A bit of background here: I began to write this story in 2008, but then my laptop crashed and I never finished it. I wound up writing a much shorter story, "Second Chance", which worked upon the same general idea but used a different method to erase three seasons of story. This, therefore, is my vision of the 1987-88 season but without the characters you know and hate. At any rate, I hope you will enjoy what I have written. From the title, you can easily determine who the focus will be upon. I am only about halfway through writing the story itself, which is unusual for me as I like to have the whole thing done before I let anyone see it. I am the same with my novels. *** The Texas she was returning to wasn’t the one she’d left behind. The Justice Department had shut down Ewing Oil, divested the company of its assets, and forbade her former in-laws from ever using the name for a similar venture. As if that hadn’t been bad enough, her former sister-in-law had been horribly maimed in an accident that had left her fighting for her life. She had barely begun to recover when she was kidnapped from the hospital, leaving her already-reeling family hanging by a thread. Donna, too, had lost the love of her life, even as she experienced the great joy of motherhood and a renewed interest in politics. She had allowed her marriage to falter, and Ray was now shacked up with a woman who presented a picture of domesticity and vulnerability that Donna herself had been able to demonstrate occasionally, but not as much as Ray had wanted. As both an orphan and a widow, Donna had hardened herself against the outside world; she never wanted to appear timid or selfish. With Ray, however, she had been able to fall deeply, madly, passionately in love, and together they could be vulnerable, but then strengthen one another as they marched forward together as a couple. Ray’s brothers had all been divorced and remarried, but the two of them had weathered so many complications: Jock’s death, infidelity, Ray’s inability to accept himself as an equal to the other Ewings, her rocky relationship with Mickey, Mickey’s accident and paralysis and Ray’s subsequent trial for euthanizing his cousin. Donna had stood by him through it all, loving him and never giving up. But at some point they had lost their way; she decided to parlay her temporary position at Ewing Oil into a small company of her own, the former Krebbs One, which had been sold off long ago to someone with bigger dreams. Ray became roped into the Barnes-Ewing feud and turned into a person Donna didn’t recognize; she was scared by how easily he could scheme and inveigle and dismiss her concerns as invalid. That was what had split them up—for the first time in their marriage they’d been unable to find common ground. He felt inadequate that she was able to earn such a good income—never mind that Jock’s will had left him wealthy in his own right—and Donna recognized that Ewing Oil was ultimately poison for the entire family. She was glad that it was gone now, but knew that the damage to the family was irreparable. Miss Ellie and Clayton were getting too old to have to mediate an endless series of familial squabbles. Her daughter Margaret cooed in her lap. She was glad that Margaret was able to sleep so soundly on the long flight from Washington, D.C to Dallas, because she felt more than a little nervous to be headed back to her Turtle Creek home, the one which she was now glad she hadn’t sold. She’d had Margaret’s things shipped there but it would be too late by the time they arrived to set up a crib; she would simply have to fold blankets atop a mattress and make a safe space for her daughter to sleep that night. She didn’t want to think about what—or who—Ray was doing that night, but it was difficult. Donna always found herself remembering the love they’d shared, his tanned and strong arms wrapped around her, protection from the outside world and any sense of self-doubt she might have ever felt. How could they have fallen apart when they needed each other the most, when she was pregnant with their child? *** She was exhausted by the time the taxi dropped them off at home. The house smelled musty inside—she would need to open up the windows soon and air it out—but thankfully Margaret had slept like an angel throughout the landing, check-in, and cab ride. She smiled to herself—Margaret was born in the District of Columbia, and this was her first night on Texas soil. Even if it was painful to think about Ray having moved on, she hoped they could be amicable where their daughter was concerned. She really wanted her to spend as much time at Southfork as possible; children who grew up in wide open spaces were generally much happier, and those who cared for animals were more empathetic and sensitive to people. She wondered if that was why J.R., the least interested Ewing in the ranch and its commerce, seemed to make so many poor choices where family and business were concerned. Even if they’d never had any sort of pleasant relationship, Donna felt she had made the right decision when she asked Andrew to help keep the eldest Ewing son out of jail. She cared too much about Miss Ellie, and John Ross for that matter, to let her preferred justice be served. She was tired, though, and yawned as she placed Margaret in the middle of the guest bed and began to arrange a series of soft barriers that would prevent her from rolling onto the floor in the night. Donna would sleep in the other guest bed—the room had two—and make sure that her gift from God slept safely in the unfamiliar surroundings. She had become attuned to Margaret’s noises and sleep habits, and figured any disturbance would alert her to potential harm. For now though, she needed to get some rest. She had to be up early to ensure she would have enough time to unpack an outfit and find a sitter for the day. Perhaps Teresa wouldn’t mind, though Donna really didn’t think an unannounced trip to Southfork was the best way to reenter Dallas society.