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11:21 pm: Can’t Stand It -V77
Title: Can’t Stand It - Vignettes
Rating: NC-17 for the whole story
Genre: au
Summary: Jack drives to Wyoming when he hears about Ennis’ divorce. He does not react well to Ennis sending him away.
Warnings: Angst, bad grammar, typos.....no death and I like happily ever after.
Disclaimer: I borrowed these characters and I make no money from this.
Feedback: Yes, be honest- just be nice about it. I’m sorry that I write the lamest responses.

Can’t Stand It

Ennis couldn’t believe he was signing up for a college class. He handed the woman his credit card and looked over at Jack who was next to him and was handing over his credit card to the man who had helped him. They figured out that they would each take a class for the summer session and if it seemed to go well, they’d sign up for a fall class.

Summer was almost upon them. Jenny would be coming when school ended to work at the music camp. Junior was already done and was spending the first part of her vacation in Wyoming. Stan hired her to work with the horses and cattle until Jenny was done with school. Ennis had been concerned with Junior working with all those men and being the only female, but Stan told him he told his crew that there better not be any issues.

Junior proved to be very capable and hard working so she may not be making friends, but they weren’t hostile towards her. Some of the horses knew her because they had come from EJ’s, so she felt she did have some friends. Stan told him that everyone could see she knew what she was doing and no ever complained that she didn’t work as hard as they did. Since she had her own horse with her, she brought him home from college and was able to show off her riding skills. Stan said that it annoyed some of the men that she rode better than most of them. She was known for chasing down cattle when they would separate from the herd. She had complete control of her horse and could make swift, sharp turns that usual got a grudgingly said complement. It also didn’t hurt that her horse was high quality and the hands were in awe of that, too.

Bobby hadn’t found a new girlfriend and was back to being a cranky teenager. Ennis knew he was lucky because Jack was usually the target of Bobby’s mouth but there were a few times he wanted to push Bobby into a rose bush. He knew Bobby had reasons to be extra surly, but it made life in the house uncomfortable.

Ennis had been at Bobby’s baseball game with Jack and Sam. It was the second to last game of the season. Bobby was on third and ran home to win the game. Halfway home he saw Bobby pull up and limp his way home. He was still able to make it before the ball, but everyone knew he was hurt. He pulled his hamstring. He was done for the season. No playoffs for him and he wouldn’t be able to represent Kansas.

Ennis was thankful that he was hurt running and not because of someone else. Bobby said he rather it had been someone else and not his body betraying him. Jack had some tricks up his sleeve from his rodeo days that helped him recover, but Bobby was too busy mourning the games he couldn’t play to care.

Another problem was he wasn’t going to be able to ride a horse for a while and couldn’t do a lot of physical things that most jobs at EJ’s required. Bobby wouldn’t go to the chicken coops since Gloria died and he wasn’t sure what he could do which made him crankier.

Ennis spent a lot of nights just holding Jack. He knew Jack was miserable. He knew Jack knew the injury was not his fault but every felt like it was his fault. Ennis ended up being in the middle of some arguments. Bobby couldn’t do Karate until he was healed so he couldn’t work at the Karate school. He couldn’t work at a camp because no one would hire him. Bobby complained that his injury prevented him from getting jobs that he would find interesting, but it didn’t matter because most places wouldn’t hire him anyway.

One Sunday, when Jack suggested that Bobby work in the office and EJ’s store so he could start seeing the other side of Jack’s businesses Bobby blurted out, “Why would I want to know that? You think I’m going to stay in this hellhole of a town?” and then limped out of the kitchen. Ennis watched a defeated Jack walk out of the house.

When he tried to follow Jack, Jack turned around and pointed at him. “No!” was all he said before he turned around and took off.

Ennis sat at the table for hours. He knew Jack didn’t have keys and he wasn’t wearing shoes. Bobby reappeared about an hour after they usually had dinner. He guessed he looked miserable because Bobby stopped and just looked at him.

“We aren’t having dinner?”

“I’m not hungry. Make yourself a sandwich or something.”

“Where is he?”


“What do you mean, who? My Dad.”

“Don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know?”

Ennis was fed up and cranky. “He walked out after you did. Haven’t seen him since.” Ennis could see that Bobby was looking at the hanging keys. “He didn’t drive anywhere. Hell, he doesn’t even have shoes.”

“Jesus Christ, I’m suppose to be the drama queen and he just walked off.”

“He needed to cool off. You hurt him, Bobby.”

“Cause I said I wanted out of here. That can’t be a surprise.”

“You always talked as if you were going to take over his empire someday. He never pushed you, you always seemed interested.”

“Well, I’ve had a change of heart. I want to get away from all this. I just want to be me.”

“No one said you have to stay, Bobby. We both want you to be happy in whatever you do, but you just sprung it on him. Well, both of us. He understands why you don’t want to stay, it’s just…We both know that being Jack Twist’s son does not make life here easy. It’s just hard to hear it.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“Yeah, you did. Maybe not the words, but the meaning was there.”

“So why’d he storm off all mad?”

“He’s not mad, he’s sad.” Ennis rubbed his eyes and pushed his hair back. “I don’t think either of us expected any of you to want to stay here or Wyoming. We hoped, but…Bobby, it’s really easy for us to pretend that you would all want to be here. That’s what we want, but we knew that life here is hard for you and the world offers so much. It’s good that you to want to go out in the world. It’s just that we know that the push for you to leave is so much bigger because of us. Jack will come back we he figures out how to face it that when you go off to college, you’re really leaving for good.”

“How come you aren’t wandering around, too?”

“I wanted to be here when he gets home. I also knew that Jenny plans are for New York City and Hollywood. Junior, she could go anywhere; do anything. EJ’s is an option, so is Wyoming, but for all my wishing I don’t know if Junior ever thought of this place as really her home. I hope she does, but since I’m not sure, I never got my hopes up. This is your home, Bobby and…” Ennis stopped. He couldn’t say it. He couldn’t say that Jack built up everything for Bobby and now understood that Bobby probably didn’t want it. He didn’t want Bobby to feel guilt on top of everything else. “I don’t think your father is ready to see you leave for college. Schools almost out and next year you will be a senior.”

“You are editing yourself, Ennis. I’m not fragile. I know he created his empire and hoped I would be interested in taking it over. Of course he still thinks I’m going to be a vet, too. I’m not stupid. Neither is he. Did he really think after all the name calling, the fights, the everything, that I would really want to come back here?”

“Yeah, he did.”

“Why would he? He’s being…”

“He had hoped that all that didn’t matter.”


“He thought you love EJ’s and…”

“This has nothing to do with how I feel about him.”

“Well, Bobby. He needs to figure that out.”

“What do mean figure it out…”

“I don’t mean figure it out, I mean he has to come to terms with it.”

“And I’m the drama queen.”

Ennis watched as Bobby walked out of the kitchen.


Jack entered the house and found Ennis asleep at the table. He leaned over and rubbed Ennis’ back. “Baby, I’m home.” He could feel him wake up.

“Where were you?”

“Bobby’s rock. I’m sorry I walked out, I just needed to think.”

“I understand.”

“Where is he?”

“Heard him go upstairs before I dozed off.”

“Ennis, I’m not going to make decisions off one comment, but if the kids really don’t want to come back here as they get older…We don’t have to stay if you don’t want to. My home is with you Ennis and if our kids don’t want to be here or visit here, we don’t have to live here. Don’t ever be shy about wanting out of Kansas. I mean it. For all the problems I still love EJ’s, but I love you more. Okay?”

“I love you, too. I can’t imagine living anyplace else. But thanks for saying what you did.”

Jack leaned in and kissed Ennis. “I guess I should check on him. He wouldn’t be asleep.”

Jack walked out of the kitchen and was surprised to see Bobby on the couch. “Ennis said he heard you go upstairs.”

“I did, but I came down again.”

“Bobby, it’s okay if you want to leave Kansas when you graduate. I know it’s been awful at times. I’m sorry that I continue to cause you so much grief. Just because I own and run EJ’s doesn’t mean you have to. I just want you to do what makes you happy. If you end up someplace else, it’s fine. Just know that this house is your home. Any place Ennis and I live will be your home. Always. Okay?”

Bobby got off the couch and walked toward him. “I have no idea what my future holds, Dad. And if I do leave, it has nothing to do with how I feel about you. Maybe I will go off to college and like the world that is out there or maybe I will realize I miss here. Have no idea. But thanks for what you said.”

“I mean it, Bobby. I never want you take over because you thought you had to, only if you want to.”

“I know.”

Jack let himself be pulled into a hug. It still amazed him that Bobby was so much bigger than him. “I love you, Pup.”

“Love you, too. You and Ennis will always be my home, Daddy.”

Jack tried not to lose it when Bobby said Daddy. He could hear the emotion in Bobby’s voice and knew he was in the same boat. Jack didn’t have to look up to know that Ennis was watching them. He just held his son and hoped that even if Bobby wanted no part of EJ’s that Bobby would choose to live close enough that they would see each other more than a couple of times a year.


Ennis locked up and followed the Twists upstairs. He had heard and seen everything, but wasn’t sure which Jack he would get once the door shut. The answer was quick because as soon as he shut the door, Jack reached out for him.

“I can’t stand that they grow up, Ennis.”

“I know.”

“I guess my stupid fantasies of them all building houses on the property aren’t going to happen.”

“You never know.”

“They were stupid.”

“No they weren’t.”

“Do you think they would come for the holidays?”

“Yeah, Darlin’, I think they would. Adam and Nate wouldn’t know what to do if they weren’t here for Christmas.”

“I just…It doesn’t matter what I want. I can’t control what happens. Never could.”

“It’s going to be okay.”

“I know, Ennis. I shouldn’t be pouting about it when you’ve had to deal with when you left Wyoming. I’m sorry, Ennis. I’m being thoughtless.”

“Shhhh. It’s okay. Just remember this when in two weeks they will all be in the house and we want them all gone.”


At four weeks Jack wanted them all gone. The kids weren’t fighting with each other, but they were all cranky. All the Peterson’s had left Kansas a week after the girls had come. Junior was working hard on the ranch, but would complain that she had no real social life. There were a couple of people she had met through Amanda and thought they were friends, but they seemed to have their own lives and friends. All the guys her age at EJ’s were too afraid to piss off Ennis to ask her out. A few of the women who worked at EJ’s were her friends, but a lot of them were older and had families or a bit wild and didn’t think that Ennis would be too happy with them taking her out to bars. Jenny’s problem was there were very few straight boys at the music camp. She said the straight boys were giant sluts, because they could be, and she found them gross. She also complained that some of the girls she hung out with when she was younger seemed to move on. Bobby had given up and worked in the office because Brenda was gone. Bobby seemed to never want to leave the house. He would hang out with Jimmy or a couple of friends, but he seemed to be just as bored as the girls.

Jack had been so fed up one night that he handed the kids cash and told them to go have pizza and see a movie. When he finally got them to leave, he dragged Ennis to the hammock. “Ennis, they are going to make me crazy.”

“I know.”

Jack sighed. “Kind of made me realize that our entire social life are the Petersons.”

“You hadn’t noticed that before?”

“I guess I didn’t want to think about it. We have each other and I guess that’s been enough for me.”

“Me, too.”

“Ennis, they’re not going to want to stay here if this is how they live. I mean even Bobby is having issues without Matt around. Maybe we should’ve gone with the Petersons.”

“We couldn’t have taken off three weeks and we are taking classes.”

“I know, but that cruise sounded nice.”

“Yeah, but they need time with Sam’s parents and even though they include us and treat us like family, they need that.”

“I know.”


Ennis noticed things got a little better on their kids’ social front. Junior started to hang out more with the college students working in the greenhouses. Jenny’s camp had a reunion concert with some of the former campers and she reconnected with some of her camp friends. Bobby started to hang out more with Jimmy, admitting later that Jimmy had some female friends who were cute and thought it was, ‘fabulous’ that he had to gay fathers.

Ennis wasn’t sure which one of them was more thrilled when Bobby went back to work at the Karate school. Bobby later told him that his friends at the school were really mad at him for hiding from him while he was hurt.

Ennis couldn’t believe he was the person who was asking people to read his papers for him. He cursed Jack for not taking the same class and for taking a class that didn’t have term papers. Jack would laugh and said he had to write labs.

When they both finished their classes Ennis was happy they both earned an A. They each signed up for a fall class because they didn’t think they could do more than that. Ennis pointed out that at that rate, Adam would graduate from college before they did. Jack kissed him and pointed out it was the first time Ennis mentioned graduating from college. Jack then suggested they throw themselves a private toga party.


Jack thought it was funny that all their summer vacations ended up on the east coast. They spend almost two weeks in and around Washington, DC. Jenny and Bobby both stated since they were both graduating in June that they should have a double long, super-duper trip. They wanted Europe. Jack was so happy that their graduations were a week apart he said he would take them to the moon.

At the end of the trip, Junior and Jenny flew home to Wyoming while Bobby, Ennis and he flew to Chicago to look at and interview at some colleges.

Jack tried not to show he was having a hard time with looking at schools. He spent each night curled up, practically on top of Ennis. The first night was the worst because he foolishly asked Bobby why he wanted to go to school in a city. He kept reliving it in his head.

“I want to be anonymous. I want to be in a place where more people can be who they are. I also want to compare it to rural and suburban life. Maybe I will like it better, or maybe it will turn out I hate it. You’ll be happy if I hate it so I want to go back to Kansas.”

“Pup, I just want you to be happy.”

“I know.”

“How come you don’t want New York?” Jack asked.

“Jenny wants Julliard or Yale drama school and I don’t want to be in the same area.”

“I thought you get along, now.”

Bobby laughed, “It’s not about that. I think we just want to go someplace where we are just ourselves.”

“Is that why you and Matt are looking at different schools?”

“A little bit. I kind of figured out this summer that I need to make friends that aren’t connected to Matt. Matt will always be my best friend, but this summer showed me that I have to branch out a bit. We are still planning to do the odd couple thing when we get old.”


Ennis tried to comfort Jack by pointing out that he would have take Jenny to college auditions with Alma. Jack suggested that when they go to New York, he takes Alma to a midnight show of Rocky Horror. Ennis quietly sang, “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me' to Jack. After Jack did, Jack laughed that Ennis knew all the words.

“It’s a gift, Jack.”

“Maybe you should get a degree in music.”

“I don’t think so.”

“You could be Gene Autry.”


“It would be great.”

"You're Not My Darlin' Anymore."


“That’s one of his songs, Jack.”

“Oh. Never mind.”

“He also had a song named, “That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine.”

“Shut up, Ennis.”


When they returned to Kansas, life returned to normal. Bobby found a new girlfriend Betty, so he was more chipper. Jack was happy for him and it seemed to make life a little easier. The year moved quickly and Thanksgiving was fun for everyone. Jack thought the people in Riverton had mellowed out a bit so Thanksgiving had been calmer. He was pleased that Jenny said that people were being nicer to her because they were hoping that Ennis would still kick in money to the high school. Ennis said no way was he giving any more money to them until Nathan and Adam reach high school. Jack thought Alma looked a little touched that he would do that for them, but she said nothing. Jenny, on the other hand, hugged Ennis for a long time.


After Thanksgiving, Ennis, Jenny and Alma flew to New York for Jenny’s auditions. He found it fascinating to watch Alma. She had never been to a big city and she never traveled except to Kansas, Michigan and Hawaii. When Jenny wasn’t auditioning they took Alma to some sites. And, they took her to Rocky Horror.



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[User Picture]
Date:February 19th, 2016 08:42 am (UTC)
what a fantastic surprise !!!! cannot believe, such joy ! and you continued exactly from where you left - yay !!!

I completely understand Bobby - I was the same when I left for college, and I didn't went through all he had ! but Ennis might be right, too - who knows what a more mature and sure of himself Bobby will think and want ?

thank you so much for the up-date, cannot wait for more !
[User Picture]
Date:February 19th, 2016 11:19 am (UTC)
I was So surprised and excited to see an update. I have missed this story!
[User Picture]
Date:February 20th, 2016 06:44 am (UTC)
what a surprise. it was good to see this and easy to follow. i was surprised how easy it was to follow, but it just proves how memorable this story is.
[User Picture]
Date:February 20th, 2016 10:12 am (UTC)
The best surprise ever!
Thanks so much for writing again, I will always love your story. It has such a special place in my heart.
A big hug
[User Picture]
Date:February 20th, 2016 11:22 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:February 21st, 2016 08:15 pm (UTC)
My friend: I am so happy to see a new poat from you and I reread some of the last post, I have been reading this story since April 2007 and each post is a life lesson. Thank you so much for coming back. Martha
[User Picture]
Date:February 25th, 2016 05:10 am (UTC)
You're back! I was just thinking about your story last month when I found two black and white kittens that my neighbor left behind when she moved. I took them in and named them Burt and Ernie. So glad to see you writing again. Missed this story. Off to re-read the whole thing again.
[User Picture]
Date:February 26th, 2016 05:27 pm (UTC)
What a great surprise!! I love this story and will always be happy to see a new chapter. Hope all is well with you and I, as always, look forward to reading more.
Date:June 3rd, 2016 05:57 pm (UTC)

Thank You!

Got to thinking about your story and posted on another site about it.
So glad to see more!
Date:July 12th, 2016 05:50 pm (UTC)


Mornin', Karen.

Well, so glad to see this update and the previous one. Over the past two weeks I have re-read the original and the Vignettes, but didn't have these last two.

The whole story, some 1100+ pages of the original and 1000+ pages of the Vignettes [at least as I have them!], flows along seamlessly. As with life, as the years go on they begin to fly by. And now Bobby and Jenny are starting their senior years and looking at colleges. Would like to see Alma's face after seeing Rocky! And European Vacation, J&E style??!! Would like to read about that!

Can understand how Jack feels. He built his empire to prove so much to himself, his parents, LD, and his detractors, and to provide a legacy and maybe a safe haven for Bobby. And now Bobby wants away, at least for now and maybe forever.

What's a parent to do? Let go, as hard as it may be, be supportive, and stay in their lives. And if Bobby decides not to come back, I can see Jack & Ennis loosening their hold on the reins of the business as time goes on, and concentrating on each other and their extended family.

Great story, great dialogue, great AU for J&E and all, great handling of important issues including child abuse and its devastating effects on the adults they become. I appreciate your remaining with it these past 9 years. Looking forward to more of the story when your Muse nudges.

Thanks again.

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