The Last Five Minutes

by Becky G.

All right. Blame this one on too much U2, and a wandering mind.

This is how I envision the last five minutes of Friends, during the series finale. Things have occurred that ensure the happiness of four of our heroes. Joey has found himself a young, beautiful new talent agent, who has gotten him a part in a movie in L.A. He is also falling in love with her. Phoebe has received a proposal from a long-term boyfriend, one who has probably appeared in half a dozen episodes before this. He is as ditzy as her and as lovable.

And our lovebirds, Chandler and Monica, are getting married today. The following takes place at their wedding reception, a large affair, beautifully catered, elegantly decorated, and full of familiar faces from the show's run.

Now then. Go get your copy of "With or Without You" and put it in your CD player--but don't start it just yet. If you haven't got a copy, use your imagination...and shame on you! "The Joshua Tree" is one of the best albums ever recorded!

On with the show...

A banquet hall, softly lit, full of well-dressed people, young and old alike.

It is the last five minutes.

A dreamy, old slow song plays. Pick anything you like.

Joey stands next to his new beautiful agent, arm around her shoulders. She smiles up at him, fondly; the smile of a woman who sees through him, but who is falling in love with him, just the same.

Phoebe and her new fiance sit at an otherwise empty table, holding hands. They gaze dreamily at each other, ignorant of their surroundings, talking in their own "special" wordless way. Whatever that means. Only they know.

Ross and Rachel sit at the deserted head table, picking at the remains of the wedding cake on their plates. Neither one looks up.

In the center of the floor, Chandler and Monica dance, oblivious to anything else but each other.

The dreamy song ends, and we get our first line of dialogue.

DJ: Now here's one for all you lovers born after 1960.

Almost too quiet to hear at first, "With or Without You" starts playing. Go play now.

At their table, Ross and Rachel stiffen.

On the floor, Chandler and Monica resume dancing, dreamily, slowly. They hardly notice the changed pace of the song; all they care about is each other, and the moment.

Phoebe and her fiance rise from their table, hands still clasped, and move onto the floor, where they begin to dance.

Joey walks his agent onto the floor, where they dance slowly.

The lyrics begin:
"See the stone set in your eyes,
See the thorn twist in your side.
I'll wait for you."

Chandler: I can't believe this day is finally here. Pinch me.

Monica: (smiling) I know. It's like a dream come true.

They hug, then start dancing again.

"And I wait, without you.
With or without you."

Ross and Rachel glance up, and for an instant their eyes meet. Quickly, they look away.

"Through the storm, we reach the shore.
You give it all, but I want more."

Ross stands up. Warily, Rachel watches him approach.

"And I'm waiting for you."

Ross: Will you dance with me, Rachel?

Stiffly she gets up and follows him onto the dance floor. In doing so, they pass by Chandler and Monica, who watch them.

Chandler: See, I told you we should have the DJ play this song.

Monica: Wait until it's over before saying that.

"I can't live, with or without you."

Ross and Rachel hesitantly move close, then begin dancing.

"And you give yourself away."

Across the dance floor, Joey and Phoebe exchange looks, a bit worried, a bit hopeful. They resume dancing with their partners, but continue to watch Ross and Rachel.

Phoebe: I hope our wedding is this nice.

Her fiance: It'll be even better. I won't crack jokes during the toast.

"She got me with nothing to win,
And nothing left to lose."

Ross: You look beautiful tonight.

Rachel: Thank you.

"And you give yourself away."

Ross: I've missed being so close to you.

Rachel: (softly) Me, too.

"With or without you."

Ross draws Rachel close. She does not protest. After a moment, she lays her head on his shoulder.

The music swells. The singer may be lamenting his love, his choices. Or he may be worshipping them.

Rachel's arms come up, and now she holds Ross.

The camera draws back to show the whole dance floor, filled with happy couples:

Joey and his agent, L.A. bound, successful at last, and finally in love.

Phoebe and her fiance, soulmates together.

Chandler and Monica, blissfully happy at finding each other, at the prospect of spending the rest of their lives together, knowing this day is the just the beginning.

"With or without you."

Finally the camera finds Ross and Rachel, moving in, until they fill the frame. They are hardly moving now, but stare at each other, drawing closer and closer...

"With or without you."

...until finally, they are kissing.

"I can't live, with or without you."

As the music softens, the singer's voice becomes a reverent hush against a quiet backdrop.

The kiss continues. And we see in it, that everything will be all right.

The music regains its former pace and volume.

Ross and Rachel break the kiss and gaze at each other, with all the love they ever felt for each other in their eyes. They had stopped dancing, but now, as the drums roll, they begin swaying as one again.

The camera backs away slowly, and now all four of our happy couples fill the screen.

The music fades.

The screen goes black.

The music dies.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one.