Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

By Margaret (Tvrox) and Lauren (Sweetangel251)

Part I: The Graveyard

Five-sixths of the original gang, plus their children, were standing in a graveyard. They were looking at a particular gravestone. Phoebe was carrying Becca in a baby carrier, and holding the hand of Brian, who was standing next to her. Joey, who was standing on the other side of him, was carrying Josh in his arms.

Ross was standing next to Joey and holding Emma's hand. Monica was holding David in one arm, and with her other arm, she was holding Katie's hand. Chandler was next to her, he had Julia in one arm and Daniel in the other. But one person was missing. Rachel.

Everyone was crying. "She was a good friend," sobbed Monica.

"Indeed," added Chandler.

"I wish Rachel was here," said Ross sadly, and Emma began to cry softly.

"So do I," she said.

Phoebe spoke up. "I don't think we completely appreciated her attributes when she was alive."

"You're right, Pheebs," added Joey. "She was a wonderful woman."

"I miss her," said Katie. "Even though I never knew her."

"WELL, I SURE DON'T!" cried Rachel as she entered the group. She had a giant smile on her face. "I HATED JANICE!"

Emma's tears immediately turned into a smile. "Hi Mommy!" she cried.

"Hello, sweetheart," replied Rachel. The smile remained on her face.

"Well, Rach, aren't you all smiles today. Why so happy?" asked Ross.

"Well, guys, I just had a phone call from the doctor, and guess what she told me?"

"What?" asked everybody.

"I'm going to have another baby!" cried Rachel. Everyone smiled. Except for Ross. He was aghast.

"And just WHOSE baby is it, if you don't mind my asking?" he shouted.

"Settle down. I don't mind at all, Ross, a man ought to know when a woman's pregnant with his child," said Rachel in a very smart-allecky way.

Ross was speechless. "You mean it-I-we-you-"

"You're the father, Ross." Ross gasped. Monica squealed and began to clap.

"I always knew you two would end up together!" she said in a high-pitched voice.

"Shh, Mon, that's not-ah, what's the word we use in modern English- POLITE," said Phoebe. "Just because they've gotten together and broken up a total of four times, plus who knows how many one night stands, at least two that we know of, been married, and gotten divorced, doesn't mean that just because they're having their second child together they'll automatically be a couple."

"Yeah," put in Joey, "I mean SERIOUSLY. We're talking ROSS AND RACHEL here. The king and queen of ambiguity. The god and goddess of surprise. The prince and princess of-oh, what the heck you get the point."

"You can say that again," said Chandler.

"I mean SERIOUSLY. We're talking ROSS AND RACHEL here. The king and-" said Joey, having taken Chandler seriously.

"SHUT UP, CHANDLER!" shouted Joey. "I was using a figurative expression, a kind of emphasis."

"Um, Rach," said Ross, who had been quiet until now, "I just have one question. WHEN? HOW? WHERE?"

"That's three," she replied, "but I'm feeling nice, so I'll answer them all in one complete answer. Remember that night, about three months ago, when we got drunk, and you woke up next to me in your bed? Well, I lied to you. I didn't have a scary night, I had a great one."

"So-you mean, you're already three months along?"

"Brilliant, Sherlock! I've got another one for you: what's two plus two?"

"Oh, great, not the mood swings already!" cried Ross.

"Oh come on, don't you know her?" piped up Monica. "That's not anger, that's just Rachel!"

Just then David and Josh yawned and Becca began to cry. "I think some certain little kids need naps," said Phoebe.

"Yeah, you're right, Pheebs," answered Monica.

"Hey, Mon?" asked Rachel. "Could you take Emma, too? Because I have a doctor's appointment and I think it would be safe to say Ross is coming with me."

"Sure," replied Monica, and she, Phoebe, and the guys took the kids as Ross and Rachel left for the doctor.

***&***&***&***&***&***

Phoebe had taken David, Josh, and Becca home for naps, and Monica and the guys had taken the other kids to the playground. Everything was going peacefully when nearby, Emma began to cry. Monica rushed over to her.

"What's wrong, Em?" she asked.

Emma sniffed. "I scraped my knee.

"Well, that's no big deal," replied Monica. "We'll just put a nice band- aid on it and it'll be all better." Monica, always prepared, reached into her purse, pulled out a neon band-aid, and stuck it gently on Emma's knee.

She turned to the guys, who, being typically Joey and Chandler, were freaked out by the fact that any kid other than their own was unhappy. "See," she said, "nothing's wrong. This is as easy as pie."

And that was when she heard the wail.