Always on my mind

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As Sue Ellen put the finishing touches on her outfit..a broach here, some small diamond earrings JR had once given her (were they for their fourth or fifth anniversary? She couldn't remember every detail these days.), she stopped and held on to the sink. What in the world was she thinking? JR had called her up, telling her he just had to see her for lunch that day. Never mind she had plans with an associate...what JR wanted, JR always got, and today what he wanted was to see Sue Ellen.

She had to smile. Though the years had mellowed him somewhat, she knew better than anyone in the world to count JR down and out for the count. He was never, never without an ace up his sleeve, so what he wanted from this lunch together, God only knew.

The thought crossed her mind that after all these years, he wanted to beg for her forgiveness, to ask for one last chance, to have the opportunity to spend their golden, golden years together. The thought should have made her scoff; instead, a small smile spread across her face.

Stop it, she admonished herself. Agreeing to a lunch date with JR Ewing was equal to selling your soul to the devil. It was never "just a lunch" with him. That little scoundrel never would change. Thank God for that.

So as she pulled up to the restaurant, she saw that the parking lot was oddly empty; only his car stood out among the lot. Strange, she thought. This should be the busy time for this little restaurant.

Sue Ellen took a breath, fixed her hair and checked her makeup one more time, then arrived to see that indeed she and JR would be the only diners that afternoon. She shook her head and watched as JR stood from his table, bowing his hat off to her, and flashed her his trademark million-watt grin.

She should have taken his gestures as a sign to run, to run far and fast. But instead, she approached and watched with some amusement as he pulled out her chair for her.

"What's the matter, JR? You've tried every other route with me but the gentleman one, so now that's all you have up your sleeve? I must confess I'm a bit disappointed in you," she grinned smugly as she took her seat.

JR laughed and just shook his head. "Now, Sugar. Surely you of all people wouldn't make the mistake of underestimating ol' JR? You should know better by now, Sugar. It's I that should be disappointed in you."

Their eyes met, and for the first time in a long, long time, she recognized the flash of life in his eyes struck her as shining every bit as bright as it ever had.

"I see you spared no expense for a simple lunch. Surely if you wanted to discuss our son, a phone call would have sufficed," Sue Ellen smirked, trying hard to keep a poker face around her ex-husband.

"Sue Ellen, for you, I'd fly across the world just for the chance to dine with you. It doesn't matter when, where, the time of day...or even the reason. Just your company is pleasure enough. You wouldn't deny an old man the pleasure of your company, would you?" JR grinned and then ordered their drinks.

Sue Ellen nodded politely at the server, thankful for the break in conversation. "If you're an old man, what does that make me?"

"Sugar...you're as beautiful as the day I first laid eyes upon you. What was that...Miss Texas or something? That was quite a day..."

She wanted to believe him, to believe this was just a friendly reminiscing of their past. But to let her guard down around him, no matter what their ages...well, that would be a mistake. "JR, what do you want from me? I'm sure you have better ways to spend your day these days. Pinnochle, shuffle board..."

He laughed out loud then took a sip of his drink. "Oh, Sugar. You haven't changed a bit. And I wouldn't want you to, either."

"Flattery gets you nowhere-at least with me, Mr. Ewing. Or have you forgotten that about me?"

"Of course I haven't forgotten. I haven't forgotten a day with you. A lot of things that used to matter to me...associates, numbers, places...well, to be honest Sue Ellen, I can't recall much of those days. All I know is that you're every bit as lovely to me as you were the day I first laid eyes on you. And no matter how many years go by, I'll never forget how much you once meant to me. How much you still do."

Their eyes met, and she really, really wanted to run. This was when JR was at his most dangerous. Gone were the days she would have lived for a moment like this. She was a grown woman, a mother, old enough to be a grandmother (she really needed to have a talk with John Ross!)...she knew better than to fall for JR's charms. She really did.

"JR..." she started, but to her shock, he placed his finger tenderly on her lips.

"Ssh...Sugar, don't speak. If I wanted to hear you speak I'd just, like you said earlier, have picked up the phone. But I have something to say to you. Something that well, I couldn't live with myself if I never said it. Sue Ellen...I know you probably won't believe me, and you have the right to slap me and walk out of this restaurant. But I know you. I don't think you will. I think you've been waiting a lifetime for me to say this to you...I don't deserve you. But you were the best thing to happen to me...more than money, companies, partnerships...anything. I will spend the rest of my life loving you. I can't give you much that you don't already have. But I can give you my word- I love you, Sue Ellen. I always have, and more than ever, I always will."

Tearfully her eyes met his, and across the table, JR leaned forward, and before she could resist, she found herself closing her eyes for her lips to meet his.

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But she found herself kissing a pillow.

It took Sue Ellen a minute to comprehend what was going on. She looked around. This was not a restaurant, and JR was not with her. She was alone. She looked over and saw the picture of the two of them on her nightstand, and once more, Sue Ellen realized she'd truly lost JR forever.

She knew she should cry, to drink, to throw things. Even though he'd been gone..what, six months now...the sting of her memories and dreams hit her hard every time she experienced them.

She'd had enough dreams to know that she just had to work through them, to feel them, to even treasure them.

Time and fate had cruelly conspired to keep them from ever reuniting, but in Sue Ellen's heart, she knew that it would never really be over between them. She may not physically be able to tell him how she felt, how she missed him, how she longed for his touch. But in her heart she knew nothing would ever keep her from loving that man for as long as she lived.

Truth be told, she wouldn't want it any other way.

The end