He was saddened to hear that Gene had moved to northern Arizona somewhere.
Ennis’d cut down on his drinking and brawling since moving back to Riverton and had a full time job tending livestock and two steady part time jobs caring for horses.
The old GMC had become a real challenge to keep running and he had to use the emergency brake to stop it, but it got him back and forth to his jobs. Things settled deeper into a pattern of church picnics, drive-in movies, eating cheap food and barely making the bills.
As things got more strained between them, Ennis asked Alma to start working for the market down the street again where she had a job before, figuring that it’d give him an excuse to be out working while she watched the girls and vise versa. She also got a healthy discount on food and home supplies… especially cigarettes.
Every so often, he’d get called out to the ranch on his day off and be unable to get a hold of their regular babysitter. It became a habit about once every-other-month for him to just drop the girls off “out of the blue” with Alma at the store.
Her Boss Monroe enjoyed looking after her kids for her and without knowing any better would let them have free rein of the market; which usually resulted in broken glass jars of pickles, opened and consumed bubble gum, and ketchup smeared on the faces of new baby dolls for lipstick on the shelves.
As they grew, Ennis loved teaching the girls to talk and had even discussed sending Junior to kindergarten next year.
Looking back on it years later, Ennis was at a loss to figure out how he missed all the signs of what the future held. They now lived in an upstairs apartment behind and over Monroe's Custom Cleaners... on East Monroe Avenue... his wife worked for a man named Monroe W. Monroe... at Monroe's Food Market... on West Monroe Avenue! Sometimes he wondered why the town was named Riverton.
[Seriously, those streets actually exist in Riverton, Wyoming!]
Alma was always checking the want ads trying to get him a better job here or there, her latest with the local gas company, but Ennis only remarked, "Hell, honey, as clumsy as I am, I’d probably blow up the whole damned town. He had similar excuses for openings at the electric and water too.."
Alma had done her best to fix up their new place, though it was obvious that Ennis hated it. Aside from it obviously being too tiny for his family, the sound of the washers and dryers going at all hours in the dry cleaners below was tough to handle for a man who was used to living out in the peaceful prairie.
Mostly he’d come home for meals, catch up with "his girls" and then head out to Betsy’s Tavern unless he had to watch his daughters that night. Though he'd cut down on his drinking considerably, she didn’t have to know that and mostly he played pool, poker and shot the breeze.
He had few friends because of his standoffish attitude and sparseness of words.
At a church social, Ennis ran into Joe Aguirre whose family was having a reunion in town. The foreman seemed to genuinely warm up to him after being surprised to meet Alma and the girls.
His ex-boss in turn introduced an attractive young man standing with him as his youngest son John, who immediately corrected his father saying, "Everyone calls me Jack." He frowned after a moment and asked, "del Mar you said?"
Ennis nodded and offered to shake his hand, but the guy flashed a warm smile instead, raised two fingers in a V and said, "Peace Brother."
The elder Aguirre appeared to be uncomfortable with his son. Ennis wrote it off as embarrassment because like all the younger generation those days, Jack wore tight white denim bellbottom jeans and an open psychedelic shirt that showed off a toned athletic physique. He sported love beads, stylish long sideburns and shoulder-length straight brunette hair that covered his ears, with bangs parted in the middle that reached his eyebrows.
By the day’s standards he was conservative in appearance, but his father still considered him a "hippy."
Ennis and Alma had seen them on TV before, but this was their first one-on-one encounter.
Del Mar began finding it a struggle to keep his eyes above this guy’s hips, shocked that it was now the norm for men to walk around in public in trousers that were form fitting enough to appear painted on.
After Joe mentioned that Ennis had worked for him before up on Brokeback Mountain, Jack seemed to suddenly shy away from conversation and excused himself to get a drink from a nearby concession stand.
Del Mar hadn’t given the bullrider much thought in years, being too busy keeping his family fed and settling on the excuse he’d never find him again anyway… And even if he did want to look him up - which he didn’t, he had too many problems in his life now without trying to sort out feelings he still didn’t understand.
But after that incident, Jack Twist began playing on Ennis’ mind again and sometimes the erotic dreams came back. In the middle of the night he’d wake up from thinking he’d heard Jack’s voice calling from the forest as if del Mar were lost and Twist was looking for him. Each amazingly fast-growing tree in the woods had a dark secret in it from Ennis’ past and as they quickly towered around him, it was harder and harder to find Twist. The lodge poles swiftly accumulated so close together that eventually he found himself locked there with no escape calling out Jack’s name.
Ennis would stir out of bed sometimes, feeling even more lost, but awake or asleep, he was still locked inside of his secrets… and his troubling hidden love for Jack that he kept trying to deny existed.
The war in Vietnam was escalating and Ennis became ever more worried about being called up to join the military. The anti-war movement hadn’t invaded del Mar’s corner of the world yet but the TV and bar conversations made the possibility of being drafted impossible to ignore.
After a few mumbled sentences at each other she asked, "Hey Ennis, you know someone name of Jack from Texas?"
He froze a moment as his face grew a puzzled frown. How the hell did she know about Jack? In Texas? Noncommittally he replied, "Maybe… Uh, why?"
"Ya got a postcard come general delivery," she replied, nodding to the counter beside him.
“Friend this letter is a long time over due. Hope you get it. Heard you was in Riverton. I’m coming thru on the 31st. thought I’d stop and buy you a beer. Drop me a line if you can, say if you're there, Jack.”The return address was Childress, Texas.
His wife asked, "He someone you cowboyed with… or what?"
Ennis blinked and brought himself out of a fond memory. In reply he mumbled, "No Jack; he rodeos mostly." As he turned to walk toward the front door he added over his shoulder, "We was fishin’ buddies."
He grabbed his hat and nearly ran down the stairs to his truck, leaving Alma wondering where he was going. His mind wandered back to the day he'd let Jack fuck him. His head swam in the devotion to one another that they'd once shared... and the kiss Jack'd given him afterward as if the cowboy was sacrificing his very soul at the alter of Ennis' reluctant love.
He was so distracted by the memory of that kiss that Alma had never been able to match and his deep longing for another one, that he drove right past the post office.
After turning around and going two blocks south, Ennis bought a plain pre-stamped postcard at the post office, jotted a quick "You Bet!" then scrawled his own address on it, copying Twist’s address over from Jack's card and dropped it in the outgoing mail slot.
Within a week, cards were exchanged along with directions and a date was set, though Jack didn’t know what time he’d get there.
...That Friday Ennis, wearing his best shirt and clean jeans, had taken the day off to anxiously wait for the man he still wouldn’t admit to himself that he loved… and craved. He spent the morning pacing back and forth with a beer, often looking down into the dusty rear parking lot from his second floor window.
Alma was done up in one of her best dresses as if she had intended to go out with Ennis and his old friend Jack, and was saying something as he paced back and forth but he wasn’t really paying attention.
He’d have to find a way to ditch his wife and if his mind weren’t so preoccupied with anticipation he’d be pissed that she was so determined to tag along with them.
On his second trip to the kitchen for another beer after forgetting the first time, Alma repeated, "I said; ya know Ennis, it’s so hot today maybe we could get a babysitter fer the girls 'n take yer friend to the Knife 'n Fork fer dinner?"
Coming back out of the kitchen on his way to the chair he’d been sitting on at the window sill, he replied, "Nah, Jack ain’t the restaurant type; we’ll more’n likely just go out 'n get drunk… that is if'n he shows."
There… that ought to discourage her.
Nervous with anticipation, Ennis sat at the window playing with his lighter and chain smoking, knowing but not knowing why he wished Jack would hurry and arrive. He scanned the sky watching clouds roll by and worried that the heat and humidity could bring a storm with them later in the day.
Alma busied herself feeding the girls, trying to figure out what Ennis was so anxious about. She’d never seen her normally stoic husband act like this about anybody.
Sometime around five o’clock, after Ennis gave up watching and moved to his easy chair, he heard the sound of a car pulling up out back.
Thunder rumbled from the east as he jumped up anxiously to watch a new red and white Ford pickup come to a stop just below his 2nd floor window. He could feel his heart pounding beneath his shirt and he inhaled sharply as he saw Jack get out of it and his eyes began to burn.
A hot jolt scalded Ennis and he was instantly on the second floor porch landing pulling the door closed behind himself.
Oddly enough Ennis found Jack smiling at del Mar’s truck of three years like it was an old comrade or something. A sound distracted him and Twist looked up at his friend and their eyes met.
The horseman suddenly sported a grin from ear to ear that was so big he was afraid his face would split and he abruptly glowed with joy as he began gasping for breath.
From the top of the landing he happily slapped both palms on the railing, gushed out in a shaky voice, "Jack Fucking Twist," and bounded down the steps two at a time as Jack met him halfway across the lot in front of the girl’s new swing set.
They seized each other by the shoulders, hugged mightily, squeezing the breath out of each other saying, "Son of a bitch… Son of a bitch."
Afraid of attempting a first move on this now-married man enclosed in his wanting arms; Jack ached to do more than just hug him.
As their embrace seemed to end and their eyes bored into each other’s souls, to Twist’s astonishment Ennis nervously looked around, weary of who might see and then roughly grabbed him by his vest.
"Come here," he growled, pushing Twist backwards twenty feet like fancy dancers in a ballroom. He threw him against the back wall of the laundromat at the bottom of the neighbor’s little hidden staircase across from the foot of their own leading up in the opposite direction.
With their bodies pressed tightly together, the anxious words came out so low that they could barely be heard even by Jack as Ennis growled in a hushed wanting whisper, "0-1-2-3 - kiss me Jack."
As easily as the right key turns the lock tumblers, their mouths came together and hard, Jack’s teeth bringing blood, his hat falling to the ground, stubble rasping, wet saliva welling between them. So urgent was their need for each other, it seemed like more of a bar fight than a greeting, both competing to see who could hold the other tighter.
Tears ran down both men’s cheeks as Jack’s trembling fingers gathered up in Ennis’ shirt’s shoulders and grabbed them, pushing him roughly away only to pin del Mar forcefully against the opposite privacy wall, crushing him against it as he returned the fevered kiss.
Their ears roared with thunderous passion as they fought for each gasp. Like a frenzied thief, every breath Jack took was stolen from Ennis’ wanton mouth; answering the silent questions on both men’s minds, "Do you still love me… do you still need me?"
In the flash of a moment, four years vanished and their pent-up emotions spilled out as their lips locked and relocked repeatedly, each running their fingers through the other’s hair, while both tried to climb into the other’s clothes, craving any bare skin they could reach. Neither man could see, hear or think of anything but the one he held in his arms, as the world seemed to disappear for both of them.
It was the goodbye kiss they’d wished they’d shared back then but couldn’t. The kiss that filled both of their private fantasies, dreams, and hopes for the last string of very long, long years.
Like two stallions in rut, their bodies and breath trembled as they clutched one another more and more tightly. It was as if they each truly feared that if either let go, the other would disappear and they’d wake up from a dream.
Upstairs, Alma came back out to the living room to see if she could find their usual sitter’s phone number and wondered what was taking Ennis so long outside. Checking the window, she saw nothing but a strange truck so she went to the front door, opened it and looked out.
From above, she peered through the glass of the outer storm door down to the foot of the neighbor’s stairs for a few seconds in disbelief. Her husband was in a clinch with another man and for a moment of panic, she thought they were fighting, possibly trying to strangle each other.
When her mind finally processed what she was actually seeing, her jaw dropped in utter disbelief.
She watched Ennis’ straining shoulders feverishly pulling the other man ever closer. She couldn’t help but see the passion in Jack’s urgently searching arms as they explored her husband’s body holding him so close. As their hips began erotically grinding together, she went into a sort of shock at the sight of them holding such a fiery kiss, still not believing what she was seeing with her own eyes.
It was something she never even had imagined or heard of.
Hurt, jealousy and confusion shattered her as she watched Ennis show such an intense adoring want for someone that he’d never even come close to showing for her.
As both of the stranger's hands invaded down the back of her husband’s jeans to cup his buns, Ennis began caressing Jack's crotch to an obvious erection through his jeans, their lips still locked together as if glued.
Shutting the door, she began crying, choking down blurred questions, unable to answer any of them as she stumbled back to sit down at the kitchen table.
Comprehending no other explanation, she believed in her ignorance that the devil must’ve sent that strange homosexual man here from hell. He had touched her husband and instantly turned him queer, stealing his soul and his love for her in the process and now she was emotionally helpless as to how to fight this.
Without knowing what had just happened above them, the two men clung desperately to each other, pressing chest and groin and thigh and leg together, treading on each other’s toes until they pulled apart to breathe in huge gasps and Ennis, not big on endearments, said what he said to his horses and daughters, "Little darlin’," with a satisfied smile.
Ennis was so full of joy that he’d had Jack in his arms once again after so long that he almost glowed with it. He’d buried it so deep within himself that he’d somehow forgotten how intensely he actually felt for this man until it all came flooding back like an emotional dam burst on him.
Trying to calm himself, Ennis bent over, picked up Jack’s hat, and as he handed it to him, gestured with his head to follow up his own set of stairs to their apartment.
As Jack climbed those steps behind his long lost love, he prayed for one scenario, and hoped desperately against another; Either Ennis lived here alone and an afternoon of reunion passion was about to occur, or he’d actually married Alma like he’d heard he had, and he was about to meet the dreaded wife and kiddies.
A few anxious moments later they both appeared in the inside upper front hallway. Alma was stunned as she watched her husband try to unsuccessfully hide an expression of unbridled glee. She gave Ennis a knowing look but said nothing, but he knew that she knew or maybe had seen.
Try as he might, he couldn't stop joyfully smiling; even after clamping his lips tightly closed his face still betrayed his happiness that Jack was here.
A resentful fear began building in Alma. Who was this evil man that could bring out so much in her husband that she couldn't?
The uncomfortable moment hung in the air too long. What could he say? "Alma, this is uh Jack Twist… and Jack, my wife, Alma."
His chest was still heaving and his eyes lit up having merely said the name out loud in front of her. His hormones were now on overdrive and he could smell Jack’s intensely familiar odor of musky testosterone-filled male sweat and a faint sweetness like new mown grass.
Ennis became puzzled that Alma’s facial expression for a flash of a second said that she was almost terrified of his friend.
Sensing the tension, Jack nodded politely, tipped his Stetson and said, "Howdy."
"Hello," she replied meekly, still completely lost for a reaction and somewhat frightened of the man she’d just seen kissing her husband.
Ennis seeing her discomfort said, "We ain’t seen each other in four years," as if it were a reason that they were so glad to greet each other the way they had. He was thankful the light was dim in the alcove because he’d grown rock hard between his legs from holding Jack and it stubbornly refused to subside.
"Sure enough," said Alma in a low voice for want of a better response. She had seen what she had indeed seen and noticed his erection.
Behind her the wind pushed a curtain and suddenly a bright white flash lit the room followed a moment later by a loud clap of thunder. In the other room one of the girls suddenly cried out in fear.
"Oh ya got a kid?" asked Jack grinning. His shaking hand grazed Ennis’ and electrical current snapped between them.
"Yeah, I got two little girls," Ennis said proudly. "Alma Junior 'n Jenny. Love them to pieces."
Alma’s mouth twitched nervously.
"I got a boy," said Jack. "Three-months-old. He smiles a lot. I married the prettiest little gal in Childress Texas - Lureen."
Alma thought she had this figured out until the homosexual stranger revealed that he was married and had a child… but now she was lost again; maybe more than before.
From the vibration of the floorboard on which they both stood Ennis could feel how hard Jack was shaking. He turned to his blank-faced wife and said. "Me 'n Jack - we’re gonna head out 'n get ourselves a drink."
"Sure enough," she replied, trying to quickly come up with a reason to delay him and came up empty.
"Pleased to meet ya ma’am," said Jack, trembling like a run-out horse as he politely tipped his hat.
"We might not get back tonight, when we get to drinkin' 'n talking 'n all..."
After what she’d just seen, she didn’t want her husband and the father of her children running off with this man until she could figure out a way to compete with him. Alma took a dollar bill from her purse.
Ennis grabbed at his hat in haste and pushed Jack towards the door. He’d guessed she was going to ask him to get her a pack of cigarettes to bring him back sooner than the next day.
"Ennis," said Alma in her misery voice, "Would ya get me a pack of smo…" but that didn’t slow them scurrying down the stairs.
He called back from below at a run, "Alma, you want smokes there’s some in the top pocket of my blue shirt in the bedroom."
They went off in Jack’s truck, bought a bottle of whiskey and within twenty minutes were in the Motel Siesta...
Jack was trembling with passion so hard his teeth were chattering.
Ennis was having trouble breathing as he reached over and shut the lights back off. Dim light filtered through the curtains giving them just barely enough glow to make out the other’s silhouette.
Yet they still stood there not touching only inches apart as though afraid of the other vanishing in a dream come true.
Finally Jack raised a severely shivering hand to tenderly touch Ennis’ face, feeling his stubble rasp as the horseman pressed his cheek against it.
Ennis swallowed hard, rested his palms on Jack’s hips, and slowly pulled their bodies together. Both closed tear filled eyes as slowly their heads found the other’s shoulder and their arms tightened.
Jack began quietly sobbing in joy as they pressed the sides of their heads together tightly; breathing slower now, taking their time, their arms exploring each other’s muscled back while their cowboy hats joined each other on the floor.
In the dark Ennis moaned while running his fingers through Jack’s hair comforting him.
Tears were flowing uncontrollably down both men's cheeks now.
Jack backed up, pulled him to the foot of the bed and fell backwards onto it, bringing Ennis down on top of himself. He then rolled them over and straddled Ennis' lap as the ranch hand laid back and sighed, his eyes still closed tightly.
Twist leaned down to kiss his lips tenderly and then moved to his neck as del Mar’s hands fondled the short bristled hair on the back of his lover’s head. Jack ran his tongue down to Ennis' muscled chest and quickly undid the man's shirt buttons. As anxiously as a child on Christmas morning, he began pulling it apart as he yanked del Mar’s t-shirt up and kissed his abs.
Ennis sat up and pulled both his shirts off over his head, then laid back down as Jack undid his lover's belt buckle greedily, opened the fly buttons and kissed his pubic hair while del Mar kicked off his boots.
Twist moved back down to the foot of the bed, grabbed the jeans and urged Ennis to raise his hips while he shucked the denim downward and off taking his socks with it.
Jack smiled - Ennis still didn’t wear underwear; just like old times.
Still dressed, Twist climbed on top to lay slowly… luxuriously down to cover the now-naked and rock-hard body of his long-lost love… and then kissed him silently full on the mouth… He took his time to enjoy what he was doing… making it last until every breath Ennis took was his; just like last time.
Ennis’ fingertips dug into Jack’s pant waist and pulled his shirttails out, running his palms up the warm skin of his longed-for love's back. His hands came out and reached for Jack’s shirt buttons but Twist backed away out of his reach.
Sliding down while kissing trembling skin as he went, Jack ducked his head below Ennis’ pubic hair and swallowed him whole to the root. The huge, hot and quivering shaft completely filled Twist's mouth and touched his tonsils, causing del Mar to utter the first words they’d said since entering the room together.
"Ohhhhhh my God… Ohhhh, oh my gahhhhhhhhhhhhd."
Ennis’ cock head swelled within the back of Jack's mouth trying to gag him, but he fought it for a moment and then eased back to breath without releasing the eight-inch steel hard shaft. Jack began swirling his tongue around the mushroom head ridge working his lips up and down - up and down - up and down, causing Ennis to moan and buck his hips. As his lips kept working, Jack’s palms greedily explored Ennis’ abs reaching higher to gather his mounded pecs and thumb both of his hard nipples.
Not wanting to cum yet, Ennis suddenly grasped Jack’s shoulders and shoved hard, knocking him to the floor. Instantly the naked man was atop Twist, yanking at buttons tearing at boots and within impatient moments had him undressed.
With a rough shove Jack was flung back onto the bed and Ennis was instantly on top of him, lovingly pressing all of his weight onto the brawny ex-rodeo rider.
They repeated their earlier kiss of this afternoon over and over again with just as much impatient urgency and passion, teeth brushing lips, greedily inhaling each other’s gasped breaths.
Both became like blind men trying to memorize each other by touch until they’d found their heads at each other’s feet. Lying on their sides and without a word they began kissing and lapping at each other’s ankles, working their way up until both reached the other’s balls.
After a pause to savor the moment they urgently began sucking each other’s pulsing cocks, clutching the other’s hips tightly while working passionately to bring the other to orgasm but desperately trying to hold back his own.
Their bodies became so contorted in passion that it was sometimes impossible to tell who was on top and neither cared.
Twist had learned something in Mexico and maneuvered Ennis on top of him. As del Mar planted his knees on either side of his friend's head, Jack urged him to fuck his mouth with his impossibly long cock. Suppressing his gag reflex Jack allowed Ennis to penetrate past his esophagus, began jacking him off both orally with his throat and tightened lips at the same time while still working his tongue!
The ranch hand moaned loudly and leaned forward and down to swallow his lover’s warm shaft whole, sucking on it for all he was worth like a starving calf milking its mother’s tit.
After about a minute, Twist spat him out to breathe, then wrapping his arms around del Mar’s hips tightly, he pulled himself up, craned his neck and began licking at Ennis’ pucker.
Unable to hold back, Ennis spat out Jack and screamed.
Twist quickly wrapped his wanting lips around it again as del Mar’s huge cock began flooding Jack’s mouth to overflow.
With each spurt Ennis gasped harder and harder barely able to breathe or speak until finally he collapsed exhausted.
Taking advantage of his helpless condition, Twist quickly got out from under Ennis’ dead weight leaving him on his stomach still panting. Jack had dreamed of this for years, but never dared think it'd ever really happen again except in countless masturbation fantasies. With his victim still face down and gasping for air in exhaustion, Twist gently grabbed his ankles and spread Ennis’ legs.
In an instant Jack was hungrily rimming the powerfully built horseman alternately kissing each pillowed ass cheek in turn back and forth. As his tongue greedily returned to slurp around and around Ennis’ puckered and sensitive opening, both of Jack’s palms explored the muscled sides and spine crease of his lover gradually moving up to his man’s strong shoulders while Twist’s face stubble was causing sensations too incredible to bear for long.
Del Mar helpless to resist, kept raising his craving hips up ever higher to meet Jack’s tongue.
Ennis began bawling in ecstasy, totally helpless to whatever Jack wanted to do to him, craving every touch and sensation as he became overwhelmed and dominated by Twist’s passion.
Sensing it, Jack took advantage and moved himself upward guiding his anxious cock to enter Ennis' sphincter slowly and tenderly, releasing a sigh of pleasure as he sank deep within until he was satisfied he could go no further. The strong glove of Ennis’ butt was now gripping Twist’s penis tightly as if it wouldn’t ever let go.
Beneath Jack, his lover moaned softly in paradise, folded his forearms under his pillow and groaned while Jack’s throbbing member found and massaged his prostate.
Jack began slow strokes in and out – in and out wanting to savor the chance he might not get again and was surprised when Ennis began bucking his hips to meet each thrust. Twist began pulling out completely and re-entering giving them both pleasure as the smell of passionate sweat and testosterone filled the room.
Jack moaned in lust and love as he molded his chest and hips to Ennis’ back and muscled horseman's ass, resting his head against the tussled blond hair of his man. Then he dug his arms within and beneath Ennis’ armpits and squeezed as he continued to fuck him slowly, his mind in a stoned high he’d never experienced before.
As he felt his orgasm build he couldn’t hold back for much longer and from under him, Ennis gathered Jack's forearms with his own beneath them tightly and continued pushing his hips upward till they were a couple of inches above the bed as Jack pounded harder and faster, sobbing tears of elation.
Del Mar began chanting rhythmically, "Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah," with each thrust's impact and suddenly Jack groaned and collapsed dead weight onto Ennis’ back as his buried cock unloaded into his lover in mighty gushes that drained his strength.
Ennis lay there in a cloud of bliss, unable to remember when he’d been this happy and at peace.
Jack went to withdraw, but Ennis reached behind and held his hips down. Twist kissed the back of his neck and began stroking in and out again, only slower and less urgently.
Something began happening within Ennis’ cock. With each of Jack’s thrusts, it was as if his penis were invading inside of Ennis’ own internally like fingers into a glove and it became thrilling. To his shock del Mar instantly orgasmed in violent body-jolting spurts flooding the bedspread beneath them with warm slick fluid. Unable to hold back Jack unloaded yet again and collapsed.
Their breathing came slower and together as they silently lay there spent, savoring the sensation of Jack's hips joined to Ennis' warm ass cheeks. Both sobbing in unison while Twist buried his face in Ennis’ hair.
Jack withdrew and fled to the shower, and moments later Ennis joined him in the tiny tiled cubicle.
After a few minutes of laughing while playfully soaping each other, things got serious again and Ennis found himself lost in heaven holding the body in his arms that he'd missed so much.
Del mar reached down to cup and caress a firm familiar ass cheek, causing the handsome cowboy to groan while steam and passion rose up around them. They explored each other's yearned-for lips once more, but a fear rose up to grip Ennis.
Without explanation, the ranch hand stepped out and grabbed a towel without looking back to see if Jack followed...
...Alma was in tears, barely able to read the phone book as she began calling Ennis’ favorite bars in town starting with Betsy’s.
She’d made up some emergency about little Jenny’s asthma to get her husband away from that man. Next she tried the diners and with no luck there began sobbing as she turned to the yellow pages to look up the one and only motel in town…
...Jack entered the room a moment later to find Ennis sitting naked on the far corner of the foot of the bed, bent over with his face on his palms and his elbows on his knees facing away. The discarded soiled bedspread was now on the floor in front of him.
Del Mar didn’t even look up, as though he were ashamed. His head was filled with thoughts of Alma and the girls and how much he loved them… and how much more he loved Jack.
Twist lay down face up on the right side of the bed and after a moment, Ennis scooted on his back diagonally up across the sheets to rest the his head on Jack’s chest with his big feet hanging off the opposite corner.
Jack lovingly wrapped his right arm around Ennis’ head as the nape of his neck rested against Twist's shoulder and chin.
As with all men it was sex first, conver-sation and cigarettes later.
With Alma it was doing his husbandly duties and getting it over with; with Jack it was as if he couldn’t get enough, like once they started he couldn’t reach the reins to slow the horse down, out of control, passion and lust.
It was something only men understood.
"Four years… Damn!," exclaimed Jack in a whisper distracting Ennis from his thoughts.
Ennis nodded, "Yep, four years." He took a puff from his cigarette and then added, "I didn’t think I’d hear from you again."
Jack grunted in disagreement.
Ennis chuckled as he flicked his cigarette against the ashtray perched on his chest. "I figured you were sore at me about that punch."
To Jack’s sniggered response, Ennis explained, "I come up under my brother K.E., three years older'n me, slugged me silly every day. Dad got tired a me comin’ bawlin’ into the house 'n when I was about six he set me down 'n says, Ennis, ya got a problem 'n ya gotta fix it or it's gonna be with you until yer ninety 'n K.E.'s ninety-three.
Well, I says, he's bigger'n me. Dad says, ya gotta take him unawares, don't say nothin’ to him, make him feel some pain, get out fast 'n keep doin’ it until he takes the message. Nothin’ like hurtin’ somebody to make him hear good. So I did. I got him in the outhouse, jumped him on the stairs, come over to his pillow in the night while he was sleepin’ 'n pasted him damn good.
Took about two days; never had trouble with K.E. since. The lesson was, don't say nothin’ 'n get it over with quick."
Jack realized now why Ennis was so heartless with people. His father had taught him to hurt before he was hurt and then get out fast. Sadly it’s one of the hardest habits to unlearn once you’ve mastered it; especially at a young age.
Through the paper-thin wall, they heard a telephone rang in the next room, on and on, and stopped abruptly in mid-peal. Ennis wondered if Alma might try to track him down tonight and began pondering what being here was doing to him.
Twist didn't realize it but del Mar was sinking back to his emotionless mode by way of indifference. Ennis' ego was trying to recover his masculinity by attempting to pretend that what had happened and what was happening hadn't really.
Unaware, Jack exhaled forceful cigarette clouds and said, "Christ, it’s got to be all that time of yours on horseback that makes sex so goddamn good."
Ennis closed his eyes, enjoying Jack’s affectionate embracing arm around his neck. He was suddenly uncomfortable about what they’d just done and changed the subject to marrying Alma, picking up stakes and them moving around a lot.
Still rubbing his head against Ennis’, Jack said, "That next summer, I drove back down to Signal. Talked to Aguirre about a job 'n he told me ya hadn’t been back, so I left. Went down to Texas for rodeoin’. That’s how I met Lureen. Made $2,000 that year bull ridin’. Goddamned starved. Had to borrow everything but a toothbrush from other guys. Drove grooves across Texas. Spent half the time under that cunt truck fixin’ it. Look over on that chair."
On the back of a soiled orange chair Ennis saw the shine of a buckle. "Bull ridin?"
Jack nodded and said, "Lureen’s old man makes serious money, farm machine business. Of course he hates my guts. I know enough about the game to know he’d do just about anything to get rid of me, ‘cause now that he’s got his grandson, I’m useless to him."
Still in a mental haze, Ennis asked, "and the army didn’t git ya?"
A bright flash of light lit the window and after a few moments thunder sounded far to the east.
"They can't get no use out a me. Got some crushed vertebrates. And a stress fracture, the arm bone here, you know how bullridin you're always leverin it off your thigh? — she gives a little ever time you do it. Even if you tape it good you break it a little goddamn bit at a time. Tell you what, hurts like a bitch afterwards. Had a busted leg. Busted in three places. Come off the bull and it was a big bull with a lot a drop, he got rid a me in about three flat and he come after me and he was sure faster. Lucky enough. Friend a mine got his oil checked with a horn dipstick and that was all she wrote. Bunch a other things, fuckin busted ribs, sprains and pains, torn ligaments.
It's guys with money go to college, trained ath-a-letes. You gotta have some money to rodeo now. Lureen's old man wouldn't give me a dime if I dropped it. I got out of rodeo just in time while I could still walk; it ain’t like it was in my old man’s day.
Not really listening, Ennis just nodded and said. "You sure as hell seem in one piece to me. You know, I was sitting up here all that time trying to figure out if'n I was… if I was, I mean I know I ain’t. I mean, here we both got wives 'n kids, right? I like doing it with women, yeah, but Jesus H., ain’t nothin’ like this was tonight, even better than back on Brokeback. I never had no thoughts of doing it with another guy except I sure wrang it out a hunderd times thinkin' about you."
Ennis closed his eyes tightly; he’d damn near used the word "love"… something men weren’t supposed to say to each other.
Jack groaned and said, "We gotta talk about this. Swear to God I didn’t know we were going to get into this again." He paused to stroke Ennis’ hair and admitted, "Oh yes I did, I red-lined the tach all the way, couldn’t get here fast enough; doubt if I did less than 90 the whole way up... What about you?"
"Me? ...I don’t know."
Jack smiled, pulled the back of Ennis’ head to his lips and whispered, "Old Brokeback got us good."
Love weighed heavily on his mind too. He’d all but come right out and said he’d leave his wife and infant son for Ennis, now it was all up to him.
Twist thought a moment and then asked with a prayer for the answer he was silently hoping for, "Well, what do we do now?"
Ennis silently flicked another ash as if distracted. His responsibility to his family weighed heavily on his mind and he barely heard Jack through his thoughts. He was busy weighing Alma and the girls on one side of the scales and what really made him happy on the other.
He inhaled a slow thoughtful breath and exhaled smoke. "I doubt there’s nothin’ we can do. So I’m stuck with what I got here. Makin’ a livin’ is about all I got time for now. I got my hands full just tryin' to feed my kids. We’re both committed to our families Jack, there’s not much more we can do. I hate that yer gonna drive away from here tomorrow and I’ll be headin’ back to work, but it’s what we gotta do."
A resentment started to build in Jack. Twist would’ve happily settled for just seeing del Mar again, talking over old times and having a beer together, but Ennis was the one who made the first move, forcefully throwing him against that wall, pinning him against it and then kissing him with such passion.
Ennis was the one who injected hope into the situation with his kiss. Ennis was the one who didn’t resist one little bit when Jack returned that kiss neither. Damn him. Del Mar’s move sealed their fate for the rest of their lives.
The phone in the room next door started ringing again seven times and then stopped. The wind picked up and rain pelted the front window.
Jack’s heart sank along with his hopes. He changed the subject and they spent the next hour or so talking about their separate lives, how Aguirre threatened Jack the summer of ’64, and how Jack peppered his car with gravel.
Ennis laughed and told Jack about meeting the foreman and his son at a church social, and Aguirre not remembering him, even offering him a job up on Brokeback last year. Jack seemed to tense at the mention of Johnny/Jack Aguirre's name.
The phone in the room next door started ringing again; ten times.
Ennis inhaled a long thoughtful breath, "I gotta get home, Alma’ll be worried. I gotta be at work early tomorrow too."
As he tried to get up, Jack pulled Ennis back to him and kissed him full on the mouth as the ashtray fell to the floor.
"Not just yet, cowboy," said Jack as his eyes spotted the unopened whiskey bottle. For once he was proud of himself for not needing it.
They turned off the lights and cuddled in each other’s arms. Ennis kissed his way down Jack's stomach and swallowed him. Sexually Ennis had loosened up a little, servicing Jack orally, which he almost never did when they were on the mountain and they passionately went at it again.
Jack needed to be fucked badly and Ennis took his time spending the rest of the night entering and reentering him, making sure they both were satisfied until they fell sound asleep contented…
…Now the old lady room clerk was getting annoyed and impatient after answering another outside call on her switchboard. "I told ya already before ma’am we only got two guests; a woman from Casper and a business man from up north. We ain’t got no one from Texas here."
She wasn’t about to risk her job to disturb her guests at this hour of the night and hung up on the persistent bitch on the other end of the line. She’d already rung an empty room three times to humor her when she called to talk to the man, but since that didn’t work - maybe rudeness would… she huffed and went back to playing solitaire while watching Johnny Carson on the little portable TV.
When Jack traveled, he used to get increasingly annoying and constant phone calls from Lureen. After a while as a joke he resorted to registering under the name Ennis Newsome…
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Important notice about this novel: This adaptation of the original short story was
written by Vernon "Jet" Gardner © 2005-2012 and contains enhanced versions of all of the original's events written by Annie Proulx, Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana in red/black/green.
All text in blue written by Vernon "Jet" Gardner published here ©2005-2013.
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forbidden without permission of the author.