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Ed and Hank, Part 24, New Year's Eve Eve Hands on the wheel...… - myeyesaintblue — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Feb. 7th, 2007|01:40 pm]
[music |favorite year... Dixie Chicks]

Ed and Hank, Part 24, New Year's Eve Eve

Hands on the wheel...

Hank told their story to Annie Proulx. Jack and Ennis are all hers. Ed and Hank belong only to each other. $$: Nope... Damn.. Comments: Always appreciated.

Everything else is here:

Part 24, New Year's Eve Eve

“So Hank… Ya gonna tell me?”

“Tell ya wha’?”

“Whatever’s makin’ yer face look like tha’.”

“Look like wha’?”

“Like yer thinkin’ ‘bout somethin’ ya don’ wanna be thinkin’ ‘bout.”

“Think maybe I jus’ ate somethin’ tha' didn’ agree with me…”

“Nah… know tha’ look too… entirely diff’rent look...”

“It’s jus’… ‘m jus’ feelin’ bad… real bad… ‘bout all them years… All them times I bugged ya ‘bout takin’ a shower with me… jokin' 'bout it... 'n makin’ tha’ bet with ya… Had no idea… Musta brought up awful bad memories fer ya every time I said somethin’ ‘bout it…” Hank frowned, “But… cain’t help bein’ kinda ticked off at ya too. Don’ understand why ya jus’ didn’ tell me ‘bout it years ago... so’s I’d jus’ cut it out ‘n leave ya be.”

“Didn’ work like tha’. Didn’ think ‘bout all tha’ when ya’d ask me. Woulda told ya a helluva lot sooner if’n I did…were jus’ ‘fraid if’n I spent a lot a time ‘n there… ya know… with you… it migh’ not work out too well... Only reason I told ya at all is ‘cause think it’s ‘bout time we give it a try.” Ed grinned then, “If’n Eddie could manage ta go all the way ta New York City, guess it’s ‘bout time I manage ta walk up them stairs ‘n get inta tha’ shower with ya. Think it’s one a them things I should try ‘fore I keel over.”

“Feel like tryin’ righ’ now?”

“No, dumbass not righ’ now… ‘m hungry ‘n them steaks look awful good. ‘Sides ain’t plannin’ on droppin’ dead anytime real soon.”

Iris… pie…steak…Hank…

“Wha’s tha’ yer mumblin’ ‘bout?”

Hank laughed, “Nothin’…”

“Watcha want with yer steak?”

“Dunno… Do we got anythin’ resemblin’ a green vegetable? ‘N maybe a potato…”

“Yeah… Think we got somethin’… You wanna grill the steaks or ya wanna make the vegetable ‘n the potatoes?”

“Ya know damn well which one I wanna do…”

“Sure ‘bout tha’? Ya been outside in the last hour or so?”


“Cold front moved through…”

“How cold?”

“Damn cold. If’n ya don’ believe me stick yer head out there ‘n check fer yerself.”

“Do better ‘n tha’… I’ll go get tha’ fire started. Wanna give it a while ta get good ‘n hot. ‘N if’n it’s tha’ cold I should definitely be the one cookin’ out… since yer still recoverin’ ‘n all…”

“Go righ’ ahead… jus’ don’ go over-cookin’ ma steak…”

Hank put on his jacket and started towards the door, stopping to grab a hat, grumbling, “Think I should know by now how ya like yer steak cooked…”

“Yeah… but knowin’ ‘n doin’ are two dif’rent things.” Before Hank could head out the door Ed came up behind him and pulled him close, whispering in his ear, “By the way… tha’ would be ‘Iris... steak... pie... Hank'. ‘Cept when yer ma were still ‘round… then it were ‘pie... Iris... steak... Hank’.”

“Knew yer hearin’s a helluva lot better ‘n ya let on.” Hank laughed as he broke free from Ed, “Guess it don’ matter much… any way ya cut it I still seem ta end up in fourth place…”

“Fer now anyways… them two dogs migh’ be gainin’ on ya.”



Dinner done, beers in hand, Ed and Hank settled in by the fireplace.

“Hey, Hank…?”

“Don’ have ta thank me again… know tha’ steak were done perfect… Quite a achievement with tha’ bitter cold wind blowin’ if’n I do say so ma self...”

“Ain’t tha’… But tha’ steak were done perfect… fer once…” Ed hesitated, “Jus’ been wonderin’ lately… If’n I hadn’ moved in when I did… How long d’ya think ya woulda waited fer me?”

“…I dunno, Ed… prob’bly still be here waitin’ fer ya.” Hank knew he hadn’t sounded very convincing. He could never lie to Ed.

“Kinda get the feelin’ tha’ migh’ not be the case.”

“Ya know it ain’t easy ta answer them ‘what if’ kinda questions…”

“Yeah… I get it… throwin’ m’ own words back at me. But, if’n ya recall, I answered more’n one a yer ‘what if’ questions over these past months… Hell… I answered one earlier ta day.”

“Okay, okay…” Hank sighed, “Jus’ tha’ I… I kinda stopped short a writin’ ‘bout tha’ part... Didn’ wantcha readin’ it. ‘N it’s New Year’s Eve ‘n all… Ya sure ya wanna keep talkin’ ‘bout this kinda stuff?”

“Don’ matter wha’ day it is… Ya migh’ as well tell me. Sure as hell been tellin’ you a whole buncha stuff I‘d rather not be talkin’ ‘bout.”

“Well… gotta remember… I had a whole lotta time ta think on it Ed... All them years... First, I decided tha’ if’n ya still hadn’ moved here by the time my folks passed, I were gonna give ya one more chance. Sell this place ‘n buy a small ranch closer ta where ya lived. Then if’n ya still didn’ move in with me… guess I’d a known you weren't ever gonna… so's I woulda sold tha’ place ‘n moved on…”

First…? So wha’ were second?”

“Well… then I decided I didn’ wanna go through all tha’ sellin’ ‘n buyin’ ‘n movin’ only ta find out ya still didn’t wanna be with me. Jus’… don’ think I coulda taken tha’… ‘Sides… we worked so hard on this place… figured if’n ya really wanted ta be with me, ya woulda moved in with me here as well as anywhere.” Hank thought for a moment, “Prob’bly woulda waited ‘til Iris were outta high school 'n after tha’ ‘til my folks passed… if’n they hadn’ already... 'fore I moved on.”

“Were ya ever gonna tell me all this… I mean… if’n I hadn’ a moved here”

“Nope. Well… I dunno…  maybe… in the end… maybe not… Didn’ wanna beg or be makin’ ultimatums. Figured ya knew damn well what I wanted. Told ya ‘nough times. Jus’ wanted ya ta want ta be with me... Not ta feel like ya were bein’ forced inta it…” Hank frowned, “Tell ya… didn’ have an easy time a it... Decidin’ all tha’. Had ta have some kinda plan though… ‘cause a big ol’ part a me never believed ya’d ever do it.”

“Most a me never believed it neither. Hell… sometimes still cain’t believe I managed ta do it…was jus’ so damned scared… a everythin’.”

“I know Ed…”

“So… where would ya ha’ gone?”

“At first I didn’ ‘xactly know... Rodeoin’ ‘n ranchin’ ‘n hard labor’s ‘bout all I ever done. Jus’ know I couldna stayed here. Not alone. Not withou’ you.” Hank let out a deep breath, not sure if he should tell Ed the next thing he was about to say, but he forged ahead anyway, might as well tell the whole story, “Ya remember tha’ guy who knocked on the motel door askin’ if’n I were okay? After we met up after them years ‘part?”

Hank saw first the hurt, and then the anger, rise up in Ed’s eyes and wished instantly that he could un-say what he’d just said.


“Now don’ go lookin’ like tha’. Ain’t nothin’ never happened. Jus’ tha’… well… he showed up every few years… Would say he were jus’ passin’ through. Mostly he’d jus’ stay a few hours ‘n we’d hash over old times… rodeoin ‘n all... Anyways… the last time he stopped by he told me his pa had died ‘n left him the family hardware store… Tha’s where he’d been workin’ since he quit rodeoin’…. ‘N he said if’n I ever wanted he were always lookin’ fer help. Told him I ain’t never worked nowheres like tha’… but he said there weren’t nothin’ to it.”

Hank was afraid to look at Ed again, “Don’ wanna tell ya… Got ta feelin’ so bad sometimes… started ta consider takin’ him up on tha’ job offer… if’n ya wouldn’ move here… bigger town ‘n all… lot more goin’ on…”

Ed snorted, “Yeah… think it were a lot more ‘n a job he…”

“Yeah... I ain’t stupid. Know what he wanted… but… didn’ get the feelin’ he were attachin’ them kinda strings ta tha’ offer. Jus’ more like hopin’ somethin’ migh’ happen if’n we worked ta gether, but not bankin’ on it…”

“Yeah… a regular stand-up guy…”

“Dammit, Ed… He were a purty decent guy… ‘n… gotta tell ya… were times I thought ‘bout it… ‘n I don’ jus’ mean the job. Saw my life goin’ by… stuck on this here ranch… waitin’ fer ya… always waitin’ fer ya…”

“…Ya don’…? Do ya…? Do ya still feel stuck? Like I kept ya from movin’ on? Doin’ more…?”

Shit… Ed… Don’ be such a dumbass. No… I don’ feel stuck. Wherever you are is home ta me. Jus’ wanted ta spend ma life with ya… didn’ really matter where we’d do tha’ livin’. Like ya said way back… ‘bout all them stories people write… Don’ matter where they put Jack ‘n Ennis… long as they end up ta gether.”

“Guess I cain’t blame ya fer thinkin’ ‘bout it… Cain’t blame him fer tryin’…” Now it was Ed who didn't sound very convincing.

“Jus' thought 'bout it Ed... didn’ never say nothin' like tha' ta him.”

“Yeah… but bet ya didn' never tell him ta stop comin’ by neither...”

“…No... guess I didn’… ‘n tha' were wrong... I shoulda… weren’t fair ta you… hell… weren’t fair ta him neither…”

“Did ya… did ya at least tell him ‘bout me?”

“Course I did. Not outrigh’ though. Ain’t nothin’ were never said outrigh’ ‘bout nothin’. Not by him ‘n not by me. Didn’ think ya’d want me doin’ tha’. Told him ya came ta help out fer them weeks every year ‘n told him I were hopin’ ya’d move here when ya could manage it ‘n work the place with me permanent-like. Know he got my meanin’ sure ‘nough.”

“If’n there weren’t nothin’ goin’ on…why… why didn’ ya never jus’ tell me…?”

“Like I said before… jus’ wanted ya ta want ta be with me… withou’ givin’ ya ultimatums… withou’ makin’ ya jealous… knew it woulda made ya mad if’n I told ya… ‘n… well… part a me were ‘fraid if’n ya found out maybe ya’d get so mad ya’d stop comin’ ‘round… even though he wouldn’ come by but every few years… ‘n like I said… ain’t nothin’ never happened…”

“Sure as hell woulda made me mad... Real mad. Maybe it were better tha’ I never knowed ‘bout it…” Ed hesitated, “…did he… did he ever try ta make somethin’ happen?”

“Nah… Not tha’ he woulda had much of a chance with my ma ‘round…” Even though he knew Ed was still hurt and angry, Hank couldn’t help laughing at the memory, “Poor fella got a real frosty welcome from tha’ woman. Think she musta had more faith in you than I did.”

“Wha’? You tellin’ me yer ma didn’ approve of yer gentleman caller?”

Hank was glad to hear the slight shift towards teasing in Ed’s voice, “Nope… remember the one time he spent the night… ‘cause he couldn’ get his truck started... she wouldn’ let him sleep in tha’ trailer… woman lied outright… said she were in the middle a givin’ it a good spring cleanin’… didn’ even mention the guest room… jus’ made him sleep on tha’ lumpy old couch.”

Hank laughed again, “Came down the next mornin’ ‘n found her snorin’ away in the rockin’ chair… said she couldn’ get ta sleep so’s she thought she’d move tha’ rocker inta the kitchen ‘n do some mendin’. Shoulda seen the big ol’ pile a clothes in tha’ basket next ta her. Woman musta mended every piece a clothin’ tha’ needed fixin’… ‘n maybe some tha’ didn’. Tell ya though… couldn’ help bein’ kinda insulted tha’ she didn’ trust me ta defend m’ own honor if’n he’d a made a move on me.”

“Guess with yer ma on guard duty I didn’ have ta worry none. Didn’ know she liked me tha’ much…”

“Well… tell ya… we never ate so good as when you’d be ‘round ‘n never ate so bad as them few times he stopped by. Once…when he stayed fer dinner…think it were tha’ same time his truck broke down…” Hank grinned, “My ma musta fried up a tough old stewin’ bird… was jus’ like tryin’ ta eat leather… tell ya… I had an idea wha’ was goin’ on but my poor pa sure didn’ know wha’ ta make a it… didn’ say a word… jus’ got up ‘n made his self a bologna ‘n mustard sandwich righ’ after dinner.”

“She give tha’ fella pie?”

“Nope. Not a piece.” Hank grinned, “‘N one time I knew fer a fact tha’ she’d jus’ finished makin’ one. Woman stuck it way up in the cupboard ‘n didn’ bring it down ‘til he’d left.”

“So… so’s how come he never stopped by after I moved in? Sure as hell woulda remembered tha’…”

“He did. Not too long after… he come by one day when we were out mendin’ fences. Ma jus’ happened ta mention it ta me all casual-like later when you weren’t ‘round. Can jus’ ‘magine how she sent tha’ poor guy on his way...”

“Lucky we weren’t ‘round… don’ know what I woulda done if’n I’d a seen him… if’n I’d a found out back then tha’ he’d been comin’ ‘round…”

“Know damn well wha’ ya woulda done… Ya woulda gotten real mad ‘n rode off fer a while then come back sulkin’ ‘n givin’ me the silent treatment. Though back then it mighta taken me a few days ta figure out tha’ ya weren’ talkin’ ta me. Then maybe a week later ya mighta let me ‘xplain… Tha’ is if’n ya hadn’ jus’ moved out on me ‘fore givin’ me the chance...”

“Sounds ‘bout righ’…”

“Anyways… after tha’… thought I better write ta him… told him you had moved here ‘n we were workin’ the place ta gether ‘n I were plannin’ on stayin’ put… ‘n thanks ‘n all fer the job offer.”

“Did ya ever hear from him again?”

“Jus’ once… got a note back… jus’ sayin’ good luck ta us with runnin’ the ranch ‘n all. Gotta tell ya, Ed… felt purty bad fer him…”

“Jeez… Think I mighta been real lucky tha’ I managed ta move in with ya when I did. Otherwise ya migh’ be writin’ ‘bout an entirely dif’rent ‘Ed’.”

“Ain’t no other ‘Ed’. Never was. Never could be. Hell… if’n ya hadn’ managed ta move in betcha I’d still be writin’ ‘bout you… jus’ withou’ no happy endin’… Or maybe not writin’ at all ‘cause I prob’bly never woulda met Annie.”

“Don’ know if’n tha’ makes me feel much better… Shit… Guess that’ll teach me ta go ‘round askin’ them ‘what if’ questions…”

“Yeah… know from ‘xperience they can bite ya in the ass…” Hank sighed then, “But… ta tell ya the truth, Ed... don’ rightly know if’n I woulda… if’n I coulda… gone through with it or not… leavin’ ya ‘n all.”

“Betcha woulda. But tha’ woulda been one bet I sure as hell wouldna wanted ta win.”

Hank smiled and shook his head, “Gotta admit… most s’prised I ever been were tha’ day ya moved here. ‘N doin’ it ‘fore ma folks passed. Never in a million years thought ya’d do tha’…”

“Think tha’ part mighta made it easier in some ways. By then yer folks was used ta havin’ me ‘round ‘n I were used ta bein’ ‘round them. Thought maybe other people wouldn’ think nothin’ of it if’n yer folks was here too. ‘N they didn’t. Weren’t ‘til a couple a years after yer folks passed tha’ them rumors started ‘round town. Well… guess they weren’t ‘xactly rumors… since they was true ‘n all.”

“Know them were some hard years fer ya. Think tha’ was when I were most ‘fraid I were gonna lose ya.”

“Tell ya… came real close ta leavin’ more ‘n a few times… what with still havin’ ta keep tha’ job ‘til Iris got through college... Most a them fellas I worked with were alrigh’… but a couple of ‘em…”

“Always thought all tha' were started by tha’ one ranch hand we had ta get rid a… Remember? Tha’ guy we hired on jus' temporary-like ta help with calfin'? Gave him a couple a chances too, but then he started stealin’ stuff…”

“Yeah… ain’t likely ta ferget him…”

“‘N I’d bet ya anythin’ he started tha’ rumor withou’ even knowin’ it were true…”

“Yeah… prob’bly… Way back then never woulda done nothin’ tha’ mighta’ gave us ‘way…”

Hank laughed, “Tha’s fer damn sure. Hell… I still cain’t believe I ever got ya ta move into the damn house with me. Come ta think a it… bet ya prob’bly still got some clothes out in tha’ ol’ trailer.”

“Wouldn’ doubt it…”

“Then once I did get ya in here ya ‘bout drove me crazy runnin’ back ‘n forth turnin’ them lights on ‘n off. Was hopin' ya'd jus' end up stoppin' after a while... finally broke down ‘n gave ya tha’ light timer…”

Gave? More like ya threw it at me…”

Hank grinned “Guess I did at tha’…”

"Think I still got the scar." Ed yawned and stretched then looked at his watch, “Hey… ‘s almost midnight…”

“Yer kiddin’?”

“Nope… You slept ‘way most a the afternoon inta the evenin’… Then we ate dinner pretty durn late.”

“Yeah… after ya run me down with tha’ heavy equipment a yers…I needed a long nap…”

You? Hell… I’m the one did most a the work…"

Work? So now it’s work... huh?”

“Damn righ' it's work... 'n ya know how much I like ta work... hell... 'm a regular workaholic...”

Hank laughed, “Nice save, dumbass.”

"Well… time ta switch them shirts, I reckon…”

“Ya reckon, huh?”


“You grab tha’ bottle a whiskey ‘n I’ll grab a couple a shot glasses…”

Ed and Hank climbed the stairs up to their room and Ed poured them each a shot of whiskey while Hank went to their closet. Hank waited for Ed then switched the shirts, putting Ed’s shirt on top of his for the new year. He then put his hands on either side of Ed’s face and gave him a gentle kiss, “Don’ know if’n I ever thanked ya fer movin’ here Ed. But I am now.”

“’N don' think I ever thanked ya fer still bein' here waitin’ fer me when I did. But I am now too.”

As Hank stepped back Ed handed him one of the shot glasses and they raised them to each other.

“Happy New Year, Ed.”

“Happy New Year, Hank.”

They knocked their glasses together then downed the whiskey in a couple of swallows.

Hank took Ed’s glass from him and set their glasses down on the dresser then pulled Ed close, “Made it through ‘nother year, didn’ we?”

“Sure did…Was a good one too.”

“One a the best...”

Hank let go of Ed and went back to the closet, pulling out the shirt he had bought for him. Hank was eager to give it to Ed. He couldn’t wait to see Ed’s face when he saw that sewn-on fish that looked so much like the fish on the first postcard Hank had ever sent to Ed.

“Here, Ed…”

“Thanks, Hank.” Ed had pulled a package out of the bottom drawer of their dresser, “Here’s yers.”

“Thanks, Ed. Open ‘em ta gether?”

“Yep… 1… 2… 3… go…”

Hank laughed, “Shit…”

“Well tha’s a first...”

“It were the only one tha’ size when I bought it…”

“Same fer me… Or I woulda ‘bought ya two…”

“Bought it at the ranch store. Tha’ day we went ta town ta gether.”

“Me too… but maybe a week or two ‘fore tha’.”

“Guess someone musta returned one sometime in between each of us buyin’ one.”

“Guess so…”

“Whadda we gonna do?”

“Like the shirt… a lot… but ain’t walkin’ ‘round lookin’ like no Bobsey twins… Shit… Guess one of us has gotta take it back…”

“Ain’t returnin’ neither a them shirts…”

“Don’ know what else we can do…”

“Okay… know we both like the shirt. Know you don’ wanna go shoppin’ fer ‘nother shirt fer me. Know you wouldn’ wan’ me ta go shoppin’ ‘n pick out ‘nother shirt fer you.”

“Tha’s fer damn sure on both counts…”

“Lemme finish... ’N don’ neither a us wanna be lookin’ like twins… Bobsey or otherwise… Righ’?”


“So… how ‘bout we say tha’ you can only wear yer shirt on even numbered days ‘n I can only wear my shirt on odd numbered days… Tha’ way if’n we get up at dif’rent times ain’t no way we’d end up wearin’ the same shirt by mistake.”

“This one a them leap years?”

“Don’ think so.”

“Still… betcha there’s more odd numbered days ‘n there are even…”

“Okay… okay... you take the odd days… tha’ way you can wear tha’ shirt tomorrow. Then next year we can switch off.”

“Wha’ ‘bout wearin’ it ta town? Won’ people notice tha’ yer wearin’ it ‘n then maybe the next time see tha’ I’m wearin’ it?”

“Don’ hardly think people are payin’ tha’ much attention… Tha’ fish is pretty small…” but… if’n it makes ya feel better you can wear it ta town this year, ‘n I won’t wear it ta town ‘til next year.”

“Nah… guess yer righ’… people ain’t studyin’ us so much tha’ they’d notice somethin’ like tha’… But… Shit… Bill is sure gonna notice… sooner or later…”

“Yeah… but Bill already thinks were nuts… don’ think he’d bat ‘n eye at tha’.” Hank grinned, “Wait… think I got an idea… How ‘bout we make a bet on it? We each say how long we think it’ll take Bill ta come out ‘n say somethin’ ‘bout it. Whoever ends up closest to the actual date wins the bet.”

“I dunno… maybe… Wha’ would ya wanna bet?”

“I dunno… how ‘bout drivin’ privileges? Whoever wins gets ta drive the truck whenever we go somewheres. ‘Cept fer real long trips, like if’n we go ta visit Iris in March. If’n the bet’s been won by then, tha’ time won’t count.”

“Kinda like tha’ idea… But fer how long?”

“Well… ain’t like we go ta town ta gether all tha’ often… So how ‘bout fer six months?”

“Okay… but… don’ wantcha ta think ’m tryin’ ta cheat or nothin’… so’s I gotta tell ya… I really like tha’ shirt… ‘n don’ know if’n I wanna wear it workin’ as much as I gen’rally would… Like wouldn’ wanna wear it if’n we were fencin’ or durin’ calfin’… ‘Fraid a gettin’ it real dirty or all torn up…”

“Guess I kinda feel the same way ‘bout it. Why don’ we jus’ take tha’ inta consideration when we’re pickin’ our dates?”

“Okay… it’s a bet then.  Think neither a us should know wha' date the other picked though.  We can write 'em down on pieces a paper 'n fold 'em up 'n put 'em somewheres."

"Sounds fair... Hey... where ya goin'?"

"‘Was gonna go get some paper 'n a pen...”

“Think we can pick our dates tomorrow… C’mere, Ed…” Hank pulled Ed close again, “Wonderin’ if’n ya migh’ be up ta celebratin' our shirt switchin’ ‘n shirt givin’ in the usual way? Understand if’n ya ain’t… after this afternoon ‘n all...”

“Tha’ depends…”

“On wha’?”

"If'n yer willin' ta do all the work..."

"Sorry, Ed... I ain't like you... don' much care fer workin'..." Hank pushed Ed backwards towards the bed, "But... ya know... I do like drivin'..."

"Well then... if'n yer willin' ta do all the drivin'... I'd be more 'n happy ta go 'long fer the ride."

Hank tugged at Ed's waistband, "Do got tha' same rule you had though... ya know... the one 'bout no pants bein' allowed...."

"Happy ta comply..." Ed quickly shed his jeans, "Assume tha' goes fer the driver too?"

"You bet." Hank did the same then pushed Ed back onto the bed, following close behind, "Now... cain't promise ya this trip'll be as long or as excitin' as where ya took me to earlier ta day."

“S’long as ‘m with you don’ care if’n ya jus’ wanna pull in ‘n out a the driveway a few times… Or even if’n ya jus’ wanna park ‘n neck fer a while…”

Neck, huh? Gotta get me a notebook so’s I can keep track of all them words ya been usin’ fer the first time…”

“Ya know damn well I like ta neck...”

“Yeah… ya like makin' love too, but ya didn' never say them words 'fore ta day neither…”

“Ya keep on pointin’ out tha’ kinda stuff ta me ‘n I migh’ never say ‘nother word altogether…”

“Okay… okay… ferget I said anythin’… Now why don’ we jus’ start out with tha’ there neckin’ ‘n see where we end up?” Hank gently bit Ed’s bottom lip, then kissed along his jaw line and nibbled on his ear.”

“Fine with me… s’ long as we don’ end up nowheres but righ’ back here...”


"And the wheel goes ‘round ‘n ‘round…
And the fire in their hearts it will never burn out…
And the wheel goes ‘round…"

Oops… think y’all have heard that song before, but Ed and Hank like it… Maybe a few postcards? Nope, did that before too. Oh well... please feel free to put on the music of your choosing while Ed and Hank are otherwise occupied. Or you can just sing a cappella if you’d rather do that. Or you could read a different story. Or maybe you could go for a walk and get some fresh air or watch a movie (no, not
that one, it’s too sad). Of course you could always get some chores done around the house or build that birdhouse you’ve been talking about building. Then again, since it’s New Year’s Eve, (at least it still is for Ed and Hank), you could grab your sweetheart and give him or her a kiss. Or if no sweetheart is at hand maybe you could have a few drinks and drunk-call an old flame… kind of running out of ideas here… so you’re on your own… but please do come back... 

"And the wheel goes ‘round ‘n ‘round…
And the fire in their hearts it will never burn out…
And the wheel goes ‘round…'"



“Yer lookin’ a little funny-like... Ya okay, Ed?” Hank came out of the bathroom and headed for the closet.

“Yeah… 'm more 'n okay… jus' feels like ya drove me right off a cliff… ‘n ‘m still waitin’ ta hit the ground here.”

Hank stuck his head out of the closet, “Feel free ta fall on me if’n ya wanna cushion yer landin’.”

“Was plannin’ on it... What the hell ya doin’ in the closet, Hank?”

“Wanna give ya somethin’ else, Ed…” Hank came back to bed with a good-sized box in his hands.

“No fair. We ain’t s’posed ta get each other nothin’ else.”

“Jus’ open it dumbass. If’n ya don’ like it I can take it back.”

Ed sat up then tore off the funny papers covering the box. He opened it and laughed, “ShitHank... Shit...”

“Couldn’ resist… Seein’ as how the two a you been through so much ta gether… Jus’ sorry I didn’ think a it sooner... way I been makin’ ya talk these past few months… think maybe ya coulda used it…”

“Damn righ’ I coulda used it… Coulda used it a couple a time jus’ ta day. But at this point… prob’bly ain’t got much use left fer it…”

“Ya wan’ me ta take it back then?”

“No way. Maybe we could hang it on the wall somewheres. Keep it handy jus’ in case somethin’ comes up tha’ I migh’ need it fer. Guess I know well ‘nough wha’ made ya think a it…”

“Jus’ found ma self writin’ over ‘n over again ‘bout you holdin’ on ta tha' damn steerin’ wheel… Thought I migh’ as well go pull it outta tha’ ol' truck ‘n give it ta ya…”

“Hell... you don’ even know the half a it… spent a lot more time starin’ down at tha’ steerin’ wheel than you were ever witness to. Thinkin’ or more like tryin’ not ta think. Poundin’ on it now ‘n again. Got tha’ horn stuck more ’n once. Shit… even talked ta it sometimes on all them drives back ‘n forth ta see ya… Well… mostly on my way back from seein' ya... Generally had other things on ma mind on ma way here...”

“Sure woulda liked ta been a fly on tha’ windshield… Maybe ya should think ‘bout writin’ down some a them conversations ya had with it...”

No way... Felt crazy ‘nough talkin’ ta it… I’d feel even crazier writin’ ‘bout talkin’ ta it… ‘Sides… weren’t like it were actual conversations. Usually more like jus’ a whole lotta swearin’. ‘N aint like it ever talked back.”

“Wish it woulda… If’n it had, ya mighta listened ta tha’ steerin’ wheel more ‘n ya ever listened ta me too.”

“Yeah? ‘N what if it had told me ta leave ya be?”

“Don’ believe tha’ ol’ steerin’ wheel woulda done tha’ ta me. Think it woulda knowed the sooner it got ya ta move in with me the sooner ya’d stop swearin’ at it ‘n poundin’ on it.”

“Ain’t like tha’ stopped all ta gether jus’ ‘cause I moved here…” Ed smiled, “Course it did taper off some… Prob’bly ain’t pounded on a steerin’ wheel on account a you since… since… oh… I’d say… a week ago last Thursday… Course ain’t been in the truck this week since I been sick 'n all…”

“C’mere, dumbass…” Hank pulled Ed pulled into a long, slow kiss. He broke it when he felt the dampness of a few tears against his skin, “Ya okay, Ed?”

“’M okay…” Ed quickly wiped the tears away.

Hank was worried again, “Ya sure? Don’ think I hardly seen ya shed a tear since our last night ta gether up on tha’ mountain... ‘n barely then neither. ‘Cept them times when ya were laughin’ so hard ya’d start ta cry…”

“Guess tha’s ‘nother thing this ol’ steerin’ wheel mighta seen now ‘n again tha’ you didn’ neither. ‘Cept these would be more related ta them laughin’ ones. Jus’… jus’ awful glad ta be here with ya Hank.”

“Mighty glad ta be here with you too, Ed. Still cain’t believe it’s all real sometimes…”

"Yeah... me neither, Hank " Ed kissed Hank again then smiled, "But it's real 'nough... 'n 'm real tired. How 'bout you? Ya ready fer sleep?"


Ed broke loose from Hank and set the steering wheel on the floor next to the bed then was immediately pulled back and wrapped in Hank's arms again.

“Hey... ya didn' give me time ta turn off the light... Loosen yer hold fer a sec.”  Ed reached for the light, "Kinda miss tha' Clapper thing."

"Yeah... don' think the dogs do though... jus' seemed like they weren't never gonna get used ta all tha' clappin'."

Hank tightened his hold on Ed one more time, “G’nigh’, Ed.”

“Night, Hank.”


Ouch! Wha’ the hell did ya pinch me fer?”

“Jus’ so’s ya'd know fer sure ya ain’t jus’ dreamt all this up.”

“Thanks a lot… Think tha’s gonna leave a mark…”

"Prob'bly nothin' compared ta the marks ya musta left on me tonight."

"Don' recall ya complainin' at the time... 'lessen tha's wha' ya were talkin' ta Jesus 'bout...?"

"Tha's 'tween me 'n him."

“Love ya, dumbass.”

"Love you too, dumbass."


"Hey, Hank?"

"Yeah, Ed?"

"Ya do know it's 'Hank... Iris... steak... pie'... dontcha?"

"Yeah... I know..."

hands on the wheel...

with no place to hide, I looked in your eyes,
and I found myself in you.

from Hands on the Wheel
(Willie Nelson)


[User Picture]From: aliceathome
2007-02-07 11:49 pm (UTC)
Wherever you are is home ta me. Jus’ wanted ta spend ma life with ya… didn’ really matter where we’d do tha’ livin’. Like ya said way back… ‘bout all them stories people write… Don’ matter where they put Jack ‘n Ennis… long as they end up ta gether.”

Same here bud, same here...

Great update! I just marvel at the way you can be touching and sad in one moment then funny in the next. Love the idea of the bet on when Bill will notice/say something about the shirts. Bet he notices right away but doesn't say anything for a while! Also loved your little interlude while they were, ahem, occupied LOL

Thanks sweetie!
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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-02-09 05:47 am (UTC)
Hi there, Thank you and your very welcome too! LOL - Everyone agrees with you about Bill. And that would be my bet too. Glad you enjoyed the chapter. Hope you're completely recovered.
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[User Picture]From: trekfan
2007-02-07 11:54 pm (UTC)
I love how they spend new years. With each other showing their love in their own way.

they also think alike buying the same shirt for one another. Now that is when you know you're a couple. knowing each other's thoughts and taste.

yep Ed knows the right order. Hank first

nice real nice
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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-02-09 05:51 am (UTC)
Thanks! Living in such a small town I'm surprised Ed and Hank never bought the same shirt for each other before. I guess it was because Hank always bought loud shirts and Ed went for the subdued variety.

For Hank, the order is pretty much, 'Ed...Ed...Ed...Ed...' Although he loves Iris, steak and pie too... (and the dogs)
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[User Picture]From: jennydcf
2007-02-08 12:00 am (UTC)

Hey, it's my guys!

Wow-I'm glad Ed was able to move when he did. Hank thought about what he would do if Ed couldn't make his dream come true; that makes sense. Hank loves Ed, but he's a bit stronger than Annie's Jack, just as Ed is less damaged than Ennis. So he's jealous, but he also sees Hank's point of view.

Good old Mom! She knows what will make her boy happy, and she loved Ed--which makes her and Hank pretty similar, seems to me.

I love the steering wheel! What a great gift. And their shirts, and the bet, and their way of resolving the problem, and...oh hell, just say I love the whole thing. Do have a favorite part, though:

Hank laughed, “Tha’s fer damn sure. Hell… I still cain’t believe I ever got ya ta move into the damn house with me. Come ta think a it… bet ya prob’bly still got some clothes out in tha’ ol’ trailer.”

“Wouldn’ doubt it…”

“Then once I did get ya in here ya ‘bout drove me crazy runnin’ back ‘n forth turnin’ them lights on ‘n off. Was hopin' ya'd jus' end up stoppin' after a while... finally broke down ‘n gave ya tha’ light timer…”

“Gave? More like ya threw it at me…”

Hank grinned “Guess I did at tha’…”

"Think I still got the scar."

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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-02-09 06:27 am (UTC)

Re: Hey, it's my guys!

Hey there, Thanks! So glad you liked it. I think Ed's lucky Hank didn't just go out and cut the power line to the trailer altogether. I know Hank thought about it. Sometimes I think it might have been Ed's sense of humor that helped carry him through a lot of hard times relatively intact. Even though it was pretty well hidden until Hank helped bring it out into the open. And yeah, I think Hank's mom loved Ed... she definitely had a way of making her feelings known without using a lot of words.

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From: cwby30
2007-02-08 01:04 am (UTC)

Driving Ed crazy...


Two favorite parts of this Part:

“…Ya don’…? Do ya…? Do ya still feel stuck? Like I kept ya from movin’ on? Doin’ more…?”
“Shit… Ed… Don’ be such a dumbass. No… I don’ feel stuck. Wherever you are is home ta me. Jus’ wanted ta spend ma life with ya… didn’ really matter where we’d do tha’ livin’. Like ya said way back… ‘bout all them stories people write… Don’ matter where they put Jack ‘n Ennis… long as they end up ta gether.”

Yes. They ended up together, where they belonged. And they both feel a little insecure, and need reassurance every now and then, just like so many couples.

"Ya do know it's 'Hank... Iris... steak... pie'... dontcha?"
"Yeah... I know..."

Yes. Ed has a hard time saying the "L" word, but in fact says it all the time with other words, like these.

Now, for the shower scene....

Really enjoy this story. You have it unfolding before us, a little at a time, a new revelation each chapter about the past and the present. They've gone through so much to be together; Ed worked through his issues, with Hank by his side, something that Ennis was too scared to consider, let alone ask for. And Hank's parents watching out for them, priceless.

Thanks for the update. Hope you have many more for us.
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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-02-09 06:56 am (UTC)

Re: Driving Ed crazy...

Howdy, and thank you! I think your right about them both needing reassurance now and then, and sometimes I think Ed needs more reassurance than Hank. (But Ed would never admit it... :) ) And you're right, I know those "other words" mean even more to Hank than the "L" word does.

Shower scene? What shower scene...? ;D
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[User Picture]From: inthe_parlance
2007-02-08 01:15 am (UTC)
I just love love love this series so much! What great guys they are. But I sure did feel sorry for Hank's rodeo friend that kept coming around; poor guy! And I loved Hank's mom keeping Hank's virtue safe from him!
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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-02-09 07:35 am (UTC)
Hi there and thanks! Like so many mothers, Hank's ma could still reduce him to feeling like a kid again in no time flat without hardly trying. Luckily for Hank, she didn't do it to often. :)

And I felt awfully bad for Hank's rodeo friend too. I like to believe he eventually found someone...
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[User Picture]From: bbmgirlfan
2007-02-08 03:29 am (UTC)
I love these two old coots!

I don't comment much but I'm still reading :)

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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-02-09 07:37 am (UTC)
Hey! Glad you're still reading and enjoying Ed and Hank's story! Feel free to comment whenever the mood strikes. :) Hank'll probably still be writing long after everyone's wandered away...
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[User Picture]From: lalaynia
2007-02-08 03:54 am (UTC)
“Jeez… Think I mighta been real lucky tha’ I managed ta move in with ya when I did. Otherwise ya migh’ be writin’ ‘bout an entirely dif’rent ‘Ed’.”

“Ain’t no other ‘Ed’. Never was. Never could be. Hell… if’n ya hadn’ managed ta move in betcha I’d still be writin’ ‘bout you… jus’ withou’ no happy endin’… Or maybe not writin’ at all ‘cause I prob’bly never woulda met Annie.”

Wise man, Hank is.

And my bet is that Bill will notice before the end of January. ;D

Hugs to all the boys, the pups, and 'Blue!

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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-02-09 08:08 am (UTC)
Hi Joan! End of January, huh? Maybe we could start some kind of betting pool? I'm willing to hold all the money and distribute it to the winner(s). Of course Ed and Hank wouldn't be eligible because, who knows, they might already know the outcome... But since they never confide in me I think I should be able to play... :D

Hugs back to you and yours!
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[User Picture]From: joetheone
2007-02-08 04:49 am (UTC)
I think Bill will notice within a week but will keep it a secret he noticed for a month since he likes to have a silent Joke himself over it and if he lets on the joke will be over. I loved the New Years dinner and all and well I took your advice and took a little siesta with my other half when Ed and Hank did and well hmm I think I have a few marks on me as well. LOL it was a fun chapter as always and yes tears of joy are more fun the tears of sadness that stearing wheel surely saw over time. Joe
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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-02-09 08:16 am (UTC)
Hi Joe! Glad to hear you took advantage of the interlude by taking a siesta with your other half. (And enjoyed the chapter too) I just sang to myself. (As I am terribly tone deaf that would not be something anyone else would want to hear...) I agree with you about Bill, he sure does like to have a silent joke going.
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[User Picture]From: not_hathor
2007-02-08 05:15 am (UTC)
Have I told you before how much I adore these guys? It's like getting a monthly letter about two favorite uncles I haven't seen since I don't remember, from a cousin I've never met but would cheerfully give the shirt off my back to if needed. There were some real nice hunting flannels at Farm'N Fleet last week ... no fish, though.

Post mortem thanks to Hank's Ma --- she sounds like a truly beautiful soul!


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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-02-09 08:24 am (UTC)
Hey cousin,
LOL! Love the "two favorite uncles" and "cousin you've never met" analogy! (And the shirt offer was darn sweet!)

I'll do my best to pass along those "post-mortem thanks"...
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[User Picture]From: joycedavenport
2007-02-08 01:41 pm (UTC)
Glad to see our boys having a happy new year. Glad to see Hank knows he's first on the list. Glad Hank didn't never get tempted by his 'gentleman caller'. Glad their story continues.

I agree with the rest of the commentators. Bill will notice right away. But he might not mention it till - oh Valentine's Day?
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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-02-09 08:29 am (UTC)
Hi there! I'm glad you liked the chapter. :) I love how everyone agrees that Bill will notice, but not say anything right away. That's what I think too. I'm not sure about Valentine's Day though... So far Ed and Hank have mentioned nothing about it to me at all... :D
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From: linna_swe
2007-02-08 02:24 pm (UTC)
*squeeeeeee* New chapter!!! Can't wait 'til I have time to read it. Just knowing it's here makes me happy!!
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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-02-09 08:30 am (UTC)
Hello! Hope you liked (or will like) it!
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[User Picture]From: phoebe2680
2007-02-09 01:03 pm (UTC)

*does a happy dance*

This made my entire week!!! I ADORE Ed & Hank!! And I loved this chapter. What a wonderful New Years, and OMG how lovely is their shirt switching-ritual?! Adorable! I'm just so happy for them, that they have this sweet life together!

"Hey, Hank?"

"Yeah, Ed?"

"Ya do know it's 'Hank... Iris... steak... pie'... dontcha?"

"Yeah... I know..."

*sigh* They are the sweetest ever! My heart soars just thinking about them!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-02-10 10:50 pm (UTC)

Re: *does a happy dance*

You're very welcome. And thank you, thank you, thank you right back to you too!! Glad you liked the chapter. It makes Hank and Ed and me very happy. (Although Ed would never admit it.)
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[User Picture]From: graciesdaddy
2007-03-09 06:52 pm (UTC)

I just KNEW...

...it would be a Chevy!
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