An Original Fanfic Written by: Gene Carver
Joey held the door in his hand as he leaned half in and out. "Are you sure you're going to be all right while we're in England for Ross' wedding?"
Phoebe smiled. "Now what could go wrong? And if anything did, Rachel is staying here and as I told Monica earlier she can help me." She patted her swollen abdomen. "We'll be fine."
Joey nodded. "It's just that self-styled minister is still hanging around and he's..." He made a twirling motion with his finger aimed at his forehead.
"I haven't seen him in months. He's harmless, weird but harmless."
Joey bit at his lip. "Well, it's just that's my kid you're carrying."
Phoebe came over and took his hand. "We've talked about this before. It's the clinic's fault, not yours. It's sweet that you're concerned but it's my responsibility now. Besides it's not like we were lovers or something. Can you see the two of us shacking up?"
Joey shook his head. "Not in a million years. Any way you know me. I've got lots of oats to reap yet." He paused. "Have you decided if you're going to keep it or not?"
She frowned. "At first I didn't think I would, but now, I'm not so sure. But as I get closer I can't see giving her up. I think I'm getting into the maternity thing."
"Hey!!" Yelled Chandler from down the hall. "The moss is growing up your legs and if you delay any more Ross is going to declare open season on Italiano best men."
"Keep your pants on, man. I'm coming." Joey turned back to Phoebe. "You take care of yourself."
She squeezed his hand. "You too."
He swiveled his head around and when he saw no one was looking he leaned over and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. "See you in a week." He turned and headed down the hall where Ross could be heard berating Chandler about tardiness.
Phoebe touched her cheek and then ran the hand along her belly. "That was your daddy, little girl. At least your biological daddy." She paused and looked thoughtfully after him. She shook her head. "Naaah." And shut the door.
Phoebe sat on the sofa with the phone pressed to her ear, waiting for the trans-atlantic cable connection to clear up. She couldn't believe Rachel. What had she been thinking of, running off to London like that to try and disrupt Ross' wedding? Phoebe was glad she had told her what she thought of such behavior. Then Joey had messed up and hadn't stopped her when she got there. But somehow it had worked out. For some reason Rach had not told Ross what she was feeling about him. Phoebe bet that Ross would've gone into an utter funk if she had. He might have even blown up and told Rachel to go to Hell for doing this to him at such a time. Talk about leaving things to the last minute.
She sighed. Poor Rachel. She really needed to grow up a little and see that other people's lives and wishes mattered beside her own. Maybe she had. One could only hope.
She felt a twinge deep down inside. No, little one, settle down. Mommy has to listen to Ross getting married. That's a good girl.
"Are you there, Pheebs?" Joey's voice on the phone was overlaid with static.
"Yes, yes, I'm here. What's going on now? Are they married yet?"
"They're just starting to take their vows."
"Does Emily look beautiful? Monica and I spent hours fixing her wedding dress after it accidentally got wrinkled. The dry cleaning alone cost a small fortune." Joey didn't need to know how the dress got wrinkled.
"She looks cool. Exhausted, but happy."
"Nervous as Hell. He's shaking and keeps running his finger around his collar."
Phoebe felt a much sharper pain and she gasped. No. Not now. She gave a small cry as the pain became a dagger in her belly. She felt her water break.
"Pheebs, are you all right?"
"No." She managed to get out between gritted teeth. "Joey, I have to call 911. The baby's coming early and something's wrong."
"What?" Joey shouted.
Everyone in the church started and turned to stare at him. "It's Pheebs." He yelled to Monica and Chandler. "She's having the baby."
Ross left the altar to lean over the rail. "She's what?"
Joey clutched the phone like he wanted to strangle it. "She's having the baby but something's wrong. She's not answering. Pheebs, hang up and call 911."
Emily who had been looking frustrated at another interruption put her hand to her mouth. "Merciful God, no."
Phoebe could hear her friends' voices but it was like they were far away and echoing down a distant tunnel. A wave of pain came on so intense that she missed the disconnect button and dropped the phone. She was groping for it when something dark rose up in her like a flood of numbing blackness. She staggered and half fell to the floor.
"Phoebe!!" Joey screamed as the crash came to him over the wire.
Chandler and Monica were beside him. Rachel was standing in the aisle; her hands were clenched like she was praying; her face was white. Ross leaped over the railing. They all clustered around the phone while Joey shouted into it. Monica turned to Emily's father who had come up with his daughter. "We have to make a 911 call to New York. Our friend is in serious trouble but we don't want to hang up in case she's still consciousness."
"911?" He asked.
"Emergency number in New York, Dad." Emily told him. She turned to the minister who was standing behind her. "Where's the nearest phone?".
"Monica, let's go. You know the address and numbers at the apartment." She grasped Monica's hand and ran with her behind the minister towards the rectory.
Rachel abruptly buried her head on Ross's shoulder. He put an arm around her while he stared at Joey.
"Phoebe!!" Joey kept yelling but from the phone there was only the buzz of the Trans-Atlantic line.
"Oh God." Rachel sobbed. "This is all my fault. I should have made sure somebody would be staying with her instead of running off like I did to tell you what I was feeling about you."
"What?" Ross stared down at her, swallowed and then looked back towards Joey. There would be time for questions later.
Monica came hustling back to Joey. "We got the 911 call through. Have you heard anything from Pheebs?"
"No." He frowned. "Wait a minute. I think there's someone in there with her. I just heard the door open and now they're talking to her."
"Is it the medics?" Chandler slid his hand over and gently touched Monica's. She gave his fingers a quick squeeze and dropped them.
"I can't tell. Now there are footsteps and . ...." He stopped. "There's someone on the phone." He frowned and turned back to them. "He said 'She's in God's hands'."
"Who said that?" Demanded Ross.
"It sounded like that crazy minister from Central Park."
"Is Phoebe all right?" Rachel clutched Ross and trembled. She feared the answer more than anything.
Joey frowned. "He says she's unconscious but he thinks she'll be all right."
"Is that exactly what he said?" Asked Ross.
"No. He said "We're not to worry because she's the beloved of God."
"Oh wonderful." Groaned Chandler. "This guys just like that coffee. Chock full of nuts. I'd feel better if he was with All-State. At least she'd be in good hands."
"How can you joke at a time like this." Snapped Monica.
"It's either that or scream."
Joey clutched the phone and tried to shout to them. He was so overcome that at first his words only came out like a mouse on helium. He swallowed and got out. "The medics just arrived. They're taking care of her." He looked puzzled and stared at the phone. "That crazy just blessed me and hung up."
"Damn." Said Chandler. "We don't even know what hospital they're taking her to."
"Joey, in about 15 minutes call 911 back and find out where they took her." Ross ordered. He took Rachel by the hand and led her away from the altar.
"Ross?" asked Emily.
"I need a few minutes, Emily. I'll be right back." He didn't even turn around.
"What the bleeding hell?" Emily leaned wearily against the railing. "This was supposed to be the day I dreamt about since I was twelve. Now it seems more like a nightmare." Monica put her arm about her and tried to offer what comfort she could.
"My only question at the moment," Chandler said to Joey. "Is how did laughing boy get in Monica's apartment?"
"Yeah, and what's left of it after he and the medics get through with it."
Monica looked a little pale on hearing this as she watched Ross and Rachel vanish through the door.
"Ross." Rachel could feel his grip grinding her fingers together. "You're hurting me."
Ross pulled her through the door into coatroom, slammed it shut and swung to face her. "Rachel, what in the hell is going on?"
Tears came to Rachel's eyes. "Ross, it's all my fault that Pheebs is in trouble. I didn't even think when I left how much she might be depending on me."
He shook his head. "Rachel, what happened to Pheebs might have happened even if you were there. What I want to know is what you meant when you said you left because of your feelings for me. I want to know what you meant by that."
Rachel bit at her lip. "I already told you that I couldn't let my friend get married without me being here."
"Damn it, Rachel. Don't lie to me. You left in such a hurry that you didn't even check if Pheebs would be okay without you. Now, what in the blazes did you mean earlier about telling me about your feelings for me?"
"Oh this is going so wrong. Ross, can't we forget it? It's just going to cause pain."
"Ross, I.. I... can't."
"Rachel, this is just like when we went on a break. You walled yourself away and hid everything from me. If you hadn't, it might have been very different between us. Now, one last time. What did you mean?"
Rachel hid her head in her hands. "I can't tell you. Please, Ross, go out there and make Emily happy."
He stared at her for several heart beats. There was a rap on the door.
Ross turned. "Yes?"
"Hey, man. It's me, Joey. Emily wants to know if you're done in there. The guests are getting restless."
"I think we're through." Ross put an emphasis on the last word that sent Rachel's heart plunging into her guts. He opened the door and stepped out. "Let's get this wedding on the road."
Joey fell in beside him. "You must really love Emily."
"Of course I do."
"Even more than you love Rachel. I think marriage is great for the other guy but if you have to do it, you should marry the one you love the best."
Ross stopped. "What're you talking about?"
Joey looked a little taken back. "I mean you're still going to marry Emily even after Rachel flew all the way here to tell you that she loved you and that she wanted to marry you. Hey, man, that's cool by me if that's what you want."
Ross made little strangling sounds. He turned and slammed back through the door leaving Joey with the realization he'd put his foot in it again.
Ross grabbed Rachel by the arms. "Damn it. What were you thinking? You came all the way out here to tell me that you love me? Do you even know the meaning of the word?"
Tears were pouring down Rachel's cheeks. "I only know that I can't live without you."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because I wanted you to be happy and if Emily could make you happy then I decided I wouldn't tell you. All I seem to do is cause you pain by loving you so much. Ross, go and marry Emily and be happy. Forget me."
"Rachel, I have loved you ever since high school, but you have caused me so much pain that all I feel down there is scar tissue."
Rachel drew her hand up along his cheek. "Then go. Emily is waiting. But at least give me one last kiss."
Ross nodded, leaned forward and kissed her gently on the forehead. Rachel raised her tear-filled eyes and looked at him. Slowly, he lowered his head and gently their lips brushed. In the next moment their arms went tight around each other and they locked in a passionate embrace.
Neither one saw Emily standing in the door. She watched in bewilderment as the kiss went on and on. Finally, she dropped her flowers on the floor as tears came to her eyes. "I was wrong earlier. It is a bloody nightmare."
Her father saw her running down the hall and came after her. "Emily?"
She looked up at him and he swallowed seeing the tears streaming down her face. He held his arms out and she collapsed there, burying her head on his shoulder. He looked over her head and saw Ross kissing Rachel. "Bastard Yank. This is going to cost you more than a wine cellar."
It seemed to Phoebe that she was floating in a white mist, but unlike any fog that she had ever encountered before this one was soft and warm. Around her the air seemed to be filled with voices singing sweetly but she couldn't make out the words. Warm, pink lights flickered and passed up through the fog around her. Once one seemed to approach and then it banked gently away as it sped by her. The choir grew more distinct but the words were still beyond her hearing.
"Am I dead?" She asked the fog. "Is this Heaven?"
"Questions." A voice replied. "They always have questions as if they expect us to know all the answers." There was a tittering as if from a group of five year olds.
"Well, we do don't we?" A second voice interjected.
"We give them answers. We give them signs, but do they ever listen?" Another voice replied. "No. They take our answers and bind them in books and kill them." There was a solemn murmur of assent from the mists.
"Can't they realize that each generation and each person must find their own answers?" A third asked.
"Hello," Called Phoebe. "Who are you and where am I?"
"Now that would be telling." The first voice said.
"But she is being polite." The second told it. "No, Phoebe, we can only tell you this. You are not dead. That time is a long way in your future."
"But what is this place?"
"This place," The second being said. "Is whatever you want it to be. We can tell you no more than that."
"Who are you?"
"Whoever you want us to be. That's the way you'll remember it."
"This is all very frustrating." Another pink light went by her.
"Think how we feel." The third voice said. "We don't make the rules. We just follow them even when they make no sense."
"What am I doing here?"
"Waiting for what?"
"For something wonderful."
Phoebe saw a pink light approaching directly at her and this time it did not swerve. It grew in intensity until it filled her entire field of vision. The pink light engulfed her and swept her away as the voices blended into a choir that sounded very much like Handel's Messiah. She was carried down through the swirling fog and then a bright light filled her eyes.
She blinked and found she was looking at a doctor who had been shining his light into her eyes. "Take it easy, young lady. You've had a rough time of it but you're going to be all right now."
"My baby." She managed to gasp out.
"Your little girl is fine. She's in an incubator but there's nothing wrong. You'll be able to see her soon."
"Thank God." Phoebe leaned back and for a moment she thought she could hear a murmuring response of a choir. She shook her head. She would never be certain what had happened, but she thought she knew.
"Actually," The doctor replied. "You should thank Reverend Samson. He was the one who found you in time."
Phoebe started. "Reverend Samson?"
"Yes. He's one of those who preach in Central Park. Under the circumstances though I don't think anyone's going to want to charge him with breaking or entering. He saved your life and that of the baby. Now you get some sleep."
Phoebe's hands clutched the sheets. Was it the same minister and if so how had he known what was happening to her? She had a horrible feeling she wasn't done with him.
Go To Part I