October 16, 2004

It was six in the evening when Rachel sat down at the dinner table. Ben was eating dinner at a new friend's house down the road. Emma was in her high chair, and Ross was bringing dinner from the kitchen. Now that Rachel was in her fifth month of pregnancy, and taking it easy, Ross was bringing home dinner or fixing it every night. Ben never complained about it because Rachel definitely was not the best cook in the world.

Rachel had invited the new neighbor, Noah, over to dinner, but he never came. Rachel knew he didn't want anything to do with her because she was married. She hated when guys were only interested in one thing. But, she didn't really care, because she knew she had a wonderful family, and in a year or so, that guy would regret not wanting to be her friend. Why? Because Rachel was sure that she was going to be just as famous as the celebrities that she was going to be making clothes for.

"What's for dinner?" came a very familiar voice. Rachel smiled happily when she saw Joey poke his head into the dining room.

"Hey!" she exclaimed.

"Hey Joe," Ross said with a nod.

"Joey!" Emma exclaimed with a giggle.

"Hey guys," Joey said with a laugh. "Seriously, what's for dinner?"

"Chinese takeout," Ross replied, putting the take out containers on the table.

"Egg rolls?" Joey asked hopefully. Ross nodded.

"Yes. We figured you'd be by, so I got an extra egg roll just for you." Joey sat down at the table.

"How's the show going?" Rachel asked.

"Haven't you guys been watching it?"

"Yeah, but Emma is your biggest fan. Ross is always working on lectures, and I always fall asleep on the couch."

"You fall asleep during my show?!"

"Well, sweetie, I'm pregnant with twins. That takes a lot out of me. But, I just talked with Monica, Chandler, and Phoebe back home. They all watch it every Thursday night."

"Good," Joey replied, "because they signed me for a second season."

"Congratulations, man," Ross said, patting his friend on the back.

"So have you found a girl yet?" Rachel asked curiously, pouring a bit of rice out onto Emma's plate. The baby took a fistful of it and stuffed it in her mouth.

"Well, there's this really hot girl next door, but she's married. I know, she's off limits, but she's so . . ."

"Need a towel to wipe the drool off of your mouth?" Ross asked. Joey glared at his friend for a moment, but shook the comment off.

"Joey, I know you're . . . Joey, but you need to think about settling down. You're thirty-four years old, and if you ever want to have kids, you're going to have to stop being so . . . promiscuous." Joey looked at Rachel.

"Big words, Rachel."

"Stop sleeping around," she said flatly.

"Hey, I guess I'm just not the commitment kind of guy."

"Joe, I promise it's much better when you're married."

"Well, when you're married, that means you can only be with one woman for the rest of your life. I don't think I can handle that."

"Yeah, but it's so much better than being with a bunch of different women. You have one woman for the rest of your life, and that's the best thing. You never have to worry about waking up alone in the morning."

"Unless you're on a break," Joey reminded him.

"Yes, thank you for reminding us all of that." Ross glared at Joey and shook his head. "Here. Have an egg roll." Joey happily accepted Ross' offering, and everybody began to eat in silence. That was when the phone rang. "I'll get it."

"Nah, let me," Rachel insisted. She stood and walked over to answer the phone. "Hello?"

"Hello dear," came the voice of Sandra Green.

"Mom? What's up?"

"Well, I figured I should be the one to tell you this before you found out from some stranger."

"What is it?" Rachel asked, starting to panic.

"Honey, your dad passed away this morning."

"What?!" Rachel asked frantically.

"I'm sorry sweetheart. He had another heart attack, and he didn't pull through." Those words circled around and around in Rachel's head. How could her father be dead? He wasn't that old. He was a doctor. Doctors weren't supposed to die. When Rachel was a little girl, her father always told her that he was always going to be there for her because he was a doctor, and doctors were always there. Doctors never died. How naïve she had been to actually believe that as a child.

"Oh my God!" Ross heard his wife's strained and shaky voice. He got up and quickly went to her side. He put an arm around her waist, and she leaned against his chest as she continued to talk to her mother on the phone. "I can't believe this. This wasn't supposed to have happened. I should have been there."

"Sweetheart, there's nothing you could have done. It was only a matter of time. We're making funeral arrangements for him. I'd really like for you to come home for awhile . . ."

"Don't think anything of it. Ross and I will be back as soon as we can. I love you." Rachel hung up and she clung to Ross' chest.

"What happened?" Joey asked from his seat at the dinner table. Rachel's knees became shaky, and she held onto Ross with a tighter grip.

"My dad died," she whispered as tears cascaded down her cheeks. Ross felt his heart skip a beat. He knew that Dr. Green didn't like him very much, but he still respected the man.

"My God, Rach. I'm sorry." Rachel sobbed at her husband's loving words.

"Yeah. Man, I don't know what to say." Rachel looked at her friend and shook her head.

"You don't have to say anything, Joey. Thanks for being here though." Ross helped Rachel over to the couch and she sat down. She ran her fingers through her hair and he handed her some tissues. She dabbed her eyes with them and she cleared her throat. "I never thought I'd lose him like this, you know? I figured I'd be old and gray by the time he left. I really never thought about him dying though. I guess I was just living in a fantasy world."

"No. Rachel, nobody ever wants to think about losing their parents."

"I really wanted him to meet the new babies . . ."

"I know," Ross whispered. "I know, sweetie. But, he doesn't have to worry about his heart problems anymore. He's in a better place."

"Thank you for saying that. I know you two never got along."

"Hey, I respected him because he helped create you." He kissed the top of Rachel's head and she smiled a little.

"Can we leave for New York in the morning?"

"Sure. Let me go make some calls to the university. I'll be back in a minute, sweetie." Rachel nodded and watched Ross leave. Joey sat down next to Rachel.

"I'm so sorry."

"Thanks Joey."

"Don't worry about it. You're my friend and I love you."

"I love you too, Joe." Rachel hugged her friend and they held each other for a few moments before pulling away.

"I better call Monica and Chandler and . . ."

"Just lay down. I'll take care of it. You want me to come back to New York with you and Ross?"

"Oh no . . . um . . . could you just watch the kids for Ross and I though? I don't want you to have to worry about getting back in time for work."

"Sure. We have a nanny on the set for the director's kids. I'm sure she can watch Emma and Ben."

"Thanks honey." Rachel hugged Joey again. Ross walked back into the room.

"They gave me a week off."

"Alright," Rachel replied with a nod. "Joey said he'd watch Ben and Emma for us. We can leave in the morning, if that's alright."

"That's fine, honey." He turned to Joey. "Joe, can you spend the night here and take the kids with you in the morning?"

"Sure, man. That'd be fine. I'll take Emma upstairs and give her a bath so you two can talk."

"Thanks," Rachel said weakly. Joey took Emma upstairs, and Ross sat down next to Rachel on the couch.

"How are you holding up?"

"I don't want him to be gone. He and I weren't very close after I left Barry at the alter, but I still loved him. He was my father, and he was the first man in my life, you know?"

"I know. Don't worry, sweetie. Your dad always loved you. He was so protective of you, and he had good reason. I hope I'm as good of a father to Emma."

"Oh Ross! You have to at least let her start dating when she's sixteen."

"Hey, we'll see."

"I do see some of him in you," Rachel said with a slight smile.

"Well, he was a good man."

"He really was." Ross stood up and took Rachel's hand in his. He helped her stand.

"Come on."

"Where are we going?"

"We're going to bed. You need your rest."

"I can't sleep."

"Sleep for him, Rach. He'd want you and our girls to be healthy. You need rest, honey."

"I know, but I can't . . . will you lie down with me?"

"Of course I will . . . I'll stay by your side for the rest of the night . . . and for the rest of our lives."