Okay, three months later...love to all!
Ross wasn't exactly sure whether there was a God – he was a strong advocator for the whole evolution thing, what with it being his job and all, and the two didn't exactly play well together.
But either way, he was still white knuckled and praying to anyone who would listen, because driving with Phoebe was worse than driving with Rach. In snow. After they'd broken up.
He hadn't quite tested that theory, didn't much feel like dying an early death, but anything had to be better than –
"Damnit, Pheebs, would you please slow down?" he exclaimed as Phoebe broke maybe five laws in two seconds. Not that he was counting or anything.
Ross had tried the meek approach, then the pleading tone and a few other tricks he kept firmly up his sleeve, but nothing had really gelled with Phoebe that, oh, maybe he wanted her to slow down now.
Terrified yelling was his last resort before sobbing into his hands, and he wasn't willing to go there without a real reason, but it seemed to work.
Phoebe braked to a reasonable speed, gave him a look out the corner of her eye and said, "Jeez, Ross, if you wanted me to slow down, you could have just said so. You know how I feel about yelling in the car!"
Ross quickly debated with himself and decided that saying nothing would be his best bet. He definitely did not want to mention that he had said something and he really, definitely didn't want to point out that Phoebe had ended her sentence with a raised voice. No, pointing out that she'd just broken her own, and only car rule would be absolute suicide. Ross could write a thesis on the ways he was going to avoid taking his own life, when it came to his friends.
"But you know if we're late, I'm going to tell Frank Jr that Ross couldn't handle the pressure."
"That's fine, you were going to blame me anyway."
"Well, you're here, it's just easier."
Frank Jr had turned . . .Ross guessed somewhere between sixteen and legal drinking age – Phoebe hadn't been exactly forthcoming on the whole age thing – but anyway, he'd turned older yesterday and Phoebe had shopped with Monica, caught a movie with Joey and played at Central Perk.
She'd remembered when her and Ross had gone shopping for his mom's birthday present, made a scene in the middle of Toys R Us; shopping for Ben was a lot more fun in both their opinions. And she'd picked up a plush Elmo toy before dragging Ross out the store.
That was when Ross found out the meaning of hell. He'd thought that speeding in New York was physically impossible, and he'd tried it when Carol was in labour, but apparently all the traffic seemed to sense Phoebe and knew to get the hell out of her way.
Elmo bounced around in the back seat, and Ross found himself worrying about a toy. Clearly, he was losing it. Whatever it was.
But the backseat didn't have any seatbelts, and after the beating it was taking, Elmo was just about to be dealt with another blow when he found out his new owner was not a child who would appreciate and play with him.
Or maybe he was. Frank Jr was a bit . . .
"So. Pheebs," Ross started, feeble attempt at brightly, and Phoebe's fingers were gripping white on the steering wheel.
Oh yeah, Ross recognised pissed when he saw it, Monica's hands had looked like that a couple of times whilst reaching for his throat. "Uh. . ."
Yeah, she was pissed at herself. He'd picked a fun ride to be in. But the alternatives were shopping with Rachel or spiteful cooking with Mon. Ross didn't exactly see a happy ending with any of those. Ben might have appreciated the attention.
Ben would have loved the Elmo. Even if he did seem to like Barbies, but Ross refused to open that can of worms.
"What, Ross, what?" Phoebe snapped. The situation had officially entered into uncomfortable territory, and Ross looked out the window longingly. It was Phoebe, he'd talked to Phoebe a bunch of times, he could do it now. It was possible he could do it now.
Yeah, he was going to do it.
And then nothing. Ross toyed with the cuff of his jacket, frowned at a loose thread and felt the inane urge to tell Phoebe about it. We can't see Frank Jr now, Phoebe! Because I said so! Because he would take one look at my jacket falling apart, and he would die.
That would work, right? Phoebe would realize, stop the car and let him out and then he could walk home and get attacked right outside the comic book store, or something. It would be totally awesome.
Ross wondered when he had started a subscription to the crazy. He didn't want to linger on that too long, he might end up like Chandler.
"Hey, did you see that new Harrison Ford movie?" he asked suddenly after struggling for what felt like forever. Phoebe remained silent. "Yeah, that sucked."
"I mean, I practically found out I had a brother, and then I go and do this?" Phoebe exclaimed after a few seconds of dead air, caught in the middle of her own little conversation, and Ross jumped. He hadn't been expecting anything at all. "That's more of an Ursula thing to do. Oh my god, what if I've forgotten her birthday?" Phoebe considered this for a moment, looking perplexed, then shrugged. "Eh."
Yet another one of those moments where it was best to keep his mouth shut – no need to remind Pheeb's she was a twin, because that might lead to her stunning realization that maybe she'd forgotten her own birthday too, and there just wasn't enough psychiatric help in the world for that one – but Ross could only wait a few moments before catching Phoebe's pursed lips. "Hey. Phoebe, hey. Frank Jr's a cool kid, okay? He'll understand, I know he will."
"But he shouldn't have to, Ross!" Phoebe gave him a look, a serious look that meant shut up, I'm talking and I'm serious and I will not take any of your crappy excuses while I'm driving and not yelling.
Ross wasn't having any of it. "Phoebe-" A flash, out the corner of his eye, and Ross reacted on instinct. "Pheebs, look out-"
And then that crash turned into something more real, solid and really painful, and Ross was pretty sure he must have blacked out for a moment, because one second they were scraping towards the left, and the next they were motionless.
Jagged and sharp pain made its way up his right arm, fighting with the oncoming numbness that told Ross something wasn't quite right with his body. His head pounded and his temple was wet, dripping into his eye and making the situation blurry once he found the energy to pull open his eyelid. It was okay though, Phoebe was on his left, and he could see through his left eye, even as his vision shorted in and out.
"Phoebe," he grounded out after a couple of tries, and was that his voice? More to the point, had she heard him? Ross tried to lean closer for a better look, was caught up in his seatbelt and settled for opening his eye just a bit wider. Huh. When had that window shattered?
Phoebe's hair had fallen in tangled strands down around the steering wheel, where her head hung loosely, blood dripping from her mouth, nose and ear.
Ear, that's not good, that's –
Ross gasped as his chest constricted, painful and enough to make his vision swarm around the edges. His head lolled to the side, unintentional and that terrified Ross nearly as much as Phoebe's non response did.
"Phoebe," he tried again, but his voice was drowned out by another.
"Help me!" the voice screamed, not in the car, but not so far away either; piercing, panicked, and female. Ross watched the blood drip drip from Phoebe's lip, slowly – slow, and splash down onto her brand new pair of jeans. "P-Please, my brother-"
"Phoebe. . ." The blood continued to drip, and Ross watched it splash until he closed his eyes and thought he could still hear it land.