.

"I didn't want 'em ta leave, ya know … just like a kid, ya know, don't even remember why … just bein' a pain in the neck or somethin'. Mama said, 'Don't ya worry, Ennis, my little darlin', we ain't goin' ta be gone but a few hours. How 'bout we bring ya back a nice treat, huh?' Tell ya what, Jack, they never come back … never come back at all. Ain't never got that treat, neither, like she promised." He says that ruefully, as though that betrayal hurt him more than his parents' deaths.

On a few occasions that summer on Brokeback, Ennis mentioned his parents' death in a sort of matter-of-fact manner. They went off the road … they didn't leave us nothin' but twenty-five dollars an' a foreclosed ranch … the like. He has never summoned up either parent in such a personal, emotional way, has never shared the depth of his bereavement, and Jack knows now that Ennis has held it in all these years.

"Jesus, Ennis. Damn it, ya got me cryin' now … can't hear 'bout your mama … damn it, your dead mama … callin' ya darlin', Ennis." Jesus, why'd I say that? Why did I have ta call ya darlin', makin' ya think 'bout your mama? Poor thing died in a car crash, didn't she … must a been such a shock ta ya, just a kid an' all.

Seeing another man cry always makes Jack teary-eyed. It's empathy, perhaps, but he also hates to see the man he loves hurting like this. Even if he has brought it upon himself. Upon them, whatever, with his "ya got ta stand it" attitude. But that's Jack—ever generous, ever willing to wait for returns that may never come.

"It's goin' ta be okay, Ennis, everthin' goin' ta be all right, okay?" I'll keep pettin' his head like this, seems ta make him settle down a bit.

God, Ennis, ya really need me, don't ya? Just thinkin' 'bout ya needin' me, Ennis, needin' me so bad … is gettin' me all excited again. What the hell is goin' on with us? Ya gone an' confused me, friend. Bein' in a bad mood an' makin' me drive naked an' all an' not hearin' me tellin' ya ta stop. Ennis, ya gone crazy on me, ya son of a bitch, but I still love ya … just can't help but love ya … just makes me get hard when you're close like this, when you're layin' on me an' I ain't got no pants on anyways.

He pulls Ennis up for a proper hug, as best as he can behind the steering wheel there.

His tears mingle with Ennis' own. Just can't believe this, Jack thinks. Here I am, sittin' here naked as a jailbird, all excited … and now both of us is cryin' … an' … aw, shit, it just don't make no sense!

"Ennis, look, it's okay, man. If ya want ta cry … need ta cry … just go ahead, okay. It's just natural, ain't it? Sometimes a man just got ta cry. I ain't goin' ta think no less a ya 'cause of a few tears." But I sure as hell ain't leavin' town with ya bawlin' like this, Jack decides.

Their sniffles mingle for a minute, until Jack clears his throat and regains his composure.

"Whatever got ya goin', Ennis, it don't matter, okay? Look at me, will ya?" He gently places his thumb under Ennis' chin to raise his face. Ya big baby, Jack thinks, but not in a mean way. He loves this all-too-human Ennis, this boyish Ennis who needs other people, doesn't see that too often, is simultaneously perplexed and aroused by this scenario in the truck.

Jack doesn't know what Ennis just tried to do … and he never will.

Part 10 (Sunday morning, on the road)
"Something to remember …"

Damn, Ennis, Jack thinks, crazy as it was, that sure felt good what ya was doin'. He tells Ennis to get back up on the seat. Pulls his lover close, wraps his arm around his shoulders. "Ah, Ennis," he whispers. "Ya know, Ennis, ta hell with Alma an' your job, an' those little girls ain't goin' ta notice if we spend some extra time out here. Ya started somethin' here, an' how 'bout we finish it up the right way, huh?" After all, Jack already has his pants off and is ready for more action. Aside from that, he has decided that maybe Ennis hasn't gotten all that he needs from him this time around.

"How 'bout ya go ahead an' get comfortable too, what do ya think?" Jack suggests. Might help if he gets his clothes off so we can fool around a bit. Ain't really got time for it, but damn, this son of a bitch is all pent up. Don't think it's goin' ta get any easier 'tween here an' Riverton if we don't take care a this right now.

Ennis realizes, I got really excited when … when we were goin' ta … goin' … jesus, that's really sick, ain't it? Christ, what's wrong with me? Wanted us ta … ta go off the road when he was comin' in my mouth, an' I got so hard, ain't never been so hard maybe. What the fuck is wrong? He don't seem ta know what I was tryin' ta do, does he? Jesus christ, can't never tell him 'bout this … 'bout what I did … just awful, worst kind a bein' selfish, me tryin' not ta hurt 'cause a him leavin'.

Jack's embrace and unflagging interest get Ennis in the mood once and for all. Maybe not as aroused as he just was on the road, but still enough … more than enough. Ennis strips off his shirt, his undershirt too, wipes his wet face on the soft cotton. He silently agrees with Jack that there is only one way to take care of this. He works his way out of his own boots, undoes his belt buckle, opens his jeans. Slips them down to his knees, raises his legs to pull his pants off.

Jack turns to face Ennis, gently pushes him down onto the seat, straddles him, starts kissing him. As their bodies meet, Ennis' long legs end up split apart, one flung over the back of the seat, the other braced beneath the dashboard, against the driver's door. He wants me ta fuck him, Jack realizes. He wants a good fuck that he'll remember till November, don't he?

Indeed, since they didn't die in a crash, Ennis finds himself again needing to keep his life as it is, but so badly wanting to have Jack, too, needing to have Jack after this mind-blowing reunion. But it can't be like Jack wants it to be, Ennis has convinced himself, the ranch and all. It just can't be like that. The best Ennis can do right now is make Jack leave as much of himself as possible deep inside him, seed for future fantasies.

The small can of grease is at the bottom of some backpack, and this is no time for niceties. Jack spits into his hand. He has never done Ennis like this, but he'll see where it goes. Ennis closes his eyes, prepares for … well, he's not sure how much this will hurt. But he knows how it always ends up, and that pleasure will surely be worth the price in pain. Aside from that, he was hoping to die just a few minutes ago, wasn't he? He actually hopes it will hurt a lot … make him forget what he tried to do … punish him for doing what he did.

Jack pushes lightly, doesn't get anywhere. Just get it over with, Jack tells himself. This painful part … sorry, Ennis … it's the only way in, I got ta do it. But soon as I hit that pleasure spot, he ain't goin' ta remember anythin' 'bout pain. Hell, if he's lucky enough, it'll be just like the first time he did me, makin' me come all over the place an' I didn't even touch myself! Jack pushes again, much harder, more sharply, breaks through the tightness, gets a yelp out of Ennis.

But Ennis is desperate for Jack, knows it's got to be this way. Jack senses his lover's pain, stops to let Ennis absorb the impact, but Ennis pushes himself further on to Jack. "Got ta have it, Jack, got ta have it!" he moans. Hurt me, Jack! he thinks. Hurt me! Love me, hurt me, please … please love me! "Now, Jack, fuck me, now!"

Jack sees he needn't worry about hurting Ennis. Damn, he's tough, Jack thinks while supporting himself on Ennis' hips. He watches his own movements. Pushes deeper and deeper as Ennis brings his one leg down to wrap firmly around Jack. Ennis' moans are desperate, his groans louder and louder as Jack shoves faster, faster, more and more excited by the increasingly intense wildness in Ennis' shining eyes, by the unmistakable look of pain in those eyes. He has never done the other man this fast or this hard, and he can't believe they're doing it in his truck of all places. In the back of his mind, Jack hopes that Ennis will spill all over the seat, stain the vinyl so that Jack can pick up that wonderful earthy scent until he sees his lover again.

Ennis takes hold of himself, begins working toward his own release.

As Jack hovers over Ennis, the power of penetration takes over. He's askin' for it, he needs it, he needs me hittin' that joy spot, don't he? Jack asks himself.

Ennis needs this so bad, Jack knows.

But he said no ta me, didn't he? Said no ta what I need, goddamn it. The motherfucker said … no.

For once, Jack channels his frustration right back into the man who caused it in the first place, the man who shot his airplane out of the sky, who wouldn't agree to a sweet life with him on a ranch. Maybe I'll hit that sweet spot … an' maybe I won't, Jack thinks. He starts with his fingers … has never done this before, but now he works them into Ennis' hips', digs bruisingly into Ennis' thrusting hips. Fuck you, Ennis Del Mar, fuck you! Jack thinks as he pounds his lover. Ennis feels the other man's full fury, he knows what it is, and he writhes around so that Jack hits his prostate over and over and over. Ennis craves the ecstasy that Jack's punishment promises to deliver.

Goddamn you, Ennis! Shove! Motherfucker! Shove! How come you're fuckin' everthin' up? Shove!

Ennis responds to the violence, feels it coming each time, can't control himself. "Oh, Jack. Jack!" He grabs desperately at himself. The pain … the pleasure … more pain. He stimulates himself to a frenzy. He can feel Jack swelling inside him, the swelling that tells Ennis that Jack is close. He rides Jack, wants to make this as memorable for Jack as it will be for him. I love ya, Jack, I love ya. Please … please … please don't forget me this time!

Jack, he thinks, this got ta last six months. Ain't no four years, no, but … aw, shit … ain't never goin' ta be enough time, is there? It's usually Jack who worries about that, about there never being enough time. But Ennis is worried sick. He is going to lose the man he loves, doesn't really know for how long, doesn't know what to do about it. Will Jack really come back in November? Probably, Ennis decides, probably. But after that? He imagines that Jack feels like him, that this time together offers an incredible release that neither could ever find anywhere else. Ever.

Ennis feels Jack probing his very core, and he pumps himself to a glorious release, streams of which run down his hips and onto the seat. At the very same time, Jack groans, "Oh, Ennis, Ennis! Oh, jesus…." as he delivers his seed deep inside his lover … inside this goddamned man whom he loves so goddamned much despite himself.

Jack carefully pulls out, sits back on his haunches. Ennis is drenched in sweat, not all his own, feels like he is stuck to the vinyl. Ennis, ya sorry fuck, Jack thinks as he regains his breath, ya really needed it bad, didn't ya? Worse 'n I thought. Whole lot worse 'n I thought.

But they both will have their mementoes of each other after this reunion: Jack, a vinyl truck seat bathed in Ennis' sweat and crusty with his semen, and Ennis, bruised hips and his depths full of his lover's seed.

Part 11 (Sunday afternoon, driving into Riverton)
"Can't fix it. Can't stand it. Now what? …"

Ennis lies there naked on the truck seat, spent but hoping that the pain he has just endured is at least partial redemption for his near deadly folly on the road. Yet he imagines the warmth of Jack's seed, coursing so deep within him now, soothing his very soul … something, anything to make Jack's pending departure bearable.

Facing more prosaic matters, Ennis sighs, "Jack, what a mess I made a your truck here, brand-new truck, ain't it? Ya got a rag or somethin' so's I can clean it up?"

"Ah, Ennis, don't worry yourself 'bout it," Jack replies. "This stuff they use nowadays, this vinyl, it's tough, ya know, cleans up pretty easy. I can just wipe it off later." He must … simply must hold on to as much of Ennis as he possibly can, and with all the sweat from his lover's body, now also his semen, that seat will offer Jack a treasure trove of Ennis' earthy scent until they next see one another.

"Well, okay, then," Ennis says, struggling to get dressed as the clothes stick to his sweaty body.

Jack reluctantly tugs his own jeans back on. Surprised himself there by getting rough with Ennis, but got the resentment out of his system, knew he had to do it. He is still aroused by Ennis' collusion in the violence, by how thrilled Ennis was to submit utterly to the pain that Jack had to deliver. Remember this, Ennis, don't forget how important I am to you, Jack had thought desperately as he rammed into his lover.

And Ennis, for his part, silently pleading for Jack to make him remember, writhing around like that, his face contorted in momentary agony before the magic took over. The magic of Jack making him feel whole by penetrating him, by stirring deep within him the need for another man … and then hitting the pleasure spot.

Jack pulls his boots on. That was one hell of a wild ride, he thinks. Damn it though, I kind a like drivin' with no pants on. Who would a thought? Never would a thought a doin' it on my own. But Ennis here … man, ya let him be for four years an' he comes up with all sorts a interestin' things ta do. Jack looks at the other man with admiration. But don't worry, Ennis, he thinks, I sure ain't waitin' another four years ta see what else ya come up with. Bet we can think a some new things together on that ranch!

Jack doesn't know Ennis' reasons for making him drive naked, would be a hell of a lot less sanguine if he did.

Once again, Jack puts the truck in gear, pulls out of the clearing back on to the highway. If he picks up speed, they will make good time back to Riverton, where they will say goodbye at a discreet distance from the parking lot where they met earlier in the week.

Like Jack says, everything will be all right, Ennis reminds himself. He will be back where he was, and that's not so bad, is it? With Alma, the girls, his horses, that apartment. Bless her heart, he keeps thinking about Alma … and why? The girls … just by virtue of being their daddy, he has earned their unqualified affection. Alma … does she qualify her love for him? Well, more and more, she chides him for his low-paying jobs with long hours. She is perplexed by his frequent lack of interest in making love to her. And Jack. Is Jack's desire to start a ranch tempering his love for Ennis? Not in the slightest, and Ennis knows it. That's what hurts Ennis the most, knowing that Jack will be back, and how many times must they go through this charade before Jack … does what, never comes back? Would serve Ennis right, wouldn't it, if one day Jack just said enough is enough, called Ennis on his fear of being happy with the one person who could make him happy.

But mixed up with Ennis' awareness of his potential happiness is the absolute danger he sees in two men living together. Jack is the right person for me, Ennis knows. Not the right man, because there never could be another man when you're not queer. Just the right person. We could be happy together … couldn't we? … but … but ….

And then Ennis' little darlin's figure prominently in his scenario. In fact, they shape his scenario: the ranch couldn't be too far away, now could it? On the other hand, if it were that close, then everyone in the area would think that Ennis had … had turned queer. No two ways about it, that's what they'd think, even if it wasn't true … and of course it wasn't.

This intense reunion with Jack, these incredible days of love … and suffering too, he'll admit … but mostly love … yes, he is sure, mostly love … have Ennis wondering if Jack has been elsewhere these past four years. What was he doin' when I wasn't around? An' what right I got askin' somethin' like that? But if he's comin' back, it's my business, ain't it? Just don't know … maybe just pleasures that wife a his, pleasures himself. But Jack, he ain't like me. Likes ta wander 'round, don't he, see things, try things? He's so fuckin' … so fuckin' easy ta love is what he is. Ah, Jack, Jack, Jack. Ya really mess my head up, ya know that, Jack? Simple fact is, Jack, I ain't in charge … I ain't got no control over my own thinkin' when you're around.

What has really brought Jack here, Ennis wonders. Back to haunt him, back to love him? Is it because he truly loves Ennis? If so, why did he take so long to do it? Ennis does not know that Jack tried to track him down that next summer, left broken-hearted, ran off to find anything to ease his pain. He chose sprains, broken bones, starvation on the rodeo circuit. Is Jack here to escape his domestic dead end? Jack waited to have a kid because he knew Lureen's daddy would definitely pay him off. It may be the only cynical move Jack has ever made. Once the baby came, however, Jack proved to be an enthusiastic father despite the in-laws' meddling. But that payoff … that kind of financing would make ranch life a reality for a broke rodeo rider and a ranch hand who hadn't a spare penny to his name.

Weighing all these factors nearly disorients Ennis with dismay. Maybe that magical summer on Brokeback Mountain never happened. Maybe he is just a married guy going back home to his two kids, who will be so excited to see him. No emotional baggage, no love for another who does not live with him. No love for a man. He wants to believe that he really has been on a fishing trip with an old buddy … nothing more, nothing less.

His pending responsibilities would be so much less daunting. Alma … damn, I sure can take better care a her … maybe get a better job … try ta … try ta do more a those husband things a guy's supposed ta do. Shit, I do love her … sort a. Not like Jack, but … well, she's special, ain't she, just ain't that special … poor thing. Ah, Alma … yeah, I guess I'm comin' back ta ya, sweetheart, don't ya worry your head 'bout nothin'.

Ennis immediately feels a pang of guilt. Like Jack said in the motel, Brokeback got them real good, it was as simple as that, wasn't it? Well, it was Jack who made sure that Brokeback had a chance to get them at all … but once it happened ….

And now Ennis wonders, is his and Jack's love—unnamed though it might be—something to be ashamed of? Is it less valid than how Alma feels about him? After all, in his marriage, her love is more or less unrequited, whereas with Jack … well, the few days they have just spent together tell one hell of a story, don't they? One hell of a story.

Regardless, Ennis feels like a traitor on all fronts. How can I do this to Jack, my dear, dear Jack? he asks himself. I called him little darlin', didn't I? Goddamn it, that's how much he means ta me … an' here I am tryin' ta pretend he ain't more 'n a little special ta me!

And then Alma: bless her little heart indeed. The truth hits Ennis like a slap in the face: he'd forgotten her as soon as he'd seen that postcard, hadn't he? And now he had to live with that too, his betrayal of his loving wife, the mother of his daughters, his deceit, all of it so contrary to his nature.

Jack hadn't thought he would be going back yet, had hoped he and Ennis might have looked at a ranch or two, maybe found an ideal place for that cow-and-calf operation. But he misses Lureen, oddly enough, misses her decisiveness. He always knows where she stands, what she is going to do or not going to do—and why. Unlike Ennis, Lureen always has a real good reason, doesn't blindly get caught up in so-called obligations. It is unfortunate, Jack realizes, that he never will feel for her what he feels for Ennis. In fact, he is not at all sure that what he feels for her is love. Maybe like a brother?

He truly cares about her, though … and he's crazy about his little boy, really is, even though he didn't like the idea of having a kid to begin with. He has tried to bury his love for Bobby in enthusiasm about setting up a ranch with Ennis, cloaked a father's thwarted love in nonchalance about leaving his family. In fact, Jack's dream is for him and Ennis to live together … but also for Bobby to somehow be there. Jack has never thought out how this would be … for one thing, it's an older Bobby that he imagines. There are no diapers to change, no bawling in the night. The Bobby that fits into his life with Ennis is a little Jack, actually. A handsome devil with a big heart, a quick learner, a real cowboy through and through. Instinctively would know how to rodeo, maybe. Certainly would have a way with animals, not quite as native as Ennis, of course, but talented enough.

What Jack will find upon his return to Childress, of course, is a woman who—even though she loves her baby as only a mother can, and loves Jack for being the baby's father—has an agenda at odds with Jack's romantic nature. For some time, Lureen thrived on Jack's doting. He was a man … but, well, even though he did the rodeo circuit, he just didn't fit into the world of macho posturing that her father fostered, for example. She didn't mind at all. She wanted her own space and didn't want to be owned, and Jack had a good sense of her needs in relationship to himself.

But since the baby came along eight months ago, Lureen's parents have encroached mercilessly on Jack and Lureen's territory. L.D. Newsome decided right away that the baby looked just like him. Lureen has capitulated, and Jack has found himself an outsider in his own home. Bobby doesn't look a goddamn bit like your fuckin' father, Jack told his wife once. You're being childish, she told him, and he slept on the couch that night. He wishes Lureen's daddy would just drop dead. Jack would much rather get the money for a ranch from a dead bastard than from a live bastard.

As he prepares to leave Ennis, Jack thinks, all right, Lureen, ya win this round. Don't even know it, do ya, son of a bitch … this little game, don't know nothin', do ya? Ah, ain't your fault, babe, I know that. Guess it don't make me a very good person ta walk out like I was plannin', does it? An' leavin' ya with the baby … yeah, guess that's hard a me, ain't it? Bobby's so cute, but it's true that he don't look a thing like your daddy, goddamn it. An' wouldn't think a leavin' so much if your daddy wasn't goin' ta give me enough bucks ta get lost. So it's his fault, yeah … it is, his fault, an' your fault, 'cause you're part a him, goddamn it!

Jack asks himself, what on earth was I thinkin' comin' up here like this? Ennis Del Mar, I knew ya better 'n anyone else, still do … an' after only one summer, that was like a magic trick, wasn't it, gettin' ya ta open up ta me like ya did. You're mine, Ennis, yet ya ain't mine. Always goin' ta be your own goddamn self, ain't ya? Always goin' ta do what ya think is right, don't matter how good somethin' feels, don't matter how much the man who loves ya so much wants ya ta do somethin' ya ain't comfortable doin'.

November, Jack thinks. Can't give me no ranch, but he'll give me November.

November … November. Never had so much weight been given one word.

Until then, it's the details that will keep Jack going. Remember the scent of Ennis, he tells himself, the feel, the taste of Ennis, his musky, earthy aroma, the taste of salt and nature on his skin. Men have flavor to them, Jack has found, not like girls, not like Lureen, all scrubbed and perfumed all the time. And Ennis tastes the best, no doubt about it. His Adam's apple, for chrissake, nothing unusual about it, has always fascinated Jack. Maybe because before they became lovers it was something safe to look at, something well above the waist. Maybe it was more than that. Could be, could be, Jack just isn't sure.

Jack wants to remember Ennis' whispy sideburns, that lick of hair that curls behind his lover's ear. At least he has to shave every day now, Jack thinks of Ennis, lovingly. He remembers that very first day outside Aguirre's trailer, when he himself was shaving at his truck and watching Ennis in the mirror. He saw a big boy nervously smoking, away from home for the first time, no doubt. Jack had felt superior. This is how ya shave, boy, he had thought. Jack had been on the mountain the previous summer. This is men's work … what the hell are you doin' here? he had thought, and on and on.

In due time, of course, in that tent … Ennis had proven his manhood. Oh, yes indeed.

After Brokeback, Ennis had removed the reality of the other man from his life's equation, hadn't he, leaving himself a fantasy shell of the lover named Jack. An imaginary, manageable lover with no demands—the memory of Jack—that Ennis could summon at will. But the reality of this living, breathing man … this warm, loving man named Jack … has shattered those illusions. So Ennis must re-create his fantasy of Jack.

Ennis hopes to evoke some of their shared passion during his moments of carnal self-interest. Sure ain't nothin' goin' ta stop me from thinkin' 'bout this man right here … 'bout how strong ya feel when we're huggin', 'bout how ya taste when we're kissin', when I'm lickin' your body an' all that. How ya hit that pleasure spot when you're takin' me. An' don't matter where it is, what you're doin', you're always tight, wet an' warm. The way ya move … things with your tongue … what ya do with that beautiful mouth a yours. An' squeezin' past that openin' ta get inside ya. Love that feelin', Jack, sure do. I love that feelin' … and I love you too, Jack. I love you too, Ennis thinks.

Ennis doesn't worry about not saying "I love you" to Jack, because … well, because they both know it, don't they? Why state the obvious? Only women actually say it, ain't that so? Ennis never heard his father say it, Jack never heard his father say it. Jack thinks, ain't goin' ta make Ennis change his mind 'bout that ranch if I say it. And Ennis thinks, probably ain't goin' ta make no difference 'bout him leavin' that baby boy a his if I say it. Matter a fact, he'd think I was agreein' ta that stupid ranch idea, son of a bitch.

So goes love between men sometimes, so difficult to say the simplest things, it seems.

Jack comes to Ennis for one last hug. After this whirlwind of emotion and sex, he feels that he's just gotten here and has to turn right back around. He's going back emptyhanded, or is he? No, getting Ennis to be at all conditional—to admit his need for Jack, to be so goddamn emotional, for chrissake—surely is some sort of victory, Jack decides.

There is no campfire, it's still daytime even, but Jack's face takes on a familiar loving radiance as he reaches for Ennis' face, whispers to him yet again those soothing words, "It's all right, Ennis. It's all right. Tell ya what, ya don't need ta worry 'bout ranchin' an' all that right now, okay? Things'll work out, you'll see." He runs his hand gently across Ennis' cheek to wipe away a tear or two. Come November, Ennis, come November, Jack thinks, when ya come 'round ta your senses an' help me find a nice little ranch.

So here he is again, beautiful Jack of Brokeback Mountain, the person Ennis loves more than anyone in the world, telling him everything will be all right. How? Ennis wonders. How will it be different when he drives away?

They hug once more, and then they kiss, deeply. Ennis' kiss is a plea: "Jack, ya got ta come back. Don't leave me on my own again." Jack's kiss is a promise: "Ennis, I ain't goin' ta touch another man 'til I see ya again." Each man silently giving some ground—Ennis admitting his need, Jack swearing off the faceless others who have made the past four years bearable.

As he holds Jack close in the parking lot, heartbeat matching heartbeat, the wind whipping around them, Ennis is grateful for the second chance Jack has brought him. Even so, he can never appreciate for its own sake his time with Jack, the rare contentment he feels when they are together. He cannot believe that he deserves such good fortune.

This second chance with Jack … it is all going to slip away, isn't it? That is what Ennis thinks, and he doesn't know how to stop it. He doesn't want to let this man go. He digs his fingernails into Jack's solid arm, almost draws blood but leaves instead deep bruises.

And Jack returns the favor, turns the deep kiss into a broader move as he takes his teeth to Ennis' chin, nipping lightly.

Jack tries to lighten their parting moments, remind both of them how great this reunion has been. It's the start a somethin', he thinks. Sure ain't the end, now is it?

He says, "Tell ya what, Ennis, when I got your postcard tellin' me ta come on up, I was thinkin' does he mean 'You bet!' or 'You bet!' I was hopin' I knew what ya meant, that ya needed what I needed. Guess we figured that one out, huh? Been an awful lot a fun, ain't it?"

Ennis brightens as he remembers his first thought when Jack arrived. He knew when he looked out that apartment window … he knew. This man come up from Texas, he thought, and it ain't for no fuckin' beer. No sir. Somethin's goin' ta happen, can't wait ta see what. Some kind a lovin', I bet. Maybe we goin' ta fuck around, do some suckin' somewhere, whatever. Just got ta taste that boy again! Goddamn!

Still can't believe I run ta Jack like that, though. Like … like … a girl runnin' ta meet her soldier on leave or somethin'. Shit. Had ta kiss him like that, outdoors an' all, didn't I? Couldn't even wait. Needed ta get down on my knees soon as I saw him. Goddamn pitiful, I'm thinkin', but hell, sure felt good lettin' loose like that.

Ennis doesn't consider the fact that even though he ran excitedly down the stairs, almost jumped into Jack's arms, Jack did drive a thousand miles to see him. Jack had wondered whether maybe they had outgrown each other, that maybe Brokeback Mountain's spell over them had vanished. No, not at all, he has discovered. In Ennis' arms, Jack has found the only magic in his life.

"Ya know what I meant, Jack. Wanted ta see your face again, feel your beard against mine, kiss those lips, Jack. Touch you all over, lie on top a ya just enjoyin' that Jack smell. Goddamn, it's been so good havin' ya back. Jack, oh, Jack." Ennis strokes the back of Jack's head.

Ennis turns away to hide the lump in his throat. How can he be doing this to Jack? Haven't they both spent four years hoping for … something? I'm the one wrote "You bet!" Ennis reminds himself. What the hell for, if I ain't goin' ta do nothin' more 'bout it? Just a quick fuck, a few quick fucks, a few days? Is that what it's goin' ta be?

But it is the moment of reckoning, time for Ennis to be a man about Jack leaving. Time to accept his own responsibility.

"Jack, ya got ta go. Ya got ta leave me ta figure this one out." But Ennis knows there will be nothing to "figure out." There is nothing he can fix here, so he is going to have to stand it, a prisoner of his own pearl of wisdom, a prisoner of his own convictions.

Jack squeezes his shoulder, which turns into one last hug. He gets in the truck, this time one that doesn't need to be tinkered with. Puts it in gear, pulls out, turns on to the road.

How many times between now and November will Ennis find himself with his hand as his only companion? Jack wonders. Doing that when there is a warm-blooded man right here in this truck who would turn around in a second, abandon his family to make love to him every day.

He watches Ennis in the rearview mirror, watches him as he heads, shoulders hunched, so alone … so alone … back to that place he calls home. Jack chastises himself: I fuckin' wasn't goin' ta do this again! So I ain't got no black eye this time, big fuckin' deal. Big motherfuckin' deal, he thinks as the tears begin to roll down his face. He beats in frustration on the steering wheel. I wasn't goin' ta do this again, I swear it, Ennis, he sobs.

Ennis watches the truck until Jack is out of view. I done this before, ain't I? he thinks, his stomach already in knots. Can I make it ta the door without poundin' on the wall, without gettin' sick? Ennis is repeating a mistake, the biggest mistake of his life, and he knows it. But he can't get his mind around it, he can't fix this one.

As those tail lights disappear, Ennis realizes he can't stand it, either. But nobody will ever know that but him.

He collapses against that very wall where he had kissed Jack with such furious passion just three days ago. He could put his fist through it, but he doesn't. This time, he hangs his head and cries. He sobs, and he is not quiet about it. Shoulders heaving, it is a harsh, staccato lament to a sorrow that should not be.