Fake Plastic Trees: Chapter 1- How Do I Love Thee

Summary: Ross and Rachel have been married for two years (this takes place around season 8). Ross desperately wants children but Rachel doesn't think she's ready to be a mother, due to the stress of work and navigating an escalating relationship.

Rating: PG-13

Rachel shifted during the night, encircling Ross in her arms and laying her head on his chest. This woke him from his slumber. He gazed down at her figure sprawled over him, her nakedness only half-hidden under the twisted sheets and the moonlight shinning in from the window accenting her toned muscles and tanned skin. She was beautiful, especially so in that instance. He placed a kiss on top of her head and rested his chin there, certain now that she wasn't asleep. He loved doing this- waking in the middle of the night to find her there with him. It was like a secret rendezvous that the world would never know about. It seemed like a dream yet it only insured him that she was real- that they were real. He still had a hard time believing it, though their wedding had been over two years ago. It was amazing how much he loved this woman. Sometimes, as cliche as it sounded, he literally thought his heart might twist up in a knot and implode from the magnitude of his adoration.

He wanted more than anything to magnify their love with the conception of a child, but he knew she wasn't ready. She had expressed it to him several times, by vocal and unspoken means. He didn't want to push her but he wondered if she would ever be ready. When he heard a soft moan escape her lips, he knew she was caught in that hazy space between sleep and awake. That's always what moaning in her sleep meant. He smiled at the thought of knowing something that intimate about her. He ran his fingers up and down her arms. When goose bumps formed beneath her skin, he quickly covered her in the down comforter to warm her back up. After another quick kiss on the forehead, he drifted back off to a peaceful slumber with her in his arms.

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The next morning, Rachel awoke to an empty bed. After collecting her thoughts, she realized that she smelled something cooking in the kitchen and heard the ruckus of pots and pans. She wondered what he was up to this morning. Wrapping herself in a white robe, she padded slowly to the kitchen.

Rachel: Hey you, what gives? Some of us like to sleep in on Saturdays.

Ross slid across the room and wrapped his arms around her waste, planting a soft but firm kiss on her lips.

Ross: I was just making breakfast.

This earned him a cocked eyebrow and a doubtful expression.

Rachel: You've never made pancakes in your life.

Ross: Can't blame a guy for trying.

She smiled and kissed him again before sitting down at the table and picking up the paper.

Rachel: Do we have any plans for today?

Ross: I don't know, it depends on what you want to do. Monica and Chandler invited us to go shopping with them...but that might be kind of weird. You know how Monica gets when she's shopping, especially with Chandler.

Rachel: Yeah, why don't we try to steer clear of that landmine, if at all possible.

Ross: Alright, we could always go shopping alone.

Rachel: I don't know, I've actually got this really huge product report that I've got to finish my tomorrow.

Ross: Seriously? I was really looking forward to spending today with you, too.

Rachel: Okay, well, let's just make sure we're done by this evening. That'll give me enough time to finish it for tomorrow.

Ross: Okay, but now let's just enjoy this FABULOUS breakfast that I've prepared for us.

Ross set the plate on the table to reveal 5 or 6 very burnt, very pathetic pancakes. They both stared at the plate.

Ross: Eh, I gave it a shot.

Rachel: Breakfast out?

Ross: Just let me grab my coat.

End of Chapter 1. To Be Continued...