I wrote this fic almost a year ago and recently stumbled upon it in my files. I read it again and realized that it has some similarity with Jenn and Brad's life... coincidence?
Anyway, I reviewed and rewrote some parts cause I missed writing it:)
"Think about it, Ross!" These words have been echoing in Ross' mind since he and his sister had their chat over a cup of coffee three days ago. Monica knew how easy it was to give her brother advice and how hard it was for him to follow it. Ever since Ross started asking help from Monica, she'd always say, 'Think about it!' and yet it seems as though he never did.
Everyone who knew Ross knew Rachel. Everyone who knew Rachel knew Ross. Once labeled as a "Golden Couple" in Hollywood, their admirers and fans never failed to be updated with their lives together and apart from each other. They watched their idols grow and mature from teen stars to internationally acclaimed, award-winning actors. Magazines, tabloids, and entertainment shows had every detail about them about them.
Yet life hasn't been simple for Ross and Rachel. 'It's not easy living inside a fish bowl!' Ross once told an interviewer. Being popular seemed more harmful than advantageous. He thought he had everything, but within a snap second, his 'everything' fell apart.
Ross looked at his watch, 'Darn, I'm late again!' he thought. He drove as fast as he could while picturing Rachel's face once she sees him. He waved to the camera by the gate signaling the guards to let him enter the mansion he once lived in. He drove up to the house and parked. Before he could shut the door of his Carera Porsche, Rachel appeared and gave him a cold stare.
"You're late... Again!"
Ross looked down like a child and replied, "I'm sorry, I thought the interview would end earlier!" Rachel just nodded and let him in.
Since they separated, Ross felt as if he had no authority over Rachel anymore. She had every right to get mad in any way, and he had no right to argue with that.
He patiently waited on the living room couch. 'This house changes every time I enter,' he thought to himself. When he and Rachel bought their house in Palos Verdes, Los Angeles with the view of the ocean a month before they were married, they decorated it the way they dreamed it to be. It was beautiful, and was often featured in magazines. But now, it was totally different. The house he once lived in remained beautiful, but he knew Rachel's dream changed.
Minutes later, familiar voices were heard from the stairs. Ross stood up as he saw his little angel wearing a purple dress running towards him. "Daddy!" She slowed down and stopped a few yards before her father and positioned her arms on her waist. "You're late! You said you were gonna pick us up two hours ago," she lectured her father.
Ross smiled and knelt down. "I'm sorry honey, I couldn't get out of work. I'll make it up to you, I promise!"
The little girl frowned and looked down. "You say that all the time. Mattie said you weren't coming anymore!"
Ross looked at Rachel who was watching from behind. She knew how Ross felt; she too had a hectic schedule. Rachel approached her six-year old daughter and lifted her face. "Ems, I'm sure daddy didn't mean it. Remember when mommy wanted to bring you and your brothers to Disneyland but she just couldn't cause she had work?"
Emma nodded and answered, "Then we went the week after." She got her mom's point of how they sometimes wanted things their way but couldn't cause of their parents' work load. She looked at her father again, who was still kneeling down, and hugged him. "I'm sorry daddy, I just wanted you to be here early cause I missed you." Ross closed his eyes and hugged his daughter tighter.
Rachel felt her heart skip a beat. She couldn't blame Ross for being late, but she hated it every time her kids would get hurt. Rachel's career had the same demands, but at least she was able to make it up to them. Ross didn't have his kids to come home to, and it saddened Rachel even more.
"Where's Mattie?" Ross asked his little angel.
"He thought I was kidding when I said you were here already! Daddy, he told me to wear my p'jamas cause you weren't coming anymore!"
"Nu-uh! I didn't say that!" a voice protested from behind.
"Yes you did! Daddy he did, I swear!" Ross stood up and approached Mattie. Frightened with his dad, he hid behind Rachel's legs.
"Mattie! Where's my other shoe?" a boy a bit taller approached them.
"Justin, Mattie said daddy wasn't coming anymore, right?" Emma asked.
Justin looked at Mattie and smiled. "Since you hid my shoe, I'll just have to tell them the truth!" Mattie hugged Rachel's legs tighter.
Rachel giggled, "Ok, enough you guys. Daddy's here and I don't think he'd want to stay for long, watching you argue. So you boys hurry up and get ready!"
"It's ok, I think waiting a couple of hours just for you two to get ready is fine!" Ross sarcastically commented to his sons.
"Dad, let's have dinner here! Please!" Justin pleaded his father.
"Yeah daddy! Mommy and I made the bestest cookies in the world this morning and- and- and I wanna make you eat them!" agreeing on her brother's idea.
"And we can order pizza!" Mattie proudly suggested.
Ross smiled and looked at Rachel, as if asking for permission. She nodded and smiled at him. Ross looked at his hopeful little rascals and smiled. "Okay, okay. But only if you guys behave!" The children squealed in excitement. One thing they missed was their parents being together in one room, seeming like they're a complete family.
Justin Andrew Green-Geller is Ross and Rachel's eldest son. He's pretty much as clever as his father, although he looks like the both of them combined. His eyes are the color of the ocean, reflecting the depth of his soul. Similar to his father's eternally gelled image, Justin has brown hair. His lips have been tainted red since the day he was born, and his cheeks are like ripening tomatoes.
"I told you we'd have beautiful kids!" Ross once told Rachel.
Cameras feasted on their children every time they'd be seen in a public place. Disneyland trips weren't as fun as they thought it would be. Instead of them taking pictures with the mascots circling the theme park, it was the other way around.
Being an outspoken little boy, Justin isn't ashamed to tell his parents how he felt at any point in time. When he was small, his dad told him that he should never lie because it was bad and because it would hurt other people. And as he grew up, he saw that what his dad told him was true... sometimes a simple lie can lead to a grueling heartache.
Ross and Rachel knew Justin is too matured for his age. 'He thinks like a thirteen year-old and he's just ten!' Ross thought.
At the age of eight, it wasn't easy to comprehend why two people who loved each other so much would just go their separate paths. Since then, his concerns were mainly about Emma and Matthew.
Yet until present, Ross and Rachel distinctly remember the look on his face when they announced their divorce…
It was the Saturday of Mattie's first little league football game, two years ago. The children had no idea that it would be their last outing altogether. Rachel looked at her three children settled on the bed, and at Ross who was seated on the couch with his head on his hands. Justin, Mattie and Emma attentively watched their mommy pace around the room, until she stopped and smiled at them sadly. "Honey," she began, "mommy and daddy won't be living together anymore," trying to find the right words to make the situation easier.
The children had quizzical looks on their faces. Ross stood up, "You see, daddy and mommy have been fighting a lot lately, and you don't wanna see mommy and daddy sad right?"
Justin frowned and answered, "But you said we were a family!"
Rachel wiped the tear that briefly formed at the corner of her left eye. Ross approached him and smiled, "Hey, hey, hey! Who said we're not a family? Just because daddy won't be staying with you guys, it doesn't mean we're not a family?"
"My teacher said a family has a mommy and a daddy," Mattie said as he removed the lollipop from his mouth.
Emma looked at her mom and asked, "Is daddy leaving because he doesn't wanna be ouw daddy anymow?"
"No! No honey, of course not!" Rachel couldn't help but feel guilty, 'they shouldn't suffer,' she thought.
Ross looked at his four year-old who was waiting for an answer. "Ems, do you know how much daddy loves you guys?"
"This much?" Emma said stretching her arms sideways as far as they could go, remembering the book she once read with her daddy.
"No, this much!" Ross said in reply, stretching his arms as well.
"Then why do you have to leave? Why not stay here like other daddies?" Ross and Rachel saw their eldest on the of verge tears. Justin hardly cried in front of his parents, not unless he was injured or was throwing a tantrum. Although this time he couldn't help but release the cooped up emotions he had inside. "I don't want you to go! I'll be good, I promise! I won't be mean to Mattie and Emma anymore. I'll share and- and I'll sleep early, and do my homework on time. Please don't leave us daddy!"
Ross hugged his son as they both cried. Mattie and Emma joined in and cried as well. Rachel wanted to turn back the time to when everything was fine, but she couldn't. 'Did I make the wrong decision?' a question she thought of but never answered.
"I want pepperoni with cheese!" Mattie screamed at the top of his lungs.
"Nu-uh! I want cheese pizza! Mommy, can we get cheese pizza? Please?" Emma pleaded her mom.
"But I was first! I want pepperoni. It has cheese anyway, just remove the toppings!"
"No! It still tastes like pepperoni!" "I said it first," sticking his tongue out.
Emma tugged her mom's shirt, "Mommy, cheese is my favorite. Can we get cheese?"
"Emma's such a spoiled brat, she smells like a soiled cat." Mattie teased.
"I am NOT!" she protested.
Ross stood in the middle before things got out of hand, "Okay, okay that's enough. We're getting cheese and pepperoni."
"But dad, I want everything on it!" Upon hearing Justin's request, Ross just sighed and looked at Rachel.
"Okay Rach, order one cheese pizza, one pepperoni and one with everything on it... and whatever pizza you want!"
"I'm fine, I think three's too much!" Rachel smiled.
Spoiling his kids was the most Ross could do to make up for his absences. He's been very busy lately; he hardly had time for himself. He never wanted his children to experience the kind of childhood he had, but sadly, they did.
Being the son of Jack Geller was no joke. People expected much from him. 'My father's a great man. He's the best father in the world, and I don't think we should be compared because we're different. With no doubt, he's one of the finest actors in his time. He's my inspiration,' he answered when an interviewer asked about his father.
Jack Geller was labeled as an 'Oscar-grabber' because he nearly won every nomination he received. Although with all the glory and fame, he just stopped. At the age of 15, Ross couldn't understand why his dad stepped out of the limelight.
He recalled that fateful day, during a press conference in a London hotel while promoting his box office hit, Jack announced on television that his career was coming to an end.
"My decision to resign is something is something I thought about a long time ago. I will forever be thankful to those who supported me, mainly my family. Without all of you, there wouldn't be a Jack Geller. Life is filled with changes, and I'm willing to accept this change."
Those words headed the tabloids the next day, causing violent reactions from fans and admirers. Jack left a legacy in the movie industry, and it inspired his son to achieve success in his life.
Ross thought his dad would regret his decision later on… maybe cause he was spared from the reason why his father quit in the first place, "You're too young to understand, son."
He always felt like his dad was treating him like a child, and this caused much arguments between them. "You don't know me!" Ross would say. But when Jack began to stay home more often, he destroyed the barrier that kept him and his son apart. Ross learned to confide in him, while Jack listened and gave advises. They developed a father-and-son relationship they thought was nonexistent.
It then came to Ross' attention that even his parents were getting along quite well. Because Jack no longer came home at early hours, he concentrated on some worthy investments and made time for his family. Ross and Monica were glad their father quit, because he was able to rebuild the family they believed they had.
"Ross!" Emma shouted at her daydreaming father.
Ross woke up from the daze and shot his daughter a look, "Did you just call me Ross?"
Emma sheepishly smiled and said, "Because I kept calling you 'daddy' and you weren't answering! The pizza's here already and mommy's calling you."
"Okay honey, I'll be right with you!"
Coming from Emma's room, Ross journeyed through the familiar corridors of his ex-wife's house. He stopped at a room belonging to Justin. The color and furnishings changed. It used to be blue, but now it was olive green with beige-colored drapes and dark wood furniture. His toys and gadgets were neatly placed on the shelf above his bed, and the rest of his room remained tidy like always. On his nightstand, Ross saw a familiar picture captured three or four years ago. He picked it up and stared at it for a while. It was taken during Justin's preschool graduation, just before he entered first grade. Justin was holding a certificate while Mattie made a funny face right beside him. At the back, Rachel held Emma in her arms with Ross hugging her from behind. He smiled at the thought of how happy they looked. He picked up the picture frame right beside it and compared them both. The other picture was taken during Justin's ninth birthday. Ross and Rachel were on each side of the picture with their three kids in between them. Upon noticing the difference of their emotions, he sadly returned them.
Next to Justin's was Mattie's bedroom. His toys on the floor, clothes hung on the chair, and pillows were scattered everywhere. He hardly noticed that his son's room no longer was red but brown. The furnishings changed too.
'Rachel must be going natural now,' he thought about his ex-wife's artistic skills. She loved expressing her artistry through interior design.
Mattie's room was messy, unlike his brother. Ross always scolded him because he hated untidiness, just like his sister Monica. He sat on the bed and grabbed one of Mattie's toys on the floor. It was the GI-JOE he bought right after he left the house which caused an argument between him and Rachel. Mattie wanted it for the longest time but Rachel didn't want to buy it because it was too complicated for a seven-year old. When Ross bought the GI-JOE, he was unaware that Rachel disapproved of it. Mattie didn't think they'd fight, he just wanted the toy, and this brought so much confusion. Rachel talked to him and explained that it wasn't his fault, but he still couldn't understand.
"I thought you said you and daddy are gonna live apart cause you don't wanna fight anymore? Then how come you're fighting now?"
Rachel couldn't search for an answer. Watching her son cry was killing her, she wanted to just kiss the pain away. "Mattie, mommy and daddy are just having an argument. It's normal, like you and Justin always argue about stuff, right?"
He nodded and hugged his mom. "I don't want you to fight because of me mommy."
Rachel closed her eyes and hugged her son tight. "It's not your fault, honey."
Ross could remember everything as if it just happened. Just like how he could still remember everything when Mattie was born…
It was a snowy night during December, Ross and Rachel were attending a charity event. As soon as Rachel entered the ballroom dressed in her black, body-hugging, sexy gown slightly revealing her big belly, she felt an excruciating contraction which caused her to hold on to Ross who was behind her.
"What's wrong?" Ross concernedly asked her as soon as she fell into his arms.
"Honey, I- I think it's time!" finding it hard to talk. Ross looked around and found a few waiters surrounding them.
"Okay, okay, just calm down. I'll get the car." He managed to transfer Rachel to a chair. "Can you please get me a glass of water?" he said to a waiter who assisted them. Ross reached for his mobile and called, "Jeff? Emergency here, fetch us at the backdoor!" and within a few minutes, Ross was timing Rachel's contractions at the back of their limousine.
"Matthew Leonard? What happened to my name?" Jack commented while waiting for Rachel's recovery along with Ross.
"Matthew Leonard? What happened to my name?" Jack commented while waiting for Rachel's recovery along with Ross.
"Dad, I chose Justin's name. This time it's Rachel's turn!" Ross explained, smoothing his scruffy tie.
"What happened to Jackson? Matthew Jackson?"
Ross shot his father a look, "Dad I don't want my son to be teased. In the first place, it sounds like Michael Jackson. That is already enough reason for me not to name him Matthew Jackson."
"Daddy!" Justin screamed as he entered the waiting room with his nanny.
"Could've been Justin Jackson..." Jack mumbled before letting out a sigh.
Ross ignored his father and took his year-and-a-half old son from his nanny's arms. "Daddy missed you! Do you wanna see your new brother?" Justin excitedly nodded.
Noticing Rachel's absence, he cupped his father's face and asked, "Wews mommy?"
Ross stopped walking and replied, "Mommy's resting." He started looking around the glass window and smiled. "See, there he is!" pointing to a baby wrapped in a blue blanket sleeping in the middle of the nursery.
"Baby?" Justin twitched his eyebrows. Ross looked at him and laughed, "Yes, he's a baby.. And his name's Mattie!" Justin smiled and together with his father, they peacefully watched Mattie sleep.
Ross felt like he was about to explode every time he'd enter Mattie's room. His toys were scattered everywhere! 'Just like his mom,' Ross would say when it gets to tidiness.
"Mattie, please be careful with your toys. One day they'll just leave you!" Ross once threatened him.
"But daddy toys don't walk!" the brown-eyed, bronze-haired little boy replied to him.
"What about Toy Story? Woody left, didn't he?" "Daddy, you said it wasn't true!" arguing with his father who once told him his toys won't kill him."
'He still is the same,' Ross thought.
Mattie is a hyperactive, smart-ass kid. He loves playing with his toys, and he'd often quarrel with his siblings, particularly Emma. This behavior was what Ross explained to Rachel as 'a middle child syndrome.' He had Rachel's fun-loving, easy-going characteristics, but deep inside his jolly front, he had his father's sensitivity. This made him the clown of the family. Rachel loved how affectionate he is, expressing the way he feels all the time, something he got from his dad.
"Daaaad!" "Dadddy!" "Rossss!" the three children impatiently screamed from downstairs.
Ross chuckled and returned Mattie's toy on the floor. Before going down, he saw Rachel's door half opened. He paused and decided to take a peek. Everything was different there as well. The walls were no longer maroon but mustard yellow, making it much brighter. The complete change made Ross realize that things weren't the same anymore. Not a single trace, except for some family pictures, of their past can be seen in the room. The bed no longer was parallel to the desk, and the entertainment set he bought was transferred to another room.
Memories started cascading through Ross' mind... 'This was where it all began.'
Voices echoed through the house. Finally, Ross and Rachel made it up to their room, both dressed in beach outfits. Two women dressed in maid's uniforms and a butler followed from behind carrying their luggage. As soon as they left Ross and Rachel alone in their room, the newly weds plopped down the bed.
"I'm tired!" commented Ross who tilted a bit to face his wife.
Rachel sat up and shot him a look, "You're tired? It's our first night here in this beautiful house and you're tired?"
"Are you giving me a reason not to be?" Ross implied.
Rachel smiled and slowly pressed her lips against his. She broke the kiss with her face a few inches away from his and teased him, "I think I'm tired too..."
Ross arched his eyebrows and climbed on top of Rachel. He started kissing her neck, while Rachel pretended not to like it. "Ross, quit it!"
Ross stopped and looked at her straight in the eyes "You have beautiful eyes... You make me wanna drown in them!"
Rachel smiled and kissed him, "You're sweet."
"Do you know how much I love you?"
She giggled and answered him, "This much?" stretching her arms.
"No, this much..." and he passionately kissed her on the lips.
Ross began to wonder around the room, tracing the wall as he walked. He missed everything... the scent of the room, the passion within the deaf walls, and the family that grew with time. It all changed too fast... It seemed like yesterday when he would wake up and find his loving wife in his arms, when he would hear the sound of knocks bombarding their door early in the morning, when he would break off Justin and Mattie from quarreling over their own spot on the king sized bed, when he would feel Emma sneaking in between him and Rachel late at night... All these became figments of Ross' imagination... figments only to happen again in his dreams.
Ross woke up from reminiscing and found Rachel by the door staring at him. He looked at her and smiled, "How long have you been there?"
"Long enough to tell you that the pizza's cold!" she replied grinning at him.
Ross shyly approached her, "I was just- just thinking about stuff... The rooms look great by the way!"
She smiled and replied, "Thanks! I didn't think you'd like it..."
"Hey, that was ten years ago... coloring a newborn's room olive green wasn't appropriate then," Ross chuckled.
As soon as the laughter faded, Rachel asked, "So how's Jack doing?"
"He's- He's getting better."
Comfortingly, Rachel hugged Ross. They stayed that way enjoying each other's warmth until -- "Excuse me, we're hungry!" Emma said as soon as she saw them. With that, Ross and Rachel quickly pulled away from each other.
I know some of you have probably read this fic already... And for those bothered by an Author Alert, I'd like to apologize. I reviewed this fic and realized that there's stillsome room for improvement :) I hope that you still enjoyed it!
The succeeding reviewed chapters will be uploaded soon!