"The Pact"

Um, I had an idea, and I am gonna try it, so don't shoot me if it doesn't work.
I own no one, and no one owns me.

~The Setup: Monica is marrying Richard, because, for some reason or another, they never had the "kids" discussion.
The story opens the night before Monica and Richard's wedding. Ross and Rachel are together, everyone else is single.


"So, Mon, are ya nervous?" Joey asked for the third time that night. The gang was seated in their favourite haunt,
Central Perk, for what would be the last time as six singles.
"For the last time Joey, NO, I am not nervous!" Monica shook her head in frusteration.
"Maybe Joey's a little nervous," Pheobe said jokingly.
The gang laughed, and sipped their various beverages. After a silent moment, Rachel sighed and looked at her friends.
"So, this is the last time we will all be here like this," she observed.
"We'll still hang out," Monica said, though she knew that that wasn't really true. Richard was in the process of looking
at homes upstate, something that Monica had yet to share with her friends.
"C'mon, Mon, you know that everything is gonna change after tonight," Chandler said.
The rest of the group nodded in agreement, causing Monica to sigh heavily.
"Oh! I have an idea!!" Pheobe said loudly, as though it was her first idea *ever*.
"Wow, Pheebs, didja hurt yourself?" Chandler said slyly, as Joey laughed.
"No, but I might hurt *you* later," Pheobe warned.
Chandler stopped laughing suddenly and moved himself behind Monica for protection.
"What's your idea, Pheebs?" Ross asked curiously.
"We should make a pact, that we will all meet up here in ten years, no matter what happens," she said.
"What could possibly happen in ten years that would make us *not* want to meet?" Ross laughed.
"Yeah, and I'll bet we are all still in contact in ten years!" Joey said.
"Yes, but Monica is moving, and she is gonna start a family, and so we'll see her less, and then, um...
Joey, what if you get your big break, and move to Hollywood? And, uh, what if Ross and Rachel break up?"
The gang looked at Pheobe in stunned silence for a minute, then broke out into laughter.
"Nah...no way, that will never happen," they laughed.
"Okay, but I still think we should make the pact," Pheobe said.
"Okay okay," Chandler said, "I swear, I'll be here in ten years, no matter what."
The others agreed. "Okay, no matter what."

*******

2007--Ten Years Later

Hollywood, California

"Excuse me, but, aren't you Joey Tribbianni?" asked the pretty teenager, standing at Joey's table.
"Yes, I am."
The girl suddenly turned to a pack of girls sitting in the corner of Starbuck's, and screamed at the top of her lungs.
"YOU GUYS!!! IT'S HIIIIIM!!!!"
The girls came flying over, fawning over the actor, who obliged each of them with autographs and photos.
"Okay, okay, I gotta go!" he finally said, after each girl had had their turn. The girls moaned sadly
as Joey walked out of Starbuck's, and jumped into his BMW. He smiled to himself. Yep, this was the life.

****

London, England

"Honey, come on!" Ross said excitedly, as his wife primped in front of the mirror.
"Calm down, Ross, we've plenty of time!" Emily said, exasperated.
"I just don't want to miss the flight," Ross said excitedly. He was looking forward to seeing New York again.
"All right already!" Emily sighed, as she grabbed her bags. "Well, let's go then!"

Ross sat in the taxi, staring out the window. It would be strange seeing everyone again, but he was excited.
He wondered how Rachel was doing. He had never told Emily about Rachel, and he hoped that everything would
be okay between the two of them. Ross really didn't want Emily to know about Rachel, because if he had to explain
everything, she may not trust him. But then, Emily had every reason not to trust him.

****

New York City

Monica sat on the sofa in her new-old apartment, fidgeting nervously. It felt strange, being back in the apartment
where she had spent a good part of her twenties. She was so much more ideallistic then. Now, she was a divorced,
bitter thirty-something. In a way, she felt like she was moving backwards. While she was grateful that she was
able to retain the apartment, and even more grateful that her last tenants had moved out soon after her divorce,
she didn't feel at home here anymore. Maybe it was because she was here alone. Monica sighed, and wondered
how her life would have been different, had she found out that Richard didn't want children *before* they'd gotten married.
When she'd found out that he'd had a vasectomy, she went through the roof. It was the beginning of the end,
and Monica regretted ever marrying him.

****

Milan, Italy

Rachel thumbed through the latest catalogues, trying to distract herself from the inevitable.
She knew that she had to go back, but the idea of facing Ross again both frightened her and excited her.
When she'd taken the job with Gucci, she and Ross were barely on speaking terms. She had heard that Ross had met someone, and had gotten married. She'd also heard he was living in England. They were so close, yet so far from
each other. And now she would have to see him again. Because of this stupid pact.
She sighed, and picked up her phone.
"Janie, I need you to book me a flight to New York City."

*****

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Chandler sat on the edge of his daughter's bed, watching her sleep peacefully. It had been so long since he had slept
that peacefully. He unconsciously played with his wedding band, debating about whether or not he should take it off
before going back to New York. He was a little hesitant about going back, simply because he had never really explained
his reasons for moving in the first place. But he was in such a different place now. His life since he'd left New York
was a totally different one. He wondered if his feelings for Monica still lingered. It had been a long time since he had
let himself think of her. She was probably celebrating her ten year anniversary with five kids and two dogs and a huge
home in the suburbs. Chandler sighed. It was everything that, deep down, he had always wanted.

****

New York City

Pheobe watched, as her last client of the day walked out. She sighed happily, and turned the sign
to her massage parlour off for the night. She was looking forward to the weekend, and to seeing if anyone
would show up at Central Perk. She hadn't been there in at least five years. She hoped that everyone
remembered the pact. And she hoped that some of her friends could get past their hurt feelings and broken
hearts, and face each other again.