Another story from the old forum, one that was emailed to me, having miraculously been saved by a devoted reader I hope you enjoy it--it takes a different look at an encounter Ray and Donna might have had following their divorce *** June 9, 1989 It was late spring, but the sun had already begun to bake the sidewalks of Georgetown. As he stared up at the townhouse, he struggled to remember what he was doing here. Then it hit him—Margaret was two years old now, and this week was to be the longest period of time he’d ever spent with her. His only child, and probably the only child he’d ever have. He looked up and down the street. Not a lot of cowboys in this part of the country, and he couldn’t help but feel out of place. He pushed his hat back, planted his feet firmly, and rang the doorbell. After a few seconds, the door opened, and there she stood. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her eyes were still the same shade of blue, and she was beginning to grow her blonde hair long again, just the way it had been when they first met. She smiled at him. “Hi,” she said. “Hi,” he replied, almost robotically. Not completely sure of what to do next, he bent down and gave her a kiss on the cheek, which she returned. “You look good,” she said. “How have you been?” “I’m good,” he replied. “Come in,” she said. He looked around the entry hall. The house was ornate, and he couldn’t help but think that it didn’t fit Donna. It didn’t seem like she had decorated it herself. One thing he liked about her, she had always looked at home either running a political fundraiser or riding across the range to see him. Here, for the first time, he thought she looked out of place. She turned to him. “You should get yourself settled in. You don’t mind staying on the third floor, do you?” He picked up his suitcase and walked behind her. “To tell you the truth, I’d probably be more comfortable in a hotel.” “I know you would, but you’d never get to see Margaret then. Maybe a little in the morning, but she’s pretty active in the evening so you’d miss all that. And you don’t get to see her enough as it is.” “I wish I could come more often. Every day I feel like I miss something I should be seeing.” She turned and looked at him. “Would you ever think about moving back to this side of the world? There are some beautiful farms in Virginia and good schools for her children.” He sat down his suitcase. “You know I couldn’t ask her to uproot our lives again just so I could see my child whenever I wanted. Life doesn’t work that way.” She smiled at him wistfully. “I’m sorry I brought it up—it’s not my place to try to run your life.” “Don’t worry.” He placed his hand on her shoulder. “I wasn’t offended.” She smiled at him again. “Let’s get your stuff upstairs so you can get settled in. Then there’s someone I know who’s waiting to see you.” The townhouse had an elevator, a convenience Ray certainly wasn’t used to. When it opened on the top floor he followed Donna out and down the hall. She opened the door and took him into a bedroom that overlooked the street. She went over and pushed open the curtains on the windows. “I hope it’s okay. There’s clean sheets, and towels in the bathroom. You have your own.” “It looks fine. I’ll just leave my suitcase on the bed for now and unpack later.” “Okay.” He closed the door as they left the room and headed back downstairs. She opened the door to Margaret’s room. She was laying her on bed but had begun to stir. Donna walked over to her and sat down on the edge of the mattress. She brushed the hair out of the girl’s face. “Hey there, sleepyhead. Remember I told you someone was coming to see you? He’s here.” Ray looked down at her and smiled. Her eyes were now open. “Hi,” he said. She gave him kind of strange look, like she wasn’t sure about who he was. He then picked her up and she stared at him for a moment. Donna tickled her hand. “You remember who this is, don’t you? This is your daddy.” “Daddy,” she said as she smiled up at him. He could feel his eyes begin to water, but tried to shrug it off. It bothered him to think his daughter had to be reminded who he was, and he wondered if he would ever be able to develop the kind of relationship with her wanted. “She has your eyes, you know,” Donna said. Ray smiled as he held her. “Yeah, I just noticed that. She’s got your hair, though—and your smile.” “Well, I can see you in her smile too. No one would ever mistake her for anyone else’s daughter.” She thought her words had an accidental sting to them, but he winced before she could notice. Figuring it was time to move on to other things, Donna smiled as she watched both of them. “Let’s go downstairs and spend some time together in the family room. She has some toys in there she can play with.” “Toys,” she repeated. Ray laughed. He let Donna carry Margaret downstairs, since she was still getting used to him.