It's Always Darkest Before Dawn

A Circle of Friends

Ross and Rachel quietly enter the bedroom, trying not to disturb Emma who was already sound asleep. Rachel motioned for Ross to turn the lights off as they each got in bed, with Ross on one side, Rachel on the other, and Emma in the middle. Ross was able to fall asleep a few minutes later, totally exhausted and worn out but Rachel stayed awake, just watching her daughter sleep, stroking her golden hair, afraid of what may happen next and powerless to stop it. She was thankful to finally be able to drift asleep

The sun was already up when Rachel woke up to the smell of bacon and coffee and she got dressed and made her way to the kitchen, letting Ross and Emma sleep. "Good morning" Rachel yawned as she poured some coffee for her and Monica. "Did you guys sleep ok", Monica asked and Rachel nodded. Monica fixed some biscuits and set them on a table, and Rachel could not help notice her smile, which in turn, made Rachel smile as well. Monica said "Guess who's coming with us today".

Rachel asked who else was coming, when the doorbell rang as Monica went to answer it and a few minutes later Phoebe walked into the kitchen, hugging Rachel tightly. "I hope you didn't mind, but I told Phoebe what was going on". Rachel nodded, as tears filled her eyes as she hugged her friend, whispering the Emma didn't know yet. It had been almost a year since all of them.. Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, Rachel, and Ross were in the same room and although Rachel wished the situation was better, she knew that with her friends at their side, everything would be ok.

"When is she going to be tested", Phoebe asked as they sat down at the table and Rachel spooned some sugar in her coffee and said that the testing would take place on Tuesday. "Would it be ok, if we told Joey", Monica asked. Rachel nodded as Monica said "He really adores Emma and think he would want to know as well. She grabbed the phone and spoke with Joey for a few minutes before handing the phone to Rachel.

"Hey Rach, how are you holding up", Joey asked. They talk for a few minutes as Monica quietly checks on Emma and said that she and Ross were still fast asleep. "Ya know", Joey said, "I would really love to be there for you guys. Would it be ok if I was there with you and Emma"? Rachel sighed and said "Joey, that's so very sweet and I love you for the offer, but we can't ask you to drop your life like that. Besides it's expensive to fly from Los Angeles to New York".

"Don't worry about that. I have that end taken care of, it just you guys have always been there for me. Please Rachel it will mean so much to me" Rachel replied "Of course you can, and we thank you so very much". Rachel said it was 2 years since the last time they were all together and that made her happy, but at the same time, wished it could have been under better circumstances. "Hey sweetie" Phoebe said as she hugged Emma. "Aunt Phoebe", Emma exclaimed as gave her a hug.

Ross and Chandler make their way to the table, as everybody else does. "Phoebe", Ross said as he hugged her whispering "Thanks so much for coming". They all eat, as Rachel goes over to Ross, lightly tugs on his sleeve as he followed her to the back room. "I think you're right", she said. "Right about what, sweetie", he asked as they both sat down on the bed. "I think you're right about telling her. This is too huge to keep secret and it's been killing me, and I know it's been killing you, as well". Ross gathered Monica and Phoebe back in the room and said "Uh, guys, I don't think we're able to keep this a secret any longer, so tonight when we all get back, I think we're going to tell Emma.

Monica wiped the tears that were forming and said "Ok, sweetie. Just know that we're your friends and you won't have to do this alone". They all embrace and go back to the dining room, and finish eating. "So",. Phoebe asked Emma, "where did you want to go first". Emma said she wanted to go to the Empire State Building and Times Square and also said she wanted to go to FAO Schwartz. "Well", Monica said, 'We better get a move on". They all help clear the dining room table and leave to go and explore the city.

- To Be Continued -

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