Rating: Intense T. Future M (violence, drama, sex.)
Pairings: Joey/Rachel. Monica/Chandler. But very heavy Rachel-Ross-Emma and Monica-Chandler-Erica-Jack family oriented. Phoebe-Mike.
But keep in mind I'lll be focusing on Ross and Rachel a lot for the sake of the emotion of the story in the beginning. I'll be trying to give each couple their each devoted attention as much as possible since they will all be important, but the priority will be eventual Rachel and Joey. But like I said, it's all of them.
Summary: The gang goes on a trip together when they stop at the town of Woodburry. Something ends up happening around the country that leaves them quarantined by armed officials and unable to leave. Little do they know the government is being thrown over by a new organization with new regulations. As they're kept secluded, things start to change in the country as well as in the town. They are put to the ultimate test by violence, new strict rules, and policy. They are constantly monitored and spied on. Lives are also put to the test when they are given specific rules they must not break as part of this new district. Little did they know the one that would put them to the test was adultery and fornication which is prohibited.
I never wrote anything like this, and I am immensely excited. This chapter one will be the shortest chapter, this will be a long story, I'm hoping. It's going to be crazy and intense, so bare with me. I also wanted to say thank you to all those who left nice comments on my last one shot. Not many reviews as i'm used to getting at all lol, but my traffic stats did say that 300 different people from different PI's read my story so I know for a fact that there are silent readers out there. So i'm not gonna stop.
Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.
I'm too distracted by the sound of the TV to hear Ross and Emma calling me into the kitchen. I smile to myself as I watch. It's a blonde anchor woman and she's interviewing a small child. Judging by the lack of hair on her head and another woman standing next to the little girl on her left with a surgeon's cap on, I safely assume she's a cancer patient. I always had a weak spot when it came to sick children. It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and almost made me itch to crawl towards the nearest computer and research any possibly way to help the child in need. I'm clearly no doctor, and never wanted to be, but I love kids and seeing them in pain makes me hurt. Especially my own little girl, Emma. My stomach churns at the thought.
Me and Ross got married about a year after we got back together and it has been amazing. We've raised Emma to be the smartest most beautiful young girl, and I would absolutely be destroyed if anything, even a little scratch occurred on the surface of her skin. She's eight now, so she's at that perfect age where bruises and gashes literally hug her little legs. She rides her bike almost every day in the summer with her father to Washington Square Park and back. She's really active, and she's tall just like Ross. But one of the things she did get from me is how absolutely conceited she is-in a positive way.
She always begs me to do her hair and make all different kinds of braids for school. She's insanely picky about where she shops, but she doesn't let me choose her clothes. But I don't mind, she has great taste for her age. I realize how lucky I have it, my family, our apartment in the city, a healthy girl, and an amazing husband. I couldn't ask or thank for any more.
The story at the cancer center is finished and the local news continues. They show the suburban areas of New York and I'm immediately reminded of Monica and Chandler. The twins, Jack and Erica, are six years old and they are beyond beautiful. Neither of them are blonde so they all assumed they look like their real father - but no one really knows.
Chandler works in the city so he commutes everyday by train. Him, Ross, and Joey usually meet up around lunch time at some sandwich place down by Fairfield. I remember Ross coming in one afternoon talking to himself about how can Joey not eat just one sandwich. And then again the next day.
I wish I saw Monica as often, but unfortunately she's so busy now taking care of their house and the kids that she hardly ever leaves the outskirts. I wish I had more time to go to but the traveling takes a toll on your wallet after a certain point. So we try to take turns; at least four times a month she comes here and vise versa. But over time it's been increasing the amount of days and weeks between visits. Emma misses the twins, and I miss my best friend.
Phoebe and Mike still live in the village of course. Phoebe refuses to stop going to Central Perk- something about bad voodoo- i have no idea. Mike follows her along as expected. They're very happy together, but things have been kind of low for a bit. Phoebe's gone into a weird type of depression and stopped playing music and Mike's even let one slip to Joey (which later got to Ross and Rachel) that they haven't even had sex in weeks. It's been rough on that side, and we're too afraid to ask.
Joey's the same, except he got a pilot on some crack show in London called Episodes where he plays some actor in showbiz, and surprisingly it turned into a huge hit. He lives in the city when shooting is on hiatus and he has a much bigger place now. Not too big, but nothing like his old one. Joey's in a relationship with this woman and I haven't seen him this happy in ages. He's so much more mature now as well, except for the occasionally (or very 'ocassional') dumb moments that still occur. But what would Joey be if that didn't happen?
He's actually on Hiatus right now so he's in town. He's not too far, about six blocks west.
So because of not seeing Mon in what seems like forever, Phoebe being depressed, and Joey in town, we all decided to take a road trip together to the farthest of the west of Ohio. Why Ohio? It was the farthest yet cheapest yet not too far place we could think of that we could travel with three kids and a Joey. We should be leaving soon actually. Oh nice now they're talking about the weather forecast for the week.
"Mom!" I jump up and look over to the kitchen door to see Emma standing there in her skinny jeans, "We've been calling you for like forever!"
"Yeah, Rach, come in here real quick." Muffled Ross.
I throw myself off the couch in exhaustion, husband and daughter, they really take a lot out of ya. I swing the door open with one hand, and the other on my hip, and I see Emma jumping up and down next to Ross as he's touching what looks like Madeline's on a cookie sheet. Ross looks up at me and smiles and I get instant butterflies.
"You already all packed?" He asks.
I smile, "Yeah, I was just watching the weather actually. Seeing how tough our drive would be." I walk up to him and swing my arm through his and rub the top of Emma's head.
"Oh yeah?" He leans down and kisses me on the lips. An exaggerated "ew" comes from Emma and I laugh.
"Emma, go and get your stuff, everyone will be here soon, and we have to meet them in the underground garage downstairs. Go."
Ross waits till Emma's gone and smiles down at me, butterflies. "So how's the weather looking?"
"Great. Sunshine all week. high 70s." I smile and reach out and start to caress his arm. I lean into him and kiss him again, "Is it bad that I'm kinda pissed we're not gonna be alone for a few days?"
"I know. But it's okay, when we get back, maybe we can let Emma sleep over at Jack and Emma's for a day, and…you know." Ross raises and eyebrow and does a dorky shimmy with his hips. I try to hold in my laughter at how ridiculous he just looked.
"Yeah, okay Ross, you can do this-" I mimic his previous shimmy admits laughing, "later." He glares at me.
"Hey, at least i'm not Joey and saying I can do it in the tent with you!"
I laugh out loud, "Yeah, okay and you doing it in a tent, yeah like you would do that. and with Emma next to us."
Ross stomps his feet and looks at his tray, "Alright Rachel Green, you're gonna be mean to me, you're not getting any sweets that we made for the ride. And it's oh so warm."
I gape and reach out for one, "What? I want-" He smacks my hand away.
"Nope, its for the car. But you can help me put them in the ziploc bags."
"Fine." I look over my shoulder towards the door, "Emma! You better be all packed by the time we're done or we're leaving you behind! Oh and make sure your room is clean."
"Okay!" she shouts, annoyed. I smile.
I can barely feel my legs beneath my feet, or for that matter-breathe. Everything is a blur in front of me until my eyes finally are abel to focus on the clear image of Chandler and Joey and Monica laughing and talking and Jack and Erica messing with some pebble of the ground. They look over, probably hearing our extremely loud breathing rather than my shoes and Emma's squeaky suitcase. My friend's faces seem to be a mixture of laughter and concern.
"Sorry we're late!" I exclaim as I search my pockets for our car keys. Once I do I immediately unlock the cars and run a hand through my hair.
"Everything alright?" Monica asks, laughing.
"Clearly not, can't you see Ross over there looking like he just witnessed the big bang theory?" Chandler says playfully slapping Monica across her arm.
Chandler, always being "funny". I glare at him with a smile, "And so it begins. Emma couldn't find her favorite sandals."
"Ah. Like mother like daughter."
"Seriously, Chandler? I don't have a favorite pair of sandals." Chandler stares at me, clearly not believing a word I was saying. I cave in, "Alright I have several favorite pairs."
"It's not my fault my blue ones don't go as well with my red summer dress as much as my brown ones would! I don't wanna look all Periodic."
"You mean Kayo-tic?" What? We all look over at Joey in wonder.
"I'll ask." Chandler, "Kayo-tic, Joe?" Joey looks confused and shakes his head as if waiting for an explanation as to why everyone was looking at him in such wonder.
"What? You know, like the American flag, red, white, and blue?" Silence, "Wow you people should brush up on your vocab, I'm tellin' ya…" He snickers to himself and walks back to Mike. Joey leans over to Mike as if explaining himself sporadically about what he was trying to elaborate.
Chandler looks over at Ross and Rachel sighing and claps his hand together, "Anyway!"
I know that Joey is a bit slow sometimes, but sometimes it gets to a certain point where I really start to become concerned. Especially when I feel like Emma is observing all these non logical terms of his. It's extremely concerning. Oh, Joey. "Yeah, I cannot believe he's a millionaire now; logic."
"What was that?" Joey's heads snap up.
"Nothing, she just said how smart you are." Mike reassures Joey. It's funny, when Mike first became "one of us" he never really understood how to have tact around some of us and how our personalities worked, but over time he began to get a hang of it. He knew that lying to Joey and saying I said something nice wouldn't affect any more than saying the truth. If anything it'd just make him equivalent to an angry five year old, and we do not need that on a 16 hour road trip.
Joey smiles proudly, running a hand down his chest, "Oh, thanks, Rach."
"Okay! People! We need to move, now! I've already been standing here for twenty minutes and we have yet to grab something to eat!"
"Pheebs calm down. We'll get something right now. We'll leave. Let me just get the twins." Monica walks towards Jack and Erica who still seemed intrigued by the dirty pebbles.
"Finally. God." Phoebe hooks her arm with Mike's and pulls him towards their car.
"Wait hold on."
"I knew I should've killed him when I had the chance." Phoebe mutters under her breath. Mike stares at her in shock. Phoebe turns back around and looks over at Ross.
"I don't think we should take four cars. We should do five/five."
"Yea, that sounds good." I agree.
"Okay, yeah. Okay so who's taking Joey?" Chandler says quickly.
"I think it'd make sense for him to come with us. Because we're already four, Joey's the only one here with no other S.O, and Phoebe and Mike can ride with Rachel's family." Monica explains. Jack and Erica are holding on to each other her hands and Jack pulls on her right arm.
"Mommy, I'm hungry."
"Awww Sweetie we'll get something on out first stop."
"Ross actually made Madeline's." I inform.
Joey raises any eyebrow, "Wow, Ross. Manly."
Everyone gets in their designated cars and move their luggage around to wherever it fit. We're plugging the direction into our navigation when I speak up.
"So where exactly are we stopping for our first stop?"
"I don't know about you guys but I was thinking maybe we wouldn't have to stop too much too often or it might take two and a half days instead of one, so what do you think of something four hours down I-70?"
Phoebe and Mike both nod.
"Sounds good to me."
"Alright, so where is "four hours down I-70?"" Mike asks.
"Hmmm…" I zoom out of the map and trace my finger up the path that leads to some mountain up in Ohio. It lands on New York State, but right at the border of Northern PA.
"Some place called Woodbury."