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As The World Turns Fan Fiction Pages

ATWT Fan Fiction

Barbara Ryan Gets A Second Chance
Chapter One
by
Nicole

Barbara sat on a cot in her jail cell. She couldn't believe she was at this low a point in her life. First, she married a scumbag like Craig Montgomery, then her face is scarred in an explosion that might as well have been Craig's fault too. To make matters worse, her bastardly first husband, James Stenbeck, maneuvered his way back into her life...and because of him, she was forced to wear an orange jumpsuit.

Barbara sighed. She couldn't help but wonder if maybe she should've just slept with James and gotten it over with. He hadn't specified whether he wanted a one night stand or something weekly. In fact, the more Barbara thought about it, she didn't know why she didn't just oblige the man and just pretend he was Hal.

But her beloved Gunnar had always come to mind whenever James hinted about sex with her. And if the truth be told, she probably would've still been sitting in this cell if she had let him back into her bedroom.

Barbara began to feel sleepy. She laid down on the cot, her mind full of thoughts about Hal, Paul, Jennifer and Will. There would be no fixing what she had done. Even if Carly, Emily and Rose were found, it was Statesville for her. And that slut Emily would end up raising Will.

Barbara's eyes were about to close, when a cough opened them again. She sat up, looked around, then sucked in her breath. "Mother?" she asked.

Jennifer Ryan Hughes smiled at her oldest daughter. She was wearing an angelic white gown.

Barbara looked around. She was the only one in this cellblock.

"Hello Barbara." Barbara looked around again before answering.

"Mother, what are you doing here?"

Jennifer sat down on the cot next to her. "Because a girl...woman always needs her mother."

Tears welled up in Barbara's eyes. "I'm too ashamed to face you." Jennifer smiled. "Barbara, you've seen a rough time. You've made some mistakes. It will all work out in the end."

Barbara looked unsure. "Really?" "Yes. But I'm here for a different reason." Barbara's eyes widened. "A different reason? What?" "You've been thinking if you lived your life over things would be better. I'm here to give you that chance."

Barbara stared at her, then began to lay down again. "Yes, well that's very nice but I think I'm going to turn in now. I'm sure when I wake up you'll be gone."

Jennifer stood up, angry. "Barbara Ryan! Don't you take that tone with me! I recognize that smart aleck tone from when you were a teenager!"

But Barbara didn't rise, or answer. Jennifer sat back down on her cot. "I'm here to let you live your life again. When you wake up, you will be at a point in your life in which one decision, that ruined your life, could be changed."

Barbara sat up. "Are you referring to Paul?" "No. As much as you hate James, I know you'd have Paul again. Just lie down and sleep. Everything will be clear then." Barbara sighed, then slowly laid down and closed her eyes.

Barbara woke up disoriented. She looked around. She was not in jail, she was in a bedroom. She recognized it as Lisa's. She jumped up. What am I doing here? And why are the colors in this room so atrocious?" Barbara got out of bed and passed a mirror. She then walked back to it. "Oh my God!" Barbara was twenty years younger, without scars. She touched her face.

There was a sudden knock on the door.

"Barbara! Tom's here to take Paul and you to the park!" Barbara turned towards the door. Tom and Paul? Barbara laid a hand on her chest. Thank God! She was engaged to Tom...and she had Paul. This must've been what her mother had been talking about! She should've just married Tom Hughes and ignored James. God! Barbara realized she'd have to look at his lying face as well! Well, she'd be ready for him. There was no way she would walk away from Tom this time.

"Barbara? Are you okay honey?"

Lisa walked in. She looked young and glamorous.

"I...I'm fine."

"You're not even dressed, honey." Lisa closed the door. "I just overslept." Lisa took her hands. "It's that man, isn't it?" "Man?" "The one that was here yesterday...the good-looking dark one?" "Oh. James."

"Yes him. Honey, maybe you should talk to Tom about him. You don't want anything to come between the two of you before your wedding." "Nothing will Lisa, I can assure you of that." Lisa looked unsure. Barbara smiled and hugged her. "Tell your handsome son and my precious boy that I will be with them in a couple of minutes." Lisa smiled back. "Okay. I must say, you look better than you did when you went to bed." "It's a wonder what a good night's sleep will do."

Lisa was still smiling as she left the room. Barbara turned back to the mirror and touched her face.

Paul was playing in a sandbox. Tom and Barbara were kissing on a blanket. Tom suddenly pulled away. "What is it, Tom?" "I'm thinking what a great kid Paul is. How much I can't wait for us to start our own family." Barbara sat up. "But?" "I don't know...I guess I want to be sure that that man you told me about won't come and claim Paul for his own." "He won't." "Barbara we don't know that..." "I'll take care of everything. Nothing or no one is going to come between us and the life we're going to have." Tom looked into her eyes. "I actually believe with all of my heart that you're right." Barbara grinned at him. "I know I am." They kiss again. Tom pulls away. "I forgot one of Paul's toys for the sandbox. I'll be right back."

Barbara blew him a kiss and laid back down on the picnic blanket. Her life was good. And it would be good. The only thing that bothered her, was that she had forgotten that she had told Tom about James. It had been her plan that James never know about Paul at all. But, she would figure that out, if and when the time came.

"Thank you!"

Barbara sat up suddenly. James was handing Paul a toy that had fallen out of the sandbox. James had knelt down to talk to his son. Barbara looked back towards the direction Tom had went off in. No sign of him. Barbara jumped up, walked over to Paul and was about to pick him up when James did just that.

"Hello Barbara." Barbara said nothing. She didn't like the look in his eyes. "Mommy, he said hi!" Barbara smiled weakly at Paul. She opened her arms. "Give him to me, James." James gave her a knowing look, but handed Paul over to her. "He's a handsome boy Barbara...and smart. Did I hear him call you 'Mommy'"?

Barbara knew this was it. This was the perfect time to get rid of James once and for all. "Yes." James raised a brow. "I was under the impression that Mr. Hughes and yourself were not married...yet." "We're not...yet!" James regarded her, folding his arms. "I have to say Barbara, you seem different." "I am." "So, the boy's father is...." "I was seeing someone else besides you when we were in New York. That man is Paul's father. Now if you'll excuse me..."

Paul wriggled out of her arms and ran to Tom, who had just returned. He was watching the two of them. James smiled at her. "I have a copy of the birth certificate, Barbara. You put me down as the father."

Barbara felt her temper begin to snap. Tom was suspicious and James was all knowing. She had once found that trait in him charming. Now it was making it impossible for her to escape him. "Go away!"

"The up-standing Mr. Hughes is coming over here with my son. If you don't want him to know what we've been talking about, then you will meet me at my hotel suite tonight around seven."

Tom and Paul approached them. "Hi, honey. Paul said this man helped him find one of his soldiers." Barbara turned back to Tom. "Yes...I was thanking him." She turned back to James. "Thank you." "You're welcome." he answered smiling at her. Tom seemed satisfied. He turned away, holding Paul by the hand. Barbara was about to follow, when James grabbed the back of her shirt and pulled her back. He then handed her a piece of paper, blew her a kiss and left. Unnerved, Barbara opened the piece of paper. It had James' room number on it. Barbara sighed and shook her head. What was she going to do about him?

Barbara stared out of the car window miserably, as Tom drove and Paul played with his soldiers in the back seat. "Barbara, I have to tell you, you really scared me for a minute back there." Barbara snapped out of her trance. "What do you mean?" "I mean that man in the park. The world is not the same place it was when we were growing up. He could've kidnapped Paul or something!" Barbara had to restrain herself from snorting. Tom didn't know how true that statement was! "Believe me, I was uneasy too. I'll be more careful honey, I promise." She rubbed his arm, sighing. She could envision the nice, peaceful life they were going to have. Tom could adopt Paul as his own. But what to do about James? Barbara noticed that they were pulling into Oakdale Memorial. She looked at Tom questioningly.

"I have to see Dad about something. He'll love seeing Paul and you." Barbara smiled. It would be nice to see Bob. She nodded and got out, then opened up the back door, getting Paul out.

Barbara stood with Bob, Tom and Paul in the corridor. Bob offered Paul some candy. They were all about to step into his office, when Barbara spotted someone in the hallway. It was Margo Montgomery! Barbara's heartbeat quickened as she realized she had just figured out how to thwart James. She would fix him up with Margo...the woman that would eventually become Tom's wife and was once James's mistress. Barbara turned to Tom and Bob. "I see someone I need to say hello to. "Will you excuse me?" "Always." Tom said, kissing her. Bob was smiling at her.

Barbara smiled back and walked down the hallway towards Margo. She was in a nurse's uniform and being berated by a doctor. She then burst into tears and ran off. Barbara followed her into a bathroom, when Margo was sniveling and wiping her eyes. "Excuse me...I didn't mean to bother you. I saw that doctor chew you out and wondered if you were okay?" Margo nodded, then smiled. "Yeah, thanks. I'm new in town and this job is really important to me. I got something mixed up and....you don't want to hear about this." "No, I do. My name is Barbara Ryan." She held out her hand to her. Margo sniffed and took it. "Margo Montgomery." "Listen, since you're new in town, how about I show you the town?" Margo looked her up and down. "You want to show me, someone you don't know, around Oakdale?" Barbara had to think quickly. "My step-father is Bob Hughes. He's mentioned your work." Margo looked surprised. "He has?" "Yes. So I feel as if I do know you." Margo seemed pleased. "Wow! Dr. Hughes thinks I'm doing a good job. That's really nice." Barbara smiled patiently. "Listen, why don't we get together and have a girls night out...like tonight? I can show you the town." Margo smiled. "That is really nice of you Barbara. Yes, I'd love too." "Good. Then I'll pick you up at your place. Where do you live?" "I live with my mother, Lyla Montgomery. She's a nurse here too. I get off at five. Let me give you my address." Barbara quickly opened up her purse and produced paper and pen. Margo wrote down the address, although Barbara knew it already, then handed it to her. "I'll see you around six thirty, Margo. We're going to have a great time."

Margo chatted on and on about things Barbara didn't care anything about. Tom had thought she was being an angel, being a friend to a new person in town. He offered to babysit Paul while she was gone. "My mother told me you're engaged to Tom Hughes. I've seen him. He's a living doll." Barbara glanced at her. She'd be damned if she ever let Margo within 2 feet of Tom! "He is. I love him so much." "Well, if he's Dr. Hughes's son, then he's got to be a great guy." Barbara nodded and pulled into James hotel parking lot. Margo seemed confused. "Why are we here?" "Oh, we're going to have drinks first. A friend of mine from Sweden actually lives here. He's new in town too. You'll like him." Margo touched her arm. "You're not trying to fix me up with some guy, are you?" Barbara pretended to look ashamed. "Margo, I didn't tell the whole truth. I want to be your friend, but I am doing another friend a favor. He's a Swedish prince...and he saw you at the hospital and was too shy to talk to you. You two would make a great couple." "He's a prince?" "Oh, yeah!" Margo fluffed her hair. Barbara smiled and got out of the car. Margo hurriedly followed after her.

When they walked through the lobby, Margo was gaping at all of the excess. "This is really some joint!" "Yes. Well, as I told you, James is a prince." "James?" "James Stenbeck. Believe me, you'll like him." Margo nodded as they headed for the elevators. From the note James had given her, his room was on the top floor. They were alone on the elevator. Margo kept fluffing her hair. "Do I look alright?" Barbara felt a sudden twinge of guilt. How could she knowingly sic James Stenbeck on any woman? But, this was her chance to live her life over, free of James. He had once been infatuated with Margo. If he could just meet her a little earlier in time, then maybe he would stay the hell out of her and Paul's life! Let Margo give him a child!

The doors opened and Margo's eyes got even wider. Barbara strode down to the door without looking at the piece of paper and knocked. She smiled at Margo, who was mussing with her hair. "Your hair looks fine. He'll like you." The door opened and a servant, one that Barbara recalled vaguely, but could not place, received them. "Hello, Ms. Ryan. Mr. Stenbeck has been expecting you." The servant looked questioningly at Margo, who was too busy looking around the suite to take any notice. She stepped in first.

James was sitting at a dinner table. Barbara had to keep from laughing. He had obviously planned some quiet dinner to sweet-talk her away from Tom. Well, she had brought company for him alright! James stood up, looking at Margo questioningly. She in turn gaped at him. Barbara could see that she was definitely interested. She also knew that it was not in James best interest to show any attraction for Margo, since he needed her and Paul to control his precious fortune. James's eyes returned to Barbara. "Who is this, Barbara?" Margo seemed surprised. "I thought you said he'd seen me before?" Barbara hadn't counted on James being so forthright. "He has. He's just being funny, that's all." She pulled Margo out of James hearing.

"He's shy. Why don't you go out on the terrace there while I get him to realize that you won't think any less of him because had to fix you two up, okay?" Margo looked confused, but nodded. She smiled suggestively at James, then opened the door to the terrace, closing it behind her.

Barbara turned back to James. "Let's not pretend that you don't like her just a little bit, James." James stared at her as if she were insane! "Barbara, why did you bring another woman to this meeting?" "Because if you have any thoughts about the two of us, you can just forget it! I figured the least I could do is fix you up with someone, though." James sighed. "I'm not even going to respond that insult. And I can see that you're still very angry about my having to leave you to marry another woman." "I don't believe there was another woman! For all I know you didn't get married at all!" James's eyes widened. "I have a picture of my late wife in my wallet, if you'd care to see it!" "I wouldn't! I don't care! You are not Paul's father! I put you down because I couldn't remember the name of the real father...he was a one night stand I slept with to get over you! Now, I suggest that you and Margo make yourselves comfortable and eat this wonderful meal before it spoils. I'm leaving." Barbara glanced at Margo, who's back was to them, then began to walk out. It was then that James grabbed her and kissed her very hard. She barely managed to shove him away. She looked into his eyes and saw determination there. "If you keep acting this way, I will get a paternity test done. I will be a part of Paul's life." Barbara could barely keep her temper. Why hadn't she thought of that? Because she figured if she could just convince James he was not Paul's father, then he would go away. James smiled at her. "I can see your little mind working. It's cute. So, I want you to give me a chance to show you that the two of us can work." Barbara glanced at Margo again. Her back was still to them. "It can't!" James seemed exasperated. "It's as if you can see the future! I came back here after my wife died because I love you. I always did, even when I was married to her." Barbara realized that maybe shared custody might be the different way of life she was looking for. Maybe she could still marry Tom, share Paul with James and pawn him off on Margo, who could give him other children. "He's yours. You can see him whenever you want. But I'm not part of the deal. I'm marrying Tom. Try and show Margo a good time, she really likes you."

Barbara turned and walked out. When she was in the hallway, she pondered on how to tell Tom that Paul's father was the same man from the park? Back in James's suite, Barbara could not have known that she had fueled James determination to have both Paul and herself. He turned towards the beautiful woman that stood out on his terrace. He would thank Barbara later for picking out the perfect woman to be his mistress. One he intended to keep after he made Barbara his wife.

Barbara awoke, back in jail. Jennifer sat at her side. "Mother...I haven't had a chance to fix things yet." Jennifer looked at her daughter sympathetically. "Honey, there is no living your life over. And really, trying to pawn poor Margo off on James..." "Give me more time!" Jennifer smiled, then patted her daughter's head. "Go back to sleep then."

Barbara closed her eyes.

Read Chapter Two!

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