A/N: Soo..this was going to be the final chapter for this story, but, I'm not 100% sure if I'm going to leave it like this or write one more small, fluffy and probably annoying epilogue, haha. Maybe it doesn't need one? We'll see how I feel after it's posted. Anyways, once again, I want to give a huge, HUGE thank you to everyone who read, followed, favorited, sent me PM's and nice comments about this story. I appreciate all the support I got for this fic, SO MUCH! :D I will most likely write more Phoey, because as some of you have pointed out, there isn't enough of it out there! So keep an eye out!
Phoebe bolts up into a sitting position, petrified by the angry tone of her roommate's voice. Neither her or Joey move for a second or two. He turns to look at her.
"What the hell IS that?"
"That would be Monica.." Phoebe says in a quiet voice, to avoid having their cover blown.
There is another thunderous, angry pounding on the door. "PHOEBE!"
"Are you sure it's not a rabid gorilla or something?" Joey asks.
"Oh God.." Phoebe mutters, touching her hand to her face in panick. "She saw the stain on the floor. We're both dead...quick! Jump out the window!" she hisses.
Joey gives her a puzzled expression. "What!?"
"Trust me, it'll be a lot less painful, and over faster than what she's going to do to us."
Joey rolls his eyes. "This is ridiculous...I really need to-"
"Shh!" Phoebe quickly grabs him, clamping her hand over his mouth in a desperate attempt to silence him. "The door is locked. If she thinks I'm not here, she'll be out of here in 5 minutes, tops."
Phoebe waits, frozen with fear, staring at the door. A few seconds pass. The pounding stops. There are footsteps, growing more and more faint as Monica walks away from the door.
"That damn hippy!" she hears her angrily mutter to herself. "Leaving wine glasses out on the table...wait until she gets home!"
There are more footsteps, followed by the sound of running water. Phoebe knows that Monica's OCD won't allow her to leave the apartment until the glasses are washed and put away. A few more footsteps are heard, followed by the slamming of the front door, and the dead bolt clicking into place, as Monica locks it. Heaving a huge sigh of relief, Phoebe finally takes her hand from her terrified friend's mouth. "Alright, go."
He looks at her with a worried expression. "Are you sure it's safe?"
"Yes, she's gone. Go!" Phoebe insists.
He stands up and quickly bolts for the door. He's gone for a few minutes.
"Wow.." Joey says as he re-enters the room, shutting and locking the door behind him. "You weren't kidding about your roommate."
"I know." she says. "And she didn't even see the stain, yet, that's the scary part."
"I'll help you get it out." Joey offers. "For real this time."
He climbs back under the covers, and passes his hand through her hair, before lowering himself to her level and planting another soft kiss on her lips. "But first, I think there was something else we were going to do.." he looks at her with an irresistably handsome grin.
"Was there?" she smiles back, teasingly. "I don't remember what that was."
"Don't worry, I do." he assures her and kisses her, with more passion. His lips are incredibly soft, against hers, even when the pressure of their kiss increases. She finds it impossible to do anything but allow it to continue for several minutes. Her heart rate intensifies as he finally pulls himself on top of her, their legs intertwining as they continue their make-out session. She moans ever so softly as his lips find a tender spot on her neck, and his hands slowly begin caressing the curves of her body. She's completely lost in this moment, badly wanting it to continue, but when his lips part from her flesh, and he pulls back, making brief, but powerful eye contact with her, before he continues sucking the same spot, something doesn't feel right all of a sudden. It takes everything within her power to force herself to reach down, and stop his fingertips from caressing her thigh with one hand, and create some space between them with the other. Their eyes meet again, this time, his are filled with concern.
"Uh-huh.." she assures him, pulling herself to a more upright position. "I just, uhm..I think maybe, before we get too carried away..we should probably talk about this, you know?"
"About what?" he asks. He dips his head down, and continues covering the flesh of her neck with kisses, making it difficult for her to stay focused on what she's talking about.
"Well, about us..and what this means for us, you know?" She moves herself closer to the edge of the bed, and away from him, which finally seems to get his attention. He pulls himself up, sitting in his knees, and waiting for her to explain. "I mean..we're two, very close friends who have just..fornicated."
Joey raises his hand to his face, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Pheebs...do you have to make it sound so gross?"
"Alright...we 'did it'." she corrects herself, and he nods, in approval. "But..isn't that a little bit..strange to you? I mean, we've been friends for a really long time."
"That's true.." he says. "But that doesn't make it strange, at least I don't think so."
Phoebe lets out a small sigh, trying to find the words to express how she's feeling right now, without hurting his feelings. She finds both pieces of her underwear on the ground, and realizes that this might be easier if she wasn't completely naked right now. She puts them back on, under the covers, as she continues talking.
"Alright, but...does this mean that suddenly, we're 'friends with benefits?', or are we just..two friends who 'did it' one time, just sort of as an experiment? I mean, is this going to happen again, or is this just a one time thing?"
He gives a shrug. "I'd like to think it could happen again. In fact I was kinda hoping it would happen again, like, right away, but.."
Now that she's dressed in her underwear, Phoebe stands up. She turns around and to address her handsome, Italian friend.
"But don't think this is going to make things difficult later down the road? I mean, we're not dating. So, if we're sleeping with each other, and sleeping with other people, I mean..that would just be a little.." she pauses, when she notices that instead of looking at her, he's just staring at her chest, like what would be expected of Joey. But she finds it rather annoying at this time. She firmly grasps his chin hin her hand and lifts his head, forcing him to look at her face. "Are you even listening to me?"
"Huh? Yeah." he replies.
"What did I say?"
"Something about boobs."
"No!" Phoebe gives a defeated sigh of annoyance and lowers herself to sit next to him on the bed. "I'm being very serious, Joey. I'm just don't want things to be awkward between us, now. You're my best friend. I don't wanna lose you over something like this." She places her head in her hand, feeling frustrated that she can't seem to get through to him. She feels his arm rest upon her shoulders, pulling her closer to him.
"Pheebs, why would you even say that?"
She shrugs, raising her head slightly to rest it on his shoulder. "Maybe because everybody who I've ever cared about has walked out on me, or died, like I have some sort of curse.."
"Would you stop with the curse thing?" he tells her. "I've been you're friend for over 6 years now, and unless I get hit by a bus, or struck by lightning, or something, I'm not going anywhere. I'd never leave you on purpose, and you know that."
A minute or so passes, and neither of them say anything. Phoebe's mind is still reeling, trying to process everything that's happened over the past 24 hours. How Joey went from being her best friend since adolescence, to being a very attractive, irresistible guy who she couldn't keep her hands off last night, to being someone she couldn't even look in the eye right now.
"I think I know something that could make things a little less awkward.." Joey suddenly says.
Phoebe lifts her head from his shoulder.
"We could, uhm...just not sleep with other people anymore." he says with a shrug.
Phoebe stares blankly for a few seconds. "But...that would be like we were dating."
"Yeah..exactly. And that would be a problem, because..?" he inquires, raising his shoulders.
Phoebe thinks for a moment, trying to imagine what he's proposing, if they actually went through with it. Part of her wants to say yes, without question. Another part of her holds her back. The 18 year old in her, who loved Joey very much, like he was family rather than as someone who she had feelings for.
"Well.." she says. "I dunno. I just think that might make things worse."
"How could that make things worse?" he asks.
"Well..I mean, what if it didn't work out? What if we broke up? We wouldn't even be able to be in the same room without the awkward tension vibes. I've seen it happen before. I really just think that we're too close of friends for it to work, you know? I mean...you haven't been able to hold a serious relationship for as long as I've known you, Joey."
He lowers his eyes, but not before she catches a glimpse of the disappointment in them. She suddenly feels a deep sense of regret for what she just said, as she realizes that she may have hurt his feelings.
"Awh, Joey..I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that.."
"No, I get it." he says. "It's just...Well, I've never really met a girl who I've ever wanted to be with. Except you."
The guilt within her intensifies, but at the same time, she feels very moved by his words. He reaches down to scoop his jeans off of the floor and pulls them on. He stands up and begins looking for his shirt, as well. Phoebe can't think of anything to say that won't make this situation worse, so she just sits on the bed in silence, as he finds his shirt. He stares at the floor for a moment after he puts it on, and a very small half- smirk appears on his face. He shakes his head.
"You know...I don't think any girl has ever shot me down like this. I didn't think it would hurt so much."
Phoebe reaches out to where he stands before her and takes his hands. She stands up, pulling him closer towards her. She places a hand on his cheek.
"Joey..the last thing I'd ever want to do is hurt you. But..I just.."
He gives a small smile, placing his hand on top of hers. "It's ok. I understand. If you don't feel the same way for me...well, I guess there's nothing I can do. But I just want you to know that..I would never hurt you the way those other guys have. You know, just off the record. I've always loved you, Phoebe."
Phoebe suddenly finds herself needing to swallow the lump in her throat, as she stares into the deep, brown eyes of her best friend and realizes that of all the guys she's been with in the past, Joey is the only one who has told her than because he meant it. Growing up, he was always there for her. Always so protective and attentive, and Phoebe had mistakenly thought that it was just because it was just in his kind nature. Now it all made sense why he did those things. She pulls her hand away from him.
"Well, then.." she manages to say. "So much for not making things awkward.."
He gives a small laugh, which seems inappropriate for their current situation.
"What's so funny?" she asks.
"Nothing." he says. "I was just remembering how I asked you out before, and you said no."
Phoebe frowns, unsure of what he's talking about. "You did?"
"Yeah. Well..sort of. It was kinda...indirectly. Remember that? It was right after the first time we kissed."
"Ohh.." Phoebe says, as the memory starts to come back to her. "Oh, yeah! I remember, now. Wait...I said no?"
"Yeah, you did." He says, his smile broadening somewhat with amusement. "Well..you told me that I was 'way too young for you'. Or something like that. Which I guess..all things considered, makes you a cougar, now."
Her jaw drops, in an offended gesture. "I am not! I'm only 3 years older than you!"
He laughs louder. "'Only'? Well, when you were 18, it was a huge age gap."
She gives a shrug. "Well..I was a little naive back then. Besides, I've slept with guys younger than you since then."
He puts his hands on her waist, giving her a taunting grin. "Really? How much younger?"
"Well, not THAT much younger. Don't worry. They weren't better then you."
She smiles up at him, before she finds herself wondering why she was still flirting with him, when they'd just come to an agreement that they weren't going to pursue anything beyond what had already happened. She pulls her eyes away from him to avoid becoming mesmerized by that dashing smile of his again, and clears her throat.
"Ooh! I almost forgot." She walks over to her dresser and digs underneath her folded clothes until she finds a roll of assorted bills of money in tips which she has managed to save up over the past few months. Returning to Joey, she places it in her hand.
Joey looks down at the roll of cash in his hand, with surprise. He starts to rifle through the bills. "Pheebs, this is like, $500!"
"Uh-huh. Is it going to be enough?"
He looks up from the money and flashes her a smirk. "Well..I dunno what the escort service told you, lady, but the going rate is 800 a night for a stud like me."
She can't help herself from laughing, and hitting him on the arm.
"Seriously, though, Pheebs...I can't take this from you."
"Oh, go on!" she insists. "It's just some cash I've been saving up in case of an emergency..but, you need it more than I do right now. Besides, I owe you."
He shakes his head. "No, you don't, Pheebs."
"Well, then just accept it as my gift to you. As a friend."
After hesitating a moment more, Joey smiles. He leans forward and kisses her softly, on the cheek. "Thank you."
"Don't mention it.." she says, feeling the familar, tingling, butterfly sensation that she always felt when he kissed her. All this time she thought it was just because he was a good kisser. As he tucks the money into his pocket, and starts to get ready to leave her apartment, looking for his shoes. Phoebe has a sudden sinking feeling. It was like something was telling her that letting him go, after all they'd been through, after all he'd done for her, and after all the times she'd had her heart broken, would be a huge mistake that she was going to someday regret.
"Hey, uhm..Joey?" she calls out, before she can stop herself.
He turns towards her, in the middle of putting on his shoes. "Yeah?"
"Uhm.." she pauses, nervously crossing her arms and looking downwards, while trying to figure out the right words to say. "I...I was just wondering, if you had any plans for tonight, because..I was thinking we should.. y'know, hang out again. Like maybe go to dinner or catch a movie or something?"
"Oh, yeah, sure, Pheebs." he tells her. "We really do need to hang out more often, you know?"
"No, I meant.." she gives a small sigh. "Maybe I'm not asking right."
After a few seconds of hesitation, she reaches out and takes his hand. "Joey...will you go out with me?"
He quickly from her hand to her face with a seemingly surprised expression before a smile crosses his face. "Pheebs...that's such a high-school way to ask someone out."
She shrugs. "Well..I only ever stayed til tenth grade, so..all I know is that it usually works. At least in high-school, it does. So, uhm...what do you think?"
Still smiling, he pulls her hand to his lips, giving it a kiss before he locks his hands at the small of her back.
"Mmn..I dunno." he tells her, looking down at her. "I mean, I love you, Phoebe, but.."
"But what?" she asks.
"It's just your friends are kinda weird. I don't know if I could get used to them."
She giggles, smiling up at him. "I know they are, but you will. They sorta grow on you after a while."
"Well, then.." he leans forwards, planting a peck on her lips. "I guess you know my answer, then."
He takes a moment to hold her close to him, and she enjoys the feeling as much as he does. This feels so different from any crush she's had on any of the random guys who ended up breaking her heart in the past. She feels like she's right where she's meant to be. This is something that should have happened a long time ago. He pulls back to brush her hair off her shoulder and kiss her lips once more, lasting a lot longer this time.
"Do you realize that you're still almost naked?" He asks, his lips forming into a grin against hers.
"Uh-huh." she says, returning his kiss. "And I'm wondering why you aren't."
The next thing she knows, his shoes fly across the room, one by one. "I could fix that in about 2 seconds."
She giggles, as she allows him to lift her up into his arms, swinging her off her feet as he kisses her once more, like he means it, and then pulls her back down onto the bed with him.