1. Show your support for DALLAS in the battle of the soaps

    The Dance Scenes

    Click here for more details
    Dismiss Notice

The Cowboy and the Lady

Discussion in 'Dallas Writers Room' started by Ray&Donna, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

    Messages:
    1,849
    Likes Received:
    3,388
    Trophy Points:
    3,621
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Sweden
    Original Member Since:
    September 2004
    Excellent update Tommie! :best:
    There's so much I loved about it. Clayton and Ray having lunch after being to the cattle auction in Fort Worth and their conversation was just like something out of the classic Dallas. :clap:The news broadcast was so 1988. It sounded autenthic and loved the detail about the rumoured duet between MJ and Whitney Houston. Such a great little detail and I think it's pretty accurrate too as I've heard that rumor before. Also the perfect place for Ray to find out that Donna is running for governor. Then Clayton's suggestion they should get back together. Loved how Ray called it penguin suit too! :laughs:

    A question though, what's cabin fever?
    I've never heard that expression before.
     
    Ray&Donna and Ms Southworth like this.
  2. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    689
    Likes Received:
    917
    Trophy Points:
    480
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Dallas Wonderland
    A few hints about the expression, cabin fever, @Karin Schill! :)

    Miss Ellie was fuzzing over Clayton because of his medical history. She didn't give him much "space" and he felt "confined", which ended up giving him what's referred to as cabin fever. You can get cabin fever when you're "forced" to stay in a small or confined place longer than you're comfortable with. It's about the same as feeling claustrophobic. :)

    No wonder Clayton enjoyed going out with Ray, right? :D
     
    Ray&Donna likes this.
  3. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat Well-Known Member 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    988
    Trophy Points:
    1,984
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Kentucky, USA
    Original Member Since:
    January 2006
    Thanks for explaining cabin fever. I forget that some of our American colloquialisms don't translate to non-native speakers! :)

    ***

    “Ellie?” It was nearly dark by the time Clayton arrived home, having spent the entire rest of the afternoon with Ray inspecting their horses. There were some gifted colts, but overall Clayton was so beleaguered with the recovery from his heart ailment that it was hard to work up the necessary enthusiasm. It had been a relief when Ray finally offered to drive him home. He walked toward the living room, where he found his wife. He was so lucky to have found love for a second time; after Amy had died, he fully expected to grow old alone. It wasn’t as though Dusty ever spent much time at the Southern Cross, so it hadn’t been that hard to let go. He had created plenty of wonderful memories with the second Mrs. Farlow. “Are you here alone?” he asked, finding her watching sitcom reruns on television. She turned to him and smiled—her smile was so warm and sweet that it never failed to life his spirits.

    “No, the boys are asleep upstairs. J.R. is out somewhere, and Sue Ellen is on a business trip. I missed you today,” she said, and he leaned down to kiss her gently.

    “Have you seen the news?” he asked, figuring that even if she hadn’t heard it on TV or the radio, someone like Punk or Mavis, or even Linda Bradley from the DOA, might call and spill the beans.

    “Yes,” she said, her expression a welter of concern. “I had no idea she was back in the state. We hadn’t talked since you came home from the hospital. I would love to see her.”

    “As would I, Ellie, but so far she’s only been to see Ray. He’s rather upset about the whole thing.”

    “I would imagine so,” she replied sadly. “I just don’t know about those two. Within the family, only Bobby and Pam had a comparable love. Ray and Donna were crazy about one another. They stood together through so many triumphs and tragedies. For them to split up without so much as a fight just never made any sense. Perhaps I could speak with each of them again?”

    “I wouldn’t at the moment, Ellie. Ray is going to need some time to cool down. You might have better luck reaching Donna, though. If she plans to put herself in the firing line of a governor’s race, she’s going to need all the support she can get.”

    “Yes, I suppose you’re right.” She glanced down at her hands and then back up to him, smiling brightly. “I’m glad you’re here—one of my favorite movies is on tonight!”

    “Is that so?” he asked. Clayton knew how much Ellie loved watching films from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

    “Yes, SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS airs at 8 PM. I just hope I can stay awake.”

    He led her to the couch and they sat down. “I’ll keep you company, my dear.” She rested her head on his shoulder, and for the moment all was right with the world.

    ***

    “Mrs. Krebbs, would you like me to stay a few minutes longer?”

    “Please, Angela,” Donna replied. “Thank you for taking Margaret to see her new pediatrician today.” It had been reassuring to learn that Dr. Danvers actually had a son who worked as a pediatrician—Ross Danvers was as kind and conscientious as his father. The rest of the day, however, had been baptism-by-fire. Someone had let the cat out of the bag about her candidacy, and she’d spent most of the day fielding calls—some positive, others not so much. There were people begging for interviews, magazine articles, photo shoots and speeches; she could only hope that Bond and Williamson were going to find her one heck of a campaign manager and publicist, because the level of interest wasn’t comparable to anything she could ever remember experiencing outside of Sam’s funeral. For now, though, all she wanted to do was take off her shoes and read Margaret a bedtime story. Not so fast, Donna, a voice told her as a sharp knock sounded at the front door. Thankfully Angela went to check on it, though the sound of boot heels on the hardwood floor gave her visitor away with frightening quickness. She lifted to her feet as Ray emerged through the doorway to the living room, mad as a hornet. Thankfully Angela had the foresight to slip away to the kitchen.

    “Ray…” she said, standing to meet him before he could find something to break. His jaw was tight and she could almost hear the sound of his teeth grinding together. His eyes had the look of a hunter, but without the lust she remembered so well. “It’s good to see you.”

    “You used me,” he said, teeth clamped together in anger. “You pretended to come see me to catch up on old times and say you’re sorry, but really all you were looking for was some balm for your conscience—or perhaps a babysitter? Honey, I love my daughter but I won’t be her substitute parent while you hobnob from Texarkana to El Paso with a bunch of stuffed shirts and people who look down their nose at everyone who does an honest day’s work. You barked up the wrong tree this time, lady. I can think of one cowboy who’s done with you and wishes you’d hop on the first plane back to Washington.”

    “Ray, please,” she implored him, wishing he would give her time to make her case. “There was nothing at all disingenuous in my coming to see you.” He looked away from her, his jaw bunching as he stared toward the interior wall. “Out of everybody I could have talked to once they asked me to consider running for governor, you were the one I wanted to see the most. That’s how it always was with us, Ray—if something good happened, we wanted to share it with each other. I know you resented that sometimes, and I agonized over it.” She watched his face soften a bit, though he still kept his blue eyes pointed away from her. “We have an opportunity now to parent our daughter together, the way it should be. Please don’t let Margaret suffer just because you’re mad at me.”

    His chin lifted and he sighed. “It’s so hard to be mad at you,” he said quietly, “because you’re here, and I never thought that would happen again.” He turned and met her gaze, his eyes filled with sadness. “Why did you have to do it, Donna? Why did you have to hurt me again?”

    Her heart broke for him, and the pieces sank into the knot formerly known as her stomach. Why did he always have to be so stubborn? Why did he always take her actions so personally?

    Why did Ray Krebbs still have such an effect on her, emotionally and physically? Hadn’t she divorced him in order to put all of those feelings behind her? It seemed she was learning the hard way what so many before her had—legal documents and court decisions played a very small role in matters of the heart.

    She reached out her hand to rest it atop his right shoulder—he didn’t recoil, which she took as a good sign—and tried to find the words to apologize without actually pretending like she didn’t relish the opportunity to govern the second-largest state in the greatest country in the world. “Ray, this decision has everything to do with my dream of helping people, and making Texas a better place to grow up not only for Margaret but also everyone’s children. I want to rebuild the economy but preserve the land; I want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to be healthy and attain the level of economic security they desire; I want to hold some of those crooked bankers accountable, and I want for you not to be angry with me.” She gave his strong shoulder a gentle squeeze. “Please, Ray—think about our past and our future and consider if you want to be angry with your child’s mother.”

    “I was thinking about Aunt Lil the other night, after your visit; thinking about how much she loved us together and how disappointed she would be to know we’d busted up.”

    “I sent her a picture of Margaret,” Donna revealed, “but I didn’t include the return address, and I didn’t tell her I was living in Washington. I guess I didn’t want to disappoint her, either.”

    “It would be nice to see her again,” Ray said, “when things calm down. You know that Clayton and I are still trying to get our cutting horse business going.”

    “How is he doing?” she asked, upset that she hadn’t called Miss Ellie to check on her friends and former family.

    “Still gets tired easy,” he replied, giving her a faint smile, “but he knows a good horse when he sees one.”

    “So do you,” Donna reminded him. “You might not have liked paperwork, but you were an excellent foreman of Southfork. I always hoped you’d realize someday how amazing you are.”

    “I’m a failure at love and marriage, though.” He frowned, the earlier anger dissipating until it was replaced by a palpable sense of melancholy. “I let the best thing that ever happened to me get away.”

    “I’m not trying to patronize you,” she began, wishing so badly that she could touch his forehead and brush away the lock of wayward silver hair. “The expression, ‘it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all’ might sound trite, but it’s completely accurate. Imagine our lives now if we’d never met. I’d be a lonely widow, probably happy just to babysit Dave’s children. Then they’d grow up and I’d grow old alone, and have nothing but a houseful of antiques I didn’t need and money I didn’t care about.”

    “You would have done something great with your life, Donna,” he mumbled. “I would be the lonely one, hanging out in bars and still living in the bunkhouse. Or I would have left Southfork and Texas and never found out Jock was my father. I wouldn’t have had those relationships with my family, for better or worse, and I wouldn’t have a beautiful daughter.” Ray gave her a tight smile. “I’ve probably overstayed my welcome,” he said, glancing toward the door. “I’m still upset, but it’s just my pride getting in the way again.” He leaned in for a goodnight kiss before stopping himself. Donna found herself bereft; she would have accepted anything, even a kiss on the cheek. Instead he pulled away, smiled clumsily, and they said goodnight verbally. Once he was gone, she felt as though the fight had gone out of her. If she became this tired after a verbal sparring match with Ray, how was she going to handle a year on the campaign trail? Perhaps Dr. Danvers would prescribe some vitamins or a sleep aid. For now, she needed her rest. She sent Angela home and checked on Margaret once more before falling into a restful slumber.
     
  4. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    689
    Likes Received:
    917
    Trophy Points:
    480
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Dallas Wonderland
    Two very powerful and unforgettable scenes with Miss Ellie & Clayton and Donna & Ray - all in one update! :bravo: :fantastic: :thank:

    10 out of 10 points from me! :10::10::10::10::10::10::10::10:

    I'm still amazed at how incredible and precise your descriptions of their persona is! :yep: I love all the details! :jolly: It's just like watching it unfold on CBS years ago! :wink@ The way that you're able to put the love and respect that they always felt for each other down on paper is simply OUTSTANDING! :kiss::kiss::kiss::kiss::kiss:
    Please update again real soon, @Ray&Donna ! :best:
     
    Ray&Donna likes this.
  5. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

    Messages:
    1,849
    Likes Received:
    3,388
    Trophy Points:
    3,621
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Sweden
    Original Member Since:
    September 2004
    Another great update. Cute Miss Ellie & Clayton scene. I loved how they were going to watch that Howard Keel Movie. Nice intertextual reference you've got going there! ;)

    Also love the Donna & Ray scene how angry he was and how much emotions that are still there lingering underneath the surface. Love how he was about to kiss her goodnight before leaving and only stopped himself at the last moment.

    @Ms Southworth Tommie is a great writer. You should try reading one of his published novels! :hat:
     
    Ray&Donna and Ms Southworth like this.
  6. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    689
    Likes Received:
    917
    Trophy Points:
    480
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Dallas Wonderland
    @Ray&Donna, if what Karin just wrote is true, you really must share the titles of the books that you've gotten published! I would love to read more of your work! :spinning::kiss::spinning::kiss: :spinning:
     
    Ray&Donna likes this.
  7. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat Well-Known Member 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    988
    Trophy Points:
    1,984
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Kentucky, USA
    Original Member Since:
    January 2006
    The next morning Donna had fed breakfast to both Margaret and herself and was sitting at the table outlining a list of organizations she would like to speak to as part of her campaign when the doorbell rang. She wasn’t expecting anyone but was grateful to see Miss Ellie at the front door. Marrying Ray had plenty of benefits—great sex and all-consuming love among them—but she’d also become Miss Ellie’s closest ally within the family. She opened the front door and the two women exchanged a hug.

    “I apologize for dropping by unannounced,” Miss Ellie said, “but once I heard you were home I just couldn’t help myself.”

    Donna put an arm around her and led her toward the kitchen. “No need to apologize, ma’am,” she replied. “Besides, you would naturally want to see your granddaughter.”

    “Yes, of course.” She smiled as she saw Margaret in the high chair. “Oh, how beautiful! I haven’t gotten to feed a little girl since Lucy was a baby. When you and Ray divorced before she was born, I figured I had missed my chance. Hello!” she said, taking a seat next to Margaret’s high chair. The baby cooed and Miss Ellie oohed and ahhed over her blonde ringlets and blue eyes. “You’ve seen Ray since your return?”

    “Yes ma’am, though he hasn’t seen Margaret. When he came by last night, she was asleep and he wasn’t much interested in polite conversation.”

    Miss Ellie shot her a look of concern. “I hope he wasn’t too angry with you.”

    Donna sighed. It was impossible to hide anything from Miss Ellie, though countless Ewings had tried over the years. “He was at first—mad enough to spit nails, you might say—but then he seemed to soften and we talked like we had the night before. He’s different now, Miss Ellie. You can tell that he has a lot of regrets to supplement his self-doubt.”

    “Yes, his relationship with Jenna really didn’t help matters. He used her to replace you, and she used him to replace Bobby.” Her expression saddened and Donna empathized with her. Bobby had been her first friend in the family, before she ever met the rest of them. “I hope my son comes back to me,” she said, tears forming in her eyes.

    Donna sat down in the adjacent chair and took her hand. “I was so sorry to hear about Pam,” she said, thinking about how horrible it must have been to almost lose her in the accident and then have her kidnapped from the hospital. Some of the things that went on within the Ewing and Barnes families definitely made her glad to be an only child.

    “Yes, it has been a great tragedy for the entire family. I am doing my best to take care of Christopher and to hold the family together, but Clayton has been unwell, Bobby and Pam are in parts unknown, and J.R. and Sue Ellen seem to have their own priorities these days. The breakfast table is empty more often than not now, and I start to wonder if Jock was wrong in his desire to have the family live together. But I’m just prattling on. How have you been, Donna?”

    She provided her best smile, though it felt very fragile. “Well, Andrew and I parted amicably, and I knew that I couldn’t remain in Washington anymore. Honestly, I didn’t want to. I wanted to be close to my family, even if it wasn’t necessarily the same as before…”

    “You’ll always be family, Donna,” Miss Ellie assured her.

    “Thank you,” she said, her smile less brittle now. “I never wanted to keep Ray from his daughter, or Margaret from her family. But with Jenna in his orbit, it just seemed easier to put Dallas behind me for good. The best laid plans, right? This is where I need to be, though. But the offer to run for governor was sprung on me after I decided to return. I had no clue what Dave wanted when he called that meeting.” She looked at Margaret’s happy expression and found herself relaxing now. “I wasn’t sure at first that I wanted to get back into politics, but it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.” Margaret gave her a limp wave and grin and Donna waved back. “I don’t think Ray saw it the same way, though. That’s our problem, I guess—love without compromise. I just hope I made the right decision when I told the men yes.”

    “I think you’ll make a wonderful governor,” Miss Ellie replied with a smile. “I’m sure all of the Ewings—and Farlows—would be happy to vote for you.”

    “Even J.R.?” Donna asked dryly.

    “Even J.R.,” Miss Ellie assured her with a smile. “Would you be interested in speaking to the DOA?”

    “Absolutely,” she replied. “I was just making a list of organizations to speak to before you arrived,” she continued, glancing at her abandoned legal pad, “though I’m sure the chairman, head of fundraising, and campaign manager will have their own list of fundraisers and public events for me to attend. It’s a big undertaking, ma’am.”

    “But if anyone can do it, you can. With that in mind, is there anything I might do to help?”

    Donna frowned. “I wish I could say yes, but outside of the DOA I’m not sure. This is meant to stay between the two of us, Miss Ellie, but the men I spoke with requested that the Ewings play a minimal role in my campaign. I would gladly have you and Clayton at my events, Bobby and Pam if they were here, and Ray if he liked that sort of thing, but the name ‘Ewing’ isn’t looked upon favorably amongst Texans these days, especially those in financial and political power.

    “I don’t regret keeping your sons out of jail, but I do wish J.R. hadn’t taken it upon himself to hire a mercenary and then lie to the FBI about it. I guess he didn’t have much confidence in my lobbying abilities.”

    “He put all of us in a difficult position,” Miss Ellie noted, looking past her shoulder and frowning. “I guess I should have seen it coming that time he mortgaged Southfork. He would do anything to grow Ewing Oil, the consequences be damned. At least now we don’t have to worry about John Ross and Christopher fighting over the company in the future,” she said, the warm smile returning to her face. She glanced at Donna and laughed. “Perhaps Margaret will be the entrepreneur in the family someday.”

    “She’s definitely smart enough,” Donna agreed. She waved a finger at her daughter who giggled. Miss Ellie had Margaret’s left fist wrapped around her index finger. The infant was so happy that no one would ever have guessed at the upheaval her family had gone through within the past year. Babies were lucky, she thought. They were blissfully ignorant, and for the most part you could easily satisfy their needs.

    “Would you like to stay for lunch?” she asked Miss Ellie, who confirmed that she would. “I might have Angela order something, though—I really have a hankering for eating restaurant food without actually having to leave the house.”

    Miss Ellie laughed. “Your face is a famous one, and soon to become more so.”
     
    Karin Schill and Ms Southworth like this.
  8. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    689
    Likes Received:
    917
    Trophy Points:
    480
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Dallas Wonderland
    Wonderful update! :jolly: I loved the conversation between Donna and Miss Ellie! Even though it's been a long time since they've seen each other, they immediately managed to find their way "back"! Their relationship has a strong foundation built on love and mutual respect! :wink@

    I hope that Miss Ellie will get to see much more of Margaret now that Donna is back in Dallas for good! I also hope that we will soon learn what's going on with Pam and Bobby! But more than anything else, I wish for more encounters between Donna and Ray, so that nature can begin to take its course! :kiss:

    Please update soon! :best:
     
    Ray&Donna likes this.
  9. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat Well-Known Member 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    988
    Trophy Points:
    1,984
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Kentucky, USA
    Original Member Since:
    January 2006
    Living in Texas certainly didn’t preclude cold weather, especially in late autumn, and as such Ray pulled his collar up closer to his ears and pushed the hat lower atop his head that morning when he headed into the barn to check on his foals. It was excellent foresight that he’d stocked the barn with extra hay, because the horses would burn through it with lightning quickness. Clayton had been feeling better later and Ray was glad that come the spring, they would be able to pursue their business dreams.

    He’d seen Donna’s press conference on television, the official announcement of her candidacy, but otherwise they hadn’t spoken since the night he stormed her house in anger. He still had mixed feelings about the entire thing; he wanted to be a part of his daughter’s life, but Austin was such a world away from Braddock that it might as well have been Washington, D.C. Ray wasn’t great at sorting through his emotions, and never had been—it was little wonder that he and Donna, so in touch with her own feelings and those of others—hadn’t been able to make it work. He still loved her—probably always would—but it was clear they were, yet again, moving in different directions.

    After he made sure the horses were in good shape and the barn was secure, he returned to the house. As soon as he’d closed the back door, the interior’s warmth hit him in the face. He removed his coat and work boots, and headed for the living room. He grabbed a few dead sticks of wood, and then some dry tinder, and added them to the fireplace. He grabbed a match, started the fire, and warmed his hands in front of it. He would wait a few minutes before he stoked it. For now, he had some mail and papers to sort through.

    It was still weird to not be the head ramrod at Southfork. His days were much shorter now and his tasks fewer, though he had the added responsibility of making sure all of his bills and receipts were accounted for, especially come tax time each year. Most of the money he’d gotten from selling his share of Ewing Oil before the shutdown had been spent on getting the cutting horse operation up and running, so rather than paying on that income he should be able to deduct the expenses. He shook his head and laughed at himself—in the past he’d made it clear that he didn’t care about the material things money could buy, but here he was, thinking about how to get a break on his taxes for the next year.

    Next year—election year—the year his ex-wife, the love of his life, could become governor of Texas. What would people say about him then? “You let her get away? Are you crazy?” Ray had to admit to himself that he probably was. He was too stubborn, she was too driven to succeed, and it never could have worked.

    “I love you. I’m sorry that’s not enough.”

    He pushed the chair back, stood up, and grabbed the fire poker. He jabbed at the wood that was turning slowly into bits of charcoal, trying to make sure every bit of tinder was captured by the flame, but also careful to make sure no embers escaped the hearth. He leaned on the mantel and sighed. He really should just head down to the bar and pick up a woman, take her to a cheap motel, and get Donna and every other woman who had loved and left him out of his mind. He realized though, with the maturity and wisdom that only comes with age and experience, that it would leave him feeling cheap and worthless to get drunk and screw the first thing that came on to him. He was much too old for the bar scene anyway. He needed to be with a woman whose eyes wouldn’t glaze over as soon as he mentioned what it was he did for a living, one who wouldn’t begin to snore if he talked about the price of cattle in Fort Worth. Donna had always listened intently to him talk about horses and cattle, or ranching or hunting or fishing, and any myriad number of topics that interested him. It didn’t matter if she was tired from a long day of TEC business or a book signing, or helping Dave with a fundraiser; she would always take time to focus her attention solely on him. He missed that more than he ever realized he would. Even if they didn’t necessarily share the same interests, she had been willing and even eager to listen to him talk, but he sometimes he refused to reciprocate. She could mention land management and he would either zone out or grab his hat and head for the door. Not exactly the path to a solid marriage.

    Both tired of and angry at feeling sorry for himself, he decided to sit down on the couch and polish his boots. He knew that J.R. was still out of town, and Sue Ellen was busy with her company as well as some DOA stuff, so Ray decided he would spend some time with Miss Ellie and Clayton, help them if they needed him to run errands or with anything small around the house, and have dinner there that evening. At least John Ross and Christopher wouldn’t play pranks at the table. Hopefully, he thought with a smile.
     
    Karin Schill and Ms Southworth like this.
  10. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    689
    Likes Received:
    917
    Trophy Points:
    480
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Dallas Wonderland
    I love all the detailed insight you provided us with in the latest update! :spinning: :jolly: :spinning:

    Definitely an update that deserves 10 out of 10 points! :10::10::10::10:

    Please give us much more of this! :wink@ I love this fanfic about Ray and Donna! :kiss: :kiss: :kiss:
     
    Ray&Donna likes this.
  11. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

    Messages:
    1,849
    Likes Received:
    3,388
    Trophy Points:
    3,621
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Sweden
    Original Member Since:
    September 2004
    Great updates Tommie. :)
    I love the Miss Ellie and Donna bonding with baby Margaret in the room.
    Also great introspection on Ray's part where he thought back on what went wrong between him and Donna.


    It is true, I've read one of his books earlier this year. If you are interested you can check out his author's page on amazon:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tommie-Conrad/e/B009KNDQMW/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1494670024&sr=1-2-ent

    I hope you don't mind me doing this Tommie. Just thought your books are great and can recommend them to others. :yep:
     
    Ray&Donna and Ms Southworth like this.
  12. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    689
    Likes Received:
    917
    Trophy Points:
    480
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Dallas Wonderland
    He sent me a link on my wall several days ago (along with a nice note)! :dance: So far, I'm having a hard time deciding which of his books to buy! :wink@
     
    Ray&Donna and Karin Schill like this.
  13. Mrs Bobby James Ewing

    Mrs Bobby James Ewing Soap Chat Active Member

    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    472
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Gender:
    Female
    Great updates Ray&Donna. :) I love your new Ray&Donna story so much.:) Your story is so much better than the last 4 years of original Dallas. :) I definitely plan to read one of your books in the future. :)Please update your story again soon because I want an update about Bobby's search for Pam. :)
     
  14. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat Well-Known Member 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    988
    Trophy Points:
    1,984
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Kentucky, USA
    Original Member Since:
    January 2006
    @Karin Schill I have no problem with you promoting my novels. Heaven knows I am pitiful when it comes to self-promotion!

    ***

    Donna looked at the building, not frowning but not exactly smiling either, and turned to the man standing on her left. It was two stories, covered in red brick, and looked more like a bank than what its intended purpose was. “Are you sure this is the one?”

    “Of course,” replied her campaign manager, Garner Simmons, in regard to the structure he had rented to serve as her campaign headquarters. It was located in Arlington, nearly halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth. It was like traveling from the old west to the modern west, she thought to herself, to go from one city to the other. Oh, she had loved visiting Fort Worth with Ray, relaxing and letting her hair down while they kicked up their heels at one nightspot or another. It always helped to know that he was going home with her, regardless of how many lonely cowgirls glanced his way. It could be bothersome, but not at all surprising, how every place she went in the area—restaurants, shops, clubs, or even Dallas City Hall—would bring to mind something she had experienced in the halcyon days of her marriage. “This is prime real estate, and since the other party has yet to nominate anyone, you’ve got a major jump on the competition.”

    “Perhaps Donna is having second thoughts about all of this,” Dave suggested. Silently she agreed with him; she’d never been wishy-washy but she had a daughter to think of now, and things were still unsettled with Ray. She wanted to make a genuine difference in the state though, and commissioners and lobbyists could only do so much. As governor, she could finally enact real change at both the state and local levels. She could improve the present and make the future better; Dave and his fellow senator, Ben Thompson, would have an ally in Austin rather than an adversary.

    “It’s just so much larger than your first campaign headquarters,” she assured him. “That small office in Dallas was more like a dentist’s waiting room than the launching pad for your career.”

    “Our resources were more limited back then,” he reminded her. “Voters have become more receptive for the need to grow businesses while protecting the environment for future generations. And with what’s happened to both the banking and oil industries the past few years, you are definitely in a position to make things happen.”

    Donna smiled at him. “It would be so much easier for all of us if getting things done in Washington wasn’t like trying to climb a mountain with roller skates.”

    Garner laughed. “Amen to that.” He pointed toward the building, holding out a key. “Shall we venture inside?”

    Both of them nodded. If this was to be Donna’s main habitat for the next twelve months, she really needed to get the rooms organized and a staff hired. It would also help if she could get some volunteers to commit, the kind of people who were highly motivated but wouldn’t mind working free of charge.

    ***

    Sue Ellen Ewing sat in the office at Southfork and glanced over some sketches for Valentine’s new collection. It actually seemed as though the designer she’d solicited input from was trying to make the lingerie less sexy, which felt counterintuitive to her. She put check marks on two she liked but thought could use improvement, and marked the letter X on the ideas she wanted to cull. She looked up and sighed. Her husband was never at home anymore; she might just as well have been a single parent to John Ross. With Bobby and Pam gone, she and Miss Ellie were both acting as surrogate mothers to Christopher, who had no idea that, despite his adoption, was in reality her nephew and the only blood relative aside from her son that she ever cared to see. She was just about to head to the kitchen for a glass of tea when her mother-in-law pecked on the door jamb.

    “Might I speak to you for a moment, Sue Ellen, as long as I’m not interrupting anything?”

    “Of course, Miss Ellie.” She looked at the only real mother she’d ever known—Patricia hardly counted as a maternal influence—and smiled. “I was just finishing up.”

    Miss Ellie walked into the room that had been Jock’s home office for many years and since his death had been used by nearly every family member at one point or another. Because of the fire the walls and furnishings were different, but she could still feel his presence in the room. She took a seat in the soft, red gingham chair that she knew would have made him curse had he lived long enough to see it purchased. “Thank you for joining us for dinner tonight,” she said, hedging a bit on her real purpose for being there. “I’m glad you stayed home because I really wanted to discuss something with you.”

    “Okay,” she replied, folding her hands together atop the desk. Sue Ellen still felt kind of odd running a successful company when for so much of her adult life she had lived as a trophy that J.R. either ignored or tarnished with his behavior. Valentine Lingerie had given her a purpose though, and for the first time since winning Miss Texas she actually felt good about herself. She had grown confident in her abilities and was now capable of going toe-to-toe with any man or woman in a business meeting. She had been interviewed on talk shows and appeared on magazine covers. In some ways her success had helped to overshadow the shuttering of Ewing Oil, though the family dynamics had been forever altered. With Pam gone, female camaraderie had been limited to Miss Ellie and their meetings with the ladies of the DOA. It was very different from how it had been ten years earlier; she no longer had to sneak drinks to get through a meeting; more often than not she led the discussion and chaired the fundraising efforts. She brought in speakers and worked on volunteer projects. Not since Donna left for Washington had the organization been so energized and involved in its community. “Is this business or family related,” she asked.

    “A little of both,” Miss Ellie replied. “You’ve heard that Donna has returned and is running for governor of Texas?”

    “Yes,” Sue Ellen replied with a nod. They hadn’t much in common aside from their marriages to brothers, but she had always admired Donna for possessing the qualities she envied in others: self-confidence, self-reliance, and the ability to not be defined by her marriage. Within the family, only Lucy was as good as cutting J.R. down to size with a single retort. But Donna had been destined for bigger and better things, so it had come as little surprise when she and Ray finally dissolved their relationship and marriage, and Donna left the dust of Braddock behind for Capitol Hill. And now she was back, still driven to succeed but living in Dallas again. She could only imagine what Ray’s response must have been—or her husband’s, for that matter. Perhaps John Ross and Christopher would be able to grow up with their cousin Margaret, since Lucy had been so many years their senior and very much a woman by the time they were born.

    “I would like for the DOA to invite her to give a speech on women’s issues,” Miss Ellie told her. “She is very much interested in getting some perspectives from her old friends, and I can imagine they’d enjoy seeing her, too.”

    Sue Ellen nodded. “You would like me to send the invitation.” Miss Ellie nodded. “I guess I’ll have to get in contact with her campaign manager, since they seem to be the gatekeeper for those kinds of things.”

    “Good,” Ellie replied. “I’m so glad you’ve taken charge of things lately, especially with Clayton’s illness and Pam’s kidnapping. You’ve been a big help to me,” she finished, conveying the sentiment with a warm smile. What Miss Ellie didn’t know, and that Sue Ellen couldn’t possibly hope to verbalize, was that the added responsibility had been a huge blessing to her, too. With so few relatives living at home these days, she was glad to do anything she could to keep the family together. She could only hope that she wouldn’t return to her position as an outsider once Bobby and, hopefully Pam, arrived home.
     
  15. superman fan

    superman fan Soap Chat Active Member 5 Years on Soap Chat

    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    336
    Trophy Points:
    881
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    usa
    Original Member Since:
    September 2007
  16. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    689
    Likes Received:
    917
    Trophy Points:
    480
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Dallas Wonderland
    Great update! :clap: I loved all the different aspects that ran through Donna's mind as she was about to check out the building that will become her head quarter! :danc: Also, I really enjoyed the scene with Sue Ellen. Hopefully, things will work out for everyone! :dance:

    Please update soon! :bravo:
     
    Karin Schill and Ray&Donna like this.
  17. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat Well-Known Member 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    988
    Trophy Points:
    1,984
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Kentucky, USA
    Original Member Since:
    January 2006
    Within the first week Donna had spoken to the Rotary Club, the Ladies’ Auxiliary, and a group of eager and consistent party donors. Her next appearance would be with the Daughters of the Alamo, and to say she was nervous was an understatement. The women were friends and acquaintances, but sometimes that was the most difficult audience to approach: one who knew you faults and all. It wasn’t unlike the visit she’d had with Ray shortly after her return to Texas; the amount of history between them could fill a few volumes, and that was just the early years.

    “You’ll do great,” Garner assured her. “These are your people, and you’ll have them eating out of your hand in no time.”

    “I hope so,” Donna answered without confidence. She was looking over her speech and made a strikethrough on a line that sounded better on paper than it would when delivered verbally. “These are the most important women in all of Dallas and Fort Worth. Where these women go, others follow. Well, except Marilee Stone. But I don’t even know how active she is these days. I’m getting off track, though.” She glanced up at her campaign manager. His credentials were excellent but sometimes she found him incredibly naïve, especially when it came to the real-world implications of certain ideas or opinions she might express, or promises he wanted her to make. None of that mattered at the moment, though. For now she needed to keep polishing her speech; if she began to lose her footing during the event, she could count on Miss Ellie or Sue Ellen to redirect the proceedings and throw her a lifeline.

    As fate would have it, the day of Donna’s speech was also the day Margaret started teething. Dealing with a fractious baby was comparable to getting a quorum of votes on the Texas Energy Commission, so Donna had already prepared herself with an assortment of remedies. Margaret had been up early that morning, which Donna was now accustomed to, and she had cajoled, whispered, sang and read to her daughter; none of those things were as effective as the ointment she rubbed upon her gums, which really seemed to make all the difference in the world. Margaret had calmed substantially by the time Angela arrived for work, and while Donna wavered in wanting to leave her child in very capable hands, she couldn’t back out of her commitment to the DOA. She kissed Margaret goodbye, grabbed her thin briefcase, and headed out the door.

    It had been a while since Donna attended one of the DOA meetings, but she didn’t remember there being so many women in attendance, or such a hubbub of activity. Perhaps they were there to see her—she felt a tinge of excitement at the thought—or it could just be that Sue Ellen was bringing the organization into a new era of service and advocacy. When she entered the room, she could see that it might be the latter; she had never seen her former sister-in-law looking so happy and self-assured before.

    “Donna!” she said when their eyes met. “How are you doing?”

    “Good,” she said as the women exchanged a brief hug. They hadn’t spent much time together over the years, but they did share a familial relationship. “I have to thank you again for letting me speak today.”

    “Of course,” Sue Ellen replied. “The women have all been looking forward to it. They really feel like it’s time for a woman to take control in Austin.”

    “I think it’s time for someone to take control, period,” Donna countered, not wanting to criticize her potential rivals in the campaign. “But I think I’ve learned over the years how to accomplish goals without too much bloodshed.”

    “No small task in the Ewing family,” Sue Ellen replied with a laugh. “It really is good to have you back. Southfork is much too empty these days.”

    Donna nodded, frowning. “How is John Ross doing? Interested in girls yet?”

    Sue Ellen laughed again. “He’s growing like a weed, but thankfully he’s still more interested in athletics than the game of love.”

    “Smart boy.”

    “Indeed,” his mother agreed. “Which reminds me—how is Margaret?”

    “Teething,” Donna said. “I almost didn’t come today because I was worried about her, but I couldn’t shirk my promise to you.”

    “The women would have understood. I mean, we’re all mothers too.” Sue Ellen glanced around and gave a sour look toward an attractive woman chatting with a male caterer. “Well, except Marilee.”

    Donna had just followed her gaze and was smiling to herself when another friendly face came rushing toward her. “Mavis!” she said, opening her arms and greeting Punk’s wife. What a sweet, cheerful woman she had always been. Donna often wished she could have known her earlier in life, but as Punk and Mavis were Jock and Miss Ellie’s longtime friends, they hadn’t been in the same circle until she married Ray. She remembered it with a bit of humor now, as during the Takapa mess Punk had accused Jock and Ray of not being able to control their women. “I would have been so disappointed to not see you here today.”

    “Donna, we just know that you are going to do great things for this state once you’re in office. We’re honored to have you speak today.”

    “I’m a bit nervous,” she whispered confidentially. “I haven’t spoken before a large group in some time.”

    “Everyone here supports you,” the elder woman replied. “You also have family to bolster you,” she reminded Donna. Miss Ellie walked toward them, smiling warmly. “Ellie, don’t you think Donna will be the most beautiful governor in the history of Texas?”

    Miss Ellie linked hands with her former daughter-in-law. “Without a doubt.”

    The speech went above and beyond all of Donna’s expectations. The eyes of every woman remained upon her for the entire thirty minutes she spoke, and if there was a single yawn she never saw it. The women sat rapt with attention from the time Sue Ellen introduced her and gave a brief spiel about her objectives, until the end of the speech when Donna thanked them all. Then they lifted to their feet en masse and applauded for five minutes. Afterward there was a question and answer session where the women were able to voice their individual concerns.

    “My husband retired just last year,” Linda Bradley said, “and while we are well-off, I am curious what you would propose to do for those who are unable to retire because they would be left indigent?”

    “Thank you for your question,” Donna replied. “I would like to revamp the current system and perhaps set up the ability for the state to match the amount of taxes paid to the state and roll that over into a retirement account. That means that what a working man or woman pays in state taxes every April would come back to them cumulatively after they retire.”

    She answered several more inquiries, seemingly to the audience’s satisfaction, and just before the luncheon portion of the day was to begin, Sue Ellen posed a question for which Donna was exceedingly grateful.

    “Mrs. Krebbs, how do you feel about discrimination against working mothers as they struggle with balancing home and life in the workplace?” One of the central tenets of my campaign, Donna thought. How did Sue Ellen know?

    “I am as disturbed as anyone by what I have seen and heard as I have traveled the state. Too many women are being forced to choose career over family, or vice versa, when in reality they should be allowed to make that choice for themselves. If elected I will push for legislation that will allow working mothers a more reasonable number of vacation and personal days. A doctor’s excuse that comes as a result of a child’s illness should be sufficient evidence to a superior that you didn’t spend your day off at the waterpark.

    “As a new mother myself, I am experiencing some of the same issues faced by women everywhere. The only difference is that I am in a position to afford quality care for my daughter. But how many offices have washroom and lockers for men who want to duck out on a warm afternoon for a round of golf? Compare that to the number of workplaces with daycare facilities, and you will see a shocking disparity. I’m not saying that every place of business can be retrofitted to be child-friendly—it would be impractical in our post offices, for example—but if we can conduct business over a round of drinks, why can’t a mother slip downstairs to breastfeed her infant during her lunchbreak? I think these rules would be applicable to single fathers as well. Mothers no longer have the market cornered on childcare.”

    Once again, she was greeted by hearty applause. She could only hope that future audiences would be so enthusiastic.

    ***

    Donna knew that her team of strategists would have been less than thrilled, but at the moment she didn’t care. She wanted to be close to her friends and family again, and as such Sue Ellen sat on one side during lunch, with Miss Ellie and Mavis on the other. It was nice to laugh again, to share female chit-chat and fond memories. “You know,” Miss Ellie began, “Ray has been at Southfork for dinner several nights recently.”

    Donna smiled; at times getting Ray to dine in his father’s house had been like pulling hens teeth, though J.R. and some of his snide remarks would have been enough to turn anyone’s stomach. Ray hadn’t been to see her since the night of their argument, and therefore hadn’t seen Margaret either.

    “Yes,” Sue Ellen added. “He seems quite fond of John Ross and Christopher, who need good male influences in their life.”

    Donna felt herself frown. “I know he loves Margaret, but I always have it in the back of my mind that perhaps he was disappointed by her birth. He really wanted a son.”

    “Hence his desire to parent Lucas,” Miss Ellie said. Then she covered her mouth and shook her head. “I’m sorry Donna,” she said contritely. “It slipped out before I knew what I was saying.”

    Donna rested a hand atop hers. “You don’t have anything to apologize for—you just made an honest observation.”

    “Yes, but a hurtful one. He really does love Margaret, though. When he returned from Washington after her birth, he was a changed man. He sat and talked with Clayton and I for what seemed like hours describing her face and eyes and hands and fingers and toes and even her little grin. I know that babies aren’t supposed to be able to smile, but Ray insisted that she did.”

    “He’s right,” Donna said, feeling herself warm at the memory. It was such a bittersweet moment, Ray holding their daughter and beaming, and Donna smiling at the sight but feeling like she was an outsider within her own life. “She smiled a lot while her father was around, and managed to wrap him around her finger very quickly. Maybe that’s why Andrew cooled so much after Ray left. He could see that I still wasn’t quite over my divorce, and that Ray was projecting some residual feelings too. I’ve moved on though,” she lied to everyone, including herself. “The past is the past. I have so much to look forward to now.” She pasted on a smile that must have looked sickly sweet to even the most casual observer.

    “Don’t try to bury your feelings, Donna,” Mavis urged in her soft voice. “When you love someone that much, you’re not going to get over them within the first year, if ever. Love is like grief; it abides by its own timeframe instead of what a self-help expert might tell you.”

    “I just hope that, wherever she is, Pam remembers how much Bobby loved her,” Sue Ellen added solemnly.

    “Amen,” Donna replied. As much as she hated for the luncheon to end, and for her friends to disperse, she was eager to get back home to Margaret.
     
    Karin Schill and Ms Southworth like this.
  18. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    689
    Likes Received:
    917
    Trophy Points:
    480
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Dallas Wonderland
    Another amazing update! :bravo: :fantastic: :10::10::10: :fantastic: :bravo:

    No wonder Donna was nervous about her speech! The DOA can be tough! :girl: Great that Mavis was present too! :)
    I loved this sentence: "Where these women go, others follow. Well, except Marilee Stone.". :giggle:
    I also loved how Donna knew that Miss Ellie and Sue Ellen would have her back, if things got off track during the meeting!:girl:
    And if Donna's speech didn't give her enough worries, Margaret is teething! :cry: I feel bad for both of them! But I'm pleased that Donna had enough confidence in Angela's abilities to care for Margaret, so that Donna was able to fulfill her political "responsibilities". :yep:

    I really liked Donna's responses to the questions after her speech. The "visit" with her former family after the speech was also very interesting! :) I could feel Donna's pain when Miss Ellie by "mistake" mentioned Lucas!!! Yikes! :( Ray's description of the first time he saw his daughter just melted my heart! Simply beautiful! :kiss:

    Uh ... Donna tried to tell a little white lie about having moved on, but everyone picked up on it, including Mavis! :wink@ I loved Mavis' words of wisdom to Donna ... ... so true! :kiss::kiss::kiss: Interesting, though that Sue Ellen all of a sudden began to talk about Pam ... I hadn't seen that one coming! But I'm pleased! :loveit:

    Please update soon! :jolly: I love your fanfic! :best:
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
    Ray&Donna and Karin Schill like this.
  19. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

    Messages:
    1,849
    Likes Received:
    3,388
    Trophy Points:
    3,621
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Sweden
    Original Member Since:
    September 2004
    Great updates Tommie. What a nice surprise to see Sue Ellen make an appearance or actually two. :)
    It's a treat to get to read about the rest of the Ewing family occasionally too even if your story is mostly centered on Ray & Donna.

    Loved reading about how Donna presented herself and her campaign at the Daughters of the Alamo meeting. She did make a good impression and spoke about important issues that is probably appealing to a lot of other women. :)

    It was really nice to see Mavis making an appearance too and how the women talked about Margaret and how Ray had responded to the baby. It was sweet. Also great to see Donna reconnecting with the other women of her family.

    So what will happen next?
    Is Sue Ellen's Pam comment a hint of things to come? ;)
     
    Ray&Donna and Ms Southworth like this.
  20. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat Well-Known Member 10 Years on Soap Chat 5 Years on Soap Chat

    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    988
    Trophy Points:
    1,984
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Kentucky, USA
    Original Member Since:
    January 2006
    He walked up the brick sidewalk, glancing at the house. It wasn’t the mansion where Pam had lived, or even a Georgetown townhouse, but it looked like a nice enough place for his daughter to spend her formative years. Not as nice as Southfork of course, but that wasn’t his decision to make. He was calmer than he’d been the last time he was here. He took the time to ring the doorbell. While he waited, he removed his hat and passed the brim through his fingers. The yard was well-kept even though the house had been empty most of the year, with crepe myrtle and Mexican heather that would welcome the summertime with the ardency of lovers long-separated. He stared at the ground—now why did he have to think about making love at a time like this? He needed to remain dispassionate, aloof, and calm, so that no one, least of all Donna, would ever realize how much he still loved her. Damn him, but he pined for Donna, burned for her, would take a bullet or go down in flames just to have her back in his arms again. The door finally opened, but the woman on the other side wasn’t the one he’d expected to see. Silly cowboy, he thought. Donna is wining and dining constituents.

    “Angela?” he asked curiously. “I was hoping to see my daughter.”

    “Yes, Mr. Krebbs. I have been working here for the past few weeks. Come in, please.” He stepped over the threshold and she closed the front door behind them. “I have been taking care of Margaret when Mrs. Krebbs needs me, which is why I was here the night the two of you were arguing.”

    “Yeah, I need to apologize for that.” Ray scratched his cheek as he followed her toward the living room. “I, um, said some things I shouldn’t have. Raised my voice without thinking about who might hear me.”

    “You are free to wait here,” she said. “Miss Margaret has been teething since this morning, but Dr. Danvers supplied her mother with several fine remedies. For now she is resting.”

    “I don’t want to wake her,” Ray interjected.

    “I’m sure it will be fine. Just don’t expect her to play Peek-a-boo or anything,” she teased. Ray smiled and glanced around the room. He hadn’t made much note of it the first time he’d stormed in, but now he looked at the furnishings and photos, the bouquet on one table that had undoubtedly been fresh a few days ago but needed its water changed. The couch and chairs looked nice, but were definitely not brand new, as wear was visible here and there. The photos were of Margaret, Dave and his family, the Ewings at the Oil Barons Ball, and a photo of the two of them from the 1982 Ewing Barbeque. She had been gorgeous every year, but especially that one day she dressed in blue. It had been so hot—he’d been so hot thinking about her—that he sweated through his shirt that day. He reflected on the past—opportunities lost, love lost and found only to be lost again, and the streak of foolish pride that had marked much of his adult life. Ray was so lost in his memories, his regrets about the past and how he could have done things differently, that Angela had to call out “Mr. Krebbs” at least twice before he turned and saw the bundle in her arms. Margaret had grown some but was still definitely an infant. He smiled as he took her into his embrace, his lips further lifting when he looked at the golden curls that encircled her forehead like a tiara. “Thank you, Angela,” he said as she set the teething ointment on a console table and left the room so they could spend some father-daughter time together.

    He walked around the living room with her, speaking softly in an attempt to let her slumber just a while longer. His experience with babies was limited but Ray did know that they appreciated shushing sounds and were able to hear voices while still in the womb. “I bet you didn’t expect to spend time with me today, my angel. To tell you the truth, I didn’t either. I figured when your mama and I split up that I’d missed my chance to be a father. I tried to take care of your cousin instead, which turned out to be a big mistake on my part. Not loving him and caring for him, but trying to replace you—trying to replace your mama. Someday I hope you’ll understand that we never meant to hurt you; we just couldn’t get out of each other’s way long enough to see through a solution. You are my greatest accomplishment and I am glad we’ll hopefully be getting to spend some more time together. You’ll love growing up in Texas—yeah, it can get hot sometimes, and the cicadas make one heck of a racket in the summer, but we’ve got horses and cattle and bluebonnets and the Alamo and lakes full of fish and the best barbeque on Earth. It’s where you were made and where I hope you’ll always want to stay.” Margaret replied in her sleep with a murmur and he patted her on the back. “That’s okay, honey. You sleep all you want because we’ll have plenty of time to spend together in the future.”

    At that moment Donna arrived home, using the front door and closing it gently behind her. She certainly didn’t want to take a chance at waking Margaret, but she heard a familiar whisper coming from the next room and felt a frisson of heat inside her. She knew him so well—and herself for that matter—and it seemed that, no matter the distance between them, they would always share a profound connection. She set down her briefcase in the front hall and left her heels there, too. Entering the room, she found a sight that lifted her heart—Ray and Margaret, her cowboy and cowgirl, presenting a picture of domestic bliss. If only he’d been wearing a wedding ring, it would have been perfect. He caught Donna’s eyes and they exchanged tentative smiles. “Hi,” he whispered.

    “Hi,” she whispered back. “You look good with a baby in your arms.”

    Ray grinned. “Well, not as good as you.”

    Donna walked closer to him, thinking about how they were in such a strange place, not bitter enemies but not quite friends, either. They were two parents who’d once been madly in love and now only wanted the best for their child. “I wish you’d come earlier,” she said, looking down at Margaret’s face. She was sound asleep, in spite of everything going on around her.

    “I was afraid to after what I said to you last time,” Ray admitted sheepishly. “I wasn’t very nice.”

    “You were being honest,” Donna replied. “Even if I didn’t appreciate the confrontational nature of it, I understood where you were coming from.”

    Ray adjusted Margaret to his other arm, careful not to disturb her slumber. “I guess you’ve been doing all right lately. I’ve seen you on TV a few times.” He smiled faintly, but not broadly like he might have in the early years of their marriage. She missed that smile. She missed his life. She missed his touch. She missed him, period. Here he was, close enough to touch, but not the way she wanted to.

    “I spoke before the DOA this morning,” she informed him. He nodded, giving another timid smile.

    “So you got to spend time with Miss Ellie and Sue Ellen.”

    “And Mavis,” she added, grinning. “It was really nice to see everyone again, and they were so supportive. Their questions were inquisitive but not intrusive. I’m so grateful for this opportunity.”

    “I know you are, Donna. I just worry about our girl here, and you when the mudslinging starts. I know you can handle it, but they’re bound to say some hurtful things about you.”

    “I’ve formed a very thick skin over the years, Ray.”

    “Because of me.” His expression turned remorseful.

    “No,” she answered with a smile, trying to reassure him. “Sam’s friends, learned and wise as they might have been, were less than kind when they found out we were engaged to be married. They expressed some hurtful things, though they thought I was out of earshot when the words were said.” Donna shook her head. “I’d already been orphaned at that point, though.”

    “I know the feeling,” Ray said.

    She nodded, remembering that he’d been alone in the world for much of his life. “It didn’t matter, though. Knowing that Sam was committed to me despite the naysayers gave me the confidence to hold my head high. It’s funny, though—those old fogies would have been the first to ask me for a favor if they’d still been alive while I was a commissioner.”

    Ray grinned. “Wouldn’t they have felt foolish when you told them no?”

    Donna laughed. “I hope so.” She checked her watch and frowned. She didn’t want to ask Ray to leave, but Margaret would probably like to eat soon, and she was still nursing when time allowed. “Ray, I…”

    “Say no more,” he said. “A growing girl has to eat, and even though I’ve seen you undressed before, it just wouldn’t be right for me to now.”

    “Thank you for understanding,” she said, giving him a plaintive smile. She took Margaret from his arms—Ray kissed the infant on the forehead, which failed to rouse her—and he headed for the front hall. “Goodbye, Ray.”

    He seated his hat atop his head and smiled. “Bye.” He waved and the door closed behind him.

    Donna sighed. “Looks like it’s just you and me again, Magpie.” She kissed her daughter in the same spot where Ray’s lips had just been. As she was leaving the room and heading for the stairs, the nanny appeared. “Angela, I’m going to take Margaret upstairs for her feeding, and then put her down to sleep.”

    “Very good, Mrs. Krebbs. Will you need me for anything else?”

    “No,” she replied. “Thank you for your extra help today. You can go home now.”

    “Thank you, Mrs. Krebbs.”

    She headed up the stairs then, to Margaret’s nursery. She left her daughter on the changing table long enough to go to her room and change into something more conducive to the task at hand. She picked up Margaret, sat down in the rocking chair, and lowered her shirt. Even sound asleep, instincts took over and she latched onto the nipple without hesitation. Donna smiled and began to sing a lullaby that both her mother and grandmother had sung when she was the same age. It might not have carried with it the rousing excitement of a campaign speech or a cocktail party, but Donna found great contentment in these quiet moments with her child.

    It had been good to see Ray today. She wondered if he knew how handsome he was with a baby cradled in his arms. He probably didn’t think in terms like that—Ray was hardly vain, and for him a hard day’s work, honesty, and the ability to provide for a family were the measure of a man, not looks. Still, she couldn’t picture him being single for long; the question was whether or not he would find a woman deserving of him. She knew it was inevitable—wasn’t it?—but didn’t want to imagine Margaret having a stepmother. Or perhaps she didn’t want to think of Ray with another woman in any situation, especially not one of a sexual nature. Call her possessive, but he had been her man. He was still her father’s daughter. She had no idea if he felt the same lustful stirrings that she did, that she’d had to keep suppressed for the past year while they embarked upon ill-fated relationships with other partners.

    The past was the past, though. When Margaret had finished, Donna patted her gently to release any leftover stomach gas, then utilized a cloth to wipe up any bit of milk residue. She refastened her shirt and put Margaret down to sleep. She would check on her in a bit. For now, though, she needed to work on her next speech.
     
    Ms Southworth and Karin Schill like this.

Share This Page