The One After Chandler & Monica's Wedding
--"Ok, guys, wait for the honeymoon…" Joey whispered, gaining Monica and Chandler's attention…
They both looked back at Joey, their minds still on what the other had said…
"Ok! Now, I am proud to present to you…" Joey said to the room full of people… "Mr. and Mrs. Chandler Bing!"
While everyone applauded, Chandler and Monica shared looks…
"We'll talk about this out in the hall…" Monica whispered to her new husband, plastering a smile on her face as they walked up the aisle, away from Joey and the altar where they sealed their lives together forever…
--Once they got in the hall, Monica turned to Chandler… "Why would Phoebe just assume it was my pregnancy test?"
"Well, I overheard them talking--"
"Them? 'Them' who?"
"Phoebe and Rachel…"
Just then Ross, Joey, Rachel, and Phoebe entered the hall…
"Rachel! Phoebe! What is this about me being preg--"
Her sentence was interrupted by the photographer… "Ok, wedding party! Bride and groom! We will be taking pictures before and during the reception. We're going to be starting with bride, groom, and parents." He started looking around as if trying to locate something… "Where are the parents?"
"They were right behind us…" Ross muttered as he looked back, just in time to see both sets of parents walking towards them… "They're coming…"
--While taking the wedding photos, the subject remained untouched… it just wasn't the right time… but when they got to the reception, Monica tried to get answers…
"Rachel…" she grabbed her arm gently, whispering, trying to be discreet… "Why did Phoebe say she found MY 'positive' pregnancy test in the trash?"
"I don't know." Rachel lied… "I'll… I'll ask her…" She quickly retreated, searching nervously for Phoebe…
--When Rachel found Phoebe, she only had a slight idea of what story she was going to give her… she had to keep Phoebe from telling Monica about the pregnancy test they'd found…
"Phoebe! I have to talk to you…" Rachel announced, quiet but urgent…
Phoebe turned and faced Rachel, unaware of her dilemma… "Ok, sure…"
"Ok. Look, we… we have a… situation…"
"What kind of situation?"
"Monica is freaking out!"
"She didn't want Chandler to know about the test. She's… she's… upset…" Rachel stammered as she tried to come up with something believable… "She's upset that we went through her trash!"
"Wow… ok, well, I'll go apologize…"
"No! No… I got a better idea…"
"Ok, let's tell her this… let's tell her that you SENSED she was pregnant! You know, your psychic thing…" Rachel suggested, her anxiety mounting…
"Yeah, but, I told Chandler that we found it in the trash…"
"Damn…" Rachel cursed, giving that hurdle thought for a moment… "Oh! I got it! Tell him that you didn't think he'd BELIEVE you! That it was your psychic ability! You know, he's always doubting that…"
"Yeah. I guess I could do that…"
"Great! That would be great! You know, cause, it IS Monica's day! We should smooth this over for now. She'll tell Chandler and the rest of us when she's ready…"
"Hey!" Ross approached Phoebe and Rachel… "We're supposed to be at the table now." He informed them… "I'm supposed to be giving my toast!"
"Ok, Ross, don't get your panties in a wad…" Rachel quipped…
Ross leaned in… "I don't wear panties! I told you, it was just that one time!" he whispered, causing Rachel and Phoebe to both laugh…
--Monica found it difficult to talk to Rachel or Phoebe, there was too many things left to do. There was the first dance as husband and wife… cutting the cake, tossing the bouquet… and leaving the matter unresolved was putting Monica on edge.
As they danced, Chandler noticed that Monica seemed tense…
"Monica? What's wrong?"
"Nothing… it's just… I haven't been able to talk to Phoebe or Rachel yet…"
"Hun, don't worry about that now."
"I can't help it! I just… I gotta know what's going on! I can't even focus on anything else going on…"
"Mon, you went through a lot of trouble planning all this. This is your special day, try to enjoy it…"
"I know, you're right. I'm sorry."
They danced in silence for a minute, Monica starting to relax… "I can't believe we're married…" she whispered…
"Neither can I…" he replied, kissing her hair as he held her tight…
"Did you really take off?"
He paused before he answered… "Kinda. I had a… moment…"
"Where did you go?" she pressed further…
"My office." He replied, then rushed on, explaining himself… "I'm so sorry… I just… I heard 'The Bings' and I freaked out. I was doing so good up till right before rehearsal dinner… then I just… panicked…"
"Why did you come back? Cause you thought I was pregnant?"
"No! No! I didn't hear the pregnant thing till later!"
"I'm not happy that you did that… keep in mind…" she stated quietly… "But, I am sorry you went through such anxiety…"
"It was all my own doing. I allowed 'old Chandler' to creep out and fill my head with fear and junk…"
"And what was 'old Chandler' telling you?"
"That… no Bing could make a marriage work. That we would end up like my parents. That I would eventually make you miserable… that you'd want to divorce me…"
She pulled back just enough to look in his bright blue eyes… "As long as you stay just like this… kind and loving and supportive… you could never make me miserable."
"I don't deserve you…"
"I know." She joked, kissing him sweetly…
--"They are so cute…" Phoebe sighed as she, Rachel, Ross, and Joey watched Chandler and Monica dance…
"I know…" Rachel agreed, moved near to tears by her friends' happiness…
Ross nodded as he watched… "Yeah, but, now… is she pregnant or not?"
Rachel looked to him nervously… "We aren't sure, right Phoebe?" she looked at her anxiously and it took Phoebe a moment to realize why…
"Oh! Right! Yeah, we're not sure…"
"Well, how did you find out in the first place?" Joey asked, jumping into the conversation…
"Well, Phoebe…" Rachel started…
"I sensed it. You know, cause I'm psychic…" Phoebe finished…
"That's it? That's what you based it on? A feeling?" Ross asked, slightly irritated…
"Well, yeah." Phoebe confirmed uneasily…
"I thought you told Chandler you found a test in the bathroom trash!"
"Right. I did. Tell him that… cause, Chandler doesn't believe in my psychic abilities…"
Ross shook his head and shared a look with Joey before standing to leave… "So, you don't KNOW for SURE…"
After he walked away, Phoebe turned to Rachel… "And I'm lying to him why?"
"Because…" Rachel whispered… "Monica wants to tell all of us. If he thinks she's not, when she tells us, he'll be surprised…"
"Oh. Ok!" she chirped, grabbing a glass of wine… "Wine?" she asked Rachel, holding up a glass, offering it to her…
"Oh, no… thank you…"
--"May I cut in?" Ross asked, tapping Chandler on the shoulder… only to be ignored. "Hey? I said: 'May I cut in?'…"
"I'm dancing with my wife…" Chandler replied… "Get your own wife…" He pulled back and smiled at Ross before kissing Monica and handing her hand to him…
"The ceremony was beautiful…" Ross whispered as they started dancing…
"I know!" she exclaimed happily… "Thanks for getting Chandler over his fears."
"I didn't do much. I just got him to take it step by step. The rest he did on his own…" he assured her… "He loves you so much. It just… scared him…"
Monica pulled back and looked at her brother… "Thanks Ross."
"You're welcome." They started dancing again, and a moment of silence went by… "So, Monica, are you or are you not pregnant?"
She pulled back again, looking shocked… "I'm not pregnant!"
"Ok, but, now, are you just saying that? Cause you want to keep it a secret?"
"No, Ross… I'm really NOT pregnant. I wish I WERE!"
"Well, I would talk to Phoebe then…"
--"Monica, everything was so beautiful…" Phoebe complimented as she approached the bride…
"I know!" Monica exclaimed, hugging her… "Thanks, Phoebe… for all your help and everything…"
"Oh, no problem!"
Monica paused a moment, feeling it necessary before changing subjects… "Hey, I gotta ask you… Chandler said something about finding a pregnancy test in the trash?"
"That's not really a question…"
"Ok, ok. See, I kinda had this… sense… that you were pregnant. You know, psychically? But I told Chandler I found a test because he wouldn't have believed me otherwise…"
"Why was it so important for him to believe it? When you don't even know for sure…"
"Well, see, but I DO know! I… sensed it…"
"Ok, but, c'mon Phoebe… you could be wrong, right?"
"Yeah, right, sure…" she patronized, chuckling slightly…
"Phoebe? Do you really think I'm pregnant?"
"I only know what I sense… and I sense you are…"
Monica gave that concerned thought… "Well, maybe I should take a test then… just to be sure…"
"I don't think the answer will be any different from the last one…"
"Last one what?"
--"Phoebe is acting weird…" Monica told Chandler in a hushed tone…
"Weird and Phoebe are synonymous." He quipped, smiling…
"Well, yeah, but even weird for Phoebe…"
"Why? What is she doing?"
"Well, she's swearing up and down that I'm pregnant, but is only basing it on her 'psychic ability'!"
"Well, yeah, but what about the test she found?"
"She said she made that up because you wouldn't have believed her otherwise."
"I wouldn't have believed her? I just told her that I overheard her and Rachel talking while I was hiding in the ice room…"
"Why were you hiding in the ice room?"
"Smoking?" he replied hesitantly…
"Can everyone just get past that already!? It's not like I've gone back to smoking! I was just nervous!"
"Sorry…" Monica apologized… "So, what did you hear Rachel and Phoebe saying?"
"I just heard: 'Don't tell them Monica is pregnant, cause they frown on that'."
"None of this makes sense! When did they tell you they saw a test confirming this?"
"Phoebe told me later. After Ross tackled me…"
"Ross tackled you?! Why?"
"Cause he thought I was trying to run out on you…"
She looked at him sternly… "But you weren't! were you?!"
"No…" he said softly… kissing her… "I wasn't."
--"So, Phoebe…" Joey started as he approached her… "You got that psychic thing telling you Monica is pregnant?"
Phoebe rolled her eyes… she was tired of lying about it by this point… "Yeah…"
"Hey! Could you maybe tell me what you see about my future?"
"Not right now. My mind has to be… well, focused…"
Joey seemed disappointed… "Oh. Ok…"
"Look…" Phoebe finally broke down, having to tell someone… "If I tell you something, can you NOT tell Chandler and Monica?"
"Sure! What's up?"
"I don't know Monica is pregnant because of a psychic thing…" she informed him… "I know cause Rachel and I found her pregnancy test in the bathroom trash."
"Well, then, why not just say that?"
"I did! But Rachel said that Monica didn't want anyone to know yet, and she'd be upset if she knew we were going through her trash, so, she suggested I lie…"
"Wow! So, Monica really is pregnant?"
"Then someone should probably warn her about drinking while pregnant…" he pointed towards Monica as she drank a glass of wine…
"Oh no." Phoebe immediately walked towards her…
--"Monica? You really shouldn't drink that…" Phoebe warned, taking the glass from Monica…
"What? Why not?"
"It's not good for you… you know, in your condition?"
"Condition? What condition?"
"You know…" Phoebe whispered… "With child…"
Monica sighed, exasperated… "Phoebe! I'm not pregnant!"
"Yes, I know you keep saying that, but you are!"
"I think I would know if I was! You know, just because you think you've SENSED something--"
"No, but, ok… yeah… but, you know…"
"I don't know!"
"Well, even if you think you are, you shouldn't drink…"
"Phoebe! I don't THINK I am! I KNOW I'm not!"
"But, what about the test?"
"The pregnancy test in your bathroom trash!"
"I didn't know there WAS a test in the bathroom trash! I thought you said you made that up!"
"Well, no, not exactly…"
"Ok Phoebe! Enough riddles! What's going on?"
"Rachel and I found a pregnancy test in your bathroom trash. And if it's not mine, and it's not Rachel's…"
"It's NOT mine!"
They both look at each other for a moment, shocked expressions crossing their faces as they each found Rachel in the crowd…
"Oh my God…" Phoebe whispered… "Rachel's pregnant?"
Ross was in earshot of Phoebe's question and dropped his glass in response… "What?"
Phoebe and Monica looked over at Ross abruptly when they heard the glass hit the floor. The crashing sound it made caught Rachel's, Chandler's, and Joey's attention as well as a lot of other guests…
"What's going on?" Chandler asked when he reached Ross, Monica, and Phoebe… Joey and Rachel were seconds behind…
Rachel walked up, looking concerned… "What happened?"
"You're pregnant?" Ross asked Rachel, shocked to say the least…
"What?!" Rachel asked defensively…
"What?!" Joey and Chandler asked, almost in unison…
"Rachel is pregnant too?" Joey asked, looking back and forth between Monica and Rachel…
"I am NOT pregnant!" Monica insisted, then turned to Rachel… "Rachel?"
"Well, I'm not pregnant!"
"Rachel, Phoebe told me about the test in the trash…" Monica informed… "If it's not mine and it's not hers… that leaves you."
All eyes within their little group were on Rachel as she struggled with what to say…
"I didn't want to concern anyone…" she finally said, looking down guiltily…
"Wha--? How can you be pregnant?" Ross asked softly, with concern…
"Man, you really need a date!" Joey cracked, shaking his head, but his joke was pretty much ignored…
Monica reached out and rubbed Rachel's arm supportively… "Who's the father?"
"You don't know him." She replied…
"But, you've only been out on like 3 dates in the past 2 months." Ross interjected…
"Thank you Ross…" Rachel thanked him with a hint of contempt in her voice… "I know that."
"Look, do we have to do this now?" Rachel was starting to get frustrated…
"No. We don't… I guess… have to do it now…" Monica answered reluctantly. Truth was, she really wanted to know what was going on…
"This day should be about you…" Rachel stated calmly… "We'll have time to discuss this later…"
Everyone nodded and respected her wishes… dropping the matter.
--Rachel, Ross, Phoebe, and Joey all sat around at what was left of the reception after Monica and Chandler had left for their honeymoon…
"I am so wiped…" Rachel complained as she kicked her shoes off…
"Yeah, being pregnant will do that to you…" Phoebe replied…
Rachel threw Phoebe a slight glare and grabbed her water glass, taking a sip then putting it down before responding… "I really don't want to talk about it…"
"Well, I do."
"Me too." Ross agreed… "C'mon Rach! We're your friends! We want to know. We want to help."
Rachel sighed in exasperation… "Look, I'm tired. It's late. Let's do this tomorrow…"
Reluctantly, her friends agreed.
--Joey entered the livingroom from his bedroom, hearing hideous sounds coming from the bathroom… "And the puking begins…" he muttered, Rachel appearing a moment later…
She moaned as she stumbled out of the bathroom…
"Morning sickness, huh?" Joey asked sympathetically… Rachel just grumbled. "Well, how about some breakfast?"
She shook her head… "Not yet. Gotta wait for my stomach to stop doing flip flops."
Just then there was a knock at the door…
"Who could that be?" Rachel asked as Joey went to open the door.
Standing on the other side was Ross and Phoebe, looking determined…
"Good morning." Phoebe said as she pushed past Joey…
Ross followed behind Phoebe… "Morning." He greeted…
"Why are you here so early?" Rachel asked, looking between the 2 of them…
"We've come for answers."
"Oh God, not this again! Look, you guys… can you just… give me a minute? I just spent the last 15 minutes hurling meals from 3 days ago…"
"Ah yes…" Phoebe recalled those days… "I remember it well."
"And the only thing you could eat was meat!" Joey added enthusiastically… "So, I gave up meat so you could eat meat!"
Phoebe smiled and nodded…
"But, I'm not doing that again! That was HELL!" he stated emphatically… "Just so you know…" he directed his comments to Rachel…
"Joey…" Rachel replied… "I'm not a vegetarian!"
"What does a doggie doctor have to do with this?"
"No, Joey, that's a veterinarian…" Ross explained…
"Isn't that a doctor for all animals?" Joey asked, confused…
They all just stared at him for a moment, then they moved on…
"C'mon Rachel, just tell us what's going on!" Phoebe ordered…
"Fine! Fine." Rachel agreed… "His name is Ian. I don't even know his last name… I only went out with him the one time…" she shook her head, then continued… "I don't normally do that… on a first date… but I was just looking for… a quick fix… so to speak. We used protection… but, like the box says, it's not 100% effective."
"Does he… know?" Ross asked carefully…
"No. And I don't want him to know! I don't need that kind of complication…"
"Don't you think the father has the right to know?"
"Sure! But he's not a 'father'… he's just a guy looking for a fling… same as I was. He doesn't want to be involved in this…"
"How do you know?"
"Y'know… do you HONESTLY think I would be so cruel as to keep a daddy away from his child? Can't you just be a friend and believe me when I tell you he's not interested in knowing?!"
"Oh, God, Rach… I'm so sorry…"
"So, what are you going to do?"
"I don't really know yet…"
"Well, you won't be going through it alone… we're all here for you!"
"Yeah we are!"
They all hugged until Rachel made a sound… a bad sound…
"Excuse me…" she pulled away from the group hug and sprinted for the bathroom…
--"I can't believe Rachel is pregnant…" Monica worried aloud…
"Mmmm…" Chandler only hummed as he kissed and nibbled on Monica's neck…
"I mean, what is she going to do?" she continued… "And who's the father?"
Chandler made a sound that implied he didn't know as he continued his affection…
"Honey? Can you stop sucking on me for a minute so we can talk?"
Chandler grumbled softly, the sound turning into a slight chuckle as he stopped what he was doing and gave her his attention…
"I'm sorry, it's just, this is huge!"
"How could this have happened? Rachel was always so careful!"
"What is she going to do?"
"Well, I don't know, but she has all of us to lean on."
"Yeah. True…" she agreed… "Y'know, I always thought it would be us to have the baby next. Or, at least before Rachel. With us being a couple… and now we're married and all…"
"Awww, sweetie, is that what's bothering you? You're sad cause you're not pregnant? Cause, y'know, that's fixable…"
"Oh, I know. I know that."
"In fact, we can start working on that right now…" he stated suggestively… "If you want…"
She laughed and placed her hand on his cheek… "I love you." She told him, smiling at him with adoring eyes… "Have I told you recently how lucky I am to have you?"
He kissed her before replying… "Well, you have… but I could never grow tired of hearing THAT." He kissed her lips then traveled towards her neck… "My ego likes to be stroked…"
"That's not the only thing of yours that likes to be stroked…" Monica purred, reaching her hand out and grabbing him gently, stroking him…
"MmmmmmMonica…" he moaned in response… "I am beyond lucky to have you…" he whispered, kissing her as she pleasured him.
--"Ross, single moms have kids all the time! They make it work!" Phoebe reasoned as she and Ross talked about Rachel's current situation while kicking back at Central Perk…
"I know. And I know it's not an impossible situation… I'm just saying… being single does make it all harder…" he explained… "Carol had me and Susan and she still had all these concerns! I remember one time, at Lamaze class… she started to really freak out! We'd just watched the video of a baby being born, and--"
"Yes, yes Ross… I know all about babies being born and being afraid of the pain and HAVING pain… remember? I had 3 of them?"
"Yes, I remember…" Ross acknowledged… "My point is, she had the father of the baby and her… significant other. And she still had moments where it was hard for her to deal…"
"Yeah, but, I didn't have a boyfriend or a 'daddy' for the babies and I handled it all ok."
"Yeah, but Pheebs… your pregnancy was planned."
"Yeah. But, she has all of us! We'll help her!"
"Well of course we will! I just-- I don't know… I'm worried about her…"
"I hate seeing her in pain…"
--"So, see, Joey was really the better name…" Joey explained… "But Chandler got us both thinking that he was all depressed about his name, so Phoebe chose 'Chandler' for the name!" he told Rachel, who was really only half listening to him… then he chuckled… "Joke was on him though! Cause Chandler ended up being a girl!"
"Uh-huh…" Rachel replied absently…
"Ok, so, how about it?"
"Huh? How about what?"
"Naming the baby Joey! You know, if it's a boy…"
Rachel sighed, exasperated… "Joey! I'm not picking a name out right now, ok? That is the least of my worries!"
"Ok, fine… I gotcha… just, keep it in mind, eh?"
She shook her head and walked away…
Joey was in the middle of raiding the fridge when there was a knock at the door a few minutes later…
After only an obligatory knock, Ross and Phoebe walked in…
"Hey Joe." Ross was the first one in, followed by Phoebe…
"Is… Rachel around?" Ross asked timidly…
"Yeah, she's in her room…"
"I'm gonna go talk to her…"
--Ross knocked softly, entering when he heard Rachel's voice telling him to come in…
"Hey." He entered slowly, and within a brief moment, realized she was crying… "Rachel?"
She shook her head and made a weak attempt to wipe the tears from her face… "What am I going to do?" she asked in a whisper…
Ross quickly joined her, sitting beside her on the bed… "It's all going to be ok, Rachel, you'll see." He assured her… "We're all here for you…"
"I know. And I appreciate all of you guys! I really do! But, c'mon! I can't be a Mom! I can barely be ME! I don't have… a motherly instinct…"
"Well, maybe not now… but you know… as the pregnancy progresses…"
"I couldn't even bond with Ben! I feel so awkward around children! Now I'm gonna have one of my own? How screwed up is THIS kid gonna be?!"
"Your child is not going to be screwed up! He or she is going to have an amazing Mom, who is kind and loving and fun! And he'll have all of his 'aunts and uncles'… you know… us." He smiled and rubbed her back… "This kid is going to have a rich and wonderful life… you'll see…"
She tried a weak smile… "Thank you, Ross…"
--"I love making love to you…" Chandler breathed, snuggling up to Monica after their act of passion… "You're amazing…"
Monica chuckled… "I'm THAT good!"
He chuckled in response and kissed her hair… "And I'm good too…"
"Yes you are!" she agreed, resting her head on his chest… "Do you know how lucky we are?"
"Yeah. I do."
"I mean, I honestly couldn't imagine my life without you. And I can barely remember what my life was like before there was 'us'… y'know?"
"Yeah, I know what you mean. Before, I didn't know what being happy really felt like. I mean, stuff would make me happy… but that kind of happy was nowhere near this kind of happy." He shook his head and sighed… "Ugh! I'm no good at waxing poetic…"
"I understood what you meant perfectly…" she assured him…
"You've always been able to understand me…" Chandler added…
"Yep! I can read you like a book…"
"Ok…" he purred… "Why don't you skip ahead and tell me what you see coming up in the chapters ahead…" He started kissing her neck and ear, which left her in no doubt of what he was implying…
"Hmmm… well, let's see… the next chapter I think is called 'amazing sex for the second time in 20 minutes'…"
Chandler laughed… "Long title for a chapter." He returned his attention to her neck, moving towards her shoulder… "Let's just call it 'amazing sex'…"
"No, that should be the name of the book…"
"No. The name of the book is 'I Love You With All My Heart and Soul'…"
"Awww… and you said you couldn't wax poetic!"
He shrugged and began kissing her passionately, but after a moment she broke the kiss…
"Oh! You know what you should name the book?" she asked excitedly…
"Ok, Monica, you are aware that there isn't actually a book, right?"
She chuckled, looking sheepish… "Yeah… I know…"
"Ok…" he smiled, then returned to kissing her passionately.
--"I just don't get what is supposed to happen now…" Ross told Phoebe as they watered Chandler and Monica's plants… "I mean, are we supposed to treat her like nothing is different?"
"I don't know. Maybe for a while. Till she comes to terms with it maybe? I think she's still kinda in shock…" was Phoebe's insightful reply…
"I just… I care about her too much… I don't want her to be miserable. Or feel all alone…"
"You know, it's weird…"
"Well, with as much as you two were on again/off again… I always pictured you as the daddy to Rachel's baby…"
"Yeah, well, that chapter ended a long time ago. She doesn’t want me… that way…"
"To be honest with you Ross… she doesn't know what she wants…"
He looked at her abruptly…
"And neither do you…" she added.
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Well, ok, you know how when you do all your little dinosaur bones thing? And you find so many pieces or whatever, so, by what you have, you can create the big picture? So to speak…"
"I guess… yeah…"
"Good. Ok, so… with you and Rachel… what is there? Friendship?"
"Ok, Phoebe, stop throwing words at me…"
"Fine, but do you see my point? There are enough pieces to create the big picture! So, you and Rachel have had problems! Big deal! Through it all you've remained friends! That's saying something!"
"Phoebe… there's more to a relationship…"
"No, I know that… BUT… a good relationship is built on a solid foundation of friendship. And you have that with Rachel…"
"What are you trying to tell me?"
"I'm not trying to tell you anything!" she replied, pausing a moment… "You don't already know…" she added softly…
Ross looked at her suspiciously for a moment before he walked away…
--"Hey Rach, you hungry?" Joey asked, grabbing the phone… "I was gonna order a pizza. Wanna go in on a pizza?"
In response, Rachel burst into tears…
"Hey! Whoa! I'm sorry!" Joey apologized… "How about chinese?"
"It's not that Joey!"
"Well, then, what's wrong? Why are you crying?"
"This… this isn't how I pictured my life! I… I'm gonna be a single mom! It's only going to make getting married that much harder! Most guys don't want to date let alone marry a woman with kids…"
"Kids? You having more than one?"
"No, Joey… at least…" a horrified look coming over her face… "I hope not!" she thought about that a moment, fear taking over, panicking… "Oh my God… what if I'm having twins?!"
"Or triplets like Phoebe!" Joey interjected, realizing a moment too late that he probably shouldn't have said that…
"Hey guys!" Ross greeted Joey and Rachel as he walked into their apartment… but immediately noticed Rachel's distress… "Rach? Honey, what's wrong?"
"I'm gonna die a single mom!" she burst into tears and Ross quickly wrapped his arms around her…
"At least you won't die alone!" Joey tried to cheer her up… but failing…
"Oh, sweetie, that's not true!" Ross consoled her…
"Yes it is! Men don't like kids!"
"Uh, well, some men do…" he assured her… "I like kids. I'm a man."
"Yeah, but you're not a man… you're Ross!"
"Yeah, well, the last time I checked I did have a penis…" Ross' voice was thick with sarcasm…
"No, Ross, I didn't mean it like that! I just meant--"
"No, it's ok… I know what you meant… I'm just not marriage material…"
"That's not what I meant!" she went from defensive to bawling in nano-seconds…
Ross immediately felt horrible for upsetting her… "Rach, I'm sorry. It's ok…" He went back to holding her while she sobbed…
--"She totally broke down Phoebe… I mean, I've never seen her cry that hard…" Ross confided in Phoebe…
"She's emotional… being pregnant makes you emotional. I remember, when I was pregnant, the smallest things would set me off… crying, angry, sad, happy… whatever. And, I wasn't dealing with the whole 'single mom' thing…"
"Yeah. I just, I want to help her, I just don't know how…"
"All we can be is there for her…"
"I guess…" he replied, downbeat… "But, us being here for her… I'm not sure it's going to be eno--" he stopped short when he spotted Rachel walking through the doors… "Rachel! Hi!"
"Hey Rach!" Phoebe greeted her… "How're you doin?"
"Oh, fine. Great. I just spent 20 minutes giving my donation to the porcelain throne. I'm tired. My boobs hurt! I'm just… spiffy!"
"Yep. Been there, done that…" Phoebe admitted… "Times three…"
"Yeah, I got to hear all about that at the time Phoebe, so, if you don't mind…"
"Yeah, did the grouchy thing too…" Phoebe added, and Rachel glared at her in response…
"Look, can we just talk about something besides the pregnancy?"
Ross nodded… "Sure!" he cleared his throat… "So, Monica called…"
"Oh! How are they?" Phoebe asked, rolling with the conversation…
"They're doing great! Very romantic… lots of fun…" he summed it up simply… "They'll be back day after tomorrow…"
--"You're back!" Joey exclaimed excitedly as Chandler and Monica entered the hall between Joey's and their apartment…
"Nothing slips by you, Joe…" Chandler quipped as he dropped the luggage and fished the key out of his pocket…
"So, was everything great?" Joey asked, Chandler's quip sailing right over his head…
"Yeah, it was! Very romantic…" Monica replied, a grin from ear to ear…
Once Chandler got the door open, Monica started to walk in, but was pulled back…
"Ah-ah-ah…" Chandler scolded… "I carry you over the thresh hold… remember?"
"Oh, right! Sorry…" Monica apologized… "Long flight…"
Chandler smiled as he picked her up… "That's quite alright…"
He carried her over the thresh hold and gently set her down, then he went back and grabbed the luggage…
"Need some help?" Joey asked, grabbing one of the heavier bags…
"So, how's Rachel?" Monica asked, her tone hushed…
"She's ok… she's sleeping right now…"
"Do we know anything more about what the deal is?"
"Yeah, you know… who's the dad? Is he going to be in the picture? How far along is she? The deal."
"His name was Ian… the 'dad'… and he was a one night stand. She says she's not going to tell him cause he's not interested in having a baby…"
Monica sighed sadly… "Well, how far along is she?"
"We don't know… she won't go to the doctor."
"I think it'll just make it all too real… she's still wanting to ignore it I think…"
Chandler looked at him, surprised… "YOU think?"
"Well, that's what Ross said…"
"Ah, Makes more sense now…" Chandler added as he grabbed a Yoohoo from the fridge…
"She has to go to the doctor!" Monica insisted… "Did anyone tell her she HAS to go?"
"We all have! She won't listen! And boy is she moody!"
"Moody?" Chandler asked, pulling Monica into his lap after he sat on one of the dining room chairs...
"Yeah! Well, you remember how Phoebe was… right? All like, super emotional?"
"That's Rachel! She cries a lot… and when she's not crying and puking… she's yelling at us!"
"Well, she better not yell at me!" Monica barked… "And she's GOING to the doctor!"
--Monica knocked softly and let herself in to Rachel's bedroom, not bothering to wait for permission to do so. Rachel was asleep on her bed, looking quite disheveled…
"Rach? Honey?" she touched her back, trying to wake her gently…
Rachel stirred and looked up at Monica, her eyes squinted sleepily… "Mon? You're back?"
"Yeah, sweetie, how do you feel?"
"Tired and nauseous…"
"Can the doctor give you anything for it? To help make you more comfortable?"
"I don't know…"
"Well, did you ASK the doctor?"
"I haven't been to the doctor yet…"
"And why not?"
"I don't know…"
"Honey, you have to go to the doctor! Early care is the best thing you can do for yourself and this baby!"
"I'm just… I'm not ready to deal with this…"
"Well, while I understand that, you don't have the luxury of waiting. Deal with it WHILE seeing an OB/GYN…"
Rachel sighed and sat up slowly, carefully, trying to keep the nausea at bay… "How could this happen to me?"
"I don't know, sweetie… but, there's a little life inside you, and you can't just ignore that."
"I know. I've thought about abortion… but I don't think I could live with myself afterwards…"
Monica just nodded…
"Then I thought about adoption… but, look how hard that was for Phoebe! And she went into it knowing they weren't her babies! I don't think I could do it…"
"Then don't! Rachel, we're all here for you! Whatever happens… whatever you decide… we're here for you! We're gonna help you through this… and you are gonna be alright. I promise."
Rachel hugged her dearest friend, new tears forming in her eyes… "Thanks Mon."
"You're welcome." Monica replied, then pulled back… "Now let's get you a doctor's appointment…"
Rachel nodded, then her expression changed… "Oh! How was the honeymoon?"
"We'll talk about that AFTER you make a doctor's appointment!" Monica stood firm, handing her the cordless phone…
Rachel smiled and took the phone… "Yes Mom."
"Something you will be hearing soon enough!" Monica quipped, stroking her hair… "Dial." She ordered, pointing at the phone.
--"Where's Rachel?" Ross asked as Monica walked through the doors at Central Perk…
"She ran upstairs real fast to grab some money…" Monica replied, joining her brother and friends on the couch…
"How was her appointment?" Phoebe asked, all of them wanting to know…
"Fine. She's about 7 or 8 weeks… and everything looks fine. She's going to be having a sonogram in 2 weeks…"
"How's she doing?" Ross asked quietly… "Is she ok?"
"She's getting better. It's gonna take time." Monica informed… "Even when you're ready and it's planned, pregnancy is hard. Under these circumstances… it's harder…"
Everyone nodded and agreed…
When Rachel walked in, they abruptly changed the subject…
"So, Whitlow wound up winning 'Bootcamp' cause Wolf just made too many people upset…" Chandler announced, everyone looking at him like it was the most interesting thing anyone has ever said…
"I thought for sure Wolf was going to win…" Joey interjected… "Cause he already had 6 of the needed 7 dogtags! If even one former recruit pledged their tags to Wolf, he woulda won!"
"What are you guys talking about?" Rachel asked as she joined them…
"We're talking about that FOX show… 'Bootcamp'!" Joey stated excitedly…
"Apparently…" Ross quipped under his breath, Chandler suppressing a chuckle…
"Never watched that show…"
"Oh! It was so great!" Joey announced, turning his attention towards Rachel. He spent the next 10 minutes droning on about the show and it's outcome, causing the rest of the group to look on, uninterested and bored…
Everyone just stared at Joey in disbelief after his passionate dissertation…
"I had to ask…" Rachel joked…
"There's 10 minutes of my life I'll never get back…" Monica added, then they all turned to Rachel…
"So, Rachel, how was your appointment?" Ross asked as Joey looked hurt that everyone seemed uninterested in the show he just explained…
"Don't worry Joe…" Chandler whispered… "I LIKED the show!"
Joey smiled as Chandler patted him on the back…
"Well…" Rachel began… "It was… kinda… weird. It seemed almost… surreal… know what I mean?"
They all nodded…
"But I do know that I am about 8 weeks and they're doing one of those sonogram thingies in 2 weeks…"
"Will you get to find out the sex of the baby?" Joey asked…
"That'll be too soon…" Phoebe answered… "You hafta be like 16 weeks…"
"Really?" Rachel asked, somewhat surprised…
"Yeah. That's what they told me anyway. Maybe it's different for triplets…" she ventured… "Cause there's less room to look at the… pudendum region…"
Joey seemed confused by that analogy…
"Genitals Joey…" Chandler clarified, and a look of understanding crossed Joey's face…
"Hey!" Phoebe interjected… "They'll be able to tell you if you're having multiples though!"
The color seemed to drain from Rachel's face… "Multiples…" she whispered…
Monica glared at Phoebe and started rubbing Rachel's back… "Phoebe had multiples cause they put like 5 embryos in there! And cause she was on fertility drugs! The chances of you having more than one baby is like… next to nothing!"
"God, I hope so. I mean, I'm stressing over how to deal with one… I don't know if I could…" she trailed off, and Phoebe made an attempt to make it right…
"Yeah, but, you won't have to! Cause, Monica is right! I'm just extra fertile…"
Joey looked to Chandler, confused again…
Chandler fought a smile and leaned towards him… "Gets pregnant easily…"
"Oh!" Joey nodded… "Got it…"
Rachel just shook her head… "I need coffee…"
"Decaf…" Monica asserted…
Rachel smirked at her friend's concern… "Yeah, yeah…"
--"Rachel? I'm here…" Ross called out as he entered Rachel and Joey's apartment…
"Oh, Ross, thank you for coming!" she called back, coming out of her room a moment later… "Monica was going to come with me, but she can't get away from the kitchen… at the restaurant…" she told him, slight panic to her voice… "I don't want to go alone…"
"Sssshhhh… Rachel… relax…" Ross soothed… "I'll go with you…"
Rachel threw her arms around his neck… "Thank you! Thank you!"
"It's not a problem. I told you I would be here for you and I meant it…"
He held her tight, offering comfort and support… being a good friend.
--"So, Mrs. Green…" the ultrasound tech muttered as she entered the room… "How are we doing?"
"Well, I don't know about you, but I'm nervous…" Rachel replied… "And it's MISS Green…"
"Ah. I see." Her tone sounded disapproving… "Well, no need to be nervous…" she added professionally… "This is a simple, painless test…"
Ross stood beside Rachel and held her hand as the tech set everything up…
"So, are you the dad?" the tech asked…
Before Rachel could answer, Ross spoke up…
"Yes, I am."
Rachel looked at him, shocked, and Ross just smiled and shrugged…
--The ultrasound tech started the test, the monitor facing away from Rachel and Ross at first…
"So? How does everything look?" Ross asked, sensing Rachel's nervousness…
"Everything looks good…" she confirmed… "After I get a few pics for the doctor, I'll let you see…"
Rachel just nodded, then looked up at Ross…
"Don't worry…" Ross whispered, holding her hand a bit tighter.
Finally, the tech turned the monitor, pointing out where the baby was and the heartbeat…
"That's the heartbeat?" Rachel asked, amazed…
"Yep. And everything looks fine, so, don't worry…" the tech assured her. "The doctor will discuss the results with you at your next appointment…"
Rachel sat up on the exam table when the tech turned the monitor off… "Ok, thank you…"
--Ross and Rachel sat at the table at the quiet restaurant, finishing up their meal…
"If you ever need me to go to any of your appointments… just ask. I'll be happy to go…" Ross told her, reaching for his wallet…
Rachel nodded… "Thanks." She watched as Ross did the math, figuring out the tip, then he handed his Visa card to the waiter. "Hey, Ross?"
"Why did you tell that tech nurse that you were the baby's father?"
He looked at her for a moment, considering his words carefully… "You were nervous enough…" he finally said… "I just figured it would be easier than explaining it…"
She nodded… "I'm gonna have to get used to explaining it eventually…"
"You don't owe anyone explanations!" Ross told her…
"I guess. But, someone is bound to ask…"
"So? Let them ask! Just tell them it's none of their business…"
"Look, Rachel, I just don't think it should matter to anyone who the biological father is…"
"As opposed to a different kind of father?"
"Well, eventually, you'll be getting married and he'll pretty much be the dad… right?"
"Yeah, well, we'll see…"
"Rachel, you WILL be getting married!"
"Well, if no one is lucky enough to have you… then, when we're 40… we'll be getting married. Remember? We're each other's back-up…"
"You don't have to be… now… I know it would just be weird trying to raise someone else's baby… child…"
"Rachel, it doesn't matter who's sperm helped conceive this child. It is YOUR child! When Monica thought about doing that sperm donor thing… getting pregnant that way… we all woulda still loved the child, right? It wouldn't have mattered who the bio-dad was. And it doesn't matter in this case either."
"Yeah, but, it's different to be there as, like, honorary aunts and uncles… but you're talking marriage… and being the kid's daddy! That's asking an awful lot. I couldn't ask you to do that…"
"You don't have to ask… I'm offering…"
Rachel looked at him for a moment, trying to determine if he was saying what she THOUGHT he was saying…
"Rachel, we are good together. Ok, we've had problems… been off and on and off again… but we've always been great friends. And isn't that what a good relationship is based on? Friendship?"
She didn't respond… she didn't know how to respond…
"I know you have a lot on your plate right now… and I don't mean to add to that… but, Rachel… I love you. I always have. I always will. Being married to you would be the most wonderful--" he stopped in mid sentence…
"Ross…" she whispered, tears in her eyes… "Are you asking me to marry you?"
He smiled… "I guess I am… I mean… why wait till we're 40?"
"Oh, Ross, I don't know. I mean, I appreciate--" she sighed and looked away… "I just wouldn't feel right having you make such a sacrifice…"
"I'm not making a sacrifice by marrying you!" he assured her… "I would be fulfilling a dream…"
Just then the waiter returned with Ross' Visa card… interrupting the conversation…
"We'll talk about this later…" she whispered… Ross nodded…
--"Ok, Rachel, think about this a minute…" Ross instructed, the conversation from the restaurant continuing… "Why did we break up the first time?"
"Cause you cheated on me."
Ross sighed and opened his mouth to respond…
"And if you EVEN say 'we were on a break'… this conversation ends now."
"Ok…" Ross bit his tongue and continued… "Then, we got back together, but broke up again over the same 'on a break' argument…"
"Ok, so, it all falls back on that one event…"
Rachel remained quiet…
"I said I was sorry… and I am. I was so in love with you… I would've never done something like that to you… to hurt you. I was hurting… I thought we were over. You have no idea how sorry I am that I hurt you. I learned from my mistake. And I think I've grown… I would never hurt you Rachel."
She nodded… "I know…"
He smiled… "So, marry me Rachel…"
"I just… I don't know…" she struggled with her feelings… "I would have to think about it…"
"Ok. I understand…" Ross nodded, then brushed his finger over her cheek. He grabbed his 'doggie bag' from the restaurant off the counter and headed for the door… "I'll check back with you later… see how you're feeling…"
She nodded, then watched as he walked out the door…
--"He did what?" Monica asked loudly, shocked at what her friend had just told her…
"He asked me to marry him…" Rachel repeated…
"He says cause he loves me…"
"Since forever. He says he's never stopped loving me…"
"Oh my God… this is huge!"
"Makes my 'I got a new potato masher' news seem, well, trivial…" she joked for a moment, then turned serious again… "So, what are you going to do?"
"I don't know yet." Rachel lamented… "I mean, we ARE each other's back-ups…"
"And it's not like I have any prospects currently…"
"And now with me being pregnant, the prospects will pretty much be non-existent…"
Monica shook her head… "Rachel, look, the only thing you should be asking yourself here is… do you love him? Do you see yourself being happy with him?"
"I don't know. I haven't thought about him in that way for a long time…"
"Well, don't rush into anything. Y'know? Give it some time… think about it…" Monica advised… "Start dating again first!"
--"Ok, let me just… verify this here… YOU asked RACHEL to MARRY you?" Chandler asked Ross…
"Ok, now, let me ask you this… are you insane?"
"Well, Ross, isn't it customary to date the woman you propose to?"
"I have dated her!"
Ross shook his head, slightly irritated… "Don't start, ok? I… love her! We're friends! We're close!"
"She's pregnant with some other guy's baby…" Joey interjected…
Both Chandler and Ross looked at him, then back at each other…
"I know that Joe, thanks…" Ross' voice edged sarcasm…
"Look, Ross, you can't just jump into marriage…" Chandler reasoned, then stopped for a dramatic pause… "Well, YOU can… but you SHOULDN'T!"
Ross glared, then replied… "Chandler, I know this isn't the 'normal' way of doing things… but, I have always loved her. And she… cares about me…" he hesitated as he thought about that, then continued… "We're already each other's back-up…"
Joey shook his head and patted Ross on the back… "Dude, look… it's way too fast!"
"Joey's right!" Chandler agreed… "So, ok, you have the foundation… you have the friendship thing going, which is good, but too much has happened in your relationship. Too much time has passed since you dated her. If you're going to do this… if you really want to marry her and raise this kid like he's your own… you should start again. Start dating her again. If you jump in and it doesn't work out, it won't just hurt the two of you this time… it'll hurt a third, innocent party…"
Joey looked confused, and Chandler rolled his eyes before clarifying… "The baby Joe. The third party being the baby."
Joey pointed at him and nodded…
--"Hey." Rachel acknowledged Ross' presence as she walked through the door of her apartment… "Where's Joey?"
"Out. I needed to talk to you…" Ross replied, taking a slow step towards her…
"Ok. I kinda need to talk to you too…" She hung up her coat and quickly gave Ross her undivided attention…
"Well, you go first."
"No, I think you should go first…"
Ross nodded… "Ok, well, I've been doing a lot of thinking…"
"When I proposed…"
"Yeah, I figured you'd change your mind…"
"No, no… not that. It's just… I think I just… jumped a few steps." Ross took a breath then continued… "I want to marry you… but, we've had so much happen to us… with our relationship… so, I was thinking… maybe we should try… dating?"
Rachel smiled… "Yeah… I was kinda thinking about that too."
"Yeah… that… and…" she trailed off…
"And…?" he encouraged her to continue…
"And… I was also thinking…"
Ross approached her, compassion in his eyes… "What? Tell me…"
"I can't help but think that… that this is… in some respects… out of pity…"
"It's not! Rachel, trust me, it's not…"
"Then, why did it take you till I got myself into this situation before you said anything?"
"Look, Rachel… we were trying to move on. I thought I was being… 'adult', y'know? But, I have always loved you. Even when we were angry with each other… I loved you…"
Ross nodded… "Of course. Think back Rachel. I said your name at Emily's and my wedding. I stayed married to you without telling you…"
"And all of that was because you loved me?"
"And still do."
Rachel sighed and put her hand on her heart, tears welling up in her eyes…
Seeing the look on her face, Ross leaned in and kissed her.
"I've missed this…" she whispered… "I've missed 'us'…"
"Me too. Look, I know this won't be easy, but, I really want to try. If you do…"
"Throw in a church and a minister…" he chuckled, leaving the sentence unfinished.
They kissed again, more passionately than before… the journey they started years before starting again...
Thanks for reading!