1. First, to people who did not like the end of Ross' or felt it didn't have enough emotion or went too fast-I apologize that you didn't enjoy it. It was getting too long and I did want to end it. There wasn't much else I could do without repeating everything. I purposely wanted to finish up Ross as quickly as I could while using Rachel's story. In Rachel's story, Ross proposed in their new house and I wanted to line up their stories.
2. For those who did not like that I kept adding Chandler or having him give Ross advice towards the end, I did that on purpose because these two men had been through so much already in terms of their friendship that I liked the idea of the tables being turned and Chandler now being the one to give advice. Personally, I like Chandler and I like using that character. I find him to be the most fun to write. Ross and Joey are the most difficult. So yes, for those who complain that I clearly have a bias towards certain characters-I certainly do and it's probably not going to change too much.
3. Joey's story? Not a lot has been given about Joey's back story so I am making a lot of stuff up and I am going to use Sopranos character's 'cause I thought it would be cool and make it interesting. I had to do some research on finding out dates of when people were born. You will be seeing Joey act very non-Joey at the beginning. Joey's story needed something interesting to make it worth reading so I'm going to do my best here.
4. Please remember that these are long stories and I had not intended to do to all six of them so there is stuff that I'm forcing to match up and things will match up. Especially when all six are together, it takes a long time to make these stories work. Right now, they aren't all together so it's a little easier but as we go deeper into the series, it gets more difficult especially with five stories already written, so there won't be a lot of change. Please no hate, no "oh there's Chandler" again, no "oh, I couldn't see him doing this" or "why didn't you add this scene?" Right now, five are complete. So I will most likely be using those scenes if I think it effects Joey or if I liked the scene and I don't feel it slows stuff down.
5. When Joey is finished, I was contemplating doing a Lizzie story called, "My Boys"-it might give some insight because A LOT of you hated her during Chandler's story and now everyone loves her! I thought it would be fun do go into her relationship with Chandler and then Joey and Ross and back to Joey.
6. Might do a one shot with the kids. Maybe Ben and Lauren really will get married?
Now read and review!
April 1972-August 1976
Blood. That's what he remembered. His mother had cut up his pizza for him. His five year old sister, Gina, was poking at her lasagna. She was whining. She was always whining. The Tribbiani family was big and loud. They were young, so they were loud. In addition to Gina and Joey, there was Cookie who was three and Mary Angela was two and Mary Therese who was a year old. His mom was pregnant again with another girl whom she and Joey's dad had decided on Veronica. Joey and his siblings were very close in age. Joey was the only boy and that came with benefits. He got his own room and his own bathroom. He was concentrating on his pizza, eating each bite with the happiness of a child opening a Christmas gift.
"You eat like a pig, " Gina whispered to him as she picked up a lasagna noodle with her fork.
"Oink, oink," Joey shot back. Gina was his partner in crime, his best friend.
He kept eating while his parents, Gloria and Joseph Sr., were tending to Cookie, Mary Angela and Mary Therese. Mary Therese was getting a little fussy as Gloria took her from her husband and began comforting her. Joey was too engrossed in his pizza to pay attention to the noise around him. He hated when his mother cut up the pizza. He had to rearrange it to make it perfect. He liked an equal amount of cheese, pepperoni and sauce on each section. The noise of his family was background to him until it was shattered by a loud bam-bam-bam. Gloria and Joseph Sr., lept forward, protecting their children. Joey watched his father's arm accidentally knock Joey's plate of pizza to the ground. People were screaming as Joey knelt and crawled under the table to get to his fallen pizza. From his spot on the floor, he noticed a man slumped over in his seat and someone screaming about shooting Crazy Joe dead. Crazy Joe? There was a woman throwing her arms around him, getting covered in blood. Joey kept watching, mesmerized by the activities around him. Screams and people running, The blood looked like tomato sauce. The guy with his head slumped down looked hurt. He wasn't sure what was going on, it looked like a scene from a movie when suddenly he felt someone grab his arm and pull him out from under the table. His pizza abandoned and he began crying as his father held him.
"Pizza, pizza…." he kept muttering over and over as the Tribbiani family raced out the door and into dark night. He heard the sounds of sirens speeding towards the restaurant, the blue and red lights stabbed through the blackness of the sky. He heard his parents yelling as they reached the subway station. Gloria chattering on about going to places like that and Joseph telling her to hush. On the subway, they got glares from passengers who wondered what kind of horrible parents Gloria and Joseph Tribbiani were that they could not quiet down Mary Therese, Mary Angela and Cookie who were all sobbing uncontrollably. Joey was still upset as well. His pizza was still under the floor of the restaurant.
Joey's life was in constant chaos. A big home in Queens filled with sisters and people coming in and out at all hours. He loved the chaos though, he loved being surrounded by so many people. There was excitement and family and food. His mom was was always cooking. Even when tending to all the small children surrounding her, there was always something baking, boiling, cooking, steaming. Something going on. Nights like the shootout in Umbertos didn't faze him in the least.
"Family is everything. Family protects you. You have each other's back so others don't shoot you in it," Joseph Senior would tell them. It was all about family and his favorite family member, other than his sister, was his thirteen year old uncle, Tony Soprano. He wasn't sure how Tony was his uncle but he was and Joey would follow him around the neighborhood, often being the one on the look-out for whatever Tony and his friends were doing. He desperately wanted to be part of the group but Tony always told him he was too young, although it didn't stop him from asking the questions.
"Did you really see Crazy Joe get his head blown off?" Tony asked, sitting on the stoop of the Tribbiani home. Tony was "babysitting" Joey and Gina which really involved him playing with the two youngsters outside and getting paid for it.
"My pizza got ruined," Joey said.
"Pizza's not better than people," Gina said.
"It was yummy," Joey said.
Joey idolized Tony. Tony was bigger and taller and even at that age of four, Joey knew who he wanted to be. He wanted to be Tony. Whatever Tony did, that's what he would be. Tony looked like a teddy bear.
"Tony," Joseph said as he and Gloria walked out of the house, Gloria holding her stomach and Joseph holding onto Mary Therese . "We made some calls, my parents will be here. Not sure. Joey and Gina we gotta get your mom to the hospital."
"Your little sister is coming," Gloria said, running her fingers through Joey's hair.
"I don't want another sister," Joey whined.
"What's wrong with your sisters?" Gina asked.
"You're gross," Joey said.
"You're grosser," Gina said.
"Alright, Tony...do you got it?" Joseph Senior said as he guided Gloria down the steps. "My mom and dad are on their way. You won't be alone for long."
"I got it, I got it. Go. Have the baby," Tony said, motioning for the senior Joseph and Gloria to go off the the hospital. Soon they left and Joey let out an annoyed sigh as Gina walked into the house.
"You alright, kid."
"I don't want another sister. All I have are sisters. It's stupid."
"Hey, you got a brother. I'm your brother."
"I thought you were Uncle Tony."
"A little of both. Look, they're family and it's all you got. Always protect family. Even if they fuck you over, you gotta be loyal."
"What does it mean to fuck someone over?"
"Oh, forgot you're four. You're actually not supposed to know that word. Come on, I'll make you a sandwich," Tony said as he stood up, Joey followed him. His eyes beamed as he followed Tony inside towards the kitchen. He sat on a chair as Tony made him a sandwich, several kinds of meat, cheese. It was stacked bigger than his head and he would eat every single bite.
It soon seemed obvious that one part of his life would not be for him: school. He entered kindergarten in September of 1973 and was instantly bored. Sitting still on a carpet, practicing his letters and numbers. It bored him. He wanted to be outside. He wanted to play. He wanted to do anything else besides blending letters together or figuring out how to count. Every minute seemed to just drag on and on. He wasn't a bad kid, he just didn't care. He wanted excitement. First grade and second grade were pretty much the same. He'd sit in class, counting down the minutes until he could finally leave.
It was now summer of '76, the summer before third grade. It was hot and sticky in New York and he was riding his dirt bike on the street with his cousin Christopher who was a younger than him, as well as Tony and his buddies, Artie, Davey, Sal and Blundetto. Joey and Christopher were incredibly close and both shared an agreement that it was unbelievably cool that a group of sixteen and seventeen year old boys let an eight year old and a seven year old hang out with them. They were just referred to as "the kids".
"I'm so bored," Artie whined as he tried to do a wheelie on his bike, but fell off instead which caused laughter from the rest of the group.
"We can ride our dirt bikes in Cunningham Park. My dad took me there," Joey said. "It's so cool. I rode my bike over one of the jumps and it was like a hundred feet in the air."
"That's bullshit," Blundetto said.
"Yeah, that's too high of a number kid," Tony said.
"It was still high," Joey said.
"Not that high," Tony said. "It's too far to ride all the way out there in this heat."
"We gotta do something, this is bullshit," Blundetto said.
"Is that your new favorite word?" Tony said.
"Yeah, asshole," Blundetto said.
The group laughed again as Joey and Christopher leaned in excitedly to hear what plans the boys might come up with. Nothing would thrill him more than being part of this club, this gang of boys. Soon, the idea was come up with to ride to the drugstore. Tony was talking about this girl he was crushing on, Carmela. They road their bikes down towards the Hollis Drugstore with Tony going on and on about what he could get Carmela.
"You know what we could do?" Christopher whispered to Joey as the older boys were arguing over what would be a better gift. Christopher and Joey were sticking with the candy aisle.
"What?" Joey asked.
"I don't have money," Joey said.
"You don't need money. Watch," Christopher said as he looked around the store and quickly grabbed about six Snickers bars from a box and shoved them into his fanny pack. Joey's mouth dropped as he looked over at the older gentleman behind the counter who looked to be in his own world.
"Whoa," Joey said.
"I'm a full year younger than you and even I know this shit," Christopher said.
"I don't think I can."
"Pussy," Christopher said as he walked off towards Tony and the other boys. Joey stared at the rows of candy bars. His heart beat wildly as he looked over at Christopher talking to them, laughing. They peered into his fanny pack. Joey didn't want to be outdone. He reached forward and wrapped his fingers around a Butterfinger.
"Hey, what are you kids doing?" The man behind the counter screamed. Joey jumped about twenty feet in the air and turned towards the guy who was screaming at Tony, Christopher and the rest of the guys. The group started laughing.
"Fuck off, old man," Tony yelled back as the group ran towards the door. Joey dropped the Butterfinger and ran after them, grabbed their bikes and rode quickly down the street, still laughing. They rode so fast and so long, they did end up at Cunningham but instead of riding the dirt bike trails, they shared their loot. Christopher handed out the candy bars to the older boys who seemed amazed by him and Tony showed them the necklace he had stolen for Carmela. They were laughing and Joey felt increasingly left out.
"What did you get, Little Joe?" Artie asked.
"Joey was a pussy," Christopher said.
"I'm not...I just-I didn't-" Joey said.
"It's alright, it's alright. Lay off the kid," Tony said.
"Still pussy," Christopher said.
Joey shoved Christopher, hard. Christopher shoved back but Joey weighed more and could hit harder. Tony had to get between them and separate them.
"Hey, hey….we're family. Family doesn't hurt family," Tony said. Joey and Christopher stopped fighting but it didn't matter, Joey was still pissed off.
The next day, he rode back to the drugstore. He'd do it this time. He wouldn't chicken out. He would actually do what needed to be done. He was older than Christopher, smarter. He could do this. Christopher was an idiot, showing his loot while in the store. Idiot. Joey walked into the store and walked towards the rows of candy bars. He took a deep breath and reached towards the Butterfinger. He grabbed it and immediately stuffed it in the fanny pack he had for this moment. He looked back and the old man behind the counter who wasn't looking at him. So Joey turned back and decided to keep going, he could have left but he wanted more candy, one after the other. He kept throwing them into his fanny pack when he was pulled back, suddenly, turned around and he looked up into the eyes of the old man. Joey's breath got caught in his throat. He couldn't find it in him to speak.
His father was called and Joseph Senior looked pissed as he sat next to Joey. The old man whom Joey learned was called, Gus, kept talking about Joey and his friends and how they kept ripping him off. Joey felt scared but kept thinking of Tony. He thought of what Tony had said the previous day. Tony had no fear, Christopher had no fear. He shouldn't have fear either.
"Fuck off, old man," he heard himself say. It sounded like it was coming somewhere else. The room went silent.
"Excuse me?" Gus said.
"What did you just say?" Joseph Senior said.
"Fuck off, old man. Maybe-maybe you shouldn't make your stuff so easy to grab," Joey said, pretty sure his voice was shaking and he was trying to hide his hands so his dad and Gus wouldn't see the trembling. "Fuck off, old man."
His eyes closed when he felt his dad grab his arm and pull him over his lap. He knew what was coming and he kept his eyes shut as his father spanked him, hard. He didn't cry, he knew he deserved it but his dad didn't get it. When he was done getting spanked, his father stood up, grabbed Joey's arm and pulled him out of the store. Gus telling him that he and his friends were no longer allowed in the store. As they left though, Joey reached out and grabbed another candy bar without his dad or Gus noticing and stuffed it in his fanny pack.
When they got back, his mother stormed towards him and grabbed his arm and marched him towards the kitchen where his mother began spanking him as well. It was then that he began to cry. Joey always cried when his mother got mad. When she was done, he stood crying.
"I didn't raise a thief," Gloria said, shaking her finger at him.
"I'm sorry," Joey said.
"You know what it is? It's Tony and his friends," Gloria said as Joseph Senior walked towards them and opened the fridge, "I don't-"
"It's not Tony. He was there alone," Joseph Senior said.
"They stole a bunch of stuff yesterday and Christopher called me a pussy and I shoved him," Joey said, sniffling.
"I don't like you hanging out with these boys," Gloria said.
"You keep giving me stupid sisters," Joey said.
Gloria gave him a look and shook her head.
"You want something to eat?" Gloria asked.
"Yeah," Joey said as Gloria went to start to making him some lasagna. Joey walked towards the table and sat. He hated getting in trouble with his parents. He especially hated getting in trouble with his mom.
"You know, Junior," Joseph said, sitting next to him. "Just 'cause the other kids are doing stuff like that, doesn't mean you should."
"Can I go dirt biking?" Joey asked. "When my ass feels better."
"Language, Joe," Gloria said.
"Sorry, I'm sorry," Joey said.
"And no dirt biking today. Today, you stay home," Gloria said.
"Listen to your mom," Joseph Senior said as he patted Joey's hand. He hated that he wouldn't be able to ride but also felt incredibly guilty. He couldn't believe he had tried stealing and he had a chocolate bar in his fanny pack. He needed to give it back to Gus.
The next morning, he rode his bike again towards the store. As he soon as he walked in, Gus started yelling at him to leave.
"Wait, wait," Joey said as Gus reached towards the phone. Joey reached into the fanny pack and pulled out the candy bar and placed it on the counter. "This is yours and-and-I wanted to say sorry. I am-I'm sorry."
Gus stared at him, he looked so angry. Joey bowed his head. he felt so bad.
"Keep it," Gus said.
"What?" Joey asked, looking up at him. Gus' face changed from anger to concern. Joey watched as Gus reached under the counter and pulled out a box of Snickers bars.
"I haven't stacked these yet and bought too many this month. Here and when your friends ask, you stole 'em. I won't tell," Gus said.
"I was your age once too. But between you and me, kid. You're better than those hooligans you hang out with."
"Thank you," Joey said as he grabbed the candy bars and put them in his fanny pack. He nodded at Gus, left the store and rode back. When he got back home, he noticed the boys all riding around around in front of his house. He grinned wildly as he rode towards them.
"Where the hell have you been pussy?" Christopher asked as Joey rode towards them and stopped, the boys surrounding him. He opened up his fannypack and handed out the candy bars.
"Took 'em this morning. Who's a pussy now, asshole," Joey said.
"Whoa, nice loot," Blundetto said.
"I underestimated you, Tribbiani," Sal said.
"You took 'em," Tony said as he examined the Butterfinger in his hands.
"Yeah, of course. Now can we go to Cunningham. I wanna ride the dirt trails."
"Alright, but if I fall on my fat ass, I'm sticking a Snickers up your ass," Artie said.
"Fine, there's a lot of room up there," Joey shot back.
"And he'll just take it out of his ass and eat it anyway," Tony said.
"Yeah," Joey said, "now let's go."
Joey began riding and soon the other boys followed. He was officially part of their group. They didn't have to know the truth.
Once they arrived at Cunningham, they rode the trails. He loved dirt biking, going up and down the trails, getting dirty and practicing tricks. He could do it all day. He rode up to the top of a pile of dirt and got ready to ride when Tony appeared next to him.
"You didn't steal those bars, did you?" Tony asked.
"I'm not telling the others, kid," Tony said.
Joey let out a sigh. He didn't want Tony to be upset with him. He didn't want Christopher to call him names.
"I tried yesterday but I got caught so...but I took one on my way out and then….I returned it and the Old Guy gave me candy bars."
"I don't know, Tony. I-"
"Hey, hey...it's alright. We've all got our skills and you know I'm not doing this shit," Tony said, motioning towards the dirt jump.
"Come on, I'm eight and I'm doing this. Don't be a sissy shit," Joey said, giving him a look, quickly getting into his favorite role as the obnoxious kid brother. Joey was still quite a few years younger than him and he knew that Tony liked him and because of that, sometimes taking advantage was necessary.
"Did you just call me a sissy shit?" Tony asked.
Joey simply smiled and began riding down the jump. He could hear Tony yelling and riding behind him. It was those moments he loved, riding around in the dirt, getting messed up and lying in the grass completely covered in mud. It didn't matter that he didn't technically steal anything. It was a rare feeling of euphoria to play with the big boys. This would always be more fun than school.
When he started third grade that fall, his teachers were strict and he would constantly stare off, wanting to do other things. He was constantly not understanding and overheard a teacher tell another teacher that Joey was simply a lost cause because he could not understand a word problem. It wasn't that he didn't understand it was that he just did not care. Why did he need to know how many apples were left when you subtracted or how to find the verbs or what have you. He simply did not care. He cared about playing and the TA they had for the third grade that year. She was was brunette and wore sweaters that did very little to cover her figure. Her name was Brittani.
"You're staring at Brittani's boobies," Kristi poked him with a pencil. Kristi was a classmate. They had been seated next to each other since kindergarten. They were always paired together and Kristi was far more aware of things than any other girl he knew.
"So? You're gross."
"It's what helps me learn," Joey said.
"Do you understand, Joey," Brittani said, walking over to him and leaning down to look at his unfinished word problems. His eyes widened as he stared at Brittani's chest.
"I understand," Joey said which elicited giggles from his table.
"Eyes on your paper, Joey," Brittani said.
Brittani let out an annoyed sigh and walked away, towards the teacher. Joey watched as Brittani talked with the teacher and began pointing at him.
"Joseph, come here for a second," The teacher motioned for him to approach her. He rolled his eyes as he walked towards her.
"Yes, Mrs. Goodman," Joey said.
"Stop staring. You are here to learn," Mrs. Goodman said.
"I am learning," Joey said.
"Right now, you need to do math."
"But won't I learn more staring at boobies than figuring out how many peaches Bob gets after he sells eleven?" Joey asked.
"Go to your desk and do your work, one more time and I send you to the principal's office," Mrs. Goodman said.
"Okay," Joey said as he walked back to his table. He didn't stop though, just tried to become better at hiding it. Maybe that could be his skill? Being with girls? He liked looking at them and when he played, all the girls seemed to chase him. Even his sisters would complain about some of their female classmates having crushes on Joey so maybe his skill would never be stealing, but instead the girls.