Joey's Diary

Chapter 1: The Beginning

DISCLAIMER: I don't own "Friends" or any of the characters - but if I did, boy, would Season 9 have gone a little differently!

THE PREMISE: What if Joey kept an online diary about his relationship with Rachel?

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is my first fanfic, although I have been a loyal watcher since Season 1. I am a devoted J/R fan and wanted to get it out of my system while enjoying writing at the same time. I have tried to capture Joey's character accurately, hence the slightly redundant wording - I love Joey but he doesn't have the most extensive vocabulary. Anyway, I put a great deal of effort into it and had a great time writing this. If enough people enjoy and want to see more, I'll continue.thanks!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

She moved out this morning.

I've been thinking about when I first knew how I feel about her. I guess it had been going on for a while, building up to this point, only I didn't notice it because it happened so naturally. We were together all the time so it became normal for me to look for her face when I walked in the door, for her to be the first person I saw in the morning and the last person I saw at night. I never realized how much I looked forward to seeing her, talking to her, and just being with her. I never realized how good it felt to know she was in the next room.

Until now.

But I never thought I was falling in love with her. She was my best friend. Sure, she's hot. I mean, she's beautiful. It's not an opinion - it's a fact, it's beyond question. No one can look at her and deny how beautiful she is. But I never thought of her that way, beyond the obvious sexual attraction. And believe me, sexual attraction means nothing. At least not after you've had real love.

That night that we went out on the "date", I think everything changed then. Maybe it just woke me up, because it had probably been there all along to some degree. I had never enjoyed being with any woman that much. Dinner and talking have always just been the means to an end, you know, the non-sex part of the date that you have to get through to finally get the girl in bed. In the morning, I couldn't wait for the girl to leave or for me to be able to slip away and go home. Sometimes I'd call the girl again, but more often I wouldn't. There was no feeling involved at all other than conquest.

With Rachel it was different. It was like she opened a new world for me and I didn't want the night to end. When she showed me her "move" before she went to bed, I almost stopped breathing. I can't put my feelings into words. Everything we'd shared and my love for her as my best friend shifted or changed or whatever you want to call it. All I know is that it became something so much more powerful and since then has grown stronger and more intense with every single minute of every single day, and I don't know how I am going to make it without her.

I couldn't sleep that night. All I could think about was how everything had changed and what to do next. What would I say to her the next day? Would she see it all over my face?

When she asked me if I "felt a little weird" the night before, I almost collapsed with relief. So it wasn't just me after all! But it turned out to be just food poisoning that made her feel weird. Stupid lobster.

When I went home and she was watching "Cujo", she wanted me to sit close to her like we always do when we watch a scary movie. I didn't want to do it. I didn't know if I could handle it, but I had to do it. She didn't know anything had changed and I had to act like the same old Joey, her best buddy and roommate. It would have looked weird to her if I refused to sit with her. So I did, and it terrified me. It felt so good just to be near her, but it felt so bad at the same time, because there I was with this woman who I could talk to about anything - anything but how I really feel.

I tried to forget about it, I really did. I told myself it was just a crush, like Phoebe said. But then she'd walk out of her room in the morning, and this rush of love would hit me and nearly knock me over. She was so beautiful, so unbelievably beautiful, even before she put on her makeup. I've never seen anyone as beautiful as she is in the morning. I would think of any excuse to hang around in the morning so I could just look at her. Every day it gets a little harder to hide my feelings. It's all I can do not to take her in my arms and tell her everything. Knowing that I can never tell her is almost going to be the death of me.

The right thing to do was to send her to live with Ross. I'm not the father, and it was wrong for me to be there for all these important moments when it should be him. So that's what I told them both. At first when I told them that she should move in with Ross, she looked a little hurt and acted like she didn't want to leave. I can't describe how that made me feel, like there was hope for me and that maybe, just maybe, she felt the same way for me that I feel for her. I guess some part of me wanted her to tell me that she couldn't stand to be away from me, and to refuse to leave. But deep down, she knew it was the right thing to do and she went.

And yeah, Ross will take good care of her, but can he ever love her the way I do? Can he make her laugh and get her to relax and not take things so seriously? Will Ross order pizza for her at midnight and make her a mint chocolate chip smoothie for breakfast?

Not that any of this matters anymore, because she's gone.

Before I started writing this entry, I went into her room and just stood there. It still smells like her, like her perfume. I noticed a tube of mascara she'd thrown away in the bathroom wastebasket before she left. This place is so empty without her. I've been sitting here all day trying to get used to being alone again. If I did the right thing, why does it hurt so damn much?

I'm either going to have to tell her how I feel or leave the city so that I don't ache with misery every time someone mentions her name. I'll kill myself if I have to see her in love with someone else. Vermont is looking pretty good right now. If my job and my best friends weren't here, my bags would already be packed.

Gotta go - Chandler's here with beer and pizza, trying to cheer me up again, I guess. Better than drinking sour orange juice. I'll write more later.