Past & Present

Prologue Part 1: Barbados

DISCLAIMER: I don't own "Friends" or any of the characters – but Joey can kick my hotel room door shut anytime he wants to.

THE PREMISE: Rachel must choose between her past and her future. Will tragedy be the result?

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story begins in episode 923/924 (TO In Barbados) and will continue into S10 (which, at the time of this writing, has not been filmed or aired, and no reliable spoilers exist). I suspect that when S10 rolls around, Joey will be used by the writers to push Ross and Rachel back together so that long time fans of the show can finally have an RnR wedding in the finale. As the world's most devoted JnR fan, this horrifies me. Before that has a chance to happen, I want to do S10 my way.

The song used in this piece is "Untitled" by Interpol. It's the song they used in the episode as Joey was knocking on Rachel's hotel room door. It played until the scene faded to black.

So, read, review, and enjoy. Reviews are very important to me and I will only continue if there is quite a bit of reader interest. I'm actually very nervous about posting this, I've never written this type of story before and I don't know if people will love it or hate it.

Most of all, to you readers of "Joey's Diary" who sent me your thoughts about this story – thank you!


"Can you really live the rest of your life never knowing what we could have been?" – Joey as Dr. Drake


Rain. Pounding the crystal white sand of the beach, stirring the sea just outside her hotel room. Rain trickling down her window pain in slow, lazy streams. Rain dripping off the emerald green expanse of tropical flora that sprung up from the ground, its fresh fragrance mixing with the salty tang of ocean breezes to create an intoxicating perfume.

It seemed as if the rain would never end.

The meteorologist on the Weather Channel continued her predictions of wet weather for the island of Barbados with such a self-satisfied smile that Rachel Green felt an unreasonable hatred of her. She refrained from snarling an insult at the television screen, instead turning it off with an annoyed click of the remote control. The room was suddenly quiet other than the constant lulling sounds of the rain and the ocean.

Rachel chewed her thumbnail in her agitation. There was nothing for her to do. Everyone else was either happily paired off or busy with the convention. The weather ruled out having any island fun – not that she wanted to have fun alone. "Fun" and "alone" were two words that did not go together in Rachel's view of life. She thought back to the day before and how she and Joey had crashed that pharmacist convention. They'd had such a good time, but then, they always had a good time together, even when doing something that their friends would consider too silly to participate in. Memories of playing the drums together at midnight and having wet paper towel fights in the living room played on the screen of her mind like a home movie, causing her to smiled wistfully.

It's not like we can't hang out or have fun together anymore, she reminded herself. I just have to stop expecting more than that.

Rachel sighed. She was bored and lonely, but most of all, she was disappointed.

She wandered over to the window and watched the rain falling. The weather seemed to mirror her deflated emotions. A deep discontent weighed on her as she remembered her recent conversation with Joey.

He had seemed so sure of his answer, so final, that it left her little room for hope. She knew him well enough to realize that he had strong feelings about certain issues, and this was one of them. It wasn't that he had stopped wanting to be with her - she knew better. Their mutual longing had been palpable during those few moments when they had considered taking their relationship to a new level. But he had resisted it without question. His refusal to betray Ross held greater sway over him than the opportunity to be with her. She was let down, but she wouldn't have him any other way. His strong sense of right and wrong was one of the reasons she trusted him. He was the one person in her life that she knew would never hurt her. She had accepted his decision without pushing him to change his mind out of respect for his convictions. It was just her bad luck that such an admirable quality was going to keep them apart.

That didn't mean it was easy for him, either. She had caught the tortured expression that passed across his face after he told her that he was sorry that nothing could ever happen.

Tortured, she thought, but determined.

There was nothing else for her to do. I had my chance with him when he first told me how he felt, she thought, and I blew it. She pressed her flushed face against the cool pane of her window. No point in dreaming about it anymore. It was over. It had never even begun. There would be no chance to find out what they could have been together. Thoughts of being with him had possessed her for the past month like a fever. It was proving difficult to cut those feelings off. The loss was more disappointing than she had expected it to be.

I guess our timing was wrong, she told herself. When he wanted me, I didn't want him. Now that I want him, he's going to let Ross stop it from happening.

She was startled out of her reverie by a knock on her door, five insistent raps.

Who was coming to bother her now? She instantly ruled out Monica and Chandler, who had an adjoining room and would have used the common door. She suppressed her annoyance as she moved to answer the knock. Her spirits were low and she didn't feel much like putting on a happy face for anyone. It was a pleasant surprised to see Joey standing on the other side of the door when she opened it. At least they could be disappointed together.

But he didn't look disappointed.

He was looking down at her with a mixture of joy and excitement. More than a hint relief was emanating from his dark eyes. Something else, happiness beyond rapture or any word she could conjure up to describe it, filled his face with intensity.


He moved in closer, surprising her by taking her in his arms. Before any questions could form, he silenced her by pressing his lips against hers in a kiss that sent her senses reeling. Too soon, he pulled back and looked in her eyes. She saw her answers in their brown depths. He had changed his mind.

"Oh," she said in surprise. Her mind struggled to make the connection between the Joey she'd always known – her Joey – and this stranger who was arousing such an unquenchable yearning within her.

His hand moved up, two fingers brushing her hair from her face. Her mind flashed back instantly upon the night when he'd told her that he was in love with her, over a year ago. She'd cried as she refused him, her heart aching from the knowledge that she was hurting him. Trying to comfort each other, he'd taken her in his arms and brushed her hair aside exactly the same way. It was a gesture of familiarity that now reminded her of everything that had passed between them, years of closeness. They were still the best of friends. This was no stranger. He was the friend who had seen her through everything and the man whose kisses left her with this breathless urgency. He had loved her then and he loved her now. She could trust him completely. In that moment, her questions vanished. She knew this was right.

He was kissing her again and she returned it, her soaring passion matching his. Her arms moved up to embrace him, grasping his shoulders as his hands glided across the bare skin of her back. His touch was so gentle that it sent shivers of electricity down her spine.

Her thoughts were racing as a surge of desire rushed through her. The sounds of the rain falling on the churning waves outside mingled with that of their rapid breathing, creating a tide of dizzying sensations that threatened to drown out everything else. There was no need for words between them. This moment had been waiting to arrive.

Unwilling to part with each other for even a second, he pushed the door to room 1202 shut with his foot, closing them off from the rest of the world.

Surprise, sometimes, will come around

Surprise, sometimes, will come around

I will surprise you sometime

I'll come around

Oh, I will surprise you sometime

I'll come around

When you're down

A/N: Ok, this isn't going to turn out like you think it will! If this isn't the worst thing you've ever read and you want more, please review – thanks!