Notes.1. This is the last chapter of this fic. I've really enjoyed writing it and I'm very happy with all the reviews I got. Thanks a lot to everyone who has read and/or reviewed this story! 2. Some information on this fanfic; like dates, places and names, might go against information given in the original show, since I haven't been able to watch all the episodes.

"Before We Loved Lucy"

Chapter 8 "Fred, Ethel, Ricky & Lucy: It's Friendship"

The Ricardos were arguing as they arrived to visit an apartment – they were looking for a new place to live. "Lucy, this is a great neighborhood. The rent price is good. I'm sure you'll like it". Ricky said as they rang the bell at the landlord's house.

"OK, OK. It's just that everything and everyone seem to be so boring!" She sighed, then she realized that someone had already answered the door.

"Hello. You must be Ricky and Lucy Ricardo. I'm Ethel Mertz". The woman introduced herself.

"Nice to meet you." Ricky and Lucy said. Lucy added, a bit embarrassed, "I didn't mean to say that you were boring, you know. It's just that I haven't seen much of this area and..."

"Don't worry," Ethel interrupted. "Just let me get my husband and we'll show you the apartment". She said. "FRED!!!" She yelled. Lucy and Ricky were a bit shocked by the yelling.

"I'm going, Ethel, I'm going!!" Fred yelled as he came to the door. He lowered his voice when he say Ricky and Lucy. "Oh, you two must be the Ricardos. How nice to meet you. Let's see the apartment, I'm sure you're going to love it."

Fred and Ethel showed Ricky and Lucy the apartment, and very soon the deal was closed. The Ricardos were supposed to move there in one month.

...One month later...

It's moving day. Lucy is trying to put things in their places, but there are so many boxes and so many things that it seems almost impossible. Rick is rehearsing his new show, so he can't help her.

She's in the living room, sitting on one of the boxes, looking around and feeling helpless. The front door is a bit open, so suddenly she sees Ethel standing by the door.

"Hi. I thought you might need a hand." Ethel says.

"Oh, Mrs. Mertz, thanks so much, but I wouldn't ask you to put your hands in all this mess and dirt." Lucy says, getting up.

"First, it's Ethel. Don't make me feel older than I already do." They both laugh. "Second, if you saw the way Fred leaves the kitchen when he tries to cook something for himself, you'd change all your ideas about mess and dirt." Lucy laughs, but Ethel just gives her a sad smile.

Ethel starts to open a box, and as they talk, all that mess seem to go away quick. A few hours later, there was still a lot of boxes but things looked much better.

"'Thanks for the help, Ethel." Lucy said as Ethel was leaving the apartment.

"Oh, it was nothing..." Ethel replied.

"No, really. Since I got married and left Jamestown I was feeling a bit lonely, but today was really fun with your company." Lucy said.

"You know, to be honest I've been feeling a little left out here lately. No one really nice to talk to. But I have a feeling you and I will share many nice days like today." The two woman smiled and Ethel left for her apartment.

...Later that day...

It was about 2 a.m. when Ricky arrived home from his rehearsal. This was everyday. By the time he got home, Lucy was already sleeping, so they weren't seeing each other very much lately.

As Ricky approached the building, he saw Fred sitting on the stairs at the entrance. He didn't look happy.

"Hey, Fred. Is everything ok?" Ricky asked.

"I tried to make myself a sandwich and I might have made a little mess. Ethel doesn't want to see my face. It's not that I miss her, but I'm still hungry." Fred replied.

Ricky laughed. He was going in, but then stopped. "You want to go inside. You can get something to eat in my house."

"Are you sure you wife isn't already associated with mine? Because if she is, you bringing me into your house could get you serious consequences." Fred said, mockingly.

Ricky laughed one more time. "We'll find out. Come on, man." Fred got up and followed Ricky to his apartment; where they had something to eat and talked for about an hour. When they were finished, Fred remained seated on the kitchen chair. "Hmm... You want to sleep on the couch too?" Ricky finally asked. "Oh thank you so much, I'm so tired." Fred saying heading to the couch. There were a few boxes on it and Fred put them on the floor. You could say he was a member of the family.

...Next day, 8 a.m. ...

Lucy wakes up. Ricky is still asleep – since he always comes home late from work, he doesn't wake up before 9 a.m. Lucy walk to the kitchen, still a bit sleepy. As she's going through the living room, she sees Fred on the couch.

"Yay!!" She exclaims. She leans to grab something to hit the man, but then she realizes it's Fred Mertz. "What is Mr. Mertz doing on my couch?" Fred is snoring, with his mouth open. Lucy watches him closely, as he opens his eyes. They both jump scared.

"God, you scared me." Fred says.

"Hey! That's not a nice thing to say, considering you've slept for free on my couch." Lucy says, in a playful way.

Fred laughs. "Yeah. Sorry."

"So I see you and Ethel don't have the most peaceful relationship." Lucy says.

"All of this just because of a tiny mess in the kitchen. You have no idea what I go through."

"No, I don't. Being a woman I can only imagine what she goes through." Lucy says with a sarcastic smile. "I'm starting breakfast now, if you want."

'No, thanks, Lucy. I'll have to face the monster one day anyway."

Lucy laughed as Fred left for his apartment. She was on the kitchen, remembering what happened and laughing by herself when Rick appeared.

"Hi, honey. Why are you laughing?" He asked.

"Our landlord is really something." She replied.

"Oh, yeah, you found him on the couch?" He asked. She nodded. He continued, "I found him in front of the building when I arrived yesterday".

"The Mertz seem to be really nice people. We should invite them for dinner some time, what do you think?" Lucy asked.

"I think that's a wonderful idea. And tonight is my day off."

So, the Ricardos invited the Mertzes to have dinner with them tonight. The four of them talked until very late at night. They laughed at Lucy finding Fred on the couch, and at the stories the Mertzes had to tell about their past. Not to mention Lucy's "adventures". As that night ended all the four of them went to bed with a nice feeling – they found a very special friendship.

THE END