TITLE: Long As I Live

AUTHOR: Court


RATING
: PG-13

SUMMARY: It's New Years Eve 2003, and Bobby is doing some thinking as he watches an old home video.

NOTE: Jake and Susan Donnell are mentioned in this story. Those who read "All I Want for Christmas is You" will remember them as Bobby's relatives.

THANKS TO: Everyone that reads and sends most wonderful feedback on these stories. It's a pleasure to write them, and I hope you like this one.

SONG CREDITS: "My Favorite Mistake" by Sheryl Crow (The Globe Sessions, 1998); "Long As I Live" by John Michael Montgomery (John Michael Montgomery, 1995)

FEEDBACK: Sure, I want it! It's the best! blessed_23_83@yahoo.com

DISCLAIMER: Jake and Susan are mine, but all other characters were created by DEK.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Did you know, when you go...it's the perfect ending...to the bad day I've gotten used to spending...when you go...all I know is you're my favorite mistake...you're my favorite mistake..."

"Ladies, gentlemen...for your entertainment this evening we have Miss Lindsay Dole...or as I like to call her 'the future Mrs. Robert Donnell'...performing her own personal rendition of a Sheryl Crow song..."

"Well, maybe nothin' lasts forever...even when you stay together...I don't need forever after...it's your laughter won't let me go...so I'm holding on this way..."

"Yeah, folks, you just don't get to see stuff like this everyday...luckily, I do..."

"Did you know, could you tell...you were the only one...that I ever loved...now everything's so wrong...did you see me walking by...did it ever make you cry..."

"Couldn't think of a better way to close off the year..."

"You're my favorite mi - WAHH!"

"Ah, there she is. It's about time, sweetheart - I've been shooting your backside for the past two and a half minutes."

"Oh my God, BOBBEEE!!! Turn it OFF!!!"

"Don't stop now, honey -"

"Turn it off," she warns, showing signs of an imminent smile.

"You know, I hear they're auditioning people for Dirty Dancing 2..."

"Turn it off you jerk!" She squeaks, a giggle riddling inside her throat.

"I think that toe-twist-dip move outta at least get you a call back..."

"I'll get you for this!" She vows, shaking her finger at him.

"Oooh - promise?"


Grinning from ear to ear, Bobby chuckles as he watches the image of Lindsay shake from the unsteady eye of the camera. Their laughter takes him back to that night...sweet sounds so familiar to his ear that even a press of the 'mute' button couldn't stop the blissful duet from echoing throughout the room. His heart seems to mimic the same accelerated pace...an invisible feather tickling his naked ankle as her foot had done, sending them to the ground...the plush silk of her hair raining down, showering his face...perfume like vanilla dipped roses lingering still...lips like pink cotton candy in shade and taste marking him hers forever...


=============
=FLASHBACK=
=============

The red light fades out as Bobby's fingers turn to butter, the camera dropping a short distance to the floor beside them. Amused by her delighted expression, he shakes his head with a smile.

"What?" Lindsay asks in a soft voice, her previous heightened tone tamed by their swift progression into the living room.

"Nothing...you're just awfully cute sometimes."

"Cute?"

"Yes, cute..." he pulls her down for a kiss, husking against her lips, "amongst other things..."

Bobby swallows her laugh as they exchange kiss after kiss after kiss. Together they rise as Lindsay sits back on her legs, sighs of a weak struggle puffing from her lips as his mouth teases her neck.

"Bobby..." she whispers amidst his actions in protest.

"Hmm?" he hums carelessly, sliding the blue strap from her shoulder before tasting it.

"I have to cook...and you...mmmm...you need to shower..."

"Later," he insists, eyes glazed over with desire.

"Bob - " he cuts her off with a kiss. "Bobby, it's already seven thirty. Jake and Susan are going to be here in less than an hour."

Much to his misfortune, she continues to pull away. With a dramatic sigh, he stops. "Okay...I guess you're right..."

"I am?"

"Well, at least about one thing."

"Which is?"

"I need to take a shower."

Standing, he reaches his hand out to her. As she takes it, he drags her up and starts for their bedroom.

"Bobby!"

"What?"

"I need to cook!"

Dropping her hand, Bobby walks over to the coffee table and grabs the cordless phone. Without a word or look in her direction, he dials a number and waits for an answer. "Yes, I need an order to be delivered...Bobby Donnell...yes, that's correct...uh, yeah, I'd like a party appetizer sampler and two boxes of Nova chips...that's all...okay, thanks."

Hanging up, he sets the phone back on the table and makes his way back to her. Capturing her hand once more, he ignores the odd look on Lindsay's face and plainly offers, "Forty five minutes."

=================
=END FLASHBACK=
=================


And what a forty five minutes it had been. Slippery and wet, tangled together both physically and emotionally. A feeling so deep that it was impractical to think it couldn't stand the test of time...love so warm and rich that rapture was found by a mere glance into eyes shimmering with devotion. Happiness that swelled within, creating an ache inside that was proof of the power of two souls clinging as one...a connection seemingly carved in stone.

But it wasn't. She was gone, and he had no one but himself to blame for it. The term 'ass' comes to mind in describing a man that lets everything that matters in his life go. Someone had once told him that Lindsay was his only hope...truer words were never spoken. Even now, even though they're no longer together, even though she might not know it, she is there for him in times when the road ahead looks to lead to nothing.

Delicately, hauntingly...the pieces of Lindsay float around him in this place where marvelous love once existed. Their precious son, asleep in the next room...everlasting memories of a divine yesterday and fantasies he covets, longing for them to grace his reality...little things only a lonely heart could recall. Sitting here alone tonight, he wonders if the new year will bring him an answer to his prayers; a second chance.

Bobby was sure Lindsay could notice a change in him...sure that she could see the man she once loved each time their eyes met. She had to know that if it was possible, he would turn back time and do things differently. The harsh experience of superb loss cured his blindness - lies and denial going up in flames. The past couple of months had certainly given him reason to believe she knew: long talks and laughs...stolen moments that eventually led to a kiss just days ago.

Of course, since then, he hasn't seen her. She even got Helen to drop Bobby Junior off at his place. So often her choice when things got rough was to run away and hide. In those instances in the past he had been bitter, but not anymore. He understands that he must cherish every moment...let time and patience bring them back together.


"It's day one of the year two-thousand...the time is - seven o' five a.m...what you're about to see isn't pretty..."

Bobby chuckles as the video now depicts Lindsay's journey through their apartment and into their room. A hand flies to his mouth as she slowly eases herself onto the bed, getting a clear shot of him sprawled out on top of it.

"Now, this is Robert Gordon Donnell at his finest...scary what alcohol'll do to ya...snoring...drool...pretty much the only signs that life is left...Jake, Suse - if you're watching this - thanks..."

The camera's angle changes as Lindsay stands, then jumps up and down on the mattress until her pathetic mate begins to move. Bobby listens as his own voice joins in the fun.

"What the - Lindsay?!"

"Good morning, Sunshine!"

"What is this?!"

"THIS is payback, baby! Now smile for the camera! AHH!"


Lindsay shrieks, collapsing onto him as he snatches her by the waist. Immediately after, the scene ends, a mass of black and white fuzz filling up the screen, only to be replaced by Lucy's face. Before she speaks, the doorbell rings. Pausing it, Bobby moves to answer it. The door is barely open when he freezes.

"Lindsay!"

"Sorry, I know it's late -"

"No, no...it's fine, uh, is everything okay?"

"Yes," she nods, looking at him quite strangely. "I just came by to see Bobby."

"Oh, well, he's asleep, but -"

"I figured, I just wanted to...I thought you'd be up..."

"Yeah," he nods. "Come on in," he gestures for her to walk in front of him, then closes the door. "Let me help you with that," he insists, assisting her with her coat.

"Thanks," she smiles. "I won't be long."

Bobby looks on as she disappears down the hall, giving her a moment before joining her. He couldn't resist; it was something he always had done when opportunity presented itself. There was nothing like watching them together.

Lindsay must have known, he realizes, as the second he appears in the doorway she speaks.

"I lied."

Stepping closer, he whispers. "What?"

"I lied," she repeats, standing and walking over to him. "I didn't come over because of him."

"Then, why did you?"

Lindsay doesn't answer him, instead leaving their son's room with Bobby hot on her trail. Once they reach the living room, she stops in front of the window. Bobby's hand creeps onto her shoulder, rubbing it in a docile manner.

"Why, Lindsay?"

Turning, she murmurs. "You." She looks down, sighing. "Lately...I've been going against myself. I keep thinking about you...what we had. I keep hearing this voice in my head that says forgive him...give him another chance. I know you're sorry...I know you want to make things right and good...like they used to be. But when everything fell apart I swore I'd never give you that...no matter how many times or different ways you apologised...I thought I'd convinced myself that that was the only way I could survive - at a distance...away from you."

Swallowing the lump in his throat, he whispers, "And now?"

"Now, I..." her voice cracks, "you were gone, Bobby...I think I was, too, in a way. But now, when I look at you - it's you again. And I know that I can see you like I did before - maybe even fall again...oh, hell, that's already happened, I guess - that's why I'm here...it's just so hard...so hard not to...no matter how much I try to stop it..."

"What are you saying?"

"I don't know...I - I just...I just feel..."

"Like going with your head?" he teases, touching her cheek.

Lindsay laughs. "All in all it wasn't such a bad choice before I suppose..."

"No..."

"That kiss the other day...I enjoyed it. I really did, Bobby."

"So did I," Bobby says, trying his hardest not to get excited too soon.

"But I'm not ready to jump in all the way..."

"Oh," he looks down, dejected.

"Though, I don't think it would be a terrible idea to take things slow...one day at a time..." Lindsay is taken aback by the startled expression on his face. "That is, if you want to..."

Tears have formed in his eyes she sees as he takes her hand, kissing it affectionately. "More than anything, Lindsay..."

Grinning, she places her hands on either side of his face, pushing up on her toes slightly, kissing him tenderly. He kisses her back much the same way, pulling her close and into his arms. When her eyes reopen, she notices the still picture of Lucy on the television, and lifts her chin from his shoulder.

"Bobby?"

"Hmm?"

Lindsay slides out of his embrace and points toward the TV. "What is that?"

"Um," Bobby turns around. "I'm not sure, but I think it's from our wedding night. It's the tape -"

"With me singing?"

"Right," he blushes.

"So, that's how you've been entertaining yourself this evening, huh? Did you have fun?"

"Not really..." taking her hand in his, he squeezes it lightly. "But now..."

They share a smile, Lindsay's appreciation for the comment obvious. "Let's see about this," she says as they sit down on the sofa. "I can't believe we never watched it."

Bobby starts the tape again, and both sit ready for something good.


"Hi Bobby. Hi Lindsay. Wow, it seems just like yesterday that I was watching you guys suck face through Bobby's office window!"


"What?!" Lindsay demands, as if Lucy were in the room with them.

"Come on, should we really be that surprised?"

"I guess not," she giggles.


"Uh, which I'm sure you didn't know about - but Helen was there, too!!"


"Now, that I don't doubt," Bobby grumbles.


"Anyway, you guys are like the greatest couple I know. And since the rest of the group is camera shy and Helen won't stop crying, I'll speak for all of us in saying we love you and wish you all the happiness in the world. Congratulations." Lucy looks away briefly, then back. "Hey Jimmy - get that! Over there! Awe!"

The Donnells' dance in their own private corner, lost in one another as the music plays a fitting ballad. His lips brush her forehead; she sighs in complete and utter contentment. It was page one of the best chapter of their lives.


"That was an amazing night..." Lindsay declares.

"Yeah..." Bobby accedes.

"The girls were smart to pick the office for the reception...it was pretty perfect I think..."

"It's where it all began..."


====================
=FLASHBACK SERIES=
====================

~The world's been spinning 'round since time began~
~An' when it stops, it's out of my hands~
~So I could swear forever for all it's worth~
~Or give you every day I have on Earth~


Shivers rush down her spine against his touch...his fingers tracing up and down her neck so softly. Blue eyes scream desire...telling her he really isn't sorry. Electricity and fire and passion and all the things she knows shouldn't but does in fact exist between them wear down her will power. Somehow he must have read her mind, she speculates, as he lowers his mouth to hers. Wrong? No...how could something like this be wrong? It was real. It was right. Maybe even love?


~Long as I live~
~Long as I breathe~
~With every heartbeat~
~I'll need you near me~
~I won't leave you behind~
~'Til the Lord says it's time to go with him~
~I'm yours long as I live~


It was love. A feeling so profound she could no longer see what might go wrong...all there was was light and magic and the perfection of his mouth dancing with hers. Holding each other close...never wanting to let go again. They were drawn to each other...destined to be partners...fate's hands driving them home.


~No matter if there's mountains you can't move~
~Or harder times then you thought you'd go through~
~And the weight of your world's too much to bear~
~Just remember I'll always be there~


"I love you..." he gushes, eyes of stars and words of a man in awe. Leaning over her, he kisses her with all the feeling he has inside. Lighthearted giggles and sighs of promises and devotion...the ground miles away. A thumb fumbles with the glittering rock circling her finger, twisting it about as if to make sure it wasn't a dream. But it was - it was a dream come true. She said "yes."


~Long as I live~
~Long as I breathe~
~With every heartbeat~
~I'll need you near me~
~I won't leave you behind~
~'Til the Lord says it's time to go with him~
~I'm yours long as I live~


========================
=END FLASHBACK SERIES=
========================


"Okay...now this is the first shot of mommy...just a month in term...isn't she beautiful?"

A new live-memory plays before them, Bobby's cheerful voice narrating as he zooms in on Lindsay's adoring face. Abruptly, the focus moves to his free hand, which he uses to raise her shirt from her belly.

"Now, at the moment it looks like there's nothing in there, but just wait a few months...OUCH!"

"I think it's time to switch to daddy," Lindsay says, annoyed, Bobby soon taking her place as the camera obtains a new controller.

"Beware of mommy's books," Bobby groans, rubbing his forehead.

"Okay, this is your father...just remember, he's the reason why I was screaming when we first met..."

"Ha, ha...come here, you!"

Both in the picture now, the pillows of their bed cushion their fall, Bobby covering Lindsay in kisses. When they part, they look toward the camera with matching grins.

"We love you," Lindsay says for herself and her husband.

"I love you," Bobby tells her, now looking her way.

"I love you," she soughs, accepting his kiss. "Hmm-mm" she laughs as he keeps on.

"Byyye," he waves his fingers, speaking in an animated voice.


~The moon and stars aren't mine to give~
~Neither is eternity~
~But I'll give you a promise tonight~
~That I can keep~


Lindsay pats Bobby's knee as he shuts the VCR off. Happy home movies make room for a wild New Year's party; the thousands of guests 'rockin' Times Square chant the countdown to a new and hopefully better new year.


"Just twenty seconds until two thousand four..."


"So, do you have any big plans for the new year, Bobby?"

Snuggling closer, he nods. "I think so..."

"Me too..."


"Ten...nine...eight...seven...six...five...four...three...two...one..."


"Happy New Year, Lindsay."

"Happy New Year, Bobby."

They kiss, nuzzling their noses before Lindsay lays her head on his chest. Hearts and minds at ease...souls resting peacefully as bodies revel in the blessed splendor of reunion. A new year, a new day, a new beginning.


~Long as I live~
~Long as I breathe~
~With every heartbeat~
~I'll need you near me~
~I won't leave you behind~
~'Til the Lord says it's time to go with him~
~I'm yours long as I live~
~I'm yours long as I live~



~THE END~

Thanks for reading!