[Sorry, but I keep getting sidetracked from finishing my older stories by my ideas for new stories.

This one begins during Christmas in season 10, and it explores some emotions that I think Joey would have after the whole love triangle with Ross and Rachel ends.]






The snow came down very hard that Christmas day. Monica wasn't sure whether she should postpone the Christmas party because of the bad weather, but everyone agreed that it wouldn't feel like Christmas if they weren't all together.

Phoebe already had a small Christmas celebration with her live-in boyfriend, but she didn't bring him to the party that evening, not wanting Joey to feel like he was the only one not in a couple. But once she arrived at Monica's apartment, Phoebe worried that the road conditions would become so bad that she couldn't get a taxi or a bus back to her apartment that night. She played songs on her guitar to try to keep her mind off of it, and called home a few times.

Joey of course had no trouble coming from across the hall, but Ross and Rachel had to struggle just to make it across the street, because of the snow and the fact that they had to carry Emma and her diaper bag, in addition to the Christmas presents.

Then there was an sudden power failure in the building, and Mr. Treeger informed all the residents that the blackout might last all night. It looked like everyone would be stuck at Monica's apartment tonight.

There was no heat, so everyone gathered around with blankets and numerous candles to keep warm. Getting an idea, Monica filled a trash can with newspapers and started a small fire inside, but was careful not to let it get out of control, like during the boyfriend bonfire of 1995.

In the living room, everyone talked and exchanged Christmas presents, and Chandler joked that they should tell ghost stories with a flashlight. Instead they decided to reminisce about the last blackout that they had been through, when Rachel had met Paolo and Chandler had been trapped in an ATM vestibule with Jill Goodacre.

"And I never got a videotape of the kiss she gave me when she left," Chandler complained. "It was my only shot with a Victoria Secret model, and I don't have any proof."

"Hey, you don't need a Victoria Secret model," Monica said. "You've got me."

Chandler smiled and kissed her, "Yeah, you do wear that sexy lingerie well."

"Hey, hey! There's a baby here," Rachel complained. "No dirty talk."

"That's not dirty talk! Besides, Emma is asleep now."

"Yeah." Rachel gazed lovingly at her eighteen-month-old toddler, then at Ross. She snuggled up close to him affectionately, and they got very cozy together.

Joey frowned and felt depressed because they just looked so happy together. Like a family. Joey got up from the floor and went into the master bedroom.

Chandler got up and followed him, while Monica and Phoebe gave Ross and Rachel a look.

"Joey?" Chandler came over to him.

"I'm okay," Joey shrugged, but didn't really feel that way.

Chandler hugged him and looked apologetic. "Maybe they should have stayed home tonight. Maybe it was too soon to be together as a group again."

Joey shook his head. "No. It's--it's just something I have to get used to. I want to be happy for them, you know?" He sighed heavily.

"I know." After a pause, Chandler asked, "Do you wanna go back now? Have some more eggnog?"

Joey pulled away from him and sat down on the bed. "No, I think I'll stay in here."

"But it's so cold in here."

Joey shrugged. "What's a little cold? Maybe I'll go back to my apartment, hang around with Hugsy..."

"No, don't leave yet! Is it really that bad?"

Suddenly, they heard sounds of some commotion, and Chandler went to peek his head out the door. Monica and Phoebe were gathering up several candles and blankets, while Ross and Rachel were picking up their winter coats and all of Emma's baby things.

Monica explained, "They're gonna go stay in the guest bedroom, so they don't make Joey uncomfortable."

"Oh. Thanks." Chandler went back inside the room and told Joey.

Emma woke up then and started crying because she was cold and didn't know where she was. Rachel and Ross began to soothe her, rocking her and singing songs as they tucked her into bed with them.

Joey could hear them through the wall. More reminders of their family life.

Chandler hugged him again.

After Ross, Rachel, and Emma were settled, Joey and Chandler returned to the living room to hang out with Monica and Phoebe.

But Ross and Rachel could still be heard in the guest room, telling stories to Emma so she would fall asleep again.

Joey couldn't take it anymore, so he stood up again and retreated to the balcony outside. Chandler followed him, bringing a blanket with him.

"Joey?" he crawled through the window. "Come inside."


"Joe, you'll catch a cold." He wrapped the blanket around his friend and shivered a bit, despite all the coats and sweaters he was wearing now.

Joey said, "Go close the window or you'll let all the heat out."

Chandler did so, then returned to Joey's side and watched him with concern.

Joey leaned against the edge of the balcony, staring across the street at the window of Ross and Rachel's apartment. He shook his head gloomily. "You can't get away from them anywhere, can you?"

Chandler worried that Joey felt a little desperate, so he drew Joey back from the edge of the balcony.

Joey realized what he thought, and shook his head. "No, I wouldn't jump or anything. I'd--I'd move away."

"Move away?"

Joey nodded and thought about the idea seriously now. He sat down next to the white dog statue to get out of the biting wind, and Chandler joined him, wrapping the blanket around them both.

"Yeah, why not?" Joey said. "I could move to L.A. or something. Start my life over and get away from all the memories and stuff."

Chandler frowned and hugged him close. "No, don't go away. I'll miss you, Joe."

"I'll miss you too," Joey said. "You being gone in Tulsa was hard enough, but never seeing you, any of you..."

"Then don't go."

Joey frowned sadly. "I think I have to."

They were silent for a while. Monica opened the window and threw out more blankets to them. "Are you coming inside soon? They really are quiet now, and Phoebe's singing some songs."

Chandler glanced at Joey, who shook his head and wasn't ready to go inside yet.

"All right," she sighed. "But don't be long." She went back inside and closed the window again.