Second Chance

Discussion in 'Dallas Writers Room' started by Ray&Donna, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    A bit of background here: before I attended graduate school and starting creating my own characters through novels, I wrote a few stories here on the forum. My first story is gone forever, as I made no backup of it. However, a story I wrote and posted here in 2008, Second Chance, lives on via a backup disc I burned to compile the files on my last desktop computer. This story, instead of being about Pam's dream, is about Ray's nightmare--he and Donna divorce, he marries Jenna, and leaves Southfork. And so it takes place where season seven would have ended: Bobby doesn't die and thus the next three years went much differently. I hope you enjoy it--I'm sure my writing had improved since I wrote this, but I didn't want to change the vibe or heart of the story by editing it :)

    :hello:

    I may have trouble living with you…but I still love you.

    …there are new people in our lives now.

    …I wanna sell the ranch.

    He woke up in a cold sweat. He looked around him. It was dark, but the moon shone on a room not familiar to him. It was the bedroom of his old brick house that he’d sold nearly three years ago. He sat up in bed. The farm calendar on the wall caught his eye. May, 1985. That wasn’t right—it was May, 1988. Had he just dreamed all of this? If he had, it was truly lousy. He’d lost the only woman he’d ever truly loved, and their child. He looked around—she was still gone. But if it was still 1985, then they were still married—she was just living at Southfork. The events of the past few months came back to him—he’d been a fool, such a damned fool. At a time in his life when he should be pulling the one who loved him more than anyone else closer, he was pushing her away. He’d told her to leave, and she had. He put on a robe and walked to the kitchen, the same kitchen he thought he’d left so long ago. Same curtains, same pictures, same couch and chairs—everything was the same, but she was still gone. He just had to figure out a way now to get her back, to bring her back home…and a way to become the kind of man she deserved, the man he promised he’d be on their wedding day.

    ***

    She sat on the patio and stared out across the range. She balanced her coffee cup in her hands—decaf, so it wouldn’t affect the baby. The baby. She was carrying their child, but she couldn’t figure out a way to tell him. She knew she had to tell him, but they hadn’t been able to communicate anything these past few months. They wouldn’t have conceived this child if they didn’t still love each other, right? And yet they couldn’t live together anymore—the strain had just become too great. In her heart she kept hoping that he would change. She’d tried everything. She loved living with him—loved being his wife, loved riding out across the range to visit him for no reason at all, but he couldn’t seem to understand that. She’d spent much of this year trying to bend, and finally she couldn’t anymore—she snapped back. Still, she loved him, and each morning that she turned over to find herself alone was harder and more painful than the one before. The door opened behind her and Miss Ellie stepped out, but she didn’t look around.

    “Good morning, Donna.”

    “Morning, Miss Ellie.”

    “I didn’t know if I should disturb you, you seemed deep in thought.”

    “Yes ma’am, I was. I was just thinking about what to tell Ray.”

    “I see.”

    “I need to tell him today, but I just can’t figure out how to do it.”

    “Donna, I have to say that is the first time I’ve ever seen you so wracked by indecision. You’re usually so level-headed and have the right answer for everything.”

    Donna sighed. “I know. It’s strange for me, too. I’m afraid when I tell him, he’s going to ask me to come back home—and I’m just not sure I’m ready for that.”

    “Well, you never know. Maybe he’ll let you make up your own mind.”

    “Maybe I’m just being too hard on him.”

    “Donna, the men in this family are stubborn—I won’t try to convince you they’re not. But you love Ray, and he loves you. There’s no one to stand in your way. I’m not saying a child is the only reason to get back together, but you might find him in a different state of mind today.”

    “Thank you so much for everything, Miss Ellie. I would’ve been lost without you these past few weeks.”

    “Well, I have an added reason now for wanting to keep you around.” She smiled at Donna and placed her hand on her shoulder before going back inside.

    Today, she thought. I have to do it today.
     
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  2. Ray's Lady

    Ray's Lady Soap Chat Member

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    So glad you are reposting your story! I enjoyed re-reading the first part.
     
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  3. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Excellent beginning to your fan fic :spinning: I'll look forward to the next part :danc:
     
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  4. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you for reposting your story for us Tommie. :)
    It's sad that your first story is completely lost though.

    Seems like Ray has seen the light and wants Donna back. So I look forward to read what happens when Donna and Ray talk. I guess he will be happy about her news. :)
     
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  5. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. It's not the longest thing I've ever written, but I did get to include a multitude of characters in the story :)



    He worked like a beast, herding the cattle harder than he had in years, but the awful dream still lingered in his mind. He couldn’t, and didn’t want to, imagine a life without Donna, with another woman, other children, in another country. It all made no sense to him, and yet it seemed so vivid, so painfully real. He pushed on across the range, looking over his shoulder every now and then, hoping he might see her come across the ridge. But he hadn’t seen her on a horse in months, since before things went south for them. He longed for her touch again, to come home to find her studying commission papers or drilling reports, throwing it all aside to pull off his boots and lead him to the bedroom. He’d never known another woman just like her, and if he lived another hundred years he couldn’t imagine he’d find one. He directed the hands on down toward the river as he stopped to take a drink from his canteen. The hot sun pounded down on him—not even summer yet, but it had already begun to bake the grass—and still he pressed on, trying to concentrate on his work and not on the images that kept flashing in his head.

    ***

    Donna stood, frozen, at the door of the brick house. It would be so easy to turn around and leave, but she didn’t. She opened the sliding glass door. She didn’t see him anywhere around the house or yard.

    “Ray?” She called out to him, but no answer. The sunlight reflected off the door as she stepped inside.

    She looked around. He was keeping the place clean, but she already knew he could take care of himself. She looked over to their wedding picture; they were so happy that day, so much in love and free of complications. She looked back over the past few years’ worth of memories: matching trophies from the Charity Rodeo, the first pressings of her two books, two disparate photos from New York City and Emporia. Material things weren’t important to either one of them—the house was simple, modest—reflective of their personalities.

    She walked, somewhat aimlessly, into their bedroom. She looked around at the made bed, the belt buckle on the nightstand, the open closet door. She looked in the closet, now half-empty with all her clothes gone. She looked through his shirts, ones she’d seen him wear countless times, ones she’d taken off him in the heat of passion, ones he wore when they went for a night out in Braddock. Vests, chaps, belts—the smell of leather reminded her of him, though he was never far from her mind. She felt strange, as though she were trying to reacquaint herself with him. She left the bedroom, wondering if he’d notice anyone had been there, or would give any thought to anything being out of place. She walked back over to the kitchen, looked out the window. She didn’t see him, and she wasn’t sure where he was or when he’d be back. She still felt comfortable here, knew she could live here again, be with him again—she just wasn’t sure when, or how, they’d find their way back to the same place.
     
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  6. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I love how you've written her perspective/his perspective on their live together and how they both miss each other so much. :)
    All the little details of what they are doing while reflecting on each other was great too.

    This comment is making me curious about who else will be in this story. :)

    Anyway I look forward to read more.
     
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  7. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Keep the updates rolling, please :spinning::spinning::spinning:

    I'm curious too who else we'll get to "meet" in your fan fic ;)
     
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  8. Mrs Bobby James Ewing

    Mrs Bobby James Ewing Soap Chat Fan

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    Great start to your new story Tommie.:) I love Ray&Donna and I hope that are able to find their way back to each other in your story. :)Please update your story again soon because I can't wait to find out what happens when Ray and Donna are finally able to talk and Donna tells Ray that they are having a baby together.:)
     
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  9. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    :)

    ***

    “Ray!”

    Ray looked around, and after he raised his hand to shield his eyes from the sun he saw Bobby riding toward him. Ray yanked on his horse’s reins and waited for his younger brother to pull alongside.

    “Hey Bob. Decide to play cowboy today?”

    Bobby smiled. “Yeah, no need to go back to the office for a while. Can I talk to you about something?”

    “Sure thing.”

    “I’ve been seeing a lot of Pam lately, and things are different between us, like they used to be before I got too involved in the company, I guess. I was thinking of asking her to marry me again.”

    Ray smiled at him. “That’s great, Bob. I’m happy for the both of you.”

    “Well, wait until she says yes first.”

    “If I know her as well as I think I do, she’ll say yes before you can finish the question.” They both laughed. Ray sighed and looked away from Bobby. “I wish I could say I was as sure about my own life.”

    Bobby smiled at him. “Look, you just need to give Donna some time. The two of you just need to sort out your problems.”

    “I don’t know, Bob. I think I’m the one that needs to be sorted out. I drove her away, and if she never came back I couldn’t blame her.”

    He frowned. “Did you apologize?”

    “I tried, a few times, but it never sounded right.” He thought for a moment about his dream. “Then I imagined my life without her, and I realized I didn’t like it.”

    “Look, why don’t you come to dinner tonight? It’ll give the two of you a chance to see each other, but without any expectations.”

    Ray stared off into the distance. “That’s not a bad idea. I told Clayton I’d be by the house today anyway to discuss something, so that would be okay.”

    “Great. I won’t be there, though. Pam is fixing me dinner tonight.”

    Ray grinned. “Good luck with that.”

    “Thanks—I’ve gotta ride back to the house, talk to you tomorrow.”

    “Later Bob.” He watched as Bobby rode back to the house, thinking about how he and Pam had found their way to each other again. As the wind blew across the green fields, he wondered if the same kind of happiness could be in store for him and Donna. The happiness they had when they were first together seemed like a good, but distant, memory now. With each passing day they seemed to grow further apart, but it didn’t have to be that way forever. He just needed to show her his true feelings and be there for her.

    ***

    It was late in the day when she pulled back into the drive. She saw him standing at the fence, staring off into the distance and lost in thought, the same way he always did when something troubled him. He was tired, dirty, worn out, but he felt the need to watch the sun drop down into the sky rather than go inside and clean up, to face another lonely evening in their empty house. He heard her car wheels crackle on the drive—he knew it was her, but he waited till he heard the door slam to turn around and look at her. She stood there, cautious, waiting to make her move. He smiled at her, and waved, trying to reassure her. She took a few steps toward him, but still she was hesitant. What she needed to tell him weighed heavy on her mind, permeating her every thought. She didn’t know how to tell him, and she didn’t know how he’d react.

    He walked toward her. He cut a striking figure coming across the lawn, and in his gait Donna saw the same man she’d met all those years ago. No matter how much they changed, some things would always be the same. She eased toward him now. They came face to face, and he placed his hand on her elbow as he kissed her cheek.

    “Hi,” he said.

    “Hi.” She smiled at him, tentatively. He’d never seen her quite like this before—timid, cautious, unsure of herself.

    “Would you like to come inside?”

    “I’d like that.” They walked over to the door and he held it open for her.

    He placed his hat on the rack as she walked into the house. She didn’t dare mention she had just been here hours earlier.

    “Would you like a glass of water, or something to drink?”

    “No, thanks, I’m fine. Ray, I came because I need to tell you something.”

    “Okay.” She stood at the end of the counter as he sat on the couch arm. He steadied himself—her words carried weight, and he knew that today could be the day that it all ended, that their marriage became just another statistic and they would go their separate ways. She looked away, and then toward him.

    “I went into Dallas this week. I had a meeting. I mean, it wasn’t really a meeting, I had an appointment.” She looked at him and their eyes met. “I saw Dr. Danvers.”

    Dr. Danvers, he thought. Not a divorce lawyer, but her doctor. But what did this mean? Was she sick?

    “I’m pregnant.” Her words didn’t register at first, but then it hit him—pregnant, with their child. Their child. The child they had wanted for so long. He knew he wanted her to come back home, but now he had an added reason for the two of them to stay together…not the only reason, but a good start for a second chance…

    “Ray?” She interrupted his thoughts. “Did you hear me?”

    “Yes.” He stood up, and pulled her close to him. She didn’t know what to do but hug him back, to hold him close to her. She felt his strength envelop her. He could smell her hair as he held her, could feel its softness close to his face. He pulled back, and on his face she could see a new glow.

    “I don’t know what to say. I’m just really happy for you, for us. You know I’ve wanted us to have a baby for a long time.”

    “So have I—I guess we just had to wait.” She pulled his hand into hers and began to rub it. “I need to go.”

    “Wait a minute. I’m going to eat dinner at Southfork tonight. Could you wait a few minutes and let me drive you over there?”

    “Sure thing.”

    “Thank you.” He kissed her on the cheek and went off toward the bedroom. She sat down on the edge of the chair. He hadn’t asked her to come home. He hadn’t reacted much at all. She waited for him, puzzled over his reaction, trying to figure out what step to take next.

    He thought of her as he got dressed. He looked through the closet that only held his clothes now. He tried to think of the right things to say, but he’d never been eloquent, never articulate enough to communicate his feelings in difficult situations. He stepped out into the living room, where she waited. She stood and faced him.

    He looked into her eyes, blue like his, like their child’s would be. “I want to be with you…but I don’t know how to. Not yet.” He let his words sink in.

    She nodded. “I understand. I feel the same way.”

    They rode back to Southfork together in the dusk of the evening, in mostly silence. There were things unspoken, but there would be time for that later, they both thought—time to face their feelings, and sort out their futures.
     
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  10. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Great update Tommie. But sort of angsty as they still don't know where they stand. But at least now he knows. :)
    Nice to see Bobby put in an appearance too. So has Bobby dumped Jenna yet?

    I am trying to figure out exactly where this picks up? Before Swan Song?
    It must be before Donna told Ray about the baby and Bobby proposed to Pam...
     
  11. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Yeah, this takes place before "Swan Song". Actually, I guess you could say this takes the place of that episode. (Ray dreamed it;)) I don't think she's mentioned in the story itself, but I left Jenna in jail. Or she never came back to Dallas at all. :lol:
     
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  12. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well if Jenna is still in jail I guess that means Bobby has custody of Charlie?
    Even though I think technically Jenna was released from prison in the episode before Swan Song...
     
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  13. Ray's Lady

    Ray's Lady Soap Chat Member

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    Great updates. I'm glad Donna told Ray that she is pregnant.
     
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  14. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Love your fan fic :10:

    The dialog and the way you describe the characters are both very good :bravo: (although I think that there are a few discrepancies that perhaps should be addressed ;))

    Please update soon :heels:
     
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  15. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I can't be sure, but since I didn't like Jenna and Charlie, they probably never returned to Dallas in my vision for this story. They're still in Europe with a (non-psycho) Naldo. I guess, then, this story overlaps "Deliverance" and "Swan Song" since Bobby never died...


    ***

    After dinner, they stood on the patio, their hearts together in some ways but still apart in others. They held hands as they stared off into the night sky.

    “I hope you understand why I can’t come home with you tonight.”

    He nodded. “I do. I still have a few things to sort out before we can try again.”

    She smiled at him. “Thank you.”

    “Take all the time you need.” He kissed her on the cheek and they embraced once more. “Goodnight.”

    “Goodnight.” She watched him as he stepped off the patio and his truck pulled slowly out of the driveway; she gazed after him until his lights disappeared into the night. A cold breeze, a last gasp of spring, blew and she wrapped her arms around herself as fireflies anxious for summer darted across the pool. There was something different about tonight, and about each of them, but she couldn’t put her finger on it.

    ***

    She placed her hand on her stomach. It was early in the pregnancy, and yet a part of her could feel the new life growing inside of her—a child who knew nothing of the world; the troubles of grown-ups; the struggles of ordinary people. As she stood on the patio in the morning sun, her mind turned to him again—it was early, but she knew he’d be out on the range already. She wished she could ride out to see him, but to get on a horse right now would be foolish. They both seemed to be in the same place now—together in their thoughts, maybe their emotions, but not physically. She started walking out away from the house, past the pool, toward the horse barns. She almost thought she saw him—no, it was him. He was riding back to this part of the ranch, and she knew she had to go meet him. She walked, her pace brisker now, hoping he would notice her. He waved—he’d seen her, and he smiled. He rode up to the fence as she stopped on front of him. The fence separated them, much like they’d been separated for months now.

    “Good morning.” He steadied the horse as she watched him.

    “Morning. I was just thinking about you.”

    “You were?”

    “Yeah, I was thinking about how good you looked on a horse, working, doing what you love.”

    He smiled. “I was thinking about you last night, and thinking about the baby. I was thinking about maybe hiring a second foreman, so I could spend more time with you and baby. Help you take care of things.” He couldn’t let her know, couldn’t describe it, but he was caught up in the rapture of impending fatherhood.

    She smiled. “You don’t have to do that. I’m still trying to decide how involved I want to be with the oil business. I might sell my oilfield.”

    Ray shook his head. “You don’t have to do that. I can help you with that, too. I can check on it when you need me to.”

    Now this was different. His words shocked her. He wasn’t the same man he was a few months ago—at least not on the surface. She didn’t know, couldn’t be sure, of his true feelings. She didn’t know how much she could let him into her life right now. She just wasn’t sure.

    He continued, interrupting her thoughts again. “I mean, I don’t know the oil business, but know a little bit about how a derrick works.”

    “I’d like that.” She smiled at him, and he smiled back. The sun reflected in his blue eyes and seemed to show that his words were true. She leaned on the fence as his horse whinnied.

    “Look, I need to get back to work. But you think about what I said.”

    She nodded. “I will.”

    “Bye.” She waved at him and he turned his horse and rode away.

    She leaned on the fence again as he rode off into the distance. She was confused about what to do—her life had never seemed quite this complicated before. She turned and walked back to the house, hoping maybe she would find some clarity, or at least someone there to talk to about her feelings.
     
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  16. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Amazing update :spinning: I love all the details that you include about Donna and Ray's thoughts, dreams, etc. :yep:

    (And Jenna and Charlie are no where near Dallas ... check!!! ... Thank you for clarifying :) I never cared much for their characters either ;) )

    Please update soon ... preferably later today :best:
     
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  17. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Okay so I guess Jenna fell back in love with Naldo and they took Charlie with them and moved back to Italy then. Thanks for explaining your vision to us. :)

    Another great update, it was sweet how fast Ray got into dad mode, wanting to help Donna with everything and trying so hard to win her back.
     
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  18. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Thanks, everyone! The story continues...:)

    ***


    Ray rode out to the fence at the end of the ranch, along the Braddock Road. Braddock was where he’d spent countless nights drinking, where he’d met Donna, where he received his mail. And yet it had always been a mystery to him. Sometimes he felt like Donna was a mystery to him, too. She seemed able to read him, know every emotion he was feeling, just by looking at his face. She knew him inside and out, knew all his faults, his failings, his self-destructive need to prove himself—and yet she still loved him, still stuck by him. Until, finally, he had cut her too deep. He thought back to his dream—a life without her, without their child, a life so miserable he thought about leaving Southfork. No matter how real it had seemed, he couldn’t believe that could ever be him—and yet, at this moment, it was.

    Last night he had let her back in to his life, and she had opened her heart up to him. Their problems didn’t seem the same anymore. He knew he’d have to learn to compromise, learn to be more flexible—he couldn’t bend her to fit an ideal in his mind, he had to let her be herself, the woman he’d fallen in love with all those years ago. It all sounded so easy. He knew they might never completely fit into each other’s worlds—but dammit, they could be happy together. And it could be sooner rather than later. She was too important to him to let her out of his life.

    ***

    Donna walked back into Southfork, somewhat hopeful, but the house seemed to be empty. Her mind was still in a fog over what Ray had said. She didn’t know what had gotten into him, but she liked it and she realized how much she missed talking with him. As she walked into the front hall, she heard the phone ring; since she didn’t see Teresa anywhere, she went to answer it.

    “Hello?”

    A familiar voice spoke next. “Donna? It’s Dave.”

    She smiled—he’d been so busy that they hadn’t been able to talk much lately. “Hi Dave. How are things in Washington?”

    “Right now, pretty good. How are things with you?”

    “Well, a bit better than the last time we talked.” She paused for a moment. “I just found out I’m pregnant.”

    “That’s great. Did you tell Ray?”

    “I did. We’re still not back together, but we’ve been talking some more.”

    “That’s good to hear. Listen, I have a favor to ask of you. I’m flying in this weekend, and I was wondering if you could come with me to a meeting?”

    Donna chewed on her lower lip as she pondered it. “Well, I think I could do that. What’s the topic?”

    “It’s a meeting on the impact of the oil business in Texas. They’re going to bring a panel together of independents to discuss its influences, both good and bad.”

    Donna froze. She’d pulled back from the oil business and politics lately, to try to sort out her life. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to drag herself back into it just now.

    “Donna? Are you still there?” Dave startled her from her thoughts.

    “Yes, I’m still here. Let me give it some thought, okay?”
    “Sure thing. I’ll see you this weekend, either way.”

    “Okay. Goodbye, Dave.”

    “Bye.”

    She placed the receiver of the phone in its cradle. This was the kind of thing that, in the past, she would jump headfirst into, and ask Ray to be by her side. Now, though, she didn’t know what to do. Maybe Ray was different now. Maybe they were both different now. She remembered that, once upon a time, Sam Culver had told her she could accomplish anything she set out to do. Now she wondered if that were truly possible.
     
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  19. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    You're such a good writer! And so good at describing both Ray and Donna's emotional state! :spinning:

    I guess that Donna attending Dave's meeting can't hurt ... unless, of course, it ends up taking up all her time in the weeks to come, and also preventing her from not only spending time with Ray, but also getting enough rest (thus putting both her and the baby's health at risk). I know that Donna will make right decision not only for her, but for her family! ;)

    Please update soon ... I wanna know what happens next! :jolly::jolly::jolly: I'm hoping for some romance between Ray (the cowboy) and Donna (the politician but also Ray's #1 love)! :kiss:
     
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  20. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    You are right Ms. Southworth, Tommie is an excellent writer. :)

    Another great update, sounds to me like Ray is seeing the problems he and Donna has clearly and is willing to do whatever it takes to make it work.
    But Donna on the other hand seems uncertain of what she wants. I wonder if this committee is gonna be an obstacle for her reconciliation with Ray. I guess time will tell... ;)
     
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