It's Always Darkest Before Dawn

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Rachel and Emma walked out of their house as Rachel made sure the door and garage were firmly closed and locked. She opened the passenger door to her car, helped Emma get in and fasted her seat belt.
Rachel got in, started the car and slowly backed out of the driveway and onto the road. "Do we have to go to the doctor", Emma whined. "Sweetie, I know the doctor is not your most favorite place, but you want to get better, don't you"?
Emma shrugged and said "I guess so". Rachel smiled and said "Of course you do". Emma hoped they ran into a traffic jam or had a flat tire... anything to avoid going to the doctor.
They finally arrive at the doctor's office and go inside and wait in the waiting room, and Rachel hands Emma a coloring book to keep her occupied while they wait for the doctor. A few minutes later a nurse calls them to the back room. About an hour passes and they leave the doctor's office and head back home.
"See", Rachel said as they drove down the highway, "I told you everything would be ok. Emma wanted to know why the doctor needed to take her blood. Rachel said the doctor just needed to run some tests, and asked if Emma wanted to stop for an ice cream cone, and she nodded in agreement.
They pull into a local ice cream parlor and each order a scoop of Rocky Road as Rachel's cell phone begins to ring. She glances at the caller ID and sees that it was Ross.
"Hey sweetie", Rachel answered. "How'd everything go at the doctor's office", Ross asked. Rachel said everything appeared to be fine and said they had some lab work done.
Ross talked with Emma and said "How are you feeling". Emma said she was feeling a little bit better and said she hoped to go back to school the next day. Her mom smirked and said "You want to go to school? You ARE sick" Ross overheard her and said "Don't listen to her. You go to school and work hard and maybe you can be a doctor like I am"
Emma laughed and said "Mommy tells me you're not a real doctor..." Rachel quickly takes the phone and says "Sorry about that" Ross was not amused and said "I AM a real doctor". Rachel chuckled and said "And how many of your patients are alive". If it was any body else, Ross would have been insulted by that comment, but he and Rachel constantly joke back-and-forth.
They finish the ice cream and head back to the house and spend the rest of the day watching cartoons together and pigging out on popcorn.
It was a few days later, on a Friday and Emma was well enough to go to school and Rachel said "If you want to take another day off, you can. I have to go to work, but we can have Ms. Johnson stay with you".
Emma said she was looking forward to going to school and said every Friday they serve tacos for lunch. Rachel laughed and said "Ok, so let's go" She handed Emma a pop-tart to eat on the way and hugged her daughter and watched until she went inside the school before driving for work.
"Welcome back Emma", Ms. Young welcomed as she took her jacket and put it in the closet as Emma took her seat. "Hey Emma, you missed a great trip" her friend Donna said. "Yeah", Martin said, "Charles spit his gum and it stuck on a wax statue".
Emma giggled, wishing she could have seen that. The bell rang, and Ms. Young instructed the class to settle down and get out their books. Meanwhile, Rachel was at work, going thru sales receipts when the phone rang.
"Madam Rachel's", she answered in her usual business greeting. "Ms. Green, this is Doctor Anderson". Rachel was surprised that he was calling and Doctor Anderson said he wanted to discuss the results of Emma's labwork and said her white blood count was high and Rachel asked what that meant, and as gently as he could, said he wanted to have Emma tested for leukemia. Rachel felt all her energy leave her as she struggled not to collapse and made her way to her desk and sat down, in a complete daze.

She hung up and broke down crying as Nancy came by and asked if she was OK. She asked Nancy to call Ross and tell him to come to the office. She called Ross and told him that Rachel needed him right away, but didn't tell him anything else.

She went back to be with Rachel who wiped her eyes and asked her to go and watch the store and she will be ok, until Ross comes.

About an hour later and Ross comes zooming, in his car.

"Nancy, what's wrong", Ross asked as he entered the store and Nancy said it would be better if he heard it from Rachel. With his heart beating 500 times a minute, not knowing what was going on, Ross went to the back office as Rachel hugged him, crying loudly.

Ross gently closed the door, as not to disturb the customers, and to give themselves some privacy. Ross instantly knew something was wrong with Emma, as she was the only reason Rachel would get so worked up and upset.

"What is it", Ross asked, afraid to hear the answer. Rachel clung to him so tightly and Ross knew it was not good news. Rachel tried to compose herself and thru the tears and loud sobs, said the doctor wanted Emma tested for leukemia. Ross felt like he had just been kicked in the stomach and said "Are... are you sure? There has to be some mistake. He must have her chart confused with somebody else". Rachel saw the fear in his eyes and her heart went out to him as they hugged, both crying.

"I don't get it. How do you wake up one day, and all of the sudden have cancer", Ross wondered out loud. Rachel said she didn't know and worried about how to tell Emma and said "How do you tell your child they have cancer"? Ross suggested not telling her, at least not right away, and to at least let her have the weekend to do what she wanted. Rachel suggested they all go to New York, as it was while since they were there and an even longer while since Emma was there.

Rachel called Monica and she could already tell something was wrong, but Rachel simply asked if they could all come up, as soon as Emma got out of school, and Monica said she would love it. Monica said "Rachel, sweetie I know something is wrong and whatever it is, you can tell me". Rachel said told her that Emma may have leukemia. Tear drops fell down her face as she told Rachel how sorry she was and said that if they needed anything, to let them know. "Right now, we just need our friends", Rachel said.

Monica asked if Emma knew and Rachel said "No. We're going to let her have the weekend". Monica said they would take Emma anywhere she wanted to go. Ross and Rachel left to pack and were there to pick up Emma from school at the end of the day. Rachel hugged her tightly and kept saying "I love you" over and over. Ross said Monica and Chandler wanted to see Emma, so they were going to New York for a few days.

As Ross and Emma got in, Rachel went to talk to Ms. Young, saying Emma would be missing a few days of school and Ms Young asked if everything was OK, as she could tell by Rachel's voice something was wrong as she invited Rachel to her office.

Rachel said she didn't want to worry her or Emma's friends or classmates, but said Emma had to be tested for leukemia. "Oh God", Ms. Young said "I am so very sorry and of course Emma will be excused for as long as you would like". Rachel thanked her, asking not to tell the other children as she didn't want to cause worry or alarm. Rachel went back to the car as they headed off for New York.

-To Be Continued -

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