I'm currently stalled on continuing the Birthday Kisses story, so instead I'm posting a shorter story about the very end of Friends. It's mostly wishful thinking, and has a rather unorthodox ending. I wrote this story after season 8, but before season 9 ever aired, so there's nothing here about Tulsa or Mike (the most unbelievably bland guy I've ever seen Phoebe date).

This takes place when Emma is a year old, and the following things have happened: Ross and Rachel are back together, and have a happy family with their baby; Phoebe's scientist guy David has returned for good from Minsk, and they're in love; Chandler and Monica are expecting a baby, and Joey is a successful actor.

If you don't get the "lobster" references, watch TOW The Prom Video, where Phoebe calls Ross and Rachel a pair of lobsters.

TOW All The Lobsters

Part 1: The Group Pact

The girls threw Monica a baby shower/slumber party at Phoebe's apartment, on the last night before Phoebe would move in with David. Ross and David were busy babysitting Emma and Ben.

So Chandler was home alone that night when Joey came over, looking depressed.

"What's wrong?" Chandler sat with him on the couch.

Joey said he was sad now that everyone had found their "lobster" except him. "I'm still single, and I know I'm not young anymore." His seven sisters were already married, and all his friends were coupled off too.

Chandler was surprised that Joey felt this way; he never seemed ready to settle down.

Joey replied that his crush on Rachel had changed him; he was long over her now, but he was still lonely and realized that he really wanted someone to grow old with. He was tired of sleeping with an endless stream of women and still feeling empty inside.

"What am I supposed to do?" Joey sighed miserably. "Phoebe was my backup, and she's back with David. I struck out with Rachel, and now I've got nothing left."

Chandler smiled at his simplicity. "Phoebe and Rachel are not your only choices, Joey! You just have to meet someone. It takes time."

"Time! Any more time, and I'll end up with Janice!"

Chandler shuddered at the thought. "Joey, it's not that bad! Look, maybe you'll move to Hollywood soon and meet some beautiful actress or model there."

"Eh." Joey wasn't interested.

"Eh? Who are you and what have you done with Joey?"

"I don't wanna move to Hollywood. I wanna stay here with all my friends and my family. I love you guys."

"And we love you," he answered with a smile. "Don't worry, we'll come visit you, and you can visit us."

"It won't be the same!"

Chandler shrugged. "Well, okay, stay here if you want. There still might be some girls left in New York that you haven't dated yet."

"No, look, I don't want anyone new! That's what I learned with Rachel all over again. I want what you and Monica have--the knowing each other completely, the friendship, the trust. If there was just some way I could get all that, instantly!"

"It can't be instant--"

"Hey, you told me all this already! You think I don't listen? Remember when I had that dream that Monica was my girlfriend? You guys told me to try making friends with women first, but when I did that, they just wanted to sleep with me. It didn't work!"

Chandler nodded. "I know, but--" He shrugged, unable to explain. "Look if *I* could find a woman to marry me, you definitely will! Maybe you'll get back together with some girl you already met, like Kate, or Kathy, or Kasey, or Katie, or Krista. --Sorry, I can't help it."

"Hey, that's just you making fun of me. There was Ginger, and Janine, and, and, Felicity, Erin, Ursula--"

"Ursula!" Chandler stopped laughing. "Don't even think about it. Phoebe would be so upset if you went back to her."

"I know. She's trouble anyway. I want somebody who really cares about me, not some kind of... evil twin."

"Just trust me, Joey, if you keep trying, you'll get the hang of it eventually."

"Eventually! How does that help me now?" Joey groaned. "Aw, why couldn't we have stayed six, perfect six? All even, you know, with like a group pact to be together at the end."

"A group pact?" Chandler shook his head in disbelief. "You can't be serious, Joey."

"I know, I know!" he said in defeat. "We never agreed to that, and Phoebe can't help falling in love outside the group. I'm totally happy for her; he's her soul mate and everything. I know I'm being selfish, but I'm just feeling stranded here. Don't lecture me, Chandler; just tell me it's gonna be all right, okay?"

"Okay." Chandler hugged Joey and whispered, "It's gonna be all right, buddy."

That comforted Joey a little, and Chandler offered him a beer. Joey nodded and Chandler got out a six pack from the fridge. He set the beers on the table in front of the couch and put out the necessary coasters, and a trash bag. Monica had trained him well.

To cheer Joey up, Chandler turned on the TV and put some porn on, as the stay-at-home equivalent of visiting a strip joint. Then he settled back on the couch with Joey, and they watched it for hours. Joey fell asleep with his head on Chandler's shoulder.