2004 part 2
More changes began happening as time began speeding forward towards the final goodbye, Phoebe's wedding would be just the start. Phoebe had called New York home for thirty six years. She knew the city like the back of her hand. Spending ten years on the street gave her a perspective on New York life that none of her friends could ever have. She knew what the city was like when its residents slept. So many times during those ten years had she walked along the streets, staring at her reflection in store fronts wondering what it would be like to live in one of those apartments. This was her city and she could never imagine leaving it, but it was soon after they had been married when the idea became very real that she could call another state her home.
Her wedding had been surreal and beautiful. Chandler walked her down the aisle. She relished under the gaze of her friends and Mike. Chandler could not stop gazing at her. He did not make any jokes, any wise cracks at that moment and later when she asked why he had been so quiet, he said he had been too overwhelmed. She stood in front of Mike, Rachel and Monica behind her, Ross standing behind Mike holding Mike's family dog because it would be too cold for the dog to stand in the snow. Joey stood, officiating and she could see Chandler still beaming out of the corner of his eye as he sat next to Joey's new girlfriend, Lizzie, who had once so long ago been Chandler's. Lizzie and Mike, the two newest members of the group and they fit in so well, of course both having connections to Chandler and now Mike would be her's. Her connection, her love, her life. She didn't need Ursula or her biological family. No one knew better than Phoebe that family didn't necessarily mean genetics. Rachel and Monica were her sisters. Ross was like her older brother, Chandler was like a younger brother and Joey...well, he was Joey, a guy that a got a lot more than he let on and now she and Mike would be making their own family and it was soon after their honeymoon when Mike brought up the idea of that home being away from New York.
Rachel had just gotten a job offer in Paris which threw everyone for a loop. If Rachel left, what would that mean for the group and with Chandler and Monica also moving, it seemed little by little the group was moving apart from each other. Phoebe had come home to the apartment she now shared with Mike to tell him about Rachel's news when she saw him staring intently at the computer.
"Are you watching porn?" Phoebe asked as she walked towards him, grinning.
"No, no...Phoebe, have you ever thought about living in another state?"
"What? What are you doing?" Phoebe asked as she walked towards Mike and gently squeezing his shoulder. She noticed the screen. It looked like he was looking at real estate.
"Alright, you're gonna think I'm insane, but...there's a lounge, a bar open in Nashville and I...I think I wanna buy it...with my trust fund, not Chandler's."
"You wanna buy a lounge in Nashville?"
"Yeah...I looking at this place...it's a perfect location...music row? You can play your guitar and I can play the piano..."
"That's in Tennessee though?"
"I know...would you consider leaving New York?"
"But...I love it here."
"I love it here too. We'd still come back for holidays and-"
"Yeah, I have to go to the Bings for Thanksgiving," Phoebe said.
"We can do that and we can raise a family. It's new...and I think this could work."
"But...I'm not licensed to practice massage in Tennessee."
"Pheebs...can I ask you something?"
"Are you passionate about being a masseuse?"
"I like it."
"I know...it's just...did you become a masseuse to get off the streets?"
"Well, Chandler helped-"
"I know...but isn't music your passion?"
"Yeah...but move out of New York?"
She had never thought of that as she had been a New Yorker forever. She even drove a New York cab. She also thought of the other five: Monica, Chandler, Joey, Ross and Rachel. How could she possibly leave them? Although, if Rachel left maybe it might be easier, but she wasn't so sure.
The changes kept coming though as it seemed she would not be the only thinking of moving out of the state. She wasn't only one thinking of taking a risk as a few weeks after Mike had proposed that idea of moving, Joey had news of his own.
"You're moving to Los Angeles?" Monica asked.
Monica, Phoebe, Joey and Lizzie were sitting in Central Perk, drinking coffee. Phoebe had been discussing the possibility of moving to Tennessee with with Mike when Joey and Lizzie had burst in with news of their own.
"I got a part...on this show. It's unbelievable," Joey said.
"It's called, Seasons...Joey, it is such a funny show," Lizzie said.
"It is. It's about this British couple who has this hit show in England and they bring it to America and they completely fuck it up and I play this guy, this washed up actor known for playing a moron and I'm kind of a douchebag on the show...it's so good," Joey said.
"Really?" Monica asked.
"It is so funny," Lizzie said.
"And the best part...my character has a giant dick," Joey said.
"That is the best part," Lizzie grinned, giving Joey a kiss. Joey was finally settling down it seemed. It was soon after his failed relationship with Rachel when Chandler had introduced Joey to Lizzie and they instantly connected. It was the perfect match.
"So...you and Lizzie are gonna move to L.A.?" Monica asked.
"Yeah...it's gonna be...this show is amazing. This...I even had Liz read it and she said it was awesome and...it's good," Joey said.
That killed Phoebe, Joey leaving. She loved Joey, had such a special place in her heart for him. She could fondly recall all those times when they lay side by side, talking. She really felt she got him better than anyone.
Joey seemed excited, almost like a little boy ready to open up the best Christmas gift ever, but as Phoebe thought of how much she would miss Joey, she knew of one person who most certainly be crushed and he soon ran into Central Perk, overjoyed and weighed down by bags from FAO Schwartz. Monica let out an annoyed sigh as Chandler raced in, ignoring the tensions lingering.
"Chandler, did you go shopping again?" Monica asked.
"But this is necessary. Okay, okay...look how cute this is," Chandler said as he pulled a tiny pink onsie with little cupcakes printed on it out of a bag. "I mean, what if the baby gets cold."
"Oye...Chandler," Monica grinned.
"What?" Phoebe asekd.
"Chandler won't stop buying stuff for the baby. Chandler, we're moving in like three weeks. We discussed this. We'll buy basics and once we're in the new house then we can go nuts and baby stuff. We're gonna have to pack all that," Monica said.
"This was important," Chandler said. "So what did I miss?"
"Well...Joey was telling us-"
"I'll tell him," Joey said, interrupting Monica, "remember when I went to Los Angeles a couple weeks ago for that audition?"
"Yeah," Chandler said.
"I got the part. I'm...I'm gonna be moving to Los Angeles, buddy," Joey said.
Phoebe looked at Chandler's face and for a brief second, she could tell it crushed him. He looked at the bags in his hands and then back at Joey.
"Oh, well congrats man...wow...I'm gonna go put these bags away," Chandler said as he turned and walked out of Central Perk.
"I'll go talk to him," Monica said.
"No...let me," Joey said getting up and walking out of the coffee shop. Phoebe looked at Monica suddenly looked sad. Phoebe placed her arm around her and hugged her.
"Oh G-d...I'm Yoko," Lizzie said.
"What?" Monica asked.
"I'm Yoko. I'm breaking up a bromance," Lizzie said.
"Oh, they're gonna be fine. They will never stop being friends. But will you and Joey come for Thanksgiving?" Monica asked.
"Of course...thank you, Monica," Lizzie said.
"Take care of him in L.A. though...please?" Phoebe asked.
"My friends are leaving," Monica said, looking at Phoebe, tears in her eyes. "My sisters. Rachel and you."
"No, I'm part of your life forever. You're my sister. I will at your house for every holiday. You helped me so much, Mon. You gave me a home. You were my first apartment. You took me in...I had no job and hadn't even graduated yet. Chandler gave me the financial boost, but you took me in. You did everything and I love you so much, Mon even though you drive me crazy...and I did drop that spaghetti on your couch on purpose," Phoebe said.
"I knew. I love you, Pheebs. I take risks because of you. I see things more positively...you...you showed me so much. Thank you and I'm gonna miss you so much," Monica said.
"Me too. Every single holiday."
Monica nodded as the tears began falling. The two women hugged tightly as Phoebe could feel herself start to cry as well. She was saying goodbye and closing the chapter on part of her life, a chapter that had been filled with so many ups and downs. She owed so much to Rachel, Monica, Joey, Chandler and Ross. Lowell and Marjorie had taught her to live on the street, Rachel, Monica, Joey, Chandler and Ross had taught her to live and after discussing it with Mike, she had decided maybe the should move to Nashville. They would open a lounge in Nashville together where musicians could come and play. She could sing songs of her own and Mike would play the piano. It was a huge venture, one that could either fail miserably or could end up being a huge success and it was a risk she wanted to take with her husband even if it meant leaving everything she had ever known behind.
Her decision to move to Nashville with Mike had seemingly had an affect on another member of the six, Rachel. Phoebe knew Rachel had been truly wrestling with moving to Paris. Emma was now two and maybe uprooting her would be too much and then there was Ross. Her feelings for Ross. They were so complicated. There were so many problems, so many trust issues. Sure moving to Paris would be amazing, incredible for her career but she knew Ross wouldn't move with her and lately she had been starting to have feelings all over again for Ross.
"Girls, help me," Rachel stressed over one of their many brunches and what would ultimately end up being one of their last.
"Okay, Rachel...we can't make this decision for you," Monica said.
"Look...it's...okay, Monica...I love your stupid ass brother. I do. He is an amazing dad and he's handsome and kind and...good in bed," Rachel said.
"Too much information," Monica said.
"But he is also insanely jealous and he did cheat...we were on a break and...he gets so judgmental and...he's...the thing is, if I go to Paris...I'm giving up my friends, you guys and I'm giving up Ross and I'm leaving my family and I'm taking my child away from her father and...and Ross already rarely sees Ben. But if I stay...my career...I have no career but I have Ross and my family and friends and...and if I stayed and Ross and I got back together, I don't want it to be like how it was with the fighting and the tension and all this stuff...and...I don't know," Rachel said.
"Well, you know I want you to stay. I want you both to stay...but this is up to you," Monica said.
"Monica, you love making decisions for me," Rachel said.
"I know, but um...I think...I think at almost thirty four, you're ready to make your own decisions," Monica said.
"No I'm not," Rachel said.
"Yeah...you both are. I mean, I look at both of you and I think my job is done. You two are both so amazing and...I did a great job," Monica grinned.
"Oh, Mon...your job is never over," Phoebe said.
"Yeah, how 'bout for old times sake, make this decision for me," Rachel said.
"No," Monica said.
"You suck," Rachel said which made Monica laugh. Phoebe's friendships with Rachel and Monica always shocked her. Her friendships with Marjorie and Sue Ellen, those made sense. They had been through so much, all three but this was different. Rachel and Monica had both grown up in a world of privilege, Rachel especially. Rachel had been such a horrible person and Monica was the worst roommate ever, but leaving them, saying goodbye would rank up with one of the hardest things she'd ever have to do.
It was a shock when Ross walked into Central Perk to tell Chandler, Monica, Phoebe, Mike, Joey and Lizzie that Rachel needed them to meet her at some boutique near NYU. The group headed over there to find Rachel in a completely deserted store, sitting on a chair with Emma sitting next to her. Rachel was staring around at the wide open space. When they walked in, her eyes widened.
"I may have just lost my mind," Rachel said.
"Why?" Ross asked.
"Phoebe and Mike inspired me and-and I was eating lunch with a couple friends of mine who are designers and they said that if I ever had a store they would sell their designs in my store and...and I thought about that and one of the things I was super good at when I worked at Bloomingdales and even at Ralph Lauren, I was good at cultivating friendships with designers and I'm still friends with those designers and...and I'm insane, I am...but I can't-" Rachel said.
"What are you saying, Rach?" Monica asked.
"I bought a store...this store. I talked to my parents and they helped and I bought a store. I can't...Ross, I can't take Emma away from you and take her to a whole other country. You never see Ben and I know how much that kills you and I can't do that to you but..."
"Rachel...if it's what you want..." Ross said.
"And I want you, Ross," Rachel said which made everyone stop.
"Why are we here?" Mike asked, whispering to Phoebe.
"I don't know. Showtime," Phoebe said.
"Ross, I want us to be together. I can't go and leave...but I can't stay if things are the way they were before. No. You can't get insanely jealous if I work late or if I have to travel. I want this to be right...I wanna take this risk...if Phoebe and Mike are taking a risk, then I will too but-but this relationship needs to be a healthy one...no more craziness and no more...just no more-"
Ross walked over to her and immediately kissed her. She stared at Ross and smiled at him as she kissed him back. The rest of the group stared at each other uncomfortably, not sure what to say or if they should be saying anything at all.
"That's my ex girlfriend," Joey whispered.
"Wow...you're a man whore," Lizzie grinned.
"Yeah, baby," Joey said.
"Why...I don't want to be here right now," Monica said.
"Guys wanna get coffee," Chandler said as the rest of the group left the store, leaving Rachel and Ross to sort things out on their own. Rachel had seemingly made the decision though, she would be staying in New York.
Monica and Chandler's baby was born in the middle of May and it turned out there was a surprise as they were having twins. Chandler's response was that he needed to now go to FAO Schwartz to buy extras of everything. He would have to buy boy stuff and girl stuff now. It was touching to watch them both, to watch little Emma peer in the crib at her brand new cousins. It was a sign things were changing and the once close knit group would never quite be the same again.
The goodbyes were painful and nothing short of it. Phoebe wasn't sure how she would say goodbye to these people who had made her life so amazing for the past twelve years. The tears would not stop as she hugged each one, telling them what she thought of each of them, although she could barely through it. They would meet for Thanksgiving at the Bing's. That was the promise, but now Phoebe would be going off to her new life.
She and Mike landed in Nashville in late August. Phoebe had felt sick the entire plane ride, thinking it was only because of how sad she felt about leaving New York. The home they had gotten in Nashville was a wedding gift from Mike's parents. It was a split level home on a very manicured street. Once they got there, Mike had decided to check out the lounge and Phoebe decided to unpack but she kept feeling sick so she decided to take a trip to the drug store down the street. While looking at the aisles, came across the shelves of pregnancy tests and something inside told her to get one. She got one and went home, took the test and when the results appeared, a smile appeared on her face. She had left good friends in New York, friends that were like family but now, here in Nashville, with Mike...she would actually, finally be starting her own family and it dawned on her that finally, she had everything she had ever wanted. She had a family. She had normal.
I really wanted to end this now and move onto the Chandler story because I felt it was just getting too long! Thank you to all those who did review and hopefully you will continue to read! I will now work on Chandler's and which "true story" would you like to see next?