Paper Thin Moon Pt 3
Written by Mandi
Rated PG-13 to R to NC-17
"I done told you," Jack snarled for the third or fourth time, maybe even fifth, he lost count. "I'm a friend a Ennis Del Mar! Now let me see him!"
"Well," the nurse replied calmly, "I don't have you on a list of visitors the Del Mars are expecting."
"A course you don't," he feigned her kind, calm tone in a way that made even this steel nerved nurse bristle. "'Cause I jus' found out 'bout this an I live in Texas... I came up here jus' t'see him an you..."
"Oh, um... I'm sorry, I weren't listenin in but... you said you're a friend a Ennis'?" A short woman with her arm in a cast asked softly with a kindness that surely weren't fake. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't a been listenin, I..."
"No," Jack said quickly, then faltered. "No, I mean yes. Yes, I am a friend of Ennis'."
"Oh," she nodded. "He's gettin some bloodwork done t'make sure his medicines are all workin okay, but... after that I think he'd like a visit. I think he's tired a seein me an nurses all day long."
The woman behind the nurses' station glared an Jack grinned proudly; game, set, match.
She led him away from the surly nurse an laughed gently. "She wants lists a all the people who can an cain't be here, but you look like you're all right... I'm Alma." She extended her hand.
"Jack Twist," he nodded.
"So you're Jack Twist," she smiled, an for a moment, he got that stomach fallin out his ass feelin again until she didn't slap him or yell at him. "You sent all them post cards from, um.. Brokeback Mountain, right?"
"How'd you 'member that?"
"Ennis is the one with amnesia, Mr. Twist, not me," she laughed at her own cleverness. "He talks 'bout his trips up there with you when ya'll go fishin. We tease him that never catches anything."
Oh, Christ, she knows, she knows, she knows! I think my stomach DID fall outta my ass...
"You must be the lucky one," Alma smiled, leadin him to what must a been Ennis' room. He only saw the very edge a the bed with two blanketed feet stickin out, but he knew immediately they were Ennis'... didn't know exactly HOW he knew, jus'... knew. "I mean, catchin everythin."
"Uh, s'a bad creek we go to," he mumbled an tripped over his own feet as he followed her t'the door.
"Ennis?" She turned away an called into the room, "I brought a visitor... Jack Twist..."
Jack Twist? I don't... I don't know that name, do I? It better not be some other student wantin t'poke at me again with fuckin needles, Ennis groused t'himself... but the name... that name... it meant somethin, an he knew he weren't gonna be harrassed by some new kid who didn't know what end of a needle t'stick him with this time.
A tall man with a thick mustache an the bluest eyes he'd ever seen on someone before walked in behind Alma, an somethin in his brain started whirrin, but was still broken, like he was really tryin t'remember this man.
"Hi, Ennis," Jack said, voice shakin. "I, uh... it's me, Jack Twist..."
"He's your fishin buddy, Ennis," Alma tried softly. "From Brokeback Mountain?"
Somethin in him stirred at the mention a that place, like it were sacred an he oughta remember it an felt like it was a sacrilige that he didn't. Jack Twist?
"'Lo," he nodded politely outta nothin else t'do.
"We, uh... we're fishin buddies," he repeated Alma, feelin stupid for doin so, an lookin an apology at her that she smiled off. "Met wranglin woolies up on Brokeback Mountain, outta Signal..."
"Sounds like I'm a roughneck," he smiled, an Alma looked a little concerned. "I uh... I 'membered that part."
"He never was much a the joker type," Alma shrugged. "Not in all the years I known him."
"Yeah, me, neither."
"Well, Mr. Twist," she cut in politely, seein that Ennis was horrible uncomfortable 'round this stranger, "why don't you take me to the cafeteria for a cup a coffee? You mind, Ennis? We'll bring one back for ya."
He waved his monitored hand an nearly knocked his cup from that mornin that he hadn't gotten 'round t'drinkin. Never found himself in a hospital 'fore, but their coffee is as shitty as the legend.
"I'm real glad you came," she said softly, stirrin her coffee with her spoon, clinkin it against the sides a the mug, a sound that make Jack's nerves grate together somethin awful. "He needs these things, I think. Reminders a his old life. Docs tell me that's what's gonna get him t'rememberin things."
Don't say that. Christ, don't say that. If you had any idea as t'why I'm really here....
"Had no idea he was... well, like this."
She looked like she wanted t'cry, an he was half tempted t'hold her t'his shoulder an let her do it. Goddamned shame...
"Have you met our daughter?"
"Uh, no, not as I recall."
"Well... wouldja like to?"
Junior was dressin one a her dolls in the clothes that her mother had sewn up for her when she had use a both a her arms. She knew somethin was wrong with her; couldn't move her legs. Didn't wanna tell Momma how bad that scared her, or how much the pain hurt an shot up her back an into her arms sometimes.
"Hi, Junior," Alma walked into the room with a strange, but very pretty man in tow. "This is Daddy's friend, Mr. Twist."
"Hello, Mr. Twist," she said politely, like she'd been taught.
"M'am," he tipped his hat, earnin a grin from the girl in the bed.
"How do you know my daddy?"
"How do I..." He repeated, buyin himself some time. Jounced a bed with him a few times, but that weren't somethin he thought he oughta be tellin a sick little girl a this age. "We're old ranchin an fishin buddies."
"He never talked 'bout you," Junior said flatly.
"Junior!" Alma scolded, an looked at Jack apologetically. "She's... Well, Ennis don't talk all that much, I'm sure you know that, right?"
The remark still stung; he bit it down.
"Well," she sighed. "May as well go back an see how Ennis is doin."
They headed back t'the room where Alma dropped Jack t'himself, excusin herself t'go attend t'her daughter. He stood outside that room for a moment or two t'compose himself. He don't know you. He didn't talk 'bout you before, that kid went an said so. Cute little thing. Am I really gonna fuck up her family for...
His heart lit for a moment at the sound a what he'd hoped was recognition.
"Jack Twist, that you?"
"It's me, Ennis Del Mar," he sauntered into the room, tryin t'look more calm than he felt. His boots clicked on the overly sanitary floor that looked like it'd never seen dirt in its life, marvelin at it on his way t'the bedside. Ennis was fixin him with this horrible look, like he was tryin t'look at the wall that was behind Jack... Worse, like he was tryin so hard t'remember somethin so precious...
"I know who you are," he finally said, but his eyes didn't light with the recognition Jack was hopin for; still, his heart fluttered.
"Y... Y'do... what d'you remember?"
"Don't remember the powder it'd take t'blow us both t'hell, but... I know yer name."
Jack pulled up a chair an sat down.
"Jack Twist," the words rolled offa his tongue in such a way that it pleased him enough t'do it again. "Jack Twist."
"That's me, Ennis Del Mar," he nodded, an resisted a horrible urge t'take that man's hand an kiss it. "That's me."