The One With The Digital Fairytale

Chapter One

By: Jana~

http://www.dreamwater.net/janasworld/disclaimer.htm

*****

--"Is that your cell phone, Pheebs?" Monica asked, hearing the ringing only after she stopped to take a sip of water.

"I didn't bring my phone," Phoebe replied, also taking a momentary break from jogging to grab a quick drink.

"Well," Monica informed, "It's not mine." She unclipped her phone from her tight fitting running shorts and checked to be sure before finishing the statement. "Mine's on vibrate."

They both looked around, but saw no one very near to them. Certainly not near enough so as to be hearing their ringing phone.

Phoebe panted a few times, then held her breath so that she could listen without her sharp exhales drowning out the sound.

"I think it's coming from the bushes," she informed, still straining to hear.

Monica agreed, then started to inch closer to the edge of the running path.

"Yeah," Monica muttered, "It's coming from in there." She paused, turning to look at her friend. "Should I, go in and try to find it?"

Phoebe shrugged, "I guess."

After rolling her eyes at her friend's indecisive reply, Monica pushed branches aside and started into the bushes. She felt like she was getting closer when the ringing stopped, making tracking it by sound impossible.

"It stopped ringing," Monica called out to Phoebe, looking for a suggestion as to what to do next.

"Maybe it'll ring again?" Phoebe called back before taking a few steps into the foliage.

"Maybe."

Monica paused as she waited. A little more than a minute went by, but she was growing quickly impatient. "Never mind," she snipped, heading back towards the running path; that's when it started ringing again.

"There!" Phoebe exclaimed, pointing in the direction she thought the phone was in.

Monica moved quickly, the sound becoming louder, and she knew she was close. She leaned over and ran her hands through some leaves, bumping into something hard. The phone.

She held it up in triumph for Phoebe to see, then pushed the 'talk' button.

"Hello?" No answer. "Hello?" Again, no answer. "They musta hung up," she decided, muttering her assumption towards Phoebe. "We'll take it with us," she informed as she stepped onto the concrete path a moment after her friend. "Maybe the owner will call it to see if anyone's found it."

Phoebe nodded, then they both started jogging for home.

*****

Monica had known Phoebe for years. Once her roommate, Phoebe had moved out after living with Monica for about a year, citing the reason why as being: she needed to be able to live in a place where she could spill.

Monica was known as a neat-freak by all who knew her, and if anything got spilled anywhere, she would become militant about cleaning it. It was just too much for Phoebe, who was more of a free spirit, and not at all worried about keeping a perfectly neat and tidy apartment.

They just simply clashed, so Phoebe moved out, but she didn't go far. The across the way neighbor and their dear friend had a room to spare, his roommate leaving when he got engaged. It was by far a better roommate match. Joey was also very carefree, and though not at all sloppy, his top priorities didn't include the décor or cleanliness of his domicile. As long as he had a reclining chair, a cold beer, and a TV set turned to sports or Baywatch, he was happy.

Two months after Phoebe moved out, Monica found a new roommate… an old friend from high school. Someone she hadn't seen in more years than she could count, suddenly showed up at the local coffeehouse, wearing a soaking wet wedding dress, complete with a dripping veil.

Rachel explained how she was set to get married, only minutes before the ceremony, when the revelation came to her… she didn't love the man she was about to marry. Having nowhere else to go, Monica offered to take her in. They were much more suited as roommates, not because Rachel too was a neat-freak, but because she could tolerate that trait in Monica better than most people could.

And then there was Monica's older brother, Ross. Married and divorced from his college sweetheart and newly 'outed' lesbian before the age of 26, he left the only home he knew outside of his childhood home and the college dorm room and moved into an apartment across the street from Monica.

Ross was also friends with Joey, Phoebe, and Rachel, their friendship meaning a lot to him, especially during the divorce. A closer group of friends you would be hard pressed to find. They all fit together like pieces of a puzzle, all with unique strengths and weaknesses, all supporting the others in times of need.

Close like siblings, fiercely protective of each other, friends till the end. Nothing could change the solidarity of the group.

Nothing?

*****~*****

--"How was your jog?" Joey asked as Monica and Phoebe entered Monica's apartment.

"Fine," Monica replied with a scowl. "And just what are you doing in my apartment?"

He looked at her for a mere second before holding up a cooked, cold chicken leg. "Eating," he stated as if it were obvious.

Monica rolled her eyes, "Of course you are." She smiled as she patted his back to let him know she was teasing him, then headed for the bathroom. "I need a shower. I'll be right out."

"Ok," both Phoebe and Joey called out, almost in unison.

"We found a cell phone," Phoebe announced casually as she sat at the dining table.

"Really?" he asked, his mouth full of food. "Can I have it?"

She shook her head. "No, Joseph, it belongs to someone."

His brow furrowed at her use of his given name. "Fine. Just asking."

"Monica thinks the owner will call it to see if anyone's found it," she explained, "Then she'll return it."

"If no one does, then can I have it?" he asked optimistically.

"Doubtful," Phoebe replied. "Besides, what good does a cell phone do you when you don't even know the number?"

Joey thought about that for a moment, then shrugged.

"I hate serving coffee to assholes!" Rachel announced as she stormed into the apartment. "I just had the customer from hell!" She slammed her purse onto the kitchen counter with force, then marched towards the fridge. "First, the coffee was too hot. Then, the coffee was too cold! Then he's all complaining cause the cinnamon sprinkle on top was," she wrinkled her nose and spoke in a condescending tone, "much better on the cup of coffee that was too hot." She huffed loudly as she opened her Snapple tea, taking a quick gulp before continuing. "Gunther ended up giving him a free scone, which, I'm sorry, the guy did not deserve!"

Joey and Phoebe shared looks, then Joey offered a hesitant smile,

"So, it was a bad day at work then?"

Rachel glared at him, "You think?!"

"Hey, Rache," Monica greeted her roommate as she exited the bathroom, the steam from her shower following in a fastly-dissipating cloud. "How was work?"

Rachel growled in response and immediately headed for her room, slamming the door.

"I'm guessing not well," Monica surmised, sharing looks with the others. They shook their heads. "I'll make her favorite meal for dinner then," she said as she headed for her room in nothing but a white terry bath towel.

"So," Joey turned to Phoebe, "I guess that means we're having fish for dinner?"

"Looks that way," Phoebe smiled, "Unless you wanna just order a pizza."

He shook his head, "I'm tapped out at the moment."

"When are you not?" Ross asked as he entered the apartment suddenly, overhearing Joey's comment.

"Hey! I'll have you know that just last week I got a residual check for that tampon commercial I did last year!"

Phoebe and Ross both erupted into laughter, remembering the commercial he was referring to.

He glared at them both. "Shut up."

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Ross apologized. "Hey, is Rachel here? Gunther said her shift ended, like, 10 minutes ago."

"She's in her room," Phoebe informed, "But I would beware of her right now. She had a very bad day at work."

Ross' expression softened, "Oh?" He looked at her closed door, "Well, maybe she needs a shoulder to cry on."

"She seemed more mad than sad," Joey muttered, still annoyed by their teasing him.

Ross just nodded, then headed for her door. He knocked softly, and when he heard her invite him in, he turned the knob and entered.

After Ross was out of the room, Phoebe smiled and chuckled, almost to herself.

"What?"

"He's in love with her," she answered Joey's simple question.

He smiled in return, "Yeah. Kinda figured."

"Ok," Monica stated as she entered the livingroom, "Help or get out of my kitchen."

Phoebe and Joey immediately moved to the couch.

*****

--As usual, everyone stayed for dinner, then hung around afterwards to chat and watch TV. Rachel was the first to yawn, indicating how late it was, and one by one they all shuffled out the door, heading for their respective homes.

Rachel thanked Monica for making her favorite meal, then excused herself and went to bed, leaving all the clean-up for Monica to attend to.

She didn't mind, really. In actuality, she enjoyed cleaning. She found it to be almost relaxing, in a way.

She collected dishes and trash from around the livingroom, humming softly to herself as she tidied up the mess left by her friends and brother. She set the dishes in the sink, then threw the trash away, the bag then full enough to tie up and take out. She opened the door, just about to leave for the trash chute when she heard the faint ringing of a phone.

Quickly realizing it wasn't her phone, she started out the door, only to stop cold when she remembered… "The cell phone!"

She ran to her room, the ringing getting louder as she opened her door.

Grabbing the phone off her dresser, she hit the talk button without hesitation and offered the familiar greeting.

"Hello?"

"Um, hello?" the voice on the other end seemed confused.

Monica wasn't sure what to do or say next, so she offered an explanation. "This actually isn't my phone. I found it."

"Oh," the man seemed more at ease. "I see. I thought I might've dialed the wrong number by mistake."

"Ya'know, I'm not even sure what the number for this phone is," Monica replied. "It's not written anywhere on it."

"Well, what's the serial number on the back?"

"Hang on." She turned the phone and looked at the number, then rattled it off a few numbers at a time, it much too long to remember and repeat without looking at it multiple times.

"Yes, that is my assistant's phone."

"Your assistant?"

"Yes. It is a company phone, used by my assistant."

"Ok," Monica acknowledged. "Well, um, what do we do now? As far as me returning it is concerned."

"Well, if it's not too much trouble, could you return it to my office?"

"Maybe," she replied, "Where's your office?"

"It's the tall building with the green panes of glass for walls. Becker Enterprises."

"Oh! Yeah!" she exclaimed, knowing the building right off. "On 4th and Main!"

"Right!"

"Ok, so, who do I ask for when I get there?"

"Peter Becker."

Her breath caught in her throat as she immediately recognized the name. "This--" she stammered, "This is, um, Peter Becker?"

"Yes," he replied. "And whom am I speaking with?"

"My name is Monica," she answered softly, her throat suddenly parched. "Monica Geller."

"Well, Monica, thank you so very much for finding the phone. And for agreeing to bring it back."

"It's no problem." She cleared her throat nervously, "When did you want me to bring it by?"

"Around noon? Then, maybe, I could treat you to lunch? You know, as a thank you for finding and returning the phone."

"Um, ok," she stammered. "Sure. That sounds good."

"Great. So, I'll see you tomorrow then."

--Monica hung up the phone and smiled. She had a lunch date with Peter Becker, one of the wealthiest men in America. Rachel would be so jealous. Her grin turned mischievous as she decided to wake her friend in the next room to gloat about her recent good fortune.

TO BE CONTINUED…