The Cowboy and the Lady

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

  1. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Another lovely update. Love the domestic bliss. Ray with the baby was so sweet. :kiss:
    Also Donna reflecting upon how it had been perfect if she'd just had a wedding ring on her finger was bittersweet but true!

    Love how Donna is able to combine being a mother with having a fulfilling job/career.

    Also it seems like Ray and Donna really need to talk at some point as they are both sharing the same lingering feelings for each other but seems totally unaware of it.

    Anyway I look forward to find out what's gonna happen next. :best:
     
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  2. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Beautiful update! :spinning::jolly::kiss: I'm not sure that I'm able to find the right words to describe just how much I cheerished this update! But one thing's for sure ... This update definitely gets 10 out of 10 points in my book! :10::10::10::10::10::10::10::10:

    There was a couple of sentences that I just had to read over and over again, because they had so much depth, love, and passion:
    • "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."
    • "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."
    You truly are an amazing writer! I just love your work! :bravo: :fantastic: :thank: :site::best:

    Please update ASAP! :wink@ This lovestory just keeps getting better and better! :kiss::kiss::kiss::kiss::kiss::kiss::kiss:


    PS. @Ray&Donna, I have to ask you about one sentence that I didn't quite understand: :think:
    "He was still her father’s daughter." (It's close to the end of the update!).
    Could it be that you meant to write "He was still her daughter's father"??? :shy:
     
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  3. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Yes, that was an error on my part. I have been trying to proof and edit the entries before I post them, but as the writer sometimes you gloss over what looks right to you. When feeling particularly inspired, I write quickly, leading to the occasional missed word or incomplete thought. :lol:

    ***

    The very next week the announcement was made: the other party had nominated Clark Graham to run in opposition to her. She was familiar with him and his personality; he had been nicknamed “Country” long ago when first elected to the state legislature. Country Graham projected the perfect image of a good old boy, the kind of glad-handing politician voters had favored for decades. She thought he was popular in his region of the state, but she noted that he’d never advanced further in politics than the state level. While she’d never held elected office before, she did have experience in Washington, which she thought might give her a leg up on the competition. She’d been a commissioner as well as a small business owner, and was now a mother. She was well-versed in local, state, and national politics, as well as the geopolitical implications of the petroleum industry. Donna had a varied résumé—whether or not she could get that message across outside of a core group of voters would be a challenge for her and her team.

    ***

    Ray looked at the TV screen and tried very hard not to laugh. Someone had drafted Country Graham to run for governor? He knew enough about politics—and animals, for that matter—to recognize a horse that you wouldn’t do anything with but send straight to the glue factory. Donna could chew up that guy and spit him out without breaking a sweat.

    A weak opponent means she’s certain to win, a voice reminded him. “It would make her happy,” he said to himself. “It would also mean the end for us, as if that hadn’t happened already. I’ve just been fooling myself, thinking that we might find our way back to each other like we did so many times before. We’re on completely different paths—I’m headed for the next big horse show, and she’s headed for the Governor’s mansion.” His attention drifted back to the screen where Graham was speaking to the press in Austin.

    “It is clear to the people of Texas that I, a long-time representative in the state senate, am the most qualified candidate for this job. I wish Mrs. Krebbs all the luck in the world in this race—she’s going to need it.”

    Ray grabbed the remote and changed to a different station. What an arrogant, contemptible man. “He could give Cliff Barnes a run for his money,” he muttered aloud.

    ***

    Donna’s campaign kicked into high gear with the beginning of the next year. She crisscrossed the state numerous times—it was a long way from El Paso to Texarkana, and from Galveston to Amarillo—and her goal was to cover every square inch of the state by the time May rolled around. She was on the private jet, making notes and corrections to a speech she planned to give to the oilmen in Odessa and Midland, when Garner leaned across the aisle and summoned her attention. “Donna?”

    “Yes,” she replied without looking up. “I’m listening.”

    “What do you think about Cliff Barnes?”

    That got her attention, and she looked him square in the eye. “As my ex-boyfriend, a former political candidate, a lawyer, or a businessman?”

    “Pick one,” he replied on a laugh. “No, I meant as a consultant.” Donna gave him a disapproving look but he continued. “Hear me out. Mr. Barnes has some connections we could take advantage of. He’s got strong ties to the Cartel.”

    “What’s left of it,” Donna reminded him dryly.

    “And he also has relationships with people who have either been burned by your former brother-in-law, or would never do business with him in the first place for moral reasons. I think he could be a real asset to your campaign.”

    Donna nodded, somewhat reluctantly. “Set up a meeting with him, but first gauge his interest. Cliff and I didn’t part on the best of terms, and our later interactions were strained, to say the least. He wanted Dave’s state senate seat, and he wanted to be the head of the oil lobby. Needless to say, neither of those things happened. I am curious though, because I thought he had left politics behind him.”

    “It’s like being in the mafia, Donna,” he replied. “Once you’re in, you’re in for life.”

    She smiled at him. “An apt albeit slightly disturbing parallel between politics and criminal enterprise.”

    Donna resumed working on her speech while Garner returned to the newspaper he was reading. Her opponent was already attacking her lack of experience, but early polls indicated that she had a slight edge among potential voters. She just hoped to stem the tide before her supporters fled to another lifeboat.
     
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  4. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Another great update! :spinning:

    Cliff work for Donna's team? :think: Interesting ... I'm looking forward to hear more about this! :gotcha:

    I can totally relate to Ray's concerns! Things aren't looking up for him right now ... or so it appears! :cry:

    A couple of sentences that I really liked:
    • "Donna could chew up that guy and spit him out without breaking a sweat."
    • "We’re on completely different paths—I’m headed for the next big horse show, and she’s headed for the Governor’s mansion."
    You're an awesome writer, @Ray&Donna! :jolly:

    Please update real soon! :bowing
     
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  5. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Another intriguing update. I'm not sure that bringing in Cliff Barnes is such a good idea though, I mean doesn't the man have a record of losing? :lolo:
    But yeah I can see why him working on Donna's team would make for an interesting plot twist in this story and also cause some long time tension with Ray so it does make sense from the writer's perspective.

    Donna's opponent sounds boring so far. I guess we'll see if he'll give her a run for the money or not.

    So what's next? ;)
     
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  6. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Stay tuned! Answers may (or may not) be forthcoming! ;)

    ***

    The boys had gone outside to play, but the adults remained in the Southfork living room. Clayton stoked the blaze in the fireplace before returning to his seat. J.R. was nowhere to be found, which they had all come to expect. The conversation turned once more to the gubernatorial race. The current governor had attended the Southfork Rodeo once, but otherwise they didn’t delve much into politics as a family. “I can’t believe they nominated that fossil to be Donna’s opponent,” Sue Ellen observed.

    “I think it was an act of desperation on their part,” Miss Ellie replied. “She got a head start on them and they were left scrambling to find a suitable candidate. I think as long as they can avoid mudslinging or personal attacks, Donna should be able to easily defeat him in November.”

    “Don’t be so sure,” Clayton said pragmatically. “Graham may be a weak candidate, but he has years of service in his plus column, and friends in high places. There are a certain group of my contemporaries that wouldn’t think twice before casting a vote for him.”

    “That is true,” Miss Ellie admitted. “I suppose it’s not that different from Takapa—men going one way, their wives going another. Even though the DOA is meant to be more social than political, I definitely think we should use all of our resources to back Donna.”

    “I agree,” Sue Ellen said. “Do you know if Ray is registered to vote?”

    “I’m sure he is,” Clayton assumed, “though I think Donna will always be the first lady of his heart, if nothing else.”

    “They’ll never be able to stay apart, now that they’re back in the same state,” Miss Ellie said, smiling confidently. She could almost guarantee another wedding in the future, though probably not at Southfork.

    ***

    Donna hadn’t been looking forward to meeting with Cliff, though the whole brain trust of her campaign was on board with the idea. As the day of the meeting arrived—a private one at her headquarters rather than something public at the Oil Barons Club or another restaurant—she figured that she might be acting a little silly. There was no possible way Cliff would be any worse than a teething baby.

    As it turned out, she needn’t have worried at all. Cliff arrived happy, greeted her warmly, and was on his best behavior. “Donna. It’s been too long since we’ve seen each other.”

    “I was sorry to hear about your wife, Cliff. Not to mention Pam’s kidnapping. It’s been a horrible year for you, hasn’t it?”

    He nodded. “I just have to keep telling myself that things could always be worse. Even if I’ve lost most of my family, I still have Christopher.” He smiled at the thought of his nephew. “I’ve also got Barnes Wentworth, and another political campaign with which to involve myself! Everything is coming up Cliff Barnes these days!”

    Donna grinned at him. It was nice to see Cliff exuberant rather than bitter. “I’m just glad to find out that you’re a supporter of mine. I was worried, with the way things have gone down between us in the past, and your feud with the Ewings…”

    “Miss Ellie and I put that to bed,” Cliff informed her. “With Pam gone I just got tired of fighting with J.R. Besides, he’s got bigger fish to fry these days. He’s eyeing West Star like a panther eyeing a piece of meat.”

    “I had no idea,” she replied. “I knew that according to the family, he hadn’t been around much lately, but none of them seemed to miss him that much. Well, aside from John Ross, I suppose.”

    “Hey,” he said, “with Bobby and Pam gone, that family is falling apart. You coming back and running for governor is the best thing for this state, and for the Ewings. Not to mention your personal life.”

    “You mean…”

    “You and Ray, of course. Even when we were together, I knew your heart and mind were with him. So while I might have been jealous of your ascendency, I never held any ill will toward you. The brighter the star, the dimmer the surrounding ones. I learned that when I was dating Afton; I took advantage of her, neglected her, cheated on her—I was resentful of her talent and ability to make heads turn, so I did everything I could to damage that relationship. She was the great love of my life, if anyone was.”

    “Have you spoken with her recently?” Donna asked, genuinely concerned. Cliff rested his left leg atop his right knee and frowned.

    “Not since she left right after Bobby was shot. The turmoil with Gold Canyon 340 was the final straw for her. Things might have been different if we’d had a child, or if I’d behaved differently.”

    “Children aren’t always the quick fix for an ailing relationship. Look at Ray and me. Instead of putting us back together, the baby did the opposite. But I will never regret becoming a mother. It’s a great accomplishment,” she said happily.

    “Your election this year will be, too,” Cliff observed.

    “You’re more confident than I am at this point. Don’t you think Mr. Graham is a worthy opponent?”

    “That rube? He couldn’t find his rear end with both hands! Look at the amount of beneficial legislation he’s sponsored over the years; you could count it on one hand. You did more in one day heading up the oil lobby than he’s done during twenty-five years in elected office. No one takes him seriously except himself. Truthfully Donna, people love you. You’re the future of politics in this state. Listen, if you don’t mind, I’m gonna convince Jordan Lee to funnel every bit of his tax deduction for this year toward your campaign. It’s a big amount.”

    “I’d appreciate that, Cliff. Thank you. What about Marilee? Will she support a candidate she can’t sleep with?”

    Cliff laughed in spite of himself. “I think so. She and I haven’t always been on the best terms, but there are few businesswomen in this state as smart, savvy, and successful.”

    “I can’t express my gratitude enough, Cliff. I am glad we were able to mend fences and work together again.”

    “Hey,” he said, standing to shake her hand, “the pleasure is all mine. Besides, I need a distraction and you’re one of the loveliest I’ve ever known.”

    She didn’t blush, but did feel a strange note of caution in the back of her mind. She hoped that Cliff wasn’t hoping to rekindle something that was over before it began. But she didn’t think that his hand felt overly-flirtatious in hers, so she simply smiled, thanked him again, and bade Cliff a good day. She gathered up her files, notes, speeches, and list of campaign donors. The car would arrive soon to take her to her next destination—the meeting with Cliff wasn’t the only one on her schedule.
     
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  7. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Love it how Sue Ellen called the opponent a fossil! :lmao:

    Also love how you're writing the more mature Cliff Barnes who has put the Barnes-Ewing fued to bed and is missing Afton. I really like this version of Cliff and you write him really well. It's going to be fun to find out Ray's reaction to Donna working with Cliff again! :)
     
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  8. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Yet another amazing update! :loveit: How do you do it, @Ray&Donna? :thinks: You're such a great writer! :jolly:

    I want to highlight a couple of great "Miss Ellie-moments" that I soooooo enjoyed:
    • “I suppose it’s not that different from Takapa—men going one way, their wives going another. Even though the DOA is meant to be more social than political, I definitely think we should use all of our resources to back Donna.”
    • "They'll never be able to stay apart, now that they're back in the same state", Miss Ellie said, smiling confidently. She could almost guarantee another wedding in the future, though probably not at Southfork." [i.e. they = Ray and Donna]

    Donna's initial thoughts about Cliff before their meeting were priceless: "There was no possible way Cliff would be any worse than a teething baby." :giggle:

    I was very pleased with what Cliff said to Donna: "Even when we were together, I knew your heart and mind were with him." [i.e. him = Ray]. :kiss::kiss::kiss:

    Sue Ellen calling Donna's political opponent a fossil was definitely funny, but I think that Cliff's remark was even funnier: "That rube? He couldn't find his rear end with both hands." :lolo:

    I also loved Donna's response to Cliff when he talked about Jordan Lee: "What about Marilee? Will she support a candidate she can't sleep with?" :rlol:

    Please update soon! This fanfic is simply amazing! :10::10::10::10::10:
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
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  9. Mrs Bobby James Ewing

    Mrs Bobby James Ewing Soap Chat Fan

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    Happy Memorial Day Ray&Donna and great updates. :)I love your story so much and I can't wait find out what Ray going to say to Donna when he finds out Donna and Cliff are working together on Donna's campaign for governor since they were an item once and their also bad blood between the Barnes, Ewing, amd Krebbs families. :):( Let the fireworks begin between Cliff and Ray for Donna's heart. :)I hope Ray and Donna reconcile soon in.your story because they still love each other and they belong together with their infant daughter Margaret.:)
     
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  10. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Donna wondered as she arrived at the high-rise if Sam could ever have imagined her running for his old job. Then she realized that he would have been the first to encourage her to go for it; Sam had always told her that she was destined for great things, and that she was limited only by her imagination. In other words, if she could dream it she could do it. She didn’t know if she’d go that far; the mind could conjure a great number of implausible scenarios. Arriving on the fourth floor, she was buzzed into Mr. Williamson’s office immediately. They exchanged pleasantries before getting down to brass tacks.

    “I trust that your meeting with Cliff Barnes went well,” Shaw asked her that afternoon at his office.

    “Yes,” Donna replied. “I think he is a good ally to have in our corner.”

    “I had the same thought,” he agreed. “He knows a great number of influential people. And speaking of which,” he said, looking toward a printout atop his desk, “we received some contributions from your former relatives, and they were sizeable: a joint one from the Farlows and another from Sue Ellen Ewing.”

    “Do you have a problem with that?” Donna asked him. He shook his head. “Good, because I am honored to have their support. They know a great number of influential folks, too.”

    “It’s a shame that we can’t have your brother-in-law, Bobby, to help with the campaign,”

    “Yes,” she replied with a frown. “For such a good man, he has certainly had his share of bad luck. If not for what happened to his wife, he would be the first one on my bandwagon. We were always close, even after the divorce.”

    “Though his tenure in the state house was short, he earned a lot of respect with his knack for weighing all of the options before making a decision, as well as his ability for compromising to achieve the greater good rather than simply looking out for his own interests.”

    “Yes, he and I share a similar pragmatism. That’s why he was my pick for Dave’s old seat.”

    “What about Mr. Barnes?”

    “You really have done your homework on me,” Donna noted. She wondered what else Bond, Williamson, and Simmons knew about her. “His animosity for the Ewings, and J.R. in particular, have made it difficult for him to achieve in life what he otherwise might have. He’s highly intelligent but lacks the pragmatism needed for elected office. I still think he’s an asset to the campaign, but a behind-the-scenes one. He can solicit funds and supporters, but I prefer if he doesn’t speak on policy issues.”

    “I think he would be amenable to that.”

    “I believe so, too. To be honest, the Cliff I met with today wasn’t the same one I knew back in 1981. He’s still knowledgeable and ambitious, but the absence of his sister has deeply affected him. Pam was the one constant in his life, and now he doesn’t even have that. I may not be a therapist, but I know the feeling of profound loss and loneliness. He and I were similar like that when we dated. I’ve gotten off the subject, though.” She smiled across the desk at him. “You wanted to talk about the latest fundraiser you’re planning.”

    “Yes, I thought we’d gather as many supporters as we could at the Dallas Quorum next weekend, if that works for you.” He slid a manila folder across toward her, which she perused quickly. Seating charts, a list of speakers, and the amount of money the donors had pledged so far—everything looked good to her.

    “Yes,” Donna replied. “That sounds great. I just hope we don’t have any snow this weekend!”

    “Well, winter in Dallas isn’t as rough as it is a few hundred miles to the north, but it does have its drawbacks. Perhaps you can outlaw the entire season once you’re elected governor?”

    Donna laughed. “Somehow I don’t think my daughter would appreciate that. Once she gets old enough to realize what snow is, she’s going to love it.” She glanced at her watch and then back at him. “Speaking of Margaret, I think it’s getting to that time where I need to be at home with her.” He stood and they shook hands before she departed. Once the door was closed behind her, he took his phone off the hook and waited for his guest. The entrance to the adjoining room opened, and his confederate entered the office purposefully. He remained standing, though, and steadfastly silent. Donna Krebbs would make a great governor, but the men hadn’t been completely honest about their intentions; they hoped to utilize her to take down their adversary once and for all. Shaw tapped his fingers atop the desk blotter and gave his visitor a laconic smile.

    “So what do you think, Harrison? Is she the right woman for the job?”

    Bond nodded solemnly. “Of that, I have no doubt.”
     
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  11. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Great update! :bravo: :fantastic: :thank:

    I loved that Donna was thinking about what Sam would have thought of the whole thing! :dance: I also loved Donna's kind words about Cliff and Bobby! :) Simply beautifully written! :danc:

    I think that you lost me at the end! :( The guys haven't been honest with Donna??? :confused:
    Oh, no ... now you have me all worried and quite anxious, I'm afraid! :mad: And who's Harrison who was in the last scene??? :confuse:

    Please give us another update real soon! :clap: :hats: :wink@
     
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  12. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Intriguing end of the update. :)
    I wonder which adversary they want her to bring down?

    Also you completely nailed it when you described Cliff and why he isn't getting anywhere in terms of politics.

    The Margaret reference to how she's going to love winter when she gets older was cute too.
     
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  13. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Harrison Bond, the state party chair. I had second thoughts when writing the ending, since it seemed kind of vague and didn't really feature any main characters.

    ***

    With the weather not at all suitable for outdoor tasks, Ray was spending most of his days making sure the horses were secure in their stalls, that they were healthy and well-fed. On one particularly harsh winter day, when it would’ve been cold enough to snow had there been any moisture in the air, he headed for Turtle Creek and a visit with his daughter. He enjoyed getting to spend this time with her, but couldn’t help but anticipate the day she would be old enough to join him in the saddle. Had Donna married the senator and stayed back east, he couldn’t imagine his daughter ever getting to play outdoors. But if he’d married Jenna and stayed in Texas, he couldn’t blame Donna for not wanting to visit, or to at least never venture further than Southfork.

    But none of that mattered now. He and Donna were repairing their relationship with each meeting. He had found that she responded much better when he behaved with a measure of congeniality rather than demanding that she submit to his commands. He knew now that he had treated her as less than an equal; he had tried to control her as though she was a child rather than the woman he loved, the woman who had shared his life and his bed for the prior six years. If he hadn’t been so stringent in his demand that she play the dutiful housewife, she probably wouldn’t have filed for divorce in the first place. It certainly didn’t seem as though she actually wanted to serve him with the papers that night she arrived at his door a year earlier. She simply felt he had given her no other choice but to cut ties and seek a better life elsewhere.

    He parked in the driveway, careful to leave room in case Donna shouldn’t be home and need to access the garage later. Then again, he wasn’t sure she had her own car; she had been using a driver to escort her to meetings and the airport when she had to fly somewhere. Ray couldn’t imagine not driving himself from place to place, but then he supposed that was another difference between the two of them; they were both fiercely independent, but Donna was willing to take help when it was offered.

    He tugged on his coat, grabbed his hat, and headed to the front door. He knocked and waited for someone to answer. He put his hands to his mouth and blew on them; he should’ve worn gloves like a normal human being would have done. That was another reason he wasn’t meant to live alone—he needed Donna to remind him to take his hat and coat when he left the kitchen each morning. The remembrance tugged at his heartstrings—he didn’t live in the brick house anymore, and it sat empty there behind Southfork, a silent reminder of the love and life that had existed there. The parcel of land had been Jock’s gift to Ray; the house had been Ray’s gift to Donna. He knew that she had been happy there—at least when he had allowed her to be—but he always looked at it as a temporary home until he could find a better one. By the time he did though, she was gone from the original. She had refused to step foot inside the white ranch house, and he had been angry until he took a step back and realized that she viewed it as a cage in which he wanted to keep her. He didn’t come to that epiphany until it was too late—he had to lose her and have his heart broken yet another time before he could understand the harshness of his words and attitude toward her.

    The door finally opened and, surprisingly enough, Donna was the one to answer. She greeted him with a smile. “Ray? Come in out of the cold, cowboy.” He followed her directive and, after he’d hung up his coat and hat, met her in the living room. A fire was going in the hearth, and Margaret was playing in a bouncer. She was very happy, her laughter filling the room, and he imagined that Donna found it a welcome change from the bout of teething she’d gone through not so long ago. “She’s been trying to talk this morning,” Donna informed him as she sipped a cup of steaming tea. “Could I offer you some?” she asked. He declined—he wasn’t one for warm beverages except coffee, or hot chocolate if it was homemade.

    “Able to make out any words?” he asked, smiling at Margaret before returning his attention to Donna.

    “Mostly just gurgles and cooing for now,” she replied. Donna motioned to her with a small wave, to which Margaret responded by bouncing and laughing.

    “Has she finished teething?”

    “For now,” Donna said. “Margaret, show Daddy your teeth!” Donna pointed to her mouth in an effort to get the girl to do so; she smiled and Ray could see the beginnings of four small teeth on top and two on the bottom. His little girl had teeth and he was in awe. “Can you say ‘Mama’? Mama!”

    “Mama,” she garbled the word, but not inaudibly. Ray looked at Donna and they beamed at one another.

    “Now say ‘Daddy’,” he urged.

    “Cowboy,” she giggled, looking his way and clapping her hands.

    “Good job, Margaret,” Donna said. “You’re going to be a wordsmith in no time flat.”

    She handed Margaret her favorite board book and sipped at her tea. She looked at Ray and smiled. “So what brings you around today?”

    “Her,” Ray said, motioning toward their daughter. “I finally realized what went wrong between us. Well, at least my part in it.” Donna nodded, urging him to continue. “I didn’t take you seriously when I was siding with J.R. and Bobby against Cliff. You knew that eventually J.R. would lose his need for my help, but I was too stubborn and just figured the whole thing would blow over before it could do any serious damage. Famous last words, huh?

    “I needed you, but it didn’t seem like you needed me. You were always capable and independent and smart and I was a dummy.” She frowned at his description of himself. “You told me to do something for the living. I told you that I’d seek my happiness elsewhere. Stupid move on my part; I glommed onto Jenna because I thought she needed me. Maybe I was a little bit jealous that Bobby and J.R. were thick as thieves again and I just wanted to get back at the Ewings for tossing her into the street. I guess a part of me figured that she was a lot more likely to cook and clean and make a house a home. That’s not how it works, though. You make a home by being with someone you love, someone who returns that love and isn’t just going through the motions. What I’m trying to say is: I’m sorry, Donna. I apologize for all of the harsh things I’ve said to you the past few years. I’m sorry for accusing you of being a terrible wife when you were the best wife a man could have ever asked for.” He could see the wetness glaze her eyes as emotions threatened to spill forth. Damn, he’d never meant to make her cry.

    “Ray,” she whispered hoarsely. Margaret continued to play with the book happily, oblivious to her parents and their dramatic tableau. “I should apologize too for not taking your feelings into account. Don’t you think I share some of the blame for the situation we find ourselves in?”

    “Maybe,” he said reluctantly, trying to remember when she’d ever been as inflexible as he was. “I still think the lion’s share of the blame falls on me. I let my feelings of inadequacy and rejection bleed over into our marriage one time too many, and in the end it tore us in half.”

    “When you know someone as well as we knew each other, it becomes very easy to figure out which remark will cut the deepest. And even when you’re not deliberately acting with malice, it will sometimes come off that way because your feelings of love are so intense. I never hated you, though—I knew that our paths diverged and God had some kind of reason for it.”

    Ray nodded. “So how is the campaign going?”

    “It’s good,” she said. “I’m meeting a lot of new people. Some of them are great, but none of them are as wonderful as the one I get to come home to afterward.” She looked toward Margaret and smiled. “My campaign team nearly choked on their tongues when they saw the size of Jordan Lee’s contribution.”

    He laughed. “Old Jordan never was much for thrift—or at least that’s what Jock said.”

    “He’d rather I get it than Uncle Sam,” she replied with a laugh. He would never be able to get enough of that sound: Donna filled with good humor and contentedness. “I’m grateful for the support, though. You can’t run a campaign like this without a lot of people pushing you forward.”

    “What about walking alongside you?” Ray asked sensitively. “I mean it can’t be easy, taking care of Margaret without a spouse to help you.”

    Donna sighed, but glanced at him affectionately. “It’s been an adjustment,” she admitted, “but I think I’ve managed better than I could have expected. That’s not to say that I ever wanted to do it on my own, but…I’ve done all right.”

    “I knew you would,” Ray said, admitting to himself that Margaret was in excellent health, smart as a whip, and sharp as a tack. Could he have done any better on his own? He seriously doubted it. “I’m going to try and get John Ross and Christopher better acclimated to horses and horsemanship once the weather permits. They’ve been getting along better lately, which is good to see considering how much feuding there’s been in the family over the years.”

    “I need to come for dinner one night, when my schedule permits.” There was a sense of longing apparent in Donna’s voice. Ray smiled and nodded.

    “Miss Ellie would really like that. Clayton, too.”

    “And you?”

    He shrugged. He didn’t hate the idea, but it would feel so awkward to be at the Ewing table with her not as his wife. J.R. was always kind of dismissive of their presence at dinnertime, but Donna usually made a comment that snapped his mouth shut for the rest of the meal. He’d been such an irregular attendee since Bobby left that he didn’t figure they had much to worry about. “Yeah, count me in.” She gave him a big smile. He wouldn’t have minded giving her a reason to smile. Your child is in the room, he hastened to remind himself. “Besides, Margaret needs to visit Southfork eventually.”

    “Indeed she does. I hope that she will spend a lot of time there while she’s growing up. The entire summer if it’s not a problem.”

    “I doubt that would be a problem,” Ray told her. “Miss Ellie loves having kids around, even more so with Lucy in Atlanta.”

    “I sent her a birth announcement for Margaret and she replied, with wishes that she could have been there. I’m surprised she hasn’t become a mother yet.”

    Ray shook his head. “I think the truth is that she’d like to, but Mitch works so much that she’d be left alone most of the time to raise the family. It can’t be easy being married to a doctor.”

    “Or a politician,” Donna countered. “You give so much of yourself to other people that sometimes there’s just nothing left when you come home. That’s my biggest regret from our marriage. I know there were times you must have felt that way.”

    “I think what I’ve had to learn is that I’m responsible for how I feel, or how I react to a situation. I can’t blame you for my unhappiness any more than I can blame beer for a hangover.”

    “I think you are very wise, Ray Krebbs.” He took it as the compliment it was meant to be.

    “I learned from the best.” He glanced toward Margaret, and found her staring at him. “Isn’t that right, Maggie? Your mama is the smartest person I ever met, and this time next year she’ll be in charge of this whole entire state!” She smiled at him, completely oblivious to the weight of his words. “I guess I’d better head back to the ranch,” he said, not really wanting to leave but reluctant to overstay his welcome. Donna nodded that it was okay, and he stood up to say goodbye. He picked Margaret up from the jumper and gave her a hug and kiss—how nice it would be when she learned to kiss back—and returned her to her recreation. “Goodbye, Donna.” He dipped his head in respect, and she smiled.

    “Goodbye, Ray. I’ll check with Miss Ellie to see when it would be okay to come for dinner.”

    He nodded and smiled before he left. His boots didn’t touch the ground as he walked back to his truck. Ray felt like in the future the same scene was going to play out very differently—he and Donna would sit on the couch, their arms around each other, and watch their daughter without trepidation. She might not be in his bed, but they would definitely find their way back to that old familiar intimacy that had united them so many years earlier and held them together until the world fell apart.
     
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  14. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It's great that they are finally talking about what went wrong between them and both take some of the blame for it. I think things were progressing nicely and then all of a sudden he changes the subject to talk about the campaign! *sigh*

    Oh well it does seem like they are on the mend and it was nice to hear him compliment her at the end. He truly believes she can make governor and he is ok with that. So that should mean a lot to her.

    I'll look forward to the Southfork family dinner. :)
     
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  15. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    This update was beautiful, and it had a few powerful "twists"! :jolly:

    I loved hearing about all the thoughts that Ray has had to deal with! And I was pleased but also surprised that Ray chose to share his most inner thoughts with Donna in today's update! :bowing

    Please update soon! :best:
     
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  16. Mrs Bobby James Ewing

    Mrs Bobby James Ewing Soap Chat Fan

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    Great updates Ray&Donna. :)Ray&Donna are so cute together with their daughter Margaret.:) I am so glad that they are starting to talk about what went wrong between them and they are both taking responsibility for the breakup of their marriage. :):( I hope they reconcile soon because they belong together with their daughter Margaret. :)
     
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  17. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Miss Ellie was eager for Donna to come to dinner the very next evening, but thanks to the demands of her schedule, she had to put her trip to Southfork on hold until Wednesday evening. It was unseasonably mild outdoors, feeling more like spring than winter, and so she put Margaret in a lightweight jacket and hopped in the car. It was odd not driving herself around, though if she became governor she would have to get used to it—but she doubted anyone in Marshall would have ever imagined the simple, soft-spoken blonde girl to be riding everywhere in a limousine. With the partition raised, she opted to speak with her daughter in the silence. She hoped Margaret would be comfortable in the unfamiliar surroundings of the Southfork nursery. “You’re going to love it,” she said to the little girl. “Thankfully Miss Ellie got rid of that freakishly scary clown wallpaper. The skies are so clear, and the air is fresh. Nothing at all like living in the city.” Margaret gurgled. “And there are horses and cowboys and very noisy insects, and your grandma has some of the most beautiful flowers you will ever see.” Donna smiled at her daughter, tickling her chin while doing so. “But you’ll have to wait for spring and summer to experience that. In the meantime you are going to meet some of the family. Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Sue Ellen, your cousins John Ross and Christopher. You met Uncle Bobby that time he came to Washington very briefly; hopefully someday you’ll get to meet Aunt Pam, too.” She felt a sense of melancholy wash over her as they left the city lights behind them. Donna recalled the very first time she’d ever visited Southfork for dinner, when she was Mrs. Sam Culver and had no idea that her new lover was the ranch foreman. What a shock that had been when she finally learned of it! Aside from J.R., the Ewings had been quite accepting of her relationship with Sam, despite the unusual picture they presented. She had long since habituated to peoples’ comments regarding the reason for their marriage, everything from her being a gold digger to him trying to shield himself from having to entertain a succession of eligible females who were interested primarily in his money. Neither could have been further from the truth; she and Sam were two lonely souls who needed one another. The love they shared was obviously different than what he had felt for his late wife, and had little in common with the consuming passion Donna felt for Ray. Sam loved her so much that when he learned of her affair, he had been willing to let her go just so she could be with the man who had captured her heart. Sam had carried within him such an abundance of wisdom that ten well-educated men would be hard-pressed to match it. In the final months of his life, when they both knew he was nearing the end, Sam had urged her to find happiness again, because, “You deserve it, Donna. I only want the best for you.”

    His words echoed in her ears as clearly as if he’d been right there beside her. But he had been dead for nearly ten years, and in the course of her trip down memory lane, they had arrived in Braddock and were now turning into the driveway. It had always been a bit unusual to enter the ranch this way; Ray’s brick house had been close enough that they could literally walk right up to the back patio. She had been grateful most of the time for the distance; it allowed for privacy and peace but also the ability to reach someone in case of emergency. The limo pulled to a stop, the driver alighted and opened the door for her, Donna thanked him, then she and Margaret, along with the baby bag, headed for the door. She tapped on the glass and Teresa opened the slider for them to enter. “Thank you, Teresa,” she replied.

    “Would you like me to take Margaret upstairs for now, Mrs. Krebbs?”

    “Yes, Teresa, that would be wonderful.” She returned her attention to her daughter. “You’re going upstairs now, sweetie. Mommy will come get you after dinner and let you spend some time with the family.” She kissed her on the mouth and thanked Teresa. Somewhat nervously she headed for the main hall. She stopped a moment to straighten her coat and skirt before she entered the living room. “Good evening,” she said, scanning the room and finding Ray alongside the bar, Sue Ellen sipping sweet tea—thankfully—on the couch, and Miss Ellie and Clayton smiling warmly from their familiar positions near the mantel.

    “Donna,” Miss Ellie said, standing the greet her. “Welcome home.”

    Donna smiled tentatively. “Thank you, ma’am. She leaned down to kiss her on the cheek. “Clayton.” They greeted each other with a hug. She began to make a circuit of the room. “Ray,” she said to her cowboy.

    “Donna,” he replied with a nod. “Like something to drink?”

    “Yes,” she said. “I’ll have what Sue Ellen’s having.” She smiled at both her and Ray.

    “Donna,” Sue Ellen began, standing to greet her, “your campaign is all the DOA can talk about lately! It has literally been years since I’ve seen people this energized about an election.”

    “I’m grateful,” Donna replied, taking the glass Ray offered and thanking him in the process—he’d gone through the trouble to remember she liked a sprig of mint in her sweet tea, “but some of the credit must go to my campaign team.”

    “I hear that Garner Simmons is your campaign manager,” Clayton said. “He’s a rising star in the political arena. Once he’s got you into office I could see him running for office himself.”

    “Yes, he is very knowledgeable about the inner workings of the political process and incredibly thorough and organized when it comes to scheduling fundraisers and speeches and other events. He’s indispensable.” She noted something flash across Ray’s visage—he probably didn’t much like the idea of her relying so much on any man unless it was him. “Are the boys joining us tonight?” Donna asked, attempting to steer the conversation back to family. “I brought Margaret with me so she could have a chance to spend the after dinner hour with everyone.”

    “They’ll be down at dinnertime,” Sue Ellen said. “They don’t enjoy pre-dinner conversation the way the adults do. I suppose board games are more interesting than talking about politics and business and charitable events.”

    Donna nodded. “I can imagine so. When I was young, I usually enjoyed reading more than adult conversation. It was my escape, my way to dream about the future and what it might hold.”

    Everyone’s eyes moved toward the doorway at the sound of footsteps. She didn’t know who was about to arrive, but she had a good idea. “Well,” J.R. said in his familiar drawl, “the Barnes woman blows out and the Culver woman blows back in. It’s like musical chairs at Southfork. Mama, Sue Ellen,” he said, ignoring the rest of the family.

    “I’m warning you, J.R.,” Ray cautioned, his jaw tightening. The eldest brother walked to the bar and dropped some ice in his cup.

    “So, Donna,” he said, keeping his back to the room, “is the cowboy going to play stud for the lady governor, or are the two of you gettin’ back together? I’m not much sure Ray would know what to do with all of those forks and knives they use down in Austin.”

    Donna smiled. “I see not much has changed, J.R. You always did know just how to speak to a woman.” She glanced at Ray, whose blood was clearly up. He looked like he could wrestle a steer bare-handed.

    He turned and lifted an eyebrow at her. “Among other things. So how about it, Ray? Getting your kicks at Turtle Creek these days? Or are you going to be on Daddy duty while the former missus travels in high society?”

    Before the family had time to react, Ray knotted his left hand into a fist and punched J.R. in the gut. The only sounds in the room were a groan and the clinking of ice cubes and glass against the floor as the wind was knocked out of him.

    “Need me to fix your drink, darlin’?” Sue Ellen teased as he struggled to his feet. “Or would you rather have the ice on your mouth?”

    “Dinner is served,” Teresa said. The boys bounded downstairs, with Donna hoping that they wouldn’t wake Margaret. Of course there was no guarantee her daughter was even asleep; she was probably wide awake, her eyes taking in every sight the darkened room had to offer.

    “I would have chastised Ray in the past,” Miss Ellie whispered to Donna as they linked arms, “but J.R. is so seldom home for dinner that there was really no reason for him to act nasty tonight.”

    “I’m sorry, ma’am. I didn’t mean to cause any conflict.”

    “You didn’t,” she said. “Now, I want you to have a nice evening here with your family. Forget about all of your worries and concerns for the evening and pretend to be just a mother bragging on her daughter.”

    Donna laughed as they were seated. “I won’t have to work very hard at that. She surprises, amazes, and delights me every day.”

    Dinner went fine, with lots of family discussion and catching up on what had been happening while Donna was away. The lone moment of awkwardness came when John Ross asked his father why he seemed to have such a limited appetite. Otherwise J.R. kept his comments to himself, even while the rest of his family, including the children, fawned over their guest.

    “Aunt Donna,” Christopher asked, “once you’re in office, can my class take a field trip to come see you?”

    She nodded and smiled. “I think we could work something out, sweetheart. But we’d probably better wait for me to win the election before we set it in stone.”

    “Of course you’re gonna win,” John Ross interjected. “Your opponent is a total dork.”

    “John Ross,” Sue Ellen chided, “it’s not nice to talk about grownups like that.” She looked at Donna and smiled. “Even if it’s true.”

    “Miss Ellie, the marinade you used on this steak is excellent.”

    “Thank you, Ray. I’ve been working on it for the past few months. It took that long before I was ready to introduce it to the family!”

    “I would love to have the recipe,” Donna said, “even though Margaret is still too young for most solid food. But perhaps if I have to cook for someone else…” She suddenly felt very awkward but Clayton was there to rescue her.

    “Speaking of recipes, Ellie and I tried the most wonderful barbeque place over near Marshall the other day. It looked abandoned but the food was amazing.”

    “Yes,” Donna replied. “I’m familiar with it, and it’s always looked that way.” She laughed and smiled. It felt comfortable to be eating at this table again, though the absence of Bobby and Pam, as well as her wedding ring, still made the whole affair seem more like an alternate reality than an actual occurrence. Everyone’s smiles and laughter were real though, and Donna was grateful for that. Once the meal was finished and everyone returned to the living room, Donna went upstairs to retrieve Margaret. Ray followed and asked if she’d like to talk on the patio since it was somewhat warm outside, and she said yes. She left the happy little girl with an even happier Miss Ellie and excused herself for a few minutes.

    “Strange to be here again, huh?” Ray asked.

    “Yes,” Donna replied with a nod. “I told Margaret she was going to spend her summers here growing up. The ranch is so beautiful, the sky is so clear, the air is fresh and pure, and everything is so calm…at least outside the house.” They shared a laugh about that one.

    “You’re not too cold?” he inquired.

    “No, it’s actually nice after being indoors. For such an old house, Southfork is definitely well-insulated. It can get stuffy in there at times.”

    Ray stepped alongside her, next to the pool, and rubbed his fingers. “Sorry about the fisticuffs,” he apologized.

    Donna looked at him with gratitude. “Did you hurt your hand?” Ray shook his head. “It’s nice for a woman to have her honor defended. It’s funny how often you’ve come to my rescue. That’s how we first met, if you remember.”

    Ray grinned and laughed. “No, I’ll never forget that night. Of all the bars in the world, you had to walk into mine.” They both laughed at his Bogart reference. “I’ve been in every dive from here to Billy Bob’s, and south to Gilley’s, and I’ve never seen a more beautiful woman than you. I’d swear that on a stack of bibles.” He glanced at the side of her face and saw the soft night breeze pick up a lock of golden blonde hair. It had been far too long since he’d had his hands in it, or on her face, or any part of her. To scoop her up in his arms and put her in his truck and drive back home…or to simply walk to the barn like they’d been known to do from time to time…it would be the perfect end to the evening. But even though Donna was comfortable enough to spend time with him, he wouldn’t dare to mistake her ease with an invitation to ravish her. While Ray had been the one to make the move when they first met, he knew that at this point, Donna had the upper hand. He was in charge of his ranch and half of a cutting-horse business, but not the woman in his life. He would wait for her to feel the same flashes of heat, and the stirrings of lust he did every time their eyes met. Eventually she would fall back in love with him, if she hadn’t already, and their lips would meet, then their bodies, and finally their lives would become entwined once more.

    “You’re still the same smooth talking cowboy you always were, Ray Krebbs,” she told him appreciatively. “Someday you’re gonna have to take me out to the brick house again so I can retrieve my mechanical bull-riding trophy.”

    “You were proud that night,” he said, and their eyes met. She smiled at him.

    “And you were proud of me.”

    “I was always proud of you,” Ray insisted, “even when I didn’t show it.” He shook his head. “I’m a Ewing. We all think we know what’s best for our women, and the hell of it is that we don’t even know what’s best for ourselves. Well, except for Bob.”

    “Yes,” Donna said sadly. “I hope he’s safe wherever he is.”

    “It’s Katherine you’d better pray for,” Ray said dryly. “I honestly don’t see him taking her alive, if she’s anything like what we’ve heard.”

    “Did Pam and Cliff know how mentally ill she was?”

    “Some, but after she jumped bail I guess they figured she wouldn’t be dumb enough to show her face around Dallas again.”

    “It’s a hard place to stay away from,” Donna admitted. She longed to lean against Ray, to let him hold her under the moonlight while they danced to their own music. Another time, she thought. Another time. “I was wondering if you’d like to spend some time with Margaret this weekend,” she said, hoping he didn’t take offense at what she was about to request.

    “Of course,” he said. He smiled enthusiastically at her. “Either day would be fine.”

    “I’ve got a fundraiser scheduled for Saturday at the Dallas Quorum. It really shouldn’t take all day, but I thought she might enjoy spending some time with you. I could give Angela the day off, or have her come in to assist if you’d prefer.”

    “Nah,” Ray said, and his smile broadened. “I get up early so I’ll be there no later than 7:30.”

    “She usually wakes up around seven, so that should give us a bit of time together before you arrive. I’ll try to feed her if she’s hungry, and get her dressed.”

    “Sounds good.”

    Donna rested a hand on his arm. “I don’t want you to think I’m using you as a babysitting service. I really want the two of you to get better acquainted.”

    “I appreciate that,” he said. “Has she been, uh…?”

    “Weaned? Yes, I’ve been getting her acclimated to formula, baby food, and a few solids. You can keep nursing after the teeth come in, but it’s not always the best idea.”

    “Yeah, I can imagine.” Though I always enjoyed when you bit my nipple, Ray thought with a smile. “I’ve changed diapers before, but not for a little girl.”

    “I’ll give you a primer when you arrive,” she promised him. Donna was glad that Ray was showing such an interest in one-on-one time with Margaret, which made things easier for her. He’d been interested in sole custody before the divorce was official, but she wondered how he was going to manage that along with his ranch duties. Not that caring for a baby while on the campaign trail was vastly different, but she could keep an eye on Margaret while composing and editing speeches, or writing thank you cards, and for Ray to do so while feeding horses and mucking out stalls would have been a major challenge. “Besides, you’re a natural.”

    “You really think so?”

    “I do. I mean, look how good you were with Mickey.”

    “He deserved better.”

    Donna turned to Ray and forced him to look her in the eye. “You brought so much more to his life than he would have on his own. He respected you, and looked up to you. For the first time in his life, he felt sense of purpose and wanted to achieve something. We can’t know how his future would have turned out, but that doesn’t mean you should carry the guilt for his short life for the rest of yours. He wouldn’t want you to—and neither would Lil.”

    Ray gave her a fragile smile. Donna always knew exactly how to make a desperate situation seem less urgent, and how to assuage his guilt when he was wallowing in self-pity. “How do you do that?” he asked hoarsely.

    “What?” she asked curiously.

    “Fix things. Fix people. Know the right thing to say in every situation.”

    She looked deep into his true blue eyes. “Once upon a time there was a man who, though uninterested in politics, supported and encouraged and loved me every step of the way. He gave me a lot more confidence than he ever realized. He never knew just how much I counted on him…

    Ray put his hands on her shoulders. “Sounds like a fool,” he said.

    “No, just misguided.” Her eyes lowered to the patio before rising to meet his again. Could she sense the desire he felt, the want and need for her? “Ray…”

    “Yes, honey?”

    “I should probably call the car to take me home so I can get Margaret into bed. She’s usually asleep earlier than this.”

    Ray nodded, letting his hands and eyes drop away from her. “I’ll walk you inside. Thank you. I had such a wonderful time tonight that I’m sorry it has to end.”

    As they headed back inside and said their goodbyes to the family for the evening, and Ray kissed Margaret goodnight, he couldn’t help but wonder about what had nearly taken place on the patio—Donna was so open with him, in such an intimate way, and the things she had said about him—could she have been flirting, or simply reminiscing about the past through a golden haze? He’d never been the most intuitive of guys, but he would love to have understood what was happening between him and Donna. He hoped to God it wasn’t all in his mind.
     
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  18. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    In all honesty, I have no words ... this was one of the BEST scenes I've ever read in a fanfic! :bravo: :clap: :bravo: :clap: :bravo:

    Without a doubt ... 10 out of 10 points ... :10::10::10::10::10::10::10::10::10::10:

    You never seize to amaze me with your creativity and your way with words, @Ray&Donna! :fantastic: Did I mention that I love this scene? :thank:

    I'll try to make a list of the parts that I especially liked, but I don't even know if that's possible, since I loved ALL of it! :best:

    Please don't leave us hanging for too long!!! I want to know what happens next!!! :kiss::kiss::kiss: Please hurry up ... I'm dying here!!! :site:
     
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  19. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Love this family update. :10:
    It was simply hilarious. Here's a few examples that had me cracking up:


    :rlol:

    Gotta love JR and his sarcasm. :laughs: Still I'm surprised that he thinks of Donna as the Culver woman, I thought for sure she'd be the Krebbs woman after all these years... ;)

    Love Sue Ellen's sarcasm too. Their dialogue at best can provide so much fun humor to the show and also a good fanfic written in the same style as what we saw on the screen. :bravo:

    Great conversation with Donna and Ray out on the patio too. I loved their walk down memory lane and all the sexual tension that remains between them. Especially from Ray's POV.
     
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  20. Ray&Donna

    Ray&Donna Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Donna stared at the ceiling long after she’d arrived home, and long after Margaret was tucked away in her crib. At least one person in the house was sleeping soundly, she thought to herself. It had been a pleasant evening, albeit strange, like a waking dream. The family time had been nice—she had slotted easily back into Southfork, though she knew there wouldn’t be many chances for her to dine at the ranch if she won the election. She would be the one hosting state dinners and functions in the governor’s mansion. J.R. had been his usual self, though much quieter at the dinner table. Everyone had loved getting to spend time with Margaret, and she seemed comfortable with the surroundings and the people. She and Ray had been very close again, almost like when they were married. Were they drawn together because of their daughter, or was it the simple fact that the spark between them had never died? They’d come very close to sharing a kiss on the patio, and would have if she hadn’t brought it to a halt. She regretted not allowing herself to cross the line with him, but she’d been hurt before, and feared more than anything doing something to alienate Ray and muddle up the truce they’d established. They were simply co-parents and nothing more. Still, as Donna recalled, he always did know just how to look into her eyes, or gently apply pressure to her arms and shoulders, and make her want him even when it was inconvenient. But when was that kind of passion ever convenient? She longed to sleep; it would be an early morning, and an extremely busy day. She needed all of the energy she could muster.

    ***

    Ray looked at himself in the mirror while he combed his hair into its standard part. There was a time when he would have resented Donna for asking him to attend a political function; now he almost resented her for not asking him to be at her side today. It wasn’t that he didn’t look forward to the alone time with his daughter—she was growing smarter each day, and he was so grateful he’d been given a second chance to be a father to her.

    It also wasn’t like he had a claim on Donna; they were divorced and led very different lives. That hadn’t stopped him from gut-punching J.R. before dinner Wednesday night after a few snide remarks thrown their way. Even though he had said and thought some unflattering things about Donna over the past year, he would never allow another man to verbally disparage her. Call him old-fashioned, but he thought women deserved respect—especially the mother of his child. It didn’t hurt that she was also the love of his life.

    Or did it? Last night they’d been so close again, emotionally intimate, reminiscing about times good and bad. He’d started to burn for her, and she’d allowed him to touch and hold her gently, but when he tried to push the relationship further, Donna had resisted. He honestly couldn’t blame her. As much as he wanted that kiss, and as much as it seemed she did, too, maybe she really didn’t want to complicate her life. He thought back to when Sue Ellen allowed J.R. to woo her and they remarried; even though he didn’t know all of the details, that situation had turned ugly in a hurry. Even though he had never been vindictive toward Donna, some of the Ewing in his blood would always make him possessive of her. For now, he would be patient. He would allow her to fall back into love with him at her own pace, and Ray would show her that he could be the kind of man that he’d been in those early years, when he wasn’t trying to be some kind of wheeler-dealer and she loved him exactly as he was.

    “I’m kind of partial to cowboys.”

    Ray smiled at the memory of their wedding day. He never could have imagined that he was partial to politicians with blonde hair and blue eyes. Well at least one politician, anyway. Before leaving the house, he made sure to grab a gift he’d bought for Margaret—he was glad the store had offered gift wrapping—and his coat. The midweek warmth has vanished hurriedly and snow clouds hung ominously in the late February sky.
     
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