A/N - Wow, never thought I'd do a Friends fanfic. Like, ever. But here I am.

I guess I just really wanted to write that Joey/Rachel fic I've been craving to read, and while I know a lot of people dislike this ship and think the show messed up with their little fling, I ship Joey and Rachel. Hard. If you don't like Joey and Rachel, I don't want reviews on how much you dislike the ship.

I suck at writing kiss/romance scenes in general, so please bear with me. There's nothing here that you won't find in a PG-13 movie.

I'm not 100% sure if I'll continue this because Marvel's always been my main fandom. If you want to see a new chapter, please review and let me know! If I get enough reviews, I might end up writing a new chapter, who knows.

And in case I'm not clear about it, this takes 2 years after the season 10 finale.


Central Perk.

Rachel cupped the steaming mug in her hands, enjoying the warmth radiating from it. She smiled and shook her head when a waiter asked her if she needed anything else, and finally turned and looked towards the vacated couch in the middle of the shop.

The rowdy college students that had been occupying the familiar couches had left a little while ago, and now the vacated seats brought a bitter taste to Rachel's mouth. That's why she rarely made her way down to the Central Perk. She never failed to get the forlorn, sorrowful feeling you get when you finally realize a part of your life has passed you by, and possibly the best part.

If she closed her eyes, Rachel could almost hear Phoebe singing her absurd songs, Ross droning on about some uninteresting lecture, Monica retelling her failed date, Chandler cracking his ridiculous jokes and Joey drawling out his trademark 'how you doing?'

It's not that they never came down to Central Perk. At first, they tried to come down there at least once a week, but the loss of Joey was always felt too keenly to joke and banter like they always do. And before long everyone became wrapped up in their own lives, busying themselves with their own families and problems.

Ah, families. Rachel loved Monica and Chandler like family, yet it was constantly growing harder to smother that stab of jealousy whenever she saw their happy, happy family. A family. That was all Rachel had wanted for Emma.

And she'd tried. Really, she'd worked to keep her relationship with Ross strong, and it had seemed like it was working. But it didn't take long for Rachel to figure out that Monica and Chandler had something she and Ross would never have.

Monica and Chandler fit so perfectly together that Rachel couldn't imagine how she'd never seen it before. The two of them knew each other well enough to know when to give in, and when to remain firm. They were flexible with each other, they gave in to each other's whims and fancies. They understood what was important to the other, and what they could tease about. They knew where the line was. Monica and Chandler were probably the classic examples of 'opposites attract'.

But Rachel and Ross, they were something else completely. If Rachel knew she was wrong after a fight, she would be frank and admit her mistake. If Ross knew he was wrong after a fight, he would be frank and admit his mistake. However, the trouble started when neither of them believed they were in the wrong. The fight would grow and grow until they both agreed to move past it, but neither one of them apologized. Why? Because in their opinion, they were in the right.

Emma was the fragile thread holding Rachel and Ross together, but after a certain point the two decided that separated parents who remained casual acquaintances were better than parents who constantly were at each other's throats. Ross stayed in their house, while Rachel moved into a nice condo across the street.

Rachel exhaled slowly. It is what it is, she told herself.

Emma was with Ross right now, and Rachel forced herself to be grateful for the fact that Emma had two kind, considerate, loving parents who were on good terms with each other. She never had to worry about how Ross would treat her.

But never, in her bright hopes for the future, had Rachel imagined ending up like this. A single, thirty-six year-old mother.

A sudden voice cut into her musings.

"Rach?"

Rachel tensed, then turned around slowly.

"Oh my god, Joey?"

Rachel's hands flew to her mouth at the sight of Joey, his eyes bright with surprise with lips quirking up slightly.

She slid off the chair and half ran the few steps across the room to Joey, who enveloped her in his arms.

God, it had been what, two years since she'd last seen him? Rachel, much to her chagrin now, had rarely called him in LA, and the trips he planned to New York were all cut off by various inconveniences.

She laughed, stepping back. Joey was grinning broadly at her.

"Wow, oh wow," Rachel said, laughter and amazement still in her voice. "Joey, you're—you're here. How…"

"I got two months off," answered Joey, "and who would I spend my two months with but you guys?"

"It was supposed to be a surprise," Joey added as an afterthought. "I was going over to Monica and Chandler's but stopped over here for coffee. Then, I ran into you."

He let out a breathless laugh, and flashed her an almost bashful look. "You look great," he said with a crooked smile.

"Thanks," said Rachel, unable to stop smiling. "You too."

And he did, he really did. But then, when did he not?

Once the excitement of reuniting began to slowly die down, the awkwardness settled in.

"Do you want to sit down?" Joey asked, gesturing to the couches. Rachel jumped at the offer.

"Oh, sure," she said. They smiled at each other again, before making themselves comfortable.

The moment was growing more awkward by the moment, and Joey self-consciously rubbed the back of his neck.

"So where are your stuff?" Rachel asked abruptly.

"Over there," Joey pointed to two large black suitcase pushed up against a seat. He made a face. "Wait, I should probably go get that."

Joey rolled the two unwieldy suitcases over to Rachel, oblivious to the displeased looks of the other customers. He flopped down on the couch again.

"So," he said, turning towards her. "How's life going for you? How's Emma?"

Chandler must have filled him on her relationship status with Ross, Rachel mused. She felt guilty for not calling Joey more often—it's just that it was hard to speak with Joey over the phone.

"Well, it's going pretty great so far," Rachel lied. "Emma's amazing, she's an absolute little dear. I'm sure she'll love meeting her Uncle Joey." Rachel poked him playfully in the shoulder, and Joey laughed.

"That's good," Joey said. "I'm sure you heard about my part on that new show Hope for Tomorrow."

"Yeah, Chandler told me." Rachel bit her lip. No avoiding it now. "Joe, I'm sorry I didn't call more often. It's just—I can't really think of anything to talk with you over the phone. In person, it's different."

"To be honest, I felt the same way," Joey confessed. "The same thing with Ross and Monica. I just connect with you guys all differently."

Rachel hummed in agreement.

"Are you seeing anyone?" Rachel asked rather suddenly. Joey looked surprised by the question, but answered nonetheless.

"Yeah, actually," said Joey, eyes bright. "There's this girl I met at an audition, and, well, she's really great." His face got slightly dreamy. "I think Daphne might be The One."

"The One?"

"Yeah," Joey said. "Daphne's just more relationship material, the kind of girl you settle down with, I guess. I mean, all the girls I've dated are different than Daphne, if you catch my drift. They're all hot as hell and really sexy with big—" He gestured in a way that was probably supposed to indicate breasts. Then Joey paused. "Wait, that doesn't mean Daphne isn't hot or sexy, I just mean—"

"I know what you mean," said Rachel with a smile that was a little forced. Goddamnit Rachel, you are not getting jealous! "She sounds really special."

Joey smiled. "She is." He gave her a searching look. "How 'bout you?"

Rachel sighed. "After Ross, I haven't been in any serious, committed relationship," she admitted.

Joey was still watching her carefully. "You'll find someone," he said vaguely. "You're an amazing, beautiful, talented woman, Rachel. Any guy would be lucky to have you."

Rachel flushed. "Thanks, Joey."

Once again, the silence got a little heavy.

"Where are you staying?" Rachel asked.

Joey shrugged. "I was planning to crash over at Chandler and Monica's," he said. "But I haven't asked them though, you see, since it was supposed to be a surprise."

"You can stay with me," Rachel blurted out before she could stop herself.

Joey's brow furrowed. "You?" he asked in mild surprise.

Rachel cursed her big mouth. "I mean, I stayed with Monica and Chandler a couple of times," she said quickly, trying to cover up. "And they're really great hosts, it's just that the twins can get a little tiring at times. To be honest, so can Monica."

"Well, I wouldn't want to bother you," Joey said hesitantly.

"It's just that I can get a little lonely at times," Rachel confessed, "and Emma's supposed to be with Ross for the majority of the holiday season."

Joey shrugged. "If you're sure it's not a bother…"

"It won't be," Rachel assured him.

"Thanks," he said. Joey looked around him. "God, this place makes me feel so old. Was it really twelve years ago when you ran in from your wedding?"

Rachel let out a laugh. "We were so young."

Another pause. Joey cleared his throat.

"Do you mind calling Phoebe?" he asked. "Tell her to meet up at Monica's. And Ross too."

Rachel nodded and pulled out her phone. Phoebe picked up at the first ring.

Phoebe was unhappy at being forced over to Monica and Chandler's, and being Phoebe she voiced her displeasure bluntly. But Rachel knew Phoebe well enough to placate her with a few well-chosen words, and a disgruntled Phoebe grudgingly agreed to be there in twenty minutes.

"Oh, and call Ross too," Rachel added quickly, not looking at Joey. She was over Ross, but she didn't want to talk to him or about him at the moment.

"Is Mike coming?" Joey said, once Rachel put her phone away.

"Nah, he's at work."

Joey smirked. "Ah, just like ol' times then, huh?"

Rachel swatted at him. "Don't say that, it makes me feel like an old fart."

"It sucks to get older, doesn't it?" Joey said sympathetically. He screwed up his face and croaked out a mocking, "How you doing?"

Rachel laughed again.

When Joey and Rachel finally made it Monica's, Ross and Phoebe were still on their way. Rachel made Joey hide in a bush until everyone was gathered in the living room, and armed with a cocky grin Joey strutted into the house like the arrogant peacock he was.

"My god, Joey?" gasped out Monica, who was nearest to the door.

Unsurprisingly, everyone was ecstatic. Once Joey had gone around and hugged everyone, he was introduced to the twins, Jack and Erica, who mostly looked scared by all the noise. Emma, who came in with Ross, recognized him as "Dr. Drake Ramoree!" (So screw Rachel, she'd watched Days of Our Lives with Emma on her lap. What was the harm?)

Once all the formalities were done, Chandler pulled up chairs for everyone and they all sat in a circle. Monica hurriedly rushed into the kitchen, and by the magic that was truly Monica she somehow managed to pull out a plate of cookies and a large jar of lemonade.

Rachel had feared it would be a little awkward. It had been so long since all six of them had been together like this, and the other five of them in New York rarely met up too.

However, all it took was for Phoebe to lean forward and ask, "What was LA like, Joe?" and the conversation started.

To everyone, the changes in Joey were evident. They were slight, but noticeable all the same, from the slightly quicker way Joey grasped things and the way he spoke. He was still, well, Joey, just a not-so-dumb Joey. Rachel wasn't sure which Joey she preferred.

And it wasn't long before Daphne was brought up. Supposedly everyone else already knew there was someone in Joey's life named Daphne, well, everyone except Rachel. For no apparent reason, Rachel already disliked the girl without even having met her.

Maybe it was the way Joey spoke of her. "What's she like?" Ross asked him, and the stars in Joey's eyes might as well be literal.

"She's the best," Joey said, with a raw honesty that everyone else probably thought was sweet, but Rachel only disliked Daphne all the more. "I've met so many girls in my life but Daphne, well, she's something else entirely. She's gorgeous and smart and funny and sweet and sexy, and oh my god I think I'm in love with her."

Joey's dark eyes went comically wide as though the thought struck him for the first time, looking around at the room with an adorably terrified expression. "Guys?"

"I wouldn't be so quick to say it was love," Chandler said doubtfully. Rachel could've kissed him. "You're sure you never felt anything like this for any other girl?"

Chandler probably regretted his question. Joey sent Rachel a quick glance, but everyone caught it anyway.

"Well," Joey dragged out, "she's my only long term relationship." He bit his lip. "Other than my crush on Rachel," he said a little too quickly, "I've never felt this way about anyone. Like, I'm planning things I shouldn't even be planning yet."

"Like?" Monica prompted.

"I want to do the simplest things with her," Joey said in a rush. "I want to wake up with her and make her breakfast, I want to have little babies with her, I want to cry with her when our kids go off to college, I want to grow old with her and do all that other stuff." He winced. "Does that make me sound like a creep?"

"A little," Phoebe said. "Just a little."

"Forget what I said earlier," said Chandler. "Dude, you're as much in love as you can get."

Rachel should be happy, she wanted to be happy for Joey, for finding an amazing girlfriend he was crazy about and really happy with. It was obvious Joey was smitten, and no doubt the whole gang was happy that the womanizing Joey was on the verge of settling down.

"Really?" Joey asked, brow furrowing.

"Oh! Oh! Joey, you should totally propose!" Phoebe exclaimed excitedly.

"I could give you tips!" interjected Monica. "I know, we should all go pick out the ring with Joey!"

"The ring?" Joey said, bewildered.

Chandler and Ross gave each other a quick look, before cutting in with a quick "I'm the best man!"

"Don't worry, Joe," said Phoebe, ruffling up his hair. "You're going to leave New York armed with the best relationship advice in the country."

Joey grinned around at them all. "You guys are the best."

Rachel lifted her lemonade glass. "To us," she said, ignoring the bitter taste at the back of her throat.

"To us," the others echoed, and they all drank heartily.

Rachel stared unseeingly at the TV. She was flopped lazily on the leather recliner, demolishing a bag of chips at a dangerously fast pace.

Emma was fast asleep in her room. In fact, it was almost midnight, and Rachel probably should be in bed too.

Joey still wasn't home. After unpacking his things into Rachel's guest room, he'd gone out to a bar with Chandler and Ross, for something they called 'bro bonding time'. Phoebe and Rachel had stayed over at Monica's, discussing Joey for as long as they could before Rachel decided that Emma should probably go to bed.

Which takes Rachel back to the question, why was she still up? She forced herself to face the answer. She wanted to talk with Joey. At Central Perk and on the ride to Monica's, she'd really enjoyed just chatting with Joey.

Joey, Joey, Joey. Rachel hadn't thought about Joey in that way for a long time, and if she was being honest she hadn't thought about him in that way ever since she'd run into him today.

Now, all she could think about were his eyes, his smile, and oh no, this is not happening again Rachel.

Rachel forced all thoughts related to Joey out of her mind, and decided to go get some chips from the cupboard.

Just then, someone rapped on the door. No doubt that was Joey.

Reminding herself to give him the spare key and disregarding the knot in her stomach, Rachel got up and unbolted the door for him.

"Hey, Rach," Joey said in what he called his 'seductive' voice, leaning against the edge of the door. His gaze roamed unashamedly over her, before dragging up to her face. Grinning lazily at her, he offered a slurred, "how you doin'?"

"You're drunk," Rachel said flatly, ignoring the sudden pounding of her heart. "Get your ass in here, Tribbiani."

"Aw, I love it when you talk about my ass, sweets," Joey drawled. He made a clumsy grab as if to seize hers, but Rachel barely danced away in time.

She walked over to the kitchen, trying to suppress her spiraling feelings of disappointment. Of course he was going to be drunk, what did she think?

Rachel opened the cupboard, pursing her lips once she saw the chips on the top rack. She stood on the tips of her toes, craning her fingers to try to get a decent grip on the bag.

Unfortunately, all she did was push it further away. Rachel swore vehemently under her breath.

"Need a little help?"

Rachel let out an undignified squeal, suddenly painfully aware of Joey's very close presence behind her.

"Wha-what?" Rachel spluttered. He was so damn close, and she could feel the warm, heavy weight of his body pressed against hers.

"Let me get it for you," Joey murmured in her ear, and after encircling one arm around her waist, he lifted the other and reached for the chips.

They were pressed together so tightly they were practically molded together. The blood rushed to Rachel's face.

"Damn it, Joey," she hissed, trying to cover up her body's excitement. "I can get it."

"Oh, so you want to get it?" Joey said mockingly, and before Rachel could protest his hands were on her waist, holding her and then lifting her up effortlessly. Rachel's heart began to beat so fast that Joey could probably hear it.

She made a wild, flailing grab for the chips and just managed to seize them with the tips of her fingers.

No doubt smirking at her undignified scene, Joey lowered her to the ground with a low, dark chuckle. He spun her around rather forcefully, so Rachel had no choice but to make eye contact with Joey.

He was watching her with that look in his eyes, the look he'd had in Barbados when he'd kissed her, that intense, dark look full of lust and want and desire and love, like she was the most precious, beautiful thing in the world. Joey was looking at her, and Rachel had no idea what to do with it.

Rachel tried not to think about his eyes, Joey's beautiful, intense dark eyes, and how soft his hair looked and how much she wanted to run her hands through it and how much she really wanted to kiss him.

"Daphne!" Rachel blurted out, trying to remind herself that there was a person named Daphne in the first place, and anything Joey and Rachel do now could mess that up.

"Daphne," Rachel repeated, because Joey was staring at her blankly. He was close enough for her to smell the alcohol on his breath. "Your girlfriend," Rachel clarified, mostly for herself. "Can I—when will I get to meet her?"

"She's wrong," Joey muttered rather stupidly. "Her eyes—they're wrong."

"What's wrong with her eyes?" Rachel asked, not really thinking about what she was asking. Joey was drunk and rambling, and Rachel needed to just keep him talking until this…urge, or whatever it was, went away.

"They're not your eyes."

Rachel's heart nearly stopped, and she stared at Joey, mouth slightly open. "Joey," she said, at a loss for words. All she could think of was a feeble, "You're drunk."

"I'm not drunk," Joey slurred together, "you're drunk."

"On what?" Rachel was staring very hard at Joey's lips.

"On me," Joey breathed, before closing in on the few centimeters separating them and covering her lips with his own.

Rachel let out a strangled noise from the back of her throat. Never in a million years had she thought she would feel this again.

Joey kept one hand on her hip and cupped the back of her head with the other, tilting her head to deepen the kiss.

The fact that Joey was kissing her was strange enough; the fact that she was kissing back was stranger still.

Goddamnit Rachel what the hell are you doing?

The weight and gravity of the situation struck Rachel like a bomb. Hastily, she pushed Joey away as quickly as possible, feeling the ghost of his lips pressed against hers.

"Listen," said Rachel, mouth painfully dry, "I can't—I—I don't—"

And why can't you? demanded another voice in your head. Your life is crap right now, Rachel. Give yourself this night, and deal with the damn consequences in the morning.

"Yeah," murmured Rachel under her breath, unconsciously wetting her lips. And why, exactly, should she not do this? She wasn't the one in a long-term, committed relationship. Joey should know better, drunk or not. Let Joey deal with the mess, this was his fault. Right?

Rachel smirked at Joey, who was looking bewildered by now. "Hey, sexy," Rachel breathed, before diving at Joey and kissing him hard.

Joey responded with the same enthusiasm. He cupped her face and slipped his tongue into her mouth with the ease of one who's done this thousands of times—no doubt Joey has. Rachel was trembling at the knees, and all from just a kiss.

"God, Rachel," Joey muttered, and, still tightly holding her, he walked a few steps backwards and fell into the large, leather armchair sitting in her living room.

He yanked Rachel into his lap, and she fell on him somewhat awkwardly.

Rachel squirmed around on Joey's lap, trying to find space for her cramped legs in the small armchair, but Joey grabbed her face and began kissing her feverishly once again.

Electricity was coursing through Rachel, and she moaned, rocking and grinding against him. Joey responded enthusiastically.

He fumbled with her loose t-shirt, and Rachel helped him shrug it off. It lay discarded on the floor.

The bra was somewhat harder. Rachel could have undone it easily enough, but between the frantic, passionate kissing and Joey's clumsy fingers in the way, the five second job dragged into a five minute project.

Eventually they managed to get it off, and Joey threw it on the ground. It was too dark to really see anything, but as soon as they got the bra off, Rachel felt Joey still against her lips.

"Joe?" she asked in concern, but he wasn't moving. Worried, Rachel fumbled around for the light switch that was fortunately close.

Blinking back the sudden brightness in her eyes, Rachel stared at Joey in disbelief.

The damn boy was asleep.

Rachel wasn't sure whether to feel relieved that things hadn't gone too far, disappointed because they never got to do what looked like a promising round of sex, furious that he'd fallen asleep on her, or embarrassed because, well, he'd fallen asleep on her.

Surely my breasts aren't that bad, Rachel consoled herself as she threw on her abandoned t-shirt.

She sighed, staring at Joey. Oh Joe, she thought. We can't do this. We—Us, this relationship, it can never happen. You should stay with Daphne. It's better that way.

Oh, Daphne. Guilt settled in Rachel's stomach.

This was all her fault. Joey's year-long relationship with Daphne was screwed over—and it was Rachel's fault. She was the one who was sober. She was the one fully conscious of what was going on…yet she'd gone along with it anyway. If Joey hadn't fallen asleep, if they'd gone and had sex, well, then Rachel would be royally screwed.

With another deep breath, Rachel walked over to her room and threw herself on the bed. It was going to be a long, sleepless night.

"D'ya want a pancake?"

Rachel eyed the stack of pancakes and Joey's hopeful expression. She sighed.

"Sure, I'll take one."

As Joey handed her the pancake on a plate, Rachel forced herself to speak.

"Joey, we need to talk," Rachel said. "About last night."

Joey turned to look at her. "Actually, I've been thinking about that too, and I wanted to talk to you," he answered.

Rachel couldn't let him speak first—her whole talk with Joey relied on her speaking first. But Joey had already started.

"Listen, I realize that what happened wasn't fair to you," Joey admitted. He self-consciously rubbed the back of his neck. "I promise it will never happen again." Joey's dark eyes were sincere.

Rachel stared at him in disbelief. "Seriously?" she asked coldly. "That—that's it?"

Joey looked mildly surprised, then seemed to get from her tone that this whole thing was a lot more serious than he was treating it.

"I didn't know it'd be so important to you," Joey confessed. Rachel gave him an unbelieving look.

"I'm serious!" Joey said, throwing his hands up in surrender. "But if it means so much to you, then I'll never go out drinking late again. I may end up coming home a little tipsy, but I solemnly vow to you here and now that I will never come home as drunk as I did last night."

Rachel was amazed the calm way Joey was handling the whole situation. He really had changed a lot, but Rachel couldn't help but feel offended—in an odd sort of way—that Joey didn't, well, freak out about this more.

"So we're cool?" Joey asked.

"We're cool," Rachel confirmed. She paused. "This won't make things weird or awkward…right?"

Joey gave her a puzzled look. "Why would they?"

Before Rachel could answer, Joey cut in with a short laugh. "What did I do last night, anyway?" he asked, amused. "I know I was pretty wasted, though. I do some weird things when I'm drunk."

Rachel's world was crumbling around her. "You—you don't remember anything from last night?"

"Nope," Joey assured her cheerfully. He eyed her carefully. "Why, what did I do?"

"Nothing, really," Rachel murmured, hardly hearing herself. Joey didn't remember. Joey had no idea what had happened between them last night.

This should be good, right? There were no awkward conversations. Joey wouldn't have to talk to Daphne about anything. All that would remain of last night would be a memory for Rachel to hold on to. This is better than what Rachel had expected.

So no wonder Joey was treating the whole thing so casually. He wasn't apologizing for what they did last night, he was apologizing for coming home so late and so drunk.

"On a lighter note," Joey said, turning off the stove and leaning across the counter, "somebody got laid last night, didn't they?"

His eyes were teasing and his tone was light, but if Rachel looked for it, she could hear the underlying sadness and resignation.

"What?" she stammered, blood rushing to her face. "Wha—no, no, I didn't."

"Aw, c'mon Rach, don't keep things from your pal Joey," he said with a laugh. "I know these things."

"How?" Rachel challenged.

Joey raised an eyebrow. "So you're admitting you got laid?"

"What? No!" Rachel said quickly. "I'm asking what makes you think I got laid?"

"Lots of little things," Joey said. "But it comes down to these three main ones. One," he counted on his finger, "your bra is on the ground."

Rachel blushed again. "I'm a messy person," she said. Joey looked unbelieving.

"If you say so," was all he said. "Anyway, second, you've got this sort of glow around you."

"It's a new face scrub," Rachel lied.

"But the most telling of all," Joey announced mock-dramatically. "The turtleneck sweater. I know you don't really like turtlenecks, and you absolutely hate that green one you're wearing now. You only wear that really high, green turtleneck when you've got a hickey."

"Wha—" said Rachel, at a loss for words. Because she did have a hickey from last night, with Joey. And she did pick her ugly green turtleneck because she knew it'd cover it up.

"So c'mon, spill," Joey urged. "Who's the lucky guy?"

"It was the pizza guy," Rachel blurted out quickly. "He'd kind of cute, and I called him in to yell at him because the pizza I got was wrong, and one thing led to another."

"Nice," Joey said, flipping her a thumbs up. "Ya still got some pizza left over?"

He was asking casually, but Rachel could see the suspicion in his eyes. Joey didn't know what had happened last night, but he suspected it. Rachel could tell.

Rachel exaggerated a regretful exclamation. "Damn it!" she said. "I'm sorry, Joe, but the pizza was gross and I just threw it out. I forgot you were staying with me."

"It's fine," Joey said, and Rachel was relieved to see the momentary suspicion gone, and guilty for lying to him.

He got up and stretched lazily with a yawn. "Well, I'm heading over to Phoebe's," Joey said. "I gotta go change first, though. Are you coming?"

"Uh, sure," Rachel said.

Joey disappeared into the hallway, and Rachel began working on her pancakes, trying to process all the information she'd received in the last conversation.

The doorbell provided a welcome distraction. "I got it," she called to Joey. Rachel plodded over to the front door and swung it open, expecting either Monica or Chandler.

It wasn't either of them. A small, slender young woman with the most petite figure Rachel had ever seen stood there, intelligent green eyes large in her heart-shaped face. Rachel felt a pang of envy at the sight of the thick, auburn waves flowing down her back. She wasn't beautiful, per ce, but there was some kind of charm and irresistibility to her.

"Can I help you?" Rachel asked.

The pretty woman smiled at her. "Yeah, I'm Daphne Keene," she said. "Is there a Joey Tribbiani here?"

Rachel's stomach dropped.


A/N - Please Read and Review!