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It's Always Darkest Before Dawn

By Greyhawk2015a

Drama

5 Years Later

It's been a little over 5 years, since the day they said goodbye as Monica and Chandler and their children headed off to West Chester to begin a new chapter of their lives.

Chandler was still in advertising and Monica had recently opened her own restaurant.

A few months later, the lights of Hollywood came calling and Joey was off to pursue his dream as an actor, growing tired and disenchanted of playing mediocre roles, in bad plays and getting even worse reviews.

Mike and Phoebe had a child, Mike Jr. and about 3 years ago, they moved upstate and Phoebe found great joy and comfort in working with homeless children, at a local shelter.

Ross and Rachel were the last ones to leave The Village, as Ross got a great job offer that simply could not be passed up as Director at the University of Rhode Island, and they all headed for Providence.

That was an emotional time for Rachel as she did not want to leave New York, but knew the school system was great and the opportunity itself was great. After they packed, all Rachel could do was stand in front of an empty apartment, and it all felt very surreal, and Emma was still too young to understand what was going on, and why her mom was so upset and moody. Ross stood by her through the tears and anger, trying to make the transition and move as smooth as possible.

Ross and Rachel had been in Rhode Island for a little over 2 years now, and even though Rachel tried as hard as she could, she could not bring herself to call it home. New York was her home, and as far as she was concerned, it always would be.

Rachel decided to make good use of her experience in fashion and soon opened what would become a very successful upscale clothing store simply called Madame Rachel's. With the money from the store and Ross' job, they were able to send Emma to one of the best private schools in the State.

Rachel quickly gets depressed when she thinks of the last time all six of them were in the same room, and that was shortly after they moved into their new house and had a party.

"Man has it been two years, already" Rachel would think to herself and quickly become depressed again. She threw herself into her work, school meetings and other functions to try and keep those feelings in the back of her mind. They still see Monica and Chandler every month as either they come down or they go to New York, and drink coffee at Central Perk and just chat and visit

About 6 months ago, Central Perk burned down, when Gunther failed to unplug one of the coffee warmers before closing for the evening, resulting in an electrical short. Rachel was inconsolable and often said at Central Perk, it felt like she could "connect" with the others, even if they were not there. Now that was gone.

She asked Terry to rebuild, using the insurance money, but Terry said that because the fire could have been prevented, the insurance company would only cover half the damages, so there was no way he could re-open and much to Rachel's horror, he said it would be turned into a parking lot. But he did manage to salvage a seat cushion that was on the orange sofa and gave it to Rachel.

It was 1pm at Rachel was busy assorting an array of clothes that had arrived earlier in the morning when the phone rang. "Rachel it's for you", her assistant Nancy informed. "Ok, thanks. I'll take it in the office", Rachel said as she quickly hung a skirt on the rack and went into her office and grabbed the phone. "This is Rachel Green" she answered to hear a familiar voice on the other end of the line.

"Hey, it's my favorite girl", Joey said.

"Oh my god, how are you Joey" Rachel asked as she closed the door to her office. "I'm doing pretty good, I'm the lead in a new movie", Joey said with excitement as a beep came on the line, indicating another call was waiting.

"Joey do you mind holding, I have a call coming in". She pressed hold and then pressed line 2 and said "This is Rachel Green". The voice on the other end was Emma's teacher "Ms Green, this is Patricia Young".

"Oh hello Ms. Young, is everything ok", Rachel asked. Ms. Young said that Emma was sick and if either she or Ross could come and pick her up. "Oh of course I can. Tell Emma that I am on my way, right now".

She tells Joey if he could call her back later, that she had to go and pick up Emma from school. On her way out, she asked Nancy to watch the store and to lock up when she leaves for the evening and got in her car and drove to the school.

Ms. Young greeted Rachel and took her to a room where Emma was sitting at a desk, with her head down. "Sweetie, everything's ok", Rachel comforted as she scooped up her daughter and carried her to the car.

She opened the door and put Emma in the seat and fastened her seat belt before getting in the driver's seat. Emma slept all the way to the supermarket as Rachel hurriedly picked up some tomato soup, which was Emma's favorite before driving back home.

"Dad and Uncle Chandler were going to take me to Boston to see Bon Jovi this Saturday" Emma said.

"I know sweetie, but if you're sick I don't think it will be such a good idea", her mom said. They arrived at the house and Emma reaches for her backpack "Leave it here for now, we'll get it later", Rachel said as she helped Emma out of the car. "Why don't you get a shower and when you're done, the soup should be ready", Rachel said.

It's about 30 minutes later and Rachel brings some soup up to Emma, who is already in bed. "I'm not hungry", Emma said but her mom insisted, saying that if she was sick, she needed all the energy she could get.

The phone rings and Rachel tells Emma to try and eat and she'll see who is on the phone. About 10 minutes later, Rachel comes back up to check on Emma and hands her the phone, saying somebody wanted to talk with her. Rachel collects the empty bowl, smiles at her daughter and leaves.

"Hello", Emma said and heard Joey said "How ya doing, brat"? She giggled and said "Hey, Uncle Joey". They talked for a few minutes and Joey said "I hear you're not feeling too good".

Emma said that she got out of school a whole hour early. "Just an hour", Joey said, "Dude you got ripped off" Emma asked when she meant and Joey continued "Well it's like this... look at it like legal hooky. Wait for the teacher to take attendance, then puke.

All of the sudden Rachel clears her voice on the other line and says "Don't tell her that. Say goodnight Joey". There is a pause and Joey says "Uhh... Goodnight Joey" and hangs up the phone

- To Be Continued -

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