It's Always Darkest Before Dawn

A Bad Day

Monica takes the pot roast out of the oven and sets it on the counter, as Chandler pours some tea for the kids and wine for the adults. "Dinner's ready", she called as Jack and Erica darted from their room to the kitchen, pausing to say hello to Ross, Rachel, and Emma. "Hey Emma", Erica said, "You gotta check out my new video game". Jack grabbed a glass of tea and said "You mean MY new video game". Chandler said that he got it for both of them, and if they couldn't share it, he'd take it back.

Erica tried to grab a plate, but Monica says "Sweetie, why don't you let me fix your plate. tonight". She puts a slice of meat loaf on her plate and Erica asks for more and Monica tells her to eat what she has, then she can have more. Monica tells the kids to go and eat in the other room, so the adults could talk and visit and says "If I see even one crumb on the floor and you are dead meat". Chandler looks up and said, "She means it... seriously".

Chandler fixes the other plates for the kids and pours some tea and escorts them to the kids' room and as the kids eat and play video games, the adults gather at the dining room table. "How's Emma been doing", Monica asked and Rachel said other than being sick the past week, she'd been just fine. "And how have you been doing", Monica asked. Rachel said she was doing ok, despite everything that's happened the past week.

After they eat, Chandler goes and checks on the kids and asks if Ross wanted to ride with him to the store. As Ross and Chandler leave, Monica and Rachel go to the back room so they could talk, in private. "How are you really feeling", Monica asked as they both sat down on the bed. Rachel just shook her head as her friend said "It's ok. You can tell me how your feeling. I can't even begin to imagine what you're going thru, right now".

"Nobody can", Rachel said as she broke down sobbing as her friend hugged her. "I don't know what I am going to do", Rachel said in between sobs. "It's ok", Monica comforted as Rachel continued to cry and said she didn't know how to tell Emma that she may have a life-threatening illness. "She doesn't deserve this. She's a good, decent kid and doesn't deserve this", Rachel lamented. "No, she doesn't", Monica agreed.

Erica came into the room and said "Jack won't share the video game". Monica said to just go back and play in their room, for right now. Erica went back and told Emma that her mom was crying "I would give anything to take her place", Rachel said as she wiped her eyes and Monica said "Of course you would". Emma lightly knocked on the door and asked "Mommy, why are you crying". Rachel hugged Emma and said "Everything's ok, sweetie. Mommy just had a bad day, is all. Go and play with your cousins while Mommy and Aunt Monica talk".

Ross and Chandler was at the store getting some household items, and Ross had been remarkably quiet during the whole trip. "You know that we're here for you guys, right", Chandler asked and Ross just nodded his head. Chandler looked at his best friend and brother-in-law, wishing he would just open up a little bit. But then again, he knew that deep inside, Ross was a very private person and didn't share or show emotion very often.

"C'mon talk to me. Don't shut us out", Chandler pleaded. Ross looked at him and said "What do you want me to say". Chandler said he wished Ross would say anything. Ross just sighed and said, "You don't understand what it's like and God forbid, until this happens to your kids, you'll never understand". Chandler just shook his head as they approach the checkout line as Ross just stared into space, lost in his thoughts. They get the bags into the car, return the shopping cart and drive away.

"Anything you tell me, will not leave us", Chandler said as he pulled over and turned off the ignition, "I just wish you would talk". Chandler knew that deep inside, Ross was a very private individual and did not share or show emotion often and he also knew this was killing him inside. "I don't walk to talk about it", Ross said with a hint of anger in his voice. "Well, that's that's just too damn bad, because I DO want to talk about it", Chandler shot back.

Ross started to cry and said "I can't go on, like this. I try so damned hard to be the strong one, for Rachel and Emma, but I can't do this". Chandler turned to Ross and said "Who in the hell said you had to be the strong one? Let me and Monica be the strong ones here, ok". They drove back to the house and as they got out of the car, Chandler insisted that Ross talk to Rachel. "She's your wife and if anybody understands you, it will be her"

Chandler walked for the door and saw Ross just standing outside, leaning against the car. "You coming in", Chandler asked and Ross nodded saying to give him a few minutes. Chandler went inside as Ross look up at the stars that were shining, wondering if there was a reason they were going thru all of this, and what the reason could possibly be. A few minutes passed and Rachel stepped outside to hand Ross a jacket and said "It's freezing out here, put the jacket on before you catch a cold".

"Why", Ross said with tears running down his face. "Why her"? Rachel gently wiped the tears from his face as Ross apologized. "Sweetie", she said as she pulled him in a tight embrace, "Why are you sorry". Ross choked back the tears and sobs he felt building up and said he was sorry for not being the strong one. "Ross, you don't have to be strong for me and you know that and it's OK that your scared and hurting... and baby, I know you are" Ross and Rachel hugged each other, crying. After a few minutes, they kiss and go back inside.

- To Be Continued -

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