Finally, after an excruciatingly long break of two months, I’m back!
And this time it’s with a bang!
What do I mean?
Well… this may come as a surprise to you. (because it definitely did come as one to me), but as it appears, for the first time in forever, I have more than a dozen posts planned to be published at a reasonably short notice. (@ once per week or so, give or take a few days.)
How the hell did this happen?
It’s simple. It didn’t.
For it actually took me more than a year and a half to have these updates prepared.
Confounded? Allow me to explain.
Back in good ol’ 2017, long before my first ever blog post, All about writing, was published on this site, I had opened an account on Fanfiction where I have written stories based on the characters of the popular TV show FRIENDS. So now when I revisited my profile there, it suddenly struck me that,
“Hey, here’s a nice way to get some new posts for free!”
And that is how I have around atleast 14 posts planned, one for each chapter there. And since some of those chapters are REALLY big, I might actually divide them into smaller, blog sized portions.
Sounds promising? I hope so!
This story that I am about to begin with (‘Choices and Consequences’), is centered mainly on the characters Ross and Rachel, one of the two lead couples in the show.
(BTW, I have already published 3 posts here based on yet another couple of the show, Mondler. Find the links to those posts right here:-
But hey, just because it’s fan fiction, it really doesn’t mean that it’s purely fan stuff. For I have modified bits and pieces of the tale so that everyone can enjoy it without feeling like they don’t belong here.
(Yet of course the FRIENDS fans will feel like they are playing on their turf. So there’s that...)
Okay, enough ramble. Let’s get started!
Choices and Consequences
(Disclaimer:- This novel is strongly based on the characters of the TV show FRIENDS and hence I really don’t have the copyright for this publication. A huge amount of credit goes to the creators Marta Kauffman ,David Crane and Kevin Bright for creating such amazing and engaging content and characters.)
Sometimes things don’t happen the way you want them to because you simply haven’t tried hard enough. Unbeknownst to you, a last push may be all that you need.
Sometimes it’s because you keep making the wrong choices, yet choose to blame the circumstances over and over again.
While sometimes… it simply is life’s way of making you realise that it’s really not meant to be. Not now and not ever.’
1. Letting Go
The newly reinstated speed limits of I-95 had finally brought a sigh of relief from many of those young, carefree drivers who had long since been frustrated by the recent 55-60MPH restrictions owing to the diversions made for maintainence purposes.
Yet there were a few who felt that even 70 MPH was way beneath their mettle. These were the ones who constantly switched lanes, their cars swerving violently to the sides whilst performing a seemingly endless series of reckless overtakes.
And amongst these maniacs, ranked pretty high up was a blonde named Phoebe Buffay who was currently blitzing through the highway en-route to Newark airport.
“Slow down, Pheebs!” exclaimed her co-passenger in the shotgun seat. “We’ve got a lot of time!”
“But I’m barely crossing 40!” Phoebe exclaimed, feigning innocence as she pointing a finger at the speedometer which was indeed stuck there.
“That’s not been working for ages and you know it!” her friend replied, not falling for it at all.
“I don’t see Ross panicking! And he chickens out first.” she replied in defence.
He frowned. She did have a point.
“Yeah, now that you mention it, he is being weird. I mean he has less than an hour to convince Rachel to stay but he’s barely even talking to her.” he continued, looking somewhat troubled.
Phoebe turned back to look at Ross and Rachel who were indeed gazing out of the window in totally opposite directions. Though the glass seperating them prevented the passage of any soft conversation, their positions made it pretty much obvious that they weren’t making a sound. Joey is right, she thought. That was certainly weird.
“Look at the road, for God’s sake!” Joey screamed yet again as he, desperately clung to the dashboard what with the cab lurching threateningly for the umpteenth time.
“Oh, relax!” Phoebe said, smirking as she took hold of the steering, regaining control on the car.
As they drew closer to the airport, Phoebe couldn’t help but get more and more worried about her friends. She had expected that she would be asked to turn around, a request which she would’ve been only too happy to oblige. What was going on in the back? Why wasn’t Ross confessing his love for her? Or had he already done that and now things had taken a turn for the worse? Whatever it was, Phoebe had a feeling that it wasn’t right.
* * *
For the first time in his life Ross was indifferent to his fear of high speeds. Ideally, by now, he would’ve been suffering from a full blown panic attack and would have begged Phoebe to slow down. Not today though. Today, his mind was preoccupied by someone else, the velocity barely registering. For a torrential downpour of memories had flooded his mind, spanning a period of more than two decades. Despite the broad timeline though, there was one thing they had in common. A woman named Rachel Karen Green.
Right from their childhood until the conversation they had had that very morning, his subconscious was visualising both the best and the worst of everything. He knew he loved her. In fact, it was something which he had known all along, yet had been blinded by his own thoughts into believing the contrary. So today he had been determined to confess his eternal love for her, once and for all.
Still here he was, having spent the last half an hour in complete silence, even though it had been just the two of them. Why couldn’t he simply say it?
The answer was more complicated than what it appeared on the surface.
For starters, he knew that she was prepared to let go of him in order to get her dream job. Her definition of a ‘perfect goodbye’ earlier that day couldn’t have made it more clearer that they were not in the same place. And, he remembered her reaction at the prospect of a job in Paris only too well. The expression of pure joy on her face, lighting up those adorable blue eyes. Would it be fair if he whisked it away from her? Or made her feel guilty about her choice by declaring his love?
Sighing, Ross realised that yet again he was leaving it all up to fate. For he was really unable to see any other way out of the vicious cycle his mind had fallen into.
* * *
Casting a sideways glance at Ross, Rachel smiled to herself, the lack of conversation not a cause of concern for her. Because what could they possibly talk about, when they had had ten years together for saying all that they could’ve to each other? Or may be not. May be there was something very important that had been left unsaid, she mused, her face losing it’s charm.
“Hey Rach?” Ross asked, his voice sounding a bit husky.
“Yeah?” Rachel asked, a bit startled as she pulled out from her reverie.
“You okay? Your face seems paler.” he said, looking at her with concern.
Rachel smiled, touched as she always was when he noticed these little things about her.
“Just nervous, you know. I mean it’s Paris! I’m finally going to the city of my dreams… ” she trailed off, while Ross just smiled at her, understanding.
Yet, she said to herself. Yet she wasn’t sure whether she wanted it. Her situation right now reminded her of a similar phase in her life which had taken place more than 7 years ago. When she had to make a choice between giving time to her career and her relationship with Ross.
She had ended up choosing her career. And had been successful. Very much so, in fact. Yet not a day had passed by without her thinking what would have happened had she chosen to give more time to Ross. Could they have been a happy family by now? She shook her head as a million ‘What if’s’ crossed her mind.
For yet again life had presented her with that very choice. Career or the chance of having a family? And, yet again, she was choosing her career. Was she making the right call?
Before she could think too much into it though, she was rudely brought back into the present as Phoebe brought the cab to an abrupt halt at the Kiss and fly parking lot of the Newark airport.
Once they were out of the cab, they realised they had 15 minutes to say their goodbyes one last time. And they knew that it would never be enough.
Though her friends had arranged a farewell party for her yesterday, it was only now that the finality of their absence was creeping into Rachel’s mind.
“Goodbye you guys, I’m gonna miss you so much!” said Rachel, as she spread her arms and embraced all three of them into one large group hug. Like this they stayed like for what seemed like ages, words seemingly unnecessary. Phoebe and Joey kept stealing glances at Ross, who had eyes for nobody else but Rachel.
“Well… I guess I should get going you know… Don’t wanna miss the flight!” Rachel said after a while, failing miserably in exuding humour in her words. “And hey! Let me know as soon as Monica and Chandler have the baby, okay? Text me if I’m still on board. And I want all the details as soon as I land! “
“Sure thing, Rach.” Joey said, his eyes still partially locked on Ross.
“And you be sure to let us know as soon as you get to your apartment and everything’s settled!” Phoebe exclaimed before winking at Joey, who was now staring at her as though unable to believe what he had just heard.
Wasn’t stopping her from going a part of their plan? he thought. Phoebe however, chose to ignore him and swiftly stole a look at Ross, gauging his reaction at her words. Rachel though, had totally missed these exchanges, her eyes regaining their spark and enthusiasm.
“Definitely. Oh, I’m going to have my own place! In Paris!” she said, excitement obvious on her face.
“Good for you, Rach! ” Joey joined in, now understanding Phoebe’s cue. To their surprise though, there was absolutely no reaction from Ross, who suddenly seemed to find the floor very interesting.
“I think I should go.” Rachel finally said, as she took a deep breath and forced herself to turn around. She had only walked a few steps however, when Phoebe suddenly shouted, in desperation.
“Ross, don’t you want to tell something to her? ” she asked, her eyes looking beseechingly at him.
” What is it, Ross?” Rachel asked turning back, her look expectant, hopeful even.
Ross, who had had eyes for nothing but the pavement, finally forced himself to look into her eyes .
And that was when he realised what he had to do. He had to be strong and put his foot down. He had to let her have a chance at being happy without him. May be this was how it was meant to be, after all.
Few seconds passed away during which Rachel had simply still stood there, her face a mixture of fondness and confusion, the latter steadily increasing with each passing moment.
“Best of luck Rach. ” he said, forcing himself to smile, his eyes now meeting her gaze with a fervour that was difficult to look away from.
“Thank you!” She replied, hugging him one last time. Though she was smiling outwardly, she felt a bit put out. Had she expected something else? Something more?
Ross continued to stare at her lithe figure as she passed through the glass doors and faded away in the distance. His friends had been rendered speechless. For they hadn’t understood what had just happened or why. Casting a final look towards them, Rachel waved her hand in farewell as she disappeared behind the elegant glass doors of the terminal.
“Why didn’t you tell her, Ross?” Phoebe asked, breaking the deathly silence that had haunted the trio for the past few minutes.
It took a while for Ross to answer her question as the haze of despair had slowly begun to wrap him in it’s vice like grip. Letting out a painful sigh, he said,
“I… I let her go.”